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YWAM includes people from over 181 countries and a large number of Christian denominations, with over half of the organization’s staff from non-Western countries. YWAM has over 15,000 full-time volunteers in more than 1,100 ministry locations in over 180 countries. They train upwards of 25,christian preschools carlsbad ca short-term missions volunteers annually.

Youth With A Mission was conceived by Loren Cunningham in 1956, as a 20-year-old student in an Assemblies of God College, he was traveling in the Bahamas when he had a vision of waves breaking over the Earth. When he looked closer the waves appeared to become young people taking the news of Jesus into all the nations of the world. The result was that YWAM sent two men in their early twenties to Liberia to build a road through the jungle to a leper colony. This was the organization’s first official mission trip.

Loren Cunningham married Darlene Scratch in 1963. By this time, the new mission had 20 volunteers stationed in various nations, and the Cunninghams were planning the mission’s first “Summer of Service”. Later in the year, YWAM teams were being sent to West Indies, Samoa, Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America. In 1967, Cunningham began to work on his vision for the first school. It was to be the School of Evangelism, which was held at Chateau-d’Oex, Switzerland in 1969 with 21 students.

The students’ lodging and classes took place in a newly renovated and leased hotel. The School of Evangelism was formed in 1974 in New Jersey as well as Lausanne. By 1970, YWAM had a total of 40 full-time staff. In early 1972, a small team headed to Munich, Germany, to begin preparations for an outreach during the 1972 Summer Olympics. YWAM had about 1000 people there for the outreach. This was the first of many YWAM Olympic outreaches.

The University of the Nations online magazine has stated that Cunningham met scientist and professor Howard V. Malmstadt at a conference in 1974. They started giving educational seminars together, and Cunningham asked Malmstadt to help expand the training arm of the mission. The concept of a YWAM university that would encompass training programs in hundreds of YWAM locations was developed by Cunningham and Malmstadt. By 2000, YWAM had over 11,000 staff from over 130 countries and had become almost 50 percent non-Western.

The mandate to “Know God and Make Him Known”. A shared statement of faith, vision, and values. Accountability is maintained through a relationship based eldership network and through the agreed YWAM core values. Bible as the authoritative word of God and, with the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, the absolute reference point for every aspect of life and ministry. YWAM’s values are spelled out in a document titled, The Foundational Values of Youth With A Mission.

These shared beliefs and values are the guiding principles for both the past and future growth of our mission They are values we hold in high regard which determine who we are, how we live and how we make decisions. Sports camps, drama presentations, musical events, and other creative and performing arts are among the avenues through which volunteers and staff share their Christian faith. YWAM Australia runs second level courses that focus on Evangelism training in YWAM Perth and YWAM Whitsunday through the School of Evangelism. Youth With A Mission has been active in evangelism at the World Olympic Games since 1972. 1976 Summer Olympics, Montreal: The outreach included street evangelism. The 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow were heavily boycotted and afforded little opportunity for evangelism because of Communist precepts.