I have had numerous friends attend a YWAM program. I have heard various feedback. Some have been good, while others have been questionable. For this reason, I have chosen to look at what YWAM says about itself in connection to theology and belief. All statements of belief are taken directly from YWAM’s site.
What Is Ywam Theology? YWAM believes in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They believe that the Bible is the inspired, authoritative, and truthful word of God. Likewise, they hold additional Biblical values. They also follow the model given in The Lausanne Covenant.
Essentially, I have constructed this blog post to easily and accessibly portray the various statements of faith, belief, and theology of YWAM. You will get an overall understanding of who YWAM says it is while navigating the information in a more time-efficient manner than clicking through the website itself.
What to First Consider
YWAM is a large organization that has a wide array of sites, ministries, and leadership. For this reason, theology and belief can vary from one site to the next. I have numerous friends who have gone through a YWAM program. These individuals stated that the leadership they encountered was solid and trustworthy. I have also heard from sources that not all leadership is as properly equipped.
There seems to be much debate on some of the teachings done through YWAM. Since the organization wants to disciple and reach the world in a rapid manner, this may contribute to a lack of training for the leaders.
However, I am not here to criticize YWAM. I have heard reviews that are positive, constructive, and encouraging. I have also read reviews that are none of those things. Through media and the internet, it is hard to know who is speaking the truth or who is simply finding a reason to be angry.
Therefore, I will be stating the theology and beliefs that YWAM itself endorses. These are not my own personal beliefs. Yet, it is helpful to also recognize that there is a chance that certain site leaders will have a theology that may vary from the overarching theology of YWAM. There are many different denominations in Christianity, and this creates most of this possibility.
The purpose of YWAM is to “present Jesus personally to this generation, to mobilize as many as possible to help in this task, and to the train and equip believers for their part in fulfilling the Great Commission.”
YWAM also believes that believers are called to love, worship, obey and serve. Therefore, they also proclaim their mission to “present the whole gospel for the whole person throughout the whole world.”
YWAM is responding to Jesus’ last command in Mark 16:15. Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone.”
YWAM categorizes its beliefs into two sections. There are the foundational and core beliefs that all other beliefs are built upon. Additionally, there are beliefs that are a continuation.
Foundational and Core Beliefs
- The Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God.
- The Holy Spirit gave the revelation for the scripture.
- Therefore, the Bible is the ultimate reference point for Christians in their life and ministry. Christians are called to go directly to scripture before they consider any other source.
- God is who He is, based upon His word.
- God initiated salvation through Jesus’ atoning work.
- Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and raised.
Additional and Emphasized Beliefs.
Scriptural references are given after each belief. The book references are abbreviated.
- Worship: Is to be given to God alone. (Exo 20:2-3; Deu 6:4-5; 2 Ki 17:35-39; 1 Ch 16:28-30; Neh 8:2-10; Mar 12:29-30; Rom 15:5-13; Jud 24-25; Rev 5:6-14; Rev 19:5-8).
- Holiness: God is holy. It is in His nature and character. Therefore, Christians are called to be holy and righteous, as He is. (Lev 19:1-2; Psa 51:7-11; Jer 18:1-11; Eze 20:10-12; Zec 13:9; Luk 1:68 75; Eph 4:21-32; Tit 2:11-14; 1Pe 2:9,21-25; 1Jo 3:1-3).
- Witness: Jesus Christ calls believers to share the gospel to those who do not know it. (Psa 78:1-7; Isa 40:3-11; Mic 4:1-2; Hab 2:14; Luk 24:44-48; Act 2:32-26; Act 10:39-43; 1Co 9:19-23; 2Co 2:12-17; 1Pe 3:15-18).
- Prayer: Prayer is a calling. Intercessory prayer for people and the causing on God’s heart are focal points. Likewise, believers stand against evil of every form through prayer. (Gen 18:20-33; Exo 32:1-16; Jdg 3:9,15; 1Ki 8:22-61; Eze 22:30-31; Eze 33:1-11; Mat 6:5-15; Mat 9:36-38; Eph 3:14 21; 2Th 3:1-5).
- Fellowship: Believers should commit to the church: local, and mobile. These include the nurturing and multiplying expression of the church. (2Ch 29:20-30; Psa 22:25-28; Psa 122:1-4; Joe 2:15 17; Mat 18:19-20; Act 2:44-47; Act 4:32-35; 1Co 14:26-40; Eph 2:11-18; Heb 10:23-25).
- Service: Christians contribute to God’s Kingdom and purposes in all areas of life. (Deu 15:7-11; Deu 24:17-22; Psa 112:4-9; Pro 11:10-11; Zec 7:8-10; Mat 5:14-16; 2Th 3:13; Tit 3:4-8; Heb 13:15-16; Jam 2:14-26).
There are 18 values that YWAM holds. These impact their mission and ministry work. Listed below are all 18 values with a short description and scripture reference.
- Know God: Know His nature, character, and ways that are revealed in scripture. Reflect on Him in all elements of personal life and ministry. (2 Ki 19:19; Job 42:5; Psa 46:10; Psa 103:7-13; Jer 9:23-24; Hos 6:3; Joh 17:3; Eph 1:16-17; Php 3:7-11; 1Jo 2:4-6).
- Make God Known: Next, share who God is to other people. Make God known throughout the world and in all spheres of society. This is done through evangelism, training, and mercy ministries. Salvation and societal transformation should occur. (1Ch 16:24-27;Psa 71:15-16; Psa 145:4-7; Mat 28:18-20; Mar 16:15; Psa 68:11; Act 1:8; Act 13:1-4a; Rom 10:8-15; Rom 15:18-21).
- Hear God’s Voice: Individuals and groups hear the Lord together to make decisions. Believers listen to God, pray His prayers, and obey all His commands. (1Sa 3:7-10; 2Ch 15:2-4; Psa 25:14; Isa 6:8; Amo 3:7; Luk 9:35; Joh 10:1-5; Joh 16:13-15; Heb 3:7-8,15; Rev 2:7,11,17,27; 3:6,13,22).
- Practice Worship and Intercessory Prayer: This is done on behalf of all believers and the nations. It is a stand again Satan and his strategies. (1Sa 7:5; 2Ch 7:4; Psa 84:1-8; Psa 95:6-7; Mar 11:24-25; Psa 100:1-5; Act 1:14; Eph 6:13-20; 1Th 5:16-19; 1Ti 2:1-4).
- Be a Visionary: Centered on the word of God, YWAM receives new vision, from God. This pioneers new ministries and methods that are appropriate for each generation and culture. (Num 12:6; 1Sa 12:16; Pro 29:18; Eze 1:1; Hab 2:2 3; Mar 1:35-39; Luk 9:1-6; Act 16:9-10; Act 26:19; 2Pe 3:9-13).
- Champion Young People: The youth are the future and should be invested in. (1Sa 17:32-50; Ecc 4:13-14; Ecc 12:1-7; Jer 1:5-10; Dan 1:17-20; Joe 2:28; Joh 6:9; Act 16:1-5; 1Ti 4:12-16; 1Jo 2:12-14).
- Be Broad-Structured and Decentralized: There are foundational covenants, purpose, vision, values, and relationships. There are also structures that are handled at each ministry level through eldership. (Exo 18:13-26; Num 1:16-19; Num 11:16-17,24-30; Deu 29:10-13; Jos 23:1-24:28; Act 14:23; Act 15:1-31; 1Co 3:4-11; Tit 1:5-9; Heb 13:7,17).
- Be International and Interdenominational: Ethnic, linguistic, and denominational variation are positive. These contribute to health and growth. (Gen 12:1-4; Gen 26:2-5; Psa 57:9-10; Jer 32:27; Dan 7:13-14; Act 20:4; 1Co 12:12-31; Eph 4:1-16; Col 3:11; Rev 7:9).
- Have a Biblical Christian Worldview: Good and evil, right and wrong, are clearly expressed in scripture. (Deu 8:1-3; Deu 32:45-47; 2Ki 22:8; Psa 19:7-11; Luk 8:21; Joh 8:31-32; Php 4:8-9; 2Ti 3:16 17; Heb 4:12-13; Jam 4:17).
- Communicate with Integrity: Communication is to be honest, timely, relevant, and accurate. (Gen 1:3-5; Num 23:19; Pro 10:19; Pro 25:9-14; Zec 8:16-17; Mat 5:33-37; Luk 4:16-22; Joh 1:1 5; Col 4:6; Jam 3:1-18).
- Function in Teams: Accountability, responsibility, motivation, and greater relationship are results of teamwork. (Deu 32:30-31; 2Ch 17:7-9; Pro 15:22; Ecc 4:9-12; Mar 6:7-13; Rom 12:3-10; 2Co 1:24; Eph 5:21; Php 2:1-2; 1Pe 4:8).
- Exhibit Servant Leadership: Leaders are called to live a lifestyle. YWAM does not tolerate a hierarchy. Rather, there should be humility and servanthood. (Deu 10:12-13; Psa 84:10; Isa 42:1-4; Mic 6:8; Mar 10:42-45; Joh 13:3-17; Rom 16:1-2; Gal 5:13-14; Php 2:3-11; 1Pe 4:10-11).
- Do First, Then Teach: Firsthand experience gives credibility to words. (Deu 4:5-8; Ezr 7:10; Psa 51:12-13; Psa 119:17-18; Pro 1:1-4; Mat 7:28-29; Act 1:1-2; Col 3:12 17; 2Ti 4:1-5; 2Pe 1:5-10).
- Be Relationship-Oriented: Achieve unity through holiness, transparency, communication, and mutual support. (Lev 19:18; Psa 133:1-3; Pro 17:17; Pro 27:10; Joh 13:34-35; Joh 15:13-17; Rom 13:8-10; Joh 17:20-23; 1Jo 1:7; 1Jo 4:7-12).
- Value the Individual: Both men and women and people of different backgrounds and cultures are given equal opportunity and justice. (Gen 1:27; Lev 19:13-16; Deu 16:18-20; Psa 139:13-16; Mar 8:34 37; Act 10:34-35; Gal 3:28; Eph 6:5-9; Heb 2:11-12; Jam 2:1-9).
- Value Families: Holy matrimony is between one man and one woman. Biblical and healthy family units are encouraged. Sing-parent families are also included. (Gen 2:21-24; Gen 18:17 19; Deu 6:6-7; Pro 5:15-23; Pro 31:10-31; Mal 2:14-16; Mat 19:3-9; 1Co 7:1-16; 1Ti 3:2-5; Heb 13:4).
- Practice Dependence on God: YWAMers give themselves without expectation of reward. (Gen 22:12-14; Exo 36:2-7; Num 18:25-29; Mal 3:8-12; Mat 6:25-33; Luk 19:8-9; 2Co 8:1-9:15; Php 4:10-20; Tit 3:14; 3Jo 5-8).
- Practice Hospitality: YWAM opens its heart, homes, campuses, and ministries for the benefit of others. (Gen 18:1-8; 2Sa 9:1-11; Psa 68:5-6; Pro 22:9; Isa 58:7; Mat 25:31 46; Act 28:7-8; Rom 12:13; Heb 13:1-3; 1Pe 4:9).
The Lausanne Covenant
The Lausanne Covenant was constructed in 1974 with a group of Christian leaders, including Billy Graham. Over 150 countries were represented in this meeting. The covenant focuses primarily on the need for world evangelization. The main goal is to make Jesus Christ known to the entire world.
This covenant of beliefs has greatly impacted the mission, vision, and purpose of YWAM. However, Loren Cunningham did have a vision for YWAM before the covenant, in 1956. Loren was only 20 at the time. He recalls having a vision of young people working as global missionaries to spread the gospel of Christ.
The Purpose of God
There is one eternal God. He is the Creator, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He calls the world to Himself. We have failed our mission. Yet, we dedicate ourselves one again.
(Isa. 40:28; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 1:11; Acts 15:14; John 17:6, 18; Eph 4:12; 1 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 12:2; II Cor. 4:7)
The Authority and Power of the Bible
The Bible is divinely inspirited, authoritative, and truthful. Both the Old and New Testament scriptures are included. The Bible is for all men and women.
(II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 1:16, Matt. 5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17,18; 3:10,18)
The Uniqueness and Universality of Christ
There is no other name or manner to be saved except through Jesus Christ. Those who reject Christ are condemned to eternal separation from God.
(Gal. 1:6-9;Rom. 1:18-32; I Tim. 2:5,6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; II Pet. 3:9; II Thess. 1:7-9;John 4:42; Matt. 11:28; Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9-11)
The Nature of Evangelism
Through evangelism, believers present the historical, Biblical Christ as Saviour and Lord. They may persuade people to accept Christ, yet, they will not conceal the cost of discipleship.
(I Cor. 15:3,4; Acts 2: 32-39; John 20:21; I Cor. 1:23; II Cor. 4:5; 5:11,20; Luke 14:25-33; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45)
Christian Social Responsibility
God desires justice and reconciliation. Therefore, believers are called to liberate men and women from all forms of oppression.
(Acts 17:26,31; Gen. 18:25; Isa. 1:17; Psa. 45:7; Gen. 1:26,27; Jas. 3:9; Lev. 19:18; Luke 6:27,35; Jas. 2:14-26; Joh. 3:3,5; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; II Cor. 3:18; Jas. 2:20)
The Church and Evangelism
The church is called to go out into non-Christian society to do the work of Christ and bring the gospel to the world. Believers are called to God’s people, not an institution. They must not have allegiance to a particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology.
(John 17:18; 20:21; Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 20:27; Eph. 1:9,10; 3:9-11; Gal. 6:14,17; II Cor. 6:3,4; II Tim. 2:19-21; Phil. 1:27)
Cooperation in Evangelism
We seek unity through truth, worship, holiness, and mission. We desire that we do not undermine the gospel due to disunity. ” Through varies means, we create unity with other denominations to spread the gospel of Christ.
(John 17:21,23; Eph. 4:3,4; John 13:35; Phil. 1:27; John 17:11-23)
Churches in Evangelistic Partnership
Partnerships are made globally to display the universal character of Christ. Missions is not subjected only to the Western church.
(Rom. 1:8; Phil. 1:5; 4:15; Acts 13:1-3, I Thess. 1:6-8)
The Urgency of the Evangelistic Task
There are over 2.7 billion people without the gospel. There are also numerous injustices and poverty throughout the world. The church must sacrifice and use their benefit to benefit others.
(John 9:4; Matt. 9:35-38; Rom. 9:1-3; I Cor. 9:19-23; Mark 16:15; Isa. 58:6,7; Jas. 1:27; 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 2:44,45; 4:34,35)
Evangelism and Culture
Some culture is full of beauty and goodness. On the contrary, some culture is tainted and demonic. Scripture should test culture. However, one culture should not be superiorly valued.
(Mark 7:8,9,13; Gen. 4:21,22; I Cor. 9:19-23; Phil. 2:5-7; II Cor. 4:5)
Education and Leadership
Biblical standards should lead effective training programs for pastors and laity in doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, nurture, and service. This should occur throughout the world and in every nation and culture.
(Col. I:27,28; Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5,9; Mark 10:42-45; Eph. 4:11,12)
The church must work to be outside of the world and its corruption. There must be an awareness to detect any work of the enemy in the body of Christ.
(Eph. 6:12; II Cor. 4:3,4; Eph. 6:11,13-18; II Cor. 10:3-5; I John 2:18-26; 4:1-3; Gal. 1:6-9; II Cor. 2:17; 4:2; John 17:15)
Freedom and Persecution
We stand and pray against injustice in government. We pray and advocate for peace, justice, and liberty for the church. However, we will not stand down because of persecution.
(I Tim. 1:1-4, Acts 4:19; 5:29; Col. 3:24; Heb. 13:1-3; Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12; Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21)
The Power of the Holy Spirit
There is power in the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, bring faith in Christ, bring new birth, and create a pull towards missions and evangelism.
(I Cor. 2:4; John 15:26;27; 16:8-11; I Cor. 12:3; John 3:6-8; II Cor. 3:18; John 7:37-39; I Thess. 5:19; Acts 1:8; Psa. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Gal. 5:22,23; I Cor. 12:4-31; Rom. 12:3-8)
The Return of Christ
Jesus Christ will return in power and glory. He will bring salvation and judgment. In the meantime, we must spread the gospel so that all we fulfill Jesus’ words. He says that the gospel will be preached to all nations before the end comes.
(Mark 14:62; Heb. 9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matt. 28:20; Mark 13:21-23; John 2:18; 4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Rev. 21:1-5; II Pet. 3:13; Matt. 28:18)
Learn more about YWAM and the statements made in this blog, here.