Some of Loren’s first recruits as staff with Youth With A Mission were his sister Janice Cunningham and her fiancée-now-husband, Jim Rogers, who organized many of YWAM’s short-term youth outreaches into Mexico, the Caribbean and South Pacific. In 1967 Loren met Jim and Joy Dawson of New Zealand and Kalafi Moala of Tonga, who would play significant roles in the growth of the new mission, first in that part of the world and then beyond.  In January of 1967 God directed Loren to start a School of Evangelism in Europe. He and Darlene located a site for the school near Lausanne, Switzerland, and the first SOE (School of Evangelism) began there on February 1st, 1969, with 28 students, some of whom would become major leaders within YWAM.  Development of these schools proved to be a major factor in leadership development and the multiplication of ministries in YWAM.

Two of the new mission’s major global outreaches were at the Montreal World’s Fair in 1967 with 200 YWAMers, and at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, in 1972 where one thousand YWAM missionaries from 72 nations participated, helping minister to visitors stunned by terrorists’ attack on Israeli athletes. In September 1977 the mission acquired the bankrupt Pacific Empress Hotel in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, as a training base for outreaches into Asia and Pacific. Simultaneously, God spoke to Loren and Darlene, then other YWAM leaders, and to University of Illinois professor Howard V. Malmstadt about starting a global university within YWAM.

Loren’s vision for YWAM was to provide a broad platform for launching new ministries. These began to emerge with the startup of King’s Kids (1976), Mercy Ships (1978), Far East Evangelism Teams (1980), and Island Breeze Ministries (1982) and eventually more than a hundred ministries in what became known as YWAM’s “Family of Ministries” which continues to grow and multiply. In the next decade the mission spread to more than 100 countries, and its decentralized leadership structure helped to launch hundreds of local and global ministries. Each ministry is a reflection of one or more of YWAM’s three-fold emphasis of evangelism, training and mercy ministries.

In 1978 they established Pacific and Asia Christian University at the Kona facility. The Cunninghams lived on the Kona campus and raised their children there from 1977-1987.

In 1987 they were surprised by friends and YWAM co-workers around the world with the gift of a piece of land and development project just above the campus. They were also given a new Nissan car as they hadn’t owned a car in several years. The YWAMers placed the home in a trust with a mandate that the Cunninghams could not sell and give away their home as they had done in the past. With the help several volunteers and a bank loan for the remaining materials, they were able to move into a new 3 bedroom plus a guest room home.

In 1988 the university was renamed University of the Nations, to reflect the university’s growing global vision.

YWAM’s new thrust is starting more networks into all the spheres of society for the purpose of completing the Great Commission in reaching every person with the Gospel (Mark 16:15) and discipling all nations (Matt 28:19). It has become a leading edge in the Call2All movement, Table 71, the Global Pastors Network, the OneStory Partnership and other initiatives for global evangelization.

  • The forming of YWAM
  • Is that really you God?
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