YWAM was conceived in 1956 by Loren Cunningham, a 20-year-old Institute of Theology student under the Assemblies of God in the United States. While he was traveling to the Bahamas, he had a vision about an organisation who shared the Good News of the Kingdom of God to all continents.
The Organisation was founded in the US in 1960 by Loren Cunningham and Darlene, his wife. The first missionary trip took place in Liberia to build a road across the jungle in order to connect a center for lepers.
In 1964, the Organisation became non-denominational.
YWAM was affiliated with the humanitarian Christian NGO “Mercy Ships” since its foundation in 1978 until 2003.
In 1983, YWAM received the status of Youth Organisation under the Protestant Federation of France.