LOREN CUNNINGHAM, FOUNDER OF YOUTH WITH A MISSION (YWAM) WENT TO BE WITH JESUS ON OCTOBER 6, 2023 AT THE AGE OF 88
The ministry he founded, Youth With A Mission, an ever-expanding global missions movement born in 1960, has reached into every nation on earth through evangelism, training and mercy ministries (YWAM.org). Tens of thousands of full-time staff participate from 200+ countries and various denominations and Christian traditions, serving at over 2,000 YWAM locations in nearly 200 nations. Millions have served in YWAM programs as students, short-term volunteers and fulltime staff.
Many have credited YWAM as being among the world's largest mission movements. But when presented with this claim, Loren always deflected the glory to Jesus, saying, "Well, however large it is, it's not large enough because Jesus' last commandment to reach the whole world with the Gospel has not been completed." He was well-known for his call to build bridges of unity within the body of Christ, always quick to recognize the scores of other missions and churches serving together in partnership.
The Vision Of The Waves
Global initiatives launched under Loren's leadership include King’s Kids International, the University of the Nations, YWAM Ships (28 vessels currently serve the most isolated islands and coastlands), and myriads of other ministries birthed by leaders he inspired.
The Christian Magna Carta
The Christian Magna Carta, penned by Loren in 1981, included both his personal goals and YWAM's corporate goals that are implicit in the Gospel:
Everyone on earth has the right to
1. Hear and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
2. Have a Bible available in his/her own language,
3. Have a Christian fellowship available nearby to be able to meet for fellowship regularly each week and to have biblical teaching and worship with others in the body of Christ,
4. Have a Christian education available for their children,
5. Have the basic necessities of life: food, water, clothing, shelter, and health care,
6. Lead a productive life of fulfillment spiritually, mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.
Influencing Every Sphere of Society
Loren was also the Co-founder (together with his wife Darlene and Dr. Howard Malmstadt) of the University of the Nations (UofN), a global ministry of YWAM ( www.uofn.edu) designed around the "Seven Spheres" that influence every society. In 1975, God gave insights about these spheres simultaneously to Loren and Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU). The UofN was established in 1978 and has grown to offer more than 600 courses and seminars (some in nearly 100 languages) held at more than 800 locations/campuses in 160+ countries. Hundreds of thousands of students are registered within the global UofN system. They all begin with the Discipleship Training School (DTS), which serves as the entry-level course and pre-requisite for all other UofN courses and for becoming YWAM staff.
Ending Bible Poverty
This passion became fine-tuned in his final years to focus on making an ORAL translation of the Bible available in each of the 8000+ MOTHER TONGUE languages on earth (PrayOMT.com). A person's mother tongue is the language that speaks straight to their heart, making this very important. The goal is to fulfill Jesus' prayer for God's will to be done "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). And what is being done in heaven? According to Revelation 7:9, there is "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.'"
In his final days, though his body was riddled with cancer, God energized Loren to "Zoom" with tens of thousands on every continent to share this passion. Just as he showed people how to live "full on" for Jesus, he also modeled how to faithfully finish the race God has set before each one of us. These were precious days of impartation into and prayer over the next generation and the next, who responded with an emphatic "yes - we accept and will carry out the call." The future of YOUTH With A Mission, University of the Nations, and YWAM Ships is in good hands! The largest number of leaders and volunteers in YWAM are young. They are confident, capable and committed to leading YWAM into all God has for the coming 60+ years.
Born in Taft, California, Loren's family heritage was rich with generations of Christian ministers. He married Darlene Scratch in 1963, who had an equally rich Christian ministry background and complementary leadership call, and from that point, they led YWAM together. He was the apostolic visionary, and she was the people/team developer and implementer.
Loren's educational background includes three Bachelor's degrees, a Master of Science in Administration of Education, and three Honorary Doctorates. He authored six books: Is That Really You, God? (translated into more than 140 languages), Making Jesus Lord, Daring to Live on the Edge, Why Not Women?, The Book that Transforms Nations—the Power of the Bible to Change Any Country, We Can End Bible Poverty Now and No Boundaries.
For more information lorencunningham.com