Home Christian News Loren Cunningham, Founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Has Died

Loren Cunningham, Founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Has Died

Loren Cunningham
Screengrab via Facebook @YWAM Kona

Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), peacefully passed away in his home early Friday morning (Oct. 6) at the age of 88.

Cunningham and his wife, Darlene, started YWAM in 1960 with the goal of helping youth get involved in missions. Cunningham was 26 at the time. According to its website, YWAM is a “global movement of Christians from many cultures, age groups and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world.”

Over the years, YWAM has reached into every nation in the world, growing its team to tens of thousands of full-time staff participants, known as YWAMers, who are located all throughout the world.

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In a statement released on Friday, YWAM said, “Loren was the first person in history to travel to every sovereign nation on earth, all dependent countries, and more than 100 territories and islands for the sake of Christ and the Great Commission (Mark 16:15).”

“Now he has added one more ‘stamp’ to his well-worn passport: HEAVEN,” the statement continued.

“Loren is often called the ‘de-regulator of missions’ because he broke the 1960s missionary paradigm by creating opportunities for Youth to serve short-term, globally, and unsalaried,” YWAM said. “This foresight opened the floodgates so that millions could come FROM everywhere and go TO everywhere as missionaries around the globe to proclaim the truth of God and display His love.”

Cunningham was known to say that God used Jesus’ words in Mark 16:15 to speak to him and call him to the Great Commission at the young age of 13.

Less than 10 years later, Cunningham felt that God confirmed his calling while he was praying before he preached in the Bahamas—a memory he shared his book, “Is That Really You, God?”

“Suddenly, I was looking at a map of the world, only the map was alive and moving,” Cunningham said. “I could see all the continents, and waves were crashing onto their shores. Each wave went onto a continent, then receded, then came up further until it covered the continent completely. The waves became young people—kids my age and even younger—covering all the continents of the globe.”

He continued, “They were talking to people on street corners and outside bars. They were going from house to house and preaching the Gospel. They came from everywhere and went everywhere, caring for people. Then, just as suddenly as it had come, the scene was gone.”

Cunningham is survived by Darlene, his daughter Karen, his son David and daughter-in-law Judy, and his three grandchildren, Madi, Kenna, and Liam.