The YWAM Story
Youth With A Mission is an international movement of Christians from many denominations dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world. Also known as YWAM (pronounced “WYE-wam”), our calling is to know God and to make Him known. Back when we began in 1960, our main focus was to get youth into short-term mission work and to give them opportunities to reach out in Jesus’ name. Today, we still focus on youth, and we also involve people of almost every age (even many people who choose to spend their “retirement” in active service). Our many ministries fit into three main categories: evangelism, training and mercy ministry. We are currently operating in more than 1000 locations in over 149 countries, with a staff of nearly 16,000.
History of YWAM
It all started when a 20-year-old American college student, who was in the Bahamas on a singing tour, spent some time in prayer. As he leaned back in his bed and looked up, he saw what he called a “mental movie.” He saw waves on a map. The waves turned into young people, going to every continent, sharing the good news about Jesus. “Was that really you, Lord?” he asked.
This radical idea, that young people could be missionaries, stayed with this young man, Loren Cunningham. Four years later, in 1960, he started an organization with that idea expressed even in its name: Youth With A Mission. Today, Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has grown into one of the world’s largest Christian mission organizations. The story of how YWAM began and how it grew is a story of God’s direction and God’s grace in using ordinary people from countries all over the world.
Youth With A Mission (YWAM) encompasses thousands of people and hundreds of ministries in almost every country of the world. In every case, our passion is to know God and to make Him known.
We are a mixture of people from all over the world, from 149 countries in fact. In many of our locations, people from a wide variety of nations serve side by side. We come from numerous different Christian denominations and speak hundreds of languages. Nearly half of our staff come from “non-western” countries, such as Brazil, Korea, Indonesia, India and Nepal.
In addition to our full-time staff, many YWAM locations host short-term outreach teams made up of individuals, youth groups, families and churches who get to participate first-hand in “making God known” through both words and actions. We send out over 25,000 short-term missionaries each year.
Over the last 40 years, Youth With A Mission has become one of the premier missionary organizations in the world. Not only has it effectively spread the gospel and ministered to practical needs of the underprivileged around the globe, it has captured the imagination and energy of young people, infusing them with a vision (and providing a unique way) for reaching the lost
– Bill McCartney, Founder & President, Promise Keepers
“The way you discover your gifts is really by serving not by searching.”
– Loren Cunningham
With over 18,000 staff volunteers, YWAM is one of the largest Christian charitable organizations in the world.
Do YWAM staff get paid?
To join YWAM as staff anywhere in the world, you need to have your own financial backing. Many YWAM locations can help people put together a prayer and financial support team (often through friends, home groups, churches, relatives, etc.) before they join as staff. Most YWAM staff meet their financial needs through financial supporters while others hold an additional paying job for financial or ministry reasons.
How can I give a donation to a YWAM staff person or student?
Since YWAM staff do not get paid, they rely on the generosity of people like you to be able to serve God through YWAM. If you would like to give a donation to a YWAM worker, student, or ministry, please see this page for more information.
What is DTS?
Glad you asked! The Discipleship Training School (DTS) is YWAM’s five-month introductory training program, and is offered in over 200 locations around the world. For more information about DTS in Trinidad, please click here.