Tagged in: Youth With A Mission

YWAM and “Friend Raising”

I was part of YWAM or Youth With A Mission in Kansas City as well as Kona (where they are globally based) and I found the teaching on Friend Raising to have a hidden secret that no one tells people.

I am in no way mad or angry at YWAM, I am just saying wanting to tell people who might think about joining the mission group what they might be looking at. Friend Raising is a great concept on paper.


The ideal behind it is that missionaries are funded by friends not groups. It seeks to put a personal and human touch on missionary support. It is needed and critical for a young missionary to understand this. Raising support is next to impossible without having those personal connections with people back in your hometown and across America.

To be clear, I believe the book Friend Raising that YWAM Publishing put out is amazing and it is a textbook for anyone trying to become a missionary, especially without a missions group with deep pockets like the Assemblies of God or the Southern Baptist Convention.

If you do not have the book, I do recommend getting a copy of it.

My issue with Friend Raising

If you are Loren Cunningham, John Dawson, Floyd McClung or another global leader, you have a platform to raise support than many do not. It is a no brainer to say that Loren Cunningham is going to be able to raise money for his needs a lot easier than some guy in the Discipleship Training School at some base in Kenya.

This is what they do not tell you when they talk about friend raising in YWAM. A lot of people think they should have these amazing stories of provision as well. They feel like failures because they do not see the checks roll in like the speakers told them they did for him.


The reason for this is because of the platform. A major leader has the capacity to raise support that is not a reality for most YWAM missionaries. Your run of the mill staff member is not getting calls to speak at missions conferences around the world.

The reason that this must be addressed is that when people realize that capacity and platform are factors in your friend raising, the guilt and shame of not having great stories of provision is removed from your heart. Having this knowledge will set your heart free from the spirit of failure. God does not bless Loren Cunningham more than you. He just has the microphone and you do not. That’s all.

I raise this issue because I see so many people leave YWAM thinking they are failure but no one told them that they have an uphill battle to get the capacity to raise large amounts of support. A girl from a village in Africa is not going to have the family and friends to raise $2,000 a month. She just won’t so she never tries to be a missionary as a result.

I still believe in friend raising!

I believe that our old church driven model of support raising is dead. It is completely lacking any type of productivity for the long term missionary. Missionaries under the old system of support raising, missionary work, furlough, missionary work, support raising and repeat is harming the missions movement. Many of my friends spend more time speaking in churches about missions than they do actually being missionaries. 

The best way to fund missionary work is friend raising but there needs to be some honesty about the how it works. It is not as cookie cutter as some people make it out to be.


The truth of the matter is most missionaries remain under funded for many years and it take a long time to build the friend raising support base to do what you feel called to do the night you answered the call to preach the gospel in some village in the jungle of Africa.

It works. There is no debating that we need to remove the guilt that comes with it so people can understand the grace of fund raising using human contacts, not mission committee that are all business. People helping people is this missionary model of Jesus (Luke 8:2).

Many missionaries will never have the funding they need right away. I know many that started on the mission field with $200 a month in support. It was not under many years later that they had the $2,000 that they really needed. It was a lot of ramen noodles for them in the early years.

Does Facebook change the process?

It does not really change it but it does put it on steroids to a degree. I am able to communicate with people that I know at a rate that people a generation ago could only dream of. In that regard, it does change the way we do friend raising but it did not change the concept of doing it. Personal contact is critical. Facebook just makes it more often.

Here is a few tips I have learned along the way about Facebook and Friend Raising

  1. Update your status about missionary work daily. People are really “out of sight, out of mind.”
  2. Tell stories, stories and more stories. People move testimonies. They really do.
  3. Pictures, pictures, pictures. People connect with images more than text. Studies show this.
  4. Be careful doing teaching on Facebook. You don’t want to say something wrong to someone.

The best thing for a missionary to do is update his/her Facebook status about what is happening on the mission field at least a few times a day. People need to hear about the mission often or they forget you are living in Sri Lanka.


Tell stories and testimonies about how people have come to Christ or received a miracle in your daily life. This really remind people about the calling on your life as a missionary.

I found that the greatest impact on Facebook seems to be pictures. This is an easy one for me as I am a photographer but people react to pictures for some reason. Oddly, pictures are more effective than even videos. However, starting a daily vlog on Youtube could be very effective.

My last bit of advice is be careful posting deep theological stuff on Facebook that might get people calling you a heretic. I will admit that I do not follow this advice myself but I am kinda safe. I did spend seven years in theological training. Most young missionaries would be best to not try and be the next Stanley Horton.

I hope this helps people in their journey into friend raising!


True Discipleship is not happening today.

Many do not understand the Great Commission and this is partly due to the fact that Matthew recorded a very different version of it than Mark, Luke and John. I am not saying that Matthew was wrong (after all, it did make the Cannon), I am saying his point of view is different with that whole discipleship thing.

What do I mean by that? If you read Matthew 28:19 besides Mark 16:15-20 or Luke 1:7-8, you will see that there is something very different. Mark and Luke put emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and set the captive free as proof of the gospel. Matthew did not speak of miracles but what we call discipleship.

In my spiritual heritage, the emphasis has always been that miracles confirms the gospel. After all, Mark did say, “…the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” The stories of John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple McPherson, Oral Roberts, and John Wimber were common around the table.

We always knew that Matthew 28:19 was there but we kinda just left that to the Baptists who did not believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They could nothing but discipleship. After all, they didn’t believe in healing the sick and raising the dead. Harsh as it sounds, it is how much of the Pentecostal movement sees this passage in light of the difference between Matthew and the rest of the passages.


Discipleship is best done by fathers

I remember hearing a man from New Zealand speak when I was in a meeting during the Toronto Blessing. His name was James Jordan and he spoke of the Fathering nature of the gospel. He kept talking about 1 Corinthians 4:15. It is a passage that really messes up our whole idea of what discipleship really is.

Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

The maturity of the believer should be done by fathers, not teachers. This changes everything. Most churches are trying to discipline by teaching but are they raising up spiritual sons and daughters. If a church claims to be a “family” and they are serious about mentoring the young believers as spiritual children; something is wrong.

The problem we have is when we do not focus of spiritual fathers and mothers, we reduce the idea of discipleship to a mere academia practice that is just like learning biology or chemistry. It is about learning information and the application of it for a designed purpose. It makes the whole experience one of education, not spirituality.

Discipleship is not something that can be done in Sunday School and it can not be done in our cell groups (that we ripped off from South Korea). It happens when people have the Elijah and Elisha relationship. Paul had a spiritual fathering role to Timothy. That is how it works best. One on one around the barbeque pit; not from the pulpit.


Discipleship as we know is brainwashing

I have long believed there was a fine line between the two. I went to what YWAM calls a “Discipleship Training School.” It is a course that is several months long that is focused on the fundamentals of the faith. The problem is it is based on information and not impartation. It is mostly teaching and required reading. This borderlines brainwashing. It is not just YWAM doing it, either. Almost every major mission group has the same unbibical concept.

When I went to bible college, I expected to have an educational experience. When I went to seminary, I am paying for the educational experience. When I am do discipleship, I expect to be more about mentorship than I do education. This is the problem with the model we have in most churches.

The Bible declares that God will turn the hearts of the Fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. I am not sure how we think this will work when we are more focused on developing students than spiritual children in our churches. The reality is a pastor can not father a church from the pulpit; he can only present information and release impartation.

Churches that focus on training them with information are like a man that goes around town, getting women pregnant but then leaving town without being a parent to the child. We just end up with a generation that is very educated in the scriptures but have no fathers to guide them in spiritual things.


Raising up spiritual sons

I was saved in the Brownsville Revival. The main speaking in the meetings was Evangelist Steve Hill. He was mentored by Leonard Ravenhill. It was from that relationship that Steve became the man that could lead the greatest revival in American history. It was not going through school and getting information. It was that mentoring relationship that made the difference.

People wanted to share in Ravenhill’s mantle and carry his mandate to the Bride of Christ but they did not want to share in his sackcloth and ashes. They want to stand with him in the pulpit but they did not want to weep with him in the prayer room. Sons and daughters are those who also share the sackcloth and ashes with their spiritual fathers and mothers.

It was because of those times in prayer and mentorship that the Brownsville Revival broke out on Father’s Day 1995. It was an outpouring of everything that Steve Hill received from his spiritual father, Leonard Ravenhill. That is how true discipleship works.

I look back at the several things that I know that I am anointed to do and I received what I have from men that operated in that mentored me, not just reading books and watching videos. It is true that anointing can only be caught but not taught.

God opened the door for me to be mentored by the pastors that had the fastest growing church in America back in 1999-2001. It was a mentoring experience to be there and to be close to the leadership. It was about being a spiritual son. Due to that relationship, I learned the practicals of planting a mega-church in one of the most saturated markets for faith in the United States.

Discipleship is about spiritual sons and daughters. That’s all I am saying.


Floyd McClung is a missional hero!

When I was on staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, I use to still attend Metro Christian Fellowship when it was pastored by Floyd McClung. He was a great leader that put the emphasis on emotional healing and living in community. I was not much into community then (still am not) but Floyd was what Metro needed after 20 years of non-stop praying and prophetic meetings. Continue reading…

Loren Cunningham is critical to revival!

I would hope that most people know who Loren Cunningham is but if you do not know, he is the founder and key leader of YWAM (Youth With A Mission). He is probably the strongest link to revival today and has the ability to take revival to the nations more than anyone.

YWAM has around 14,000 staff is about every nation. A move of the Spirit could spread to the ends of the earth in no time through their mission bases. A few staff could go to a meetings in Nashville with a revivalist and within days, it could spread to Hawaii, Hong Kong, and even North Korea. Continue reading…

Doing a mission trip with YWAM?

I use to be part of YWAM and I still love them but if you are thinking of doing a mission trip with them, you might want to know some things. While they do some amazing things around the world, they have become very dailed down in some core expression of the Kingdom. Depending what tradition of the faith you come from, this could become an issue.

Loren Cunningham, the founder of Youth With A Mission, is the son of an Assemblies of God pastor. In fact, many believe that YWAM was designed to be part of the AG movement from the start but it couldn’t work for political reasons inside the movement. This is important to know because people use this to think that YWAM is Pentecostal friendly.




This is not the case anymore.

In a quest to open the doors to other traditions, Methodist, Baptists and even Catholics; the emphasis on the Holy Spirit has been dailed way down so people will not get scared from casting out devils or healing the sick. Really a sad reality but it is what I saw in many of the bases that I visited when I was part of YWAM.




Mission trips with YWAM are not miracle crusades

This is important because in the Pentecostal tradition, when we go to a nation; we plan to see the blind see and the deaf hear. Miracles, signs and wonders are what we are in faith for and it is the only thing that we will be happy seeing. We want to see people come out of wheelchairs and having someone popup out of the casket would be amazing.

The problem with that is most people in YWAM are not even sure if they believe that miracles happen today. Many tend to align themselves closer to the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church than they do the General Council of the Assemblies of God and the General Assembly of the Church of God.




In my experience, the number of Pentecostals and Spirit-Filled Charismatics in the ranks of the mission group is now a minority. If anything, we are struggling for a voice than being the main expression that started Youth With A Mission.

I remember being on a mission trip in Los Angeles and there was a man that was having alot of problems. The YWAM trip was praying for him to have “peace.” The problem is you can’t have peace when you are tormented with a devil. I pushed my way to the front and told him, “You have a devil on you. Do you want me to cast him off you or do you enjoy your devil?” Twenty minutes later, he was delivered and the whole YWAM group was offended. They didn’t really believe in casting out demons.




Am I telling you that you shouldn’t go on a mission trip with YWAM? Not at all. I am just telling you that if you come from a Pentecostal tradition, you might be surprised how little of Pentecost is left in the movement these days.

YWAM is a tribe

What I mean by that is there will be major pressure put on you to do a Discipleship Training School if you have not done one yet. There will be pressure for some school as that is how Youth With A Mission pays the bills. Personally, I only did a DTS as I was taking classes at Oral Roberts online. I found that to be a much smarter choice for me at the time.

You will find the pressure to join YWAM as a missionary, do schools and if not, support the mission base financially to be pretty intense. I am not saying you shouldn’t do any of them; I am just saying the tension with be very much real.




Even though I was part of the YWAM movement, I can’t say I ever really believed in it wholeheartly. I was always a classic Pentecostal with some faith movement leaning and was in the middle of the prophetic movement. It was me and I know it. I was a square in a round hole when I was working with YWAM. I didn’t buy into the vision completely. I believe that was for good reason as I look back.

While they might not be a denomination in the purist sense but have many of the same thinking patterns as those who are in one. I find that YWAMers can easily get an elitist spirit and I do not think it is productive.




Do your mission trip with your eyes open

I am not telling you that you should not do a trip with them. Far from it. I am saying that you should do it with your eyes wide open and your ear open to only the Holy Spirit. Knowing the facts is more important than anything. If you know the political spirit and the controlling spirit is there beforehand, you are better prepared when you see it. That’s all I am saying.

I am very thankful for the time that I spend with YWAM and I still work with them. However, I know what is happening in the ranks and I am not smiling about it at all.




Personally, I would suggest doing a mission trip with Global Awakening or Bethel Missions for the reasons I laid out. However, working with YWAM is not a bad option.

I hope I did not make you think they are bad people or a “cult.” I do not believe that. I just believe there is some serious problems inside the movement that need to be dealt with but won’t. These same issues were there back in the 1970’s and have always grew from then. I do not expect them to be fixed in my lifetime.




IHOP University and its challenges

Thinking of going to IHOP University at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City? You might want to do some more research. There are some major challenges to the school that are hidden on the websites and some of them are not even mentioned.

I went to the school when it was the Forerunner School of Prayer. It was more of a prayer focused version of the Berean School of the Bible back then. Most of the teaching was by Mike Bickle, Kevin Matthews, and a little by Graham Walsh. It was great and focused on revival. However, it was not legit education.

Before we go any futhur any into this, I want to say I have the deepest respect for Allen Hood and Mike Bickle. Allen is a solid guy and was always there when I had a question. I thought the world of him. He also knew how to let education be inferior to the move of the Spirit. Something most people with a seminar degree just can’t do.

With that said, I strongly suggest you re-think going to IHOP University.



IHOP University has a history of cancelling class

Around the House of Prayer, they tend to let a few people; Mike Bickle, Julie Meyers, Misty Edwards and a few others make the schedule for the school. What do I mean by that? They will call classes off for a month because someone had a prophetic dream that if they have a fast and do not but contend in prayer; breakthrough will come.

Instead of being in class, students are expected to be in the prayer room contending for whatever Misty, Julie or Mike thinks needs to be contended for. This is great in a ministry context but this is hardly serious academia research.

There is no library to speak of on campus. Nothing anywhere close to the ORU library, William G. Squires Library at Lee University, or Cordas C. Burnett Library at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

IHOP University is more of a pay to pray thing than it is a real academic research type of thing.




IHOP University gives you useless degrees

I do not know why they will not seek some type of accreditation

This is straight from the website of IHOPU

IHOPU is not presently pursuing accreditation. However, the values represented by accreditation (particularly academic excellence and relationship with other theological institutions) are very important to IHOPU. For this reason, IHOPU is not opposed to pursuing accreditation in the future if it can be done without compromising our vision and core values, and if it actively builds relationships with theological institutions to transfer credits.

I know for sure that in the last 14 years they have not made one step towards getting any accreditation in any way. I do not think they will in the next 14 years either. This is a problem because all you get is a paper than no one will honor and you can forget higher education.

One reason I believe they don’t want it is many of the “professors” are not qualified to even teach their own subjects. Many of them do not have legit bible training.

Realize you will graduate without any degree that mean anything in the real world and will have no marketable skills.




Need financial freedom? Not at IHOP University

According to their website, your tuition as a freshman is $2,275 per semester, zero help from the school and you are not allow to work. Either you have upper middle class parents, your church paying, or you will struggle. I could not have done it at 19 years old, that is for sure. My parents are Gates, Buffet, or Waltons.

What is could cause is a bunch of William Seymour that sit in the hallway hoping to hear the class and get what he could. In that case, it was race; in this case, would be economical class.

You also have to consider that this does not include housing or food. Throw around $4,000 a year into the mix and you are looking around $10,000 with no help, no job and no chance to do anything with your degree.

In reality, for most this will spell trouble for many students at IHOP University.




What options are there besides IHOP University

My suggestion is find either a real bible school that works for what you want to do, what you can afford and give you the tools to move forward or look at a training school such as Youth With A Mission, Iris Ministries (Heidi Baker) or a short term school in Toronto or Bethel Redding.

If you have the resources, Oral Roberts University is a great school to be train in and you will get real experience for ministry. I have never been a student here but I hear great things about Elim Bible Institute as well.

I left bible school (Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri) and finished through Global University. It is not cheap but you can do one class at a time and work your way through it. They are full accredited as well.

Master’s Commission is another amazing opportunity to get training. For less than IHOP University, you could be trained in the middle of a move of God at the Dream Center Leadership School that includes room and board. Theology and practical ministry married together.

Are you called to the mission field? Harvest School in Mozambique is another option that you have. In the midst of world missions, you learn on the job from some of the best missionaries that are alive today. You can do it for about half what IHOP University wants as well.




Am I telling you not to go to IHOPU?

Not at all. I am telling you to get all the facts before going. There is alot of things on the website that are not full truths and half-truths is what sets you up for failure in life. I just want people to make an informed decision about what path is best for them in the quest for biblical education and getting to the ministry.

I hope this helps.




The Netflix Gospel : Understanding the culture we live in!

What could Netflix tell us about the preaching of the gospel? Alot. We have lost the last three generations because we didn’t understand media. We can’t afford a fourth generation lost. t

Let’s face a fact: Netflix has the attention of your teenagers and the young adults; not the church. The Church, by and large, has made itself irrelevant to the culture we are called to engage. After all, our answer to Hollywood was Jan Crouch.

Jesus told us to be salt, light and the city on the hill but we are too concerned with developing our own competitive culture; we will never actually reach the mainstream culture. If you need an example, ponders the band Jars of Clay.

For far too long, we have walked into very well lit sanctuaries; turn on flashlights and yell “I am shining for Jesus.” A flashlight does no good in a lighted room; we only does good in the presence of darkness.

How we lost the Nexflix Generation

We lost before the internet or mobile phones. We lost them before Goonies, Indiana Jones, Ghost Busters or The Princess Bride. It came before we heard, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Heck, it even came before MASH was on the air.

I do not remember the name (and I can’t find) but Loren Cunningham from Youth With A Mission tells a story about how a film maker asked the bible school leader to send him talented actors. The reply that he would rather they go to hell than be in movies.

Pentecostals have a black eye in history: we did not engage the media and we wonder why it got so messed up. Where was the salt of the earth? What about the light of the world?

In the end, the blame is on the Church, not Hollywood. When we cared more about mocking “the one eyed devil,” we lost the ability to influence movie production.

Can we get the Nexflix generation back?

I believe that we slowly are. We can’t do with cheesy movies like the Omega Code, irrelevant televisions shows like Duck Dynasty, and music like Darlene Zschech. Christians like it but the lost find it annoying at best.

We have to create professional, high quality venues that are full of salt but also lack being chessy. This is one reason that I believe people like Tim Tebow, Bono, P.O.D. and Denzel Washington have been able to influence. They can do faith without being annoying about it.

The Netflix gospel is using media to minister the gospel of Christ to the lost and dying world. I am just not sure we are ready for it, quite yet.