Forming YWAM

During his work at Inglewood Calvary Assembly, Loren’s desire to mobilize young people into missions continued. In the spring of 1960 he led over a hundred youth on an evangelistic outreach to Hawaii. The trip confirmed his belief that young people could be effective in missions. In July 1960, he resigned his pastorate, sold his car, and purchased a round-the-world air ticket. He traveled alone to Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, and Europe, visiting his parents’ missionary contacts and speaking in churches. Everywhere he went he was confronted with needs. If the world were to be reached with the gospel, he concluded, it would take men and women from all Christian churches and all generations working together. The whole church reaching the whole world to meet the needs of the whole person with the whole Gospel.

In 1960 Loren formed a board to provide spiritual eldership as well as legal and financial wisdom, strength and accountability that included the superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Southern California. He made a presentation to his own presbretry – all 25 members backed him 100% to launch this interdenominational youth mission. This was important not only for accountability, but for the commendation they were bringing to the ministry. Serving on the board were not only Church leaders, but godly business leaders who would help to oversee the financial practices and a Christian lawyer who advised Loren and helped him setup the first legal board in 1960. This was submitted to the State of California, accepted and was consummated by the IRS in February 1961.

At one of the youth events Loren shared at in Nigeria, 1961, he challenged the young people to become missionaries and join the efforts of the great commission saying to the young Africans “you too can become a missionary and serve the Lord around the world”. An older missionary pulled Loren aside after the meeting saying “You can’t do this. They are natives we are the missionaries.” Loren reasoned, “their Bible says the same as my Bible… ‘Go into all the world & preach the Gospel’.” The elder missionary responded, “I’d never thought of it like that!” Two African missionaries received their call that night and later were sent out to the nation of Sierra Leone.

That same year he sent out his first long-term workers, Dallas Moore and Larry Hendricks, to serve for a year in Liberia. As he went from church to church, sharing his vision, young people responded eagerly. One of those was a young woman named Darlene Scratch, whose parents Ed and Enid were pastors of an AOG church in Redwood City, California. Their common vision led to a deeper relationship and then to marriage on June 14, 1963. Together they organized Summer of Service outreaches into the Bahamas and Dominican Republic for the following summer.

The enthusiastic young pastor later discovered that his new missions thrust was viewed with suspicion by AOG denominational leaders at the headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, who asked that he limit his youth outreaches to 25 people per year and not include those from outside the denomination. Loren believed he could not live by these requirements and be faithful to the vision God had given him. So with much regret, he resigned as AOG credentials soon after. This was especially painful because of his and Darlene’s parents continuing leadership roles in the denomination. He then immersed himself in the task of seeing the great commission accomplished by men and women, young and old from every part of the world.

In the first 30 months of YWAM, there already were workers serving in Asia, Africa, North, South, Central America and Europe.

It was a particular thrill for Loren to hear reports from a YWAM team ministering for the first time in a scientific outpost of Antarctica during the torch run in 1989. Later in 2008 Loren was able to visit 12 locations in Antarctica including several scientific outposts established by nations like the United Kingdom, the United States and Ukraine. Some had a few workers and others had as many as a hundred workers in the locations he visited. By contrast the sovereign nation of Pitcairn had a population of only 55 when Loren arrived there on a YWAM Marine Reach ship with a medical and teaching team in 1991. This trip completed YWAM’s goal of ministering in every nation on earth, and opened the door to continuing and long term ministries in every part of the world.

Loren has always had a heart to open doors in the difficult and hard to reach places in addition to the larger and more populated locations. As a result, YWAMers have gone everywhere and at times even visited places before Loren’s arrival.

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