I first met Loren Cunningham in London, UK, speaking at Kensington Temple in 1991, shortly after that I joined Youth With A Mission and have been with YWAM ever since, I’m sure there are hundreds if not thousands of young people who could say the same thing.
Since that day I had the privilege to meet Loren many times in numerous countries.
Loren Cunningham was our (YWAMs) founder, a global missions movement born in 1960 from a vision of waves of young people going into missions around the globe. YWAM has reached into every nation on earth through evangelism, training and mercy ministries. Loren had with him throughout an amazing partner and companion in Darlene, whom he married in 1963.
By 1999, Loren had personally gone to every sovereign nation on earth, all dependent countries and more than 100 territories and islands for the sake of Christ and the Great Commission. That gave him valuable insights into global trends and uniquely prepared him to share God’s strategies for world evangelism. His wisdom, experience, leadership understanding and call to build bridges of unity within the body of Christ gave him opportunities to speak publicly to audiences from a few to more than a million people gathered in one location. Pre-COVID, he usually ministered on all six continents each year, and during COVID he says he went further and reached more people via Zoom than during all his previous years of ministry combined.
Born in Taft, California, Loren’s family heritage was rich with generations of Christian ministers. His educational background includes three Bachelor degrees, a Master of Science in Administration of Education, and three Honourary Doctorates. Loren is the author of six books: Is That Really You, God? (translated into more than 140 languages), Making Jesus Lord, Daring to Live on the Edge, Why Not Women?, The Book that Transforms Nations – the Power of the Bible to Change any Country and We Can End Bible Poverty Now.
Since the 1960s, Loren carried a burden, with many other global leaders, to make the Bible accessible to every person on earth, thereby ending Bible poverty worldwide. Wherever the Scripture goes, the Spirit of God brings transformation! He met with hundreds of influential leaders in evangelical, charismatic and Pentecostal denominations, as well as those leading the oldest Christian traditions, to invite their partnership in this cause.
More recently, his passion became fine-tuned to focus on making an oral translation of the Bible available in every mother tongue on earth, because that is the language of the heart. This must happen to fulfill Jesus’ prayer “on earth as it is in heaven” pictured in Revelation 7:9: “…a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb….”
As mentioned at the beginning I had met Loren many times. On several occasions we hosted Loren at Missions Fests across Canada, a very special time as we got to spend the weekend with him, but what really stood out was when he was at the book signing table at the end of the evening, we of course were ready to go to bed, but Loren would give everyone who wanted their booked signed his undivided attention as if there was no-one else in the room!
Loren passed away and transferred his citizenship to “life in the age to come” on October 6, 2023. He is survived by his beloved wife, Darlene Joy Scratch-Cunningham; his daughter, Karen Joy Cunningham; his son, David Loren Cunningham (Judith Fitts-Cunningham); and three grandchildren, Madison Grace, Kenna Faith and Liam Reid.
“While Loren’s reputation as a revered and renowned mission leader preceded him, I was deeply impressed by his unassuming nature, his ability to connect on a personal level, and his genuine interest in our ministry and the work we were undertaking.” Lawrence Tong, OM
“Everything about Loren’s life bore witness to his unconditional surrender to the lordship of Jesus. From his earliest days, he had an unwavering commitment to do everything the Holy Spirit called him to do – to spread the good news about Jesus, Saviour of the world, to every person on earth.
“Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.’ Loren heard the Good Shepherd’s voice from a very young age and followed, whether the path led to costly sacrifice or great blessing.” Lynn Green, YWAM Leader.
“Loren Cunningham, a great one. I am with you in my prayers.” Pope Francis