June 23, 2009


Have you ever been shunned?

In my earlier posts, I related some of the spiritual abuse my family and I received in YWAM and I would like to use some other incidents in YWAM on the subject of shunning. (If you have not read my previous posts, I suggest you read them here and here to catch up.)

Within a few weeks of my husband’s DTS, it became apparent that the base leaders considered us ‘troublemakers’ because we questioned unbiblical teachings. My husband was counseled to be more “teachable” and to not voice his opinions and for the most part, he tried to respect the leaders of the base by keeping quiet.

After our outreach was completed, the love feast was over, and the screaming from the female base leader subsided, my husband and I decided that we wanted to remain in Hong Kong and make a home for our family there. My husband is very well educated and had job leads from a V.P. of a major US company in Hong Kong, so he decided it was time to go to a tailor and have a suit made for future interviews. All this time we were still living at the base and my husband worked every day, all day doing hard physical labor so that we could stay at the base for just a short while after his DTS. (This was on top of the astronomical fees we were paying to stay there)

On a Saturday, his day off, we made our way to a tailor for my husband to be fitted for a business suit. A few days later, my husband was to pick up his suit after his work duties were finished. When the base leaders found out that my husband planned on getting a job in Hong Kong, they flew off the handle and forbid him to do so. They said they heard from G-d and that it wasn’t His will “thus saith the L-rd”. Just a few days later, we were told to vacate the apartment we had been paying for and my husband had been slaving for with only 2 days to get out.

We were terrified, yet we knew G-d would take care of us and our two small children. We asked a YWAM staff member who was a native Hong Konger if she would translate for us when we enquired about an apartment one evening. We made sure our meeting with a local landlady would not infringe on our YWAMer friend’s ‘duties’, and it was to take place on her own free time.

Our meeting time came and went and there was no sign of our Cantonese-speaking YWAM friend. We then went to the base to find here and we were met by the male base leader. He stopped us from going further into the base and he said that he would not allow our translator friend to help us because she did not ask the leadership’s permission! We both defended her and said she was helping us as a friend on her own personal time, but he would not listen. He said that he did not want us living in the same village as them because we “would give them a bad name”. The base leader looked at us with a wild, paranoid look in his eyes and threw us out of the base. The YWAM leadership told their staff to shun us, because we were ‘evil’.

We cried, we were freaked out by the encounter with the base leader who not only treated us badly, but caused our Chinese YWAMer friend to lose face. We DID find a translator, and the very next day, met with the local landlady. The local landlady asked if we were with the YWAM base, because she did not want to have anything to do with the YWAMers in the village. She thought they were strange, rude and not to be trusted because of her own dealings with YWAM in the village.

On the verge of homelessness (we were kicked out on the eve of the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the PRC, with no hotel rooms available), our non-Christian local landlady showed us great kindness. She allowed us to spend the night in our newly acquired apartment even though we were not to begin renting for 2 days, in fact, she did not charge us for the 2 extra days. We quickly moved from the YWAM apartment to our new home-sweet-home. When our landlady saw we had no furniture, she immediately carried up a table with four chairs, and 3 bed mattresses. We were overwhelmed by the kindness of a stranger, when we had been treated so cruelly by a YWAM.

godsend Our “godsend” apartment after being mistreated by YWAM.

I would be very interested to hear from other YWAMers about what they think of the base leadership shunning us. Also, I’d like to hear what people think of the huge control the base leaders have over staff members. I have heard many stories from other YWAMers being micromanaged by their leadership in many bases around the world.


21 Responses to “Shunned”

  1. Recovering said

    This kind of behavior makes absolutely no sense except in a cult environment. Perhaps there is something about “spiritual leadership” that attracts narcissists?

  2. I happened across your blog while searching for a picture for my recent blog post “shunned.” Although I came at the shunning issue from a different angle, I really appreciate your story and relate to it in other areas of my life. I plan to return and read more. God Bless you

  3. YWAMreject said

    I attempted to complete two DTS’s with YWAM and I got kicked out both times. The second time was just this last November on Thanksgiving weekend. I’m not a bad kid at all and I did my very best with YWAM. It really hurt to be told to pack up and leave because “it was not God’s will” for me to be there and I wasn’t “YWAM material”. I felt so mistreated. I love God but a lot of His so-called “followers” are not much different from the crazy sociopaths in this world.

    • Chris said

      I am reading these comments with interest, I was on YWAM in the summer in the late 60’s until September of 1971, I noticed some of these issues starting way back then, in fact I had to give a scriptural confirmation for me to be able to see my YWAM girlfriend. We have now been married 38 years.

      • Naomi said

        Chris my parents had the same thing happen with them, they were “forbidden” from spending time along together for 6 months (although they snuck around a bit), they also had to “give confirmation” etc. They’ve been married for 33 years this year.

      • Linda said

        Hello Chris, Ditto on the no dating policy (same time frame) even though God led us to our prospective spouses ! We too have been married now for 42 years and cant forget how in spite of YWAM we found each other and have been serving the Lord ever since. Leadership laughed while praying with my then fiance when he shared with them that when praying and fasting for three days God told him to leave the East Coast School of Evangelism ( he helped build and gave his entire paycheck to them for one year) to go back home to N.Y. to help build a new church there. They lost the school so the sacrifice was for what ? I am rather shocked and saddened that they have strayed so far away from Biblical doctrine now. I will always remember the kindness Leland Paris and his wife showed to me as a young Christian though but we cant agree with what they are doing and teaching now as its not scriptural. The Shepherding Movement I believe is what it is now called and it is WRONG. So good to be free ….

  4. disgusted with YWAM said

    I would like to say I am glad I have found others who have had problems with YWAM all along since they kicked me out I thought it was my fault. I hope God looks down on us who have been abused and cries for his children who have been “taken” by this cult. I wish something could be done to save our “friends” who are still stuck in this time warp. YWAM has a good way on working with the psychology of the mind and I was one of them who fell in it’s trap. Well, those of you looking for hope with another YWAM elsewhere there isn’t any!! All the bases are the same, all the leaders are taught the same fundations. Read the blogs they all come from different places! Yes for two years I can say YWAM was “nice” to me as long as I came and went and didn’t commit. But when I finally wanted to join staff and commit, there rules of legalism changed and I felt like I was daily meeting with my “leader” when all she did was put me down and she made me so nervous that I would not even feel like wearing my nice clothes ect.. because I wanted to feel less under her authority to please her. Yes all YWAM’s bases are about “pleasing” and following the leaders “rules” and money and finances coming from the sky. Sad to say they kept me so busy praying, fasting, and meetings that I did not have the energy to spend time with “God”. I am a quiet person and they do take advantage of those who feel inferior in the first place. Even though I was older than my leaders they treated me like I was younger “spiritually”. This “royal house” of YWAM keeps everyone perpetually under terror of breaking rules at the slightest mistake. I wish I had video taped the constant rabble of my leader when I was in the kitchen. She did not communicate well with the students from foreign countries and she even made some cry. Why did I get kicked out? Well I confronted her and told her to stop manipulating and putting us all down. It was the bravest thing I ever did in my life!!!

  5. Jamie said

    First off let me tell you I am very sorry or what happened to you. I have four children and if that happened to me with my children I would have been very angry. I was actually on staff with YWAM Hong Kong as well. When I decided I wanted to go on staff I began asking the female leader “N” for a list of rules that they expected to be followed. She told me they were coming up with a handbook and she would send it to me. Well I asked several times and she never sent me one. Then I finally get there a day late because I missed my flight due to weather. I get there no one was at the airport for me, because “J” and “N” had mixed signals as happened often. I called “N” came, and told me that I had to go to directly to class that she had set up (never told me about this). I was allowed to take a five minute shower and then report to the class. So after the class “N” say she wants to meet with me and another new staff member. Remember I am very jet lagged at this time and so excited to be in Hong Kong after six months of raising money. She tells me and “K” that we are going to have to tell her we won’t have a relationship for 1 year. I did not really want to agree with this, because I felt that God was going to bring my husband to me. Well of course six months later I met my husband, I told Nancy and basically she gave me a week or two to get out. They did basically shun me and it was horrible and I went home. They told me after I was married I could come back. Ten years later I have tried several times to have them take me back and they won’t. I’m so sorry you went through this and I think you should report it to YWAM.

  6. UndergradReject said

    According to Documents released in the YWAM Charisma newsletter back in march of 2000 it appears that a culturally Relativistic doctrine which teaches that female circumcision is acceptable according to Christianity is either currently being utilized in Egypt or was being utilized at some point in time. The report is called Radical Missionary Approach Produces “Messianic Muslims” Retaining Islamic Identity by Andy Butcher, Charisma News Service, March 24 2000. In order to understand the danger present in the following statements you need to understand something that in Egyptian Culture circumcision is unanimous between men and women in other words for women it is the removal of the clitoris which is the same as removing the head of a man’s penis and is practiced widely in the Islamic and Coptic community. Excerpts from the document can be found at:

    but unfortunately the entire document which was originally found at the Frontiers web site is not currently available. Throughout the original the author continually used circumcision as euphemism for Egyptian culture. One of the more obvious remarks:
    “I think the same can be said of every church that was planted. Paul commanded for non-Jews and Jews alike to remain as they were, if following the ways of circumcision to stay there, if some other custom remain there. This way the lines of communication for the gospel always had a bridge to cross to people of similar culture. Of course, some things did have to change in order to avoid syncretism and compromise of faith.

    And while most persons in YWAM would probably not side with this: Paul said not to copy the customs of this world in Romans 12 v 2. Of course there is some kind of disclaimer about syncretism but if you read the available parts of the article or if you had the experience of finding and reading the full version you could tell that he really isn’t too concerned about that particular concept. Obviously the guy understands that in Egypt Circumcision is for men and women and he seems to haply state it as both a means of fulfilling the great commission equally as well as he sees it as a proper euphemism for Egyptian culture or as more properly put as a channel through which the gospel can be spread. At any rate they would use this which is supported by doctrines that are contrary to the bible that teach that FGM is necessary because a girl who has not been circumcised will bring dishonor to her family because she will not be able to protect her chastity as means of doing missions work. In other words the Bible teaches that righteousness comes through Christ where as these people teach that such righteousness is obsolete because they teach that a girl will not be able to live according to the scriptures without undergoing it saying that she will not be able to wait until she is married and she will just go with men. The fact that Coptic and Muslim men can’t control themselves isn’t the issue. At any rate hormones are produced by the glands and the clitoris is not a gland unlike the ovaries testicles and other organs. It is also a dishonor to a girls virginity in that it denies her of her right to her own personal sanctity. If you have trouble justifying that statement imagine a church where men have to have the head of their penis removed when the reach some age otherwise they will cheat on their wife, sure their wife will have trouble getting pregnant but you could probably just cut the shaft of the guys penis to get the sperm out; often times women have to be sown back up or re-cut after they give birth so what’s the difference. In terms of the culturally relevant argument, Paul states not to copy the customs of the world and not to cause a person who is saved to be circumcised if they were saved uncircumcised and not to seek to be uncircumcised if they became saved after the fact but to rely on the cross of Christ alone to obtain salvation and not on the customs of this world. Sure a guy probably wouldn’t go to hell if he had the head of his penis removed but if he did so relying on that type of a practice to provide himself with righteousness then according to () in Galatians he is cut off from Christ and Christ has profited him nothing.

    As far as the issue goes with the fact that the Coptic church does believe in Jesus you also have to realize that they have never in their entire history seen any kind of large scale conversion of Muslims, and have nonetheless suffered some persecutions. The fact that they practice this may be somewhat a result of the persecutions. For instance in Ethiopia the Ethiopian Orthodox are rarely persecuted by Muslims but the Ethiopian orthodox tends to persecute Christians who do not practice FGM. Furthermore Ethiopian Orthodox priests will usually not Baptize a girl unless she has had her clitoris labia minor and labia major cut off and sown shut leaving only a pencil sized hole for menstruation and urine flow.( You won’t read about that on the Wikipedia page.) In the united states some southern church pastors up until the 60s had involvement in KKK and the early assemblies of God church had a large number of individuals who believed that Black people didn’t have souls and that if they somehow did get saved then when they went to heaven they would be turned into white people. I know this because my parents were missionaries for the AOG. So what’s the point well just because someone is a Christian doesn’t mean that you should listen to them. Besides let us not forget witch burnings be headings and just about anything your mind can imagine because if possible it has happened to somebody. There are a few Coptic villages that have abandoned the practice.

    But here is the reason that it is still practiced, for one if you grew up over there you were desensitized to it at a young age, then on top of that if you decide not to do it then the people who do it will assert that it is right and that it is the custom of their fathers, so since you are already desensitized to it and because you will be persecuted for not doing it you are more likely to go ahead with it. So it is a result of persecution. Do they go to hell for it, eh it is hard to condemn a victim for one and it is also not Biblical. So I would say that God knows who should be condemn and who shouldn’t. Also I should point out that while it was maintained to avoid persecution it also sets a contrast to Rome and Europe where the early church suffered sustained persecution and yet saw continual gains this cannot be said for the Coptic church. There is a lot more to this though.

    it is stated on page 13, Second column right before the conclusion that us C-3 believers need to be kept through great vigilance from discovering what exactly they are up to. Which leads us to the other thing that needs to be mentioned in that it is hinted at very strongly that female circumcision is seen as a means of spreading the Gospel. Also, in both documents it is stated that we would be horrified by some of the things that they do. I wouldn’t doubt the possibility that they would try or have talked some girl into being circumcised for that reason. It has happened before. The danger with this is twofold there tactic will be guised behind unity in the body of Christ and will be used to undermine Biblical teachings which repudiate the practice and they will if at all possible (because of their involvement with the Coptic’s) try to recruit girls into having that done to them however, it will be rare. For instance if there was a CHURCH WHERE MEN AT SOME CERTAIN AGE HAD TO HAVE THE HEAD FO THEIR PENIS REMOVED THEN WE WOULD TREAT IT AS A CULT. We wouldn’t spend time having to argue about it as we would apparently with some of these super YWAMers. Women are generally at a disadvantage. But, remember most of YWAM would be against this and I highly doubt that their Leadership wouldn’t have been backing this in fact if go to the first web site I mentioned you can see that YWAM leadership did back this type of thinking. For instance there is a travel documentary where a Caucasian female missionary was interviewed on a ferry ride across the Nile in Cairo Egypt, she was asked about what she thought about female circumcision and she proudly said “it is very hard for a woman to do missions work in Egypt and not be circumcised”.
    To make a quick ending of this they will accuse guys like me of hatred, anger and not being opened minded or causing arguments over things that are disputable. Like I somehow or another am against girls or women who have undergone such a procedure from getting saved. No, however, I am against people going so far as to remove from the gospel the very bases that salvation and righteousness come through faith and not through circumcision just for the sake of avoiding offending some people who tend to vehemently disagree. Besides if you really think those people are Christians than why do them the disservice of keeping the right doctrines which would teach acceptance of non-circumcised Christians and ultimately aid in the reduction of these type of debaucheries from getting in to them what lengths would you go just to protect their pride. And they’ll say well Paul had Timothy Circumcised but honestly that probably didn’t offend the Greeks a whole lot, there is a big difference and Biblically circumcision is only for men and we don’t teach it for religious reasons. The only point in it is that it is more Hygienic it looks less disgusting and your less likely to give your wife a yeast infection. Of Course the exact status of the recent movement is unknown and I could be wrong. They may never do something like that. But, given the secrecy of the whole thing I think that they probably have. That said given the fact that YWAM is officially against FGM it is expected that my comments be met with some harshness, but if you have looked into that part of the world and if you understand how decentralized YWAM is it makes sense to be concerned especially when people start talking like Andy Butcher the author of the Messianic Muslims report. They may have decided to take a more official stance against it because they realized that not everybody working with them was on the same page. Obviously there is more to discuss.

  7. UndergradReject said

    I need to mention one more thing:

    I am not the same person as YWAMreject

    There are going to be good people working in that program but I do beleive in putting pressure where it is due. I do not beleive that they need to be eliminated but I do beleive that there has been a serious issue. It is a gut feeling I have not been able to shake. There are big issues sometimes with YWAM and they need to realize that they are accountable to the rest of the church and that they are in a ministry to young people and therefore they do not have the right to just value judge kids nor do they have the right to act like they own people. It is not religion per se it is human nature and there are dangers with just taking a 22 year old and putting them in absolute authority over others because when they get stressed they seek to consumate that authority rather than remember the point of them having it. And that alone has cost them.

  8. Mike D said

    Hey Jen,
    I’ve been reading your blog and find it shocking. I have been with Ywam for 10 years and have not seen cultish behavior you describe. However I cannot speak for your experiences since I wasn’t there. A little question on the issue with your husband seeking a job in Hong Kong, I’m wondering if one of the concerns with the base could be visa related. I am with Ywam in Europe and as a non European, if you come on a Ywam visa (usually a missionary visa, or volunteer visa or something similar depending on the country) and then try to seek other employment while there it is a violation of your visa and not only you but Ywam nationally can get into big trouble, not only are they in violation the terms of their visa agreement ( I don’t know about Ywam HK I’m only speaking from Europe) but that can bad for all foreigners working for Ywam in that nation as their visas can be in affected by new stricter laws. If the leadership is using the name of God of course I disagree with that, but maybe they are sensitive from bad experiences. If I wanted to try something like your husband did, I would first leave the country and return on a non-ywam visa before continuing. I know that is allot more inconvenient and a job offer is not certain employment but if the gov. finds out that Ywam is inviting people on Ywam visas and then the staff are doing other things that is considered illegal in many countries. I don’t know if this was your expierence, I’m just wondering.

    • Naomi said

      Mike, it is irrelevant how something will affect YWAM, if God says do something you do it. He felt led to stay in HK, go out, find a job, and provide for his family in HK. You don’t defer from obeying God because of an ungodly organisations fear. I have seen it happen many times that YWAM ignores God for it’s own personal gain or to cover it’s own back and reputation. A young girl who was on the DTS after mine (I got the boot after being given an ultimatum), she had paid to go on outreach to Japan, however she had an allergy to wheat. YWAM Brisbane refused to let her go (They told her 2 days before, and her leader was very blunt about it too) because they didn’t want an insurance risk, and they refused to refund her the money. She left and went home, also suffering severe depression.

      If you’re with YWAM in the UK then you will not see the cultish ways of it until you leave. Both myself and a dear friend worked with YWAM she did here in the UK , and I did in Brisbane, Australia. She obeyed God and went home to Cali, she suffered depression for a long time because of one of the key tactics used by YWAM to control is to put a person down until they cling to YWAM for some sort of value in their life. It is a very demonic thing to do. When you leave and return to normal life you will see YWAM for what it really is :).

  9. My name is Greg Robertson. I am now a pastor in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, but was in YWAM from November of 1973 until March of 1979. In ’79 I began having problems and disagreements with YWAM leaders and was considered demon possessed and was given one week to get out of YWAM (that was in Hurlach, West Germany). All my YWAM friends followed suit, some of them which I had known for years and had been very close to, and they shunned me as well. I was one of the first former YWAMers to begin exposing the organization. I wrote a chapter for Dr. Alan Gomes book, “Lead Us Not Into Deception” (1986 edition), called “My YWAM Daze” and I provided a lot of documentation to prove that Moral Government Theology was widely taught in YWAM. I did nothing more than tell the truth about my YWAM experience, but in a very cultic fashion, I was further demonized, insulted, and lied about by YWAM loyalists. On the other hand I began getting letters from people who were having problems with YWAM and it became a kind of ministry to them. Most recently I wrote in answer to interview questions for Christianity Today (2010 for the 50th anniversary of YWAM). In spite of all the confusion and questions that former YWAMers may have — know one thing — God loves you and that cannot be changed because it is found in HIs sending His only begotten Son into history to die on the cross so you could be accepted by a holy God. His grace is sufficient!

  10. I have done a DTS, a secondary school and been on staff at two different YWAM bases. All in all, I have had experience with four different YWAM bases. Fortunately, I never experienced anything close to what you and family went through. I have heard many many stories of control, manipulation, and spiritual abuse occurring within different ywam communities.

    I first want to say that I in now way believe that you are exaggerating or making anything up.

    The base that I did my DTS was wonderful. It is a small base and it was only their second year running DTS (they had been running SBS for many years prior). I had a wonderful experience. The leadership was amazing and ENCOURAGED us to question anything that was taught. There were one or two things during my time in DTS that I had some questions about. Things that didn’t sit right with me, and leadership sat with me and heard me out and then explained to me where they were coming from and gave me scripture. They never made me feel as though I was wrong simply for asking questions and they never came across as condescending or haughty. I know that there are many ywam bases where this is not the case, though.

    My time on staff was also very encouraging and free of any manipulation. My most recent experience was staffing a DTS in a fairly large city in the US. During this time, I was going through some really tough emotional things on a personal level and the school leader, and DTS staff coordinator were very loving and encouraging throughout. They even said that if I chose to commit to staff beyond the DTS, they felt that it would be best if I was free from a lot responsibility so that I would be able to work through the stuff I was going through. I was blown away by the fact that they would be willing to have me join staff full time and yet allow me to be free from obligations and responsibility. Through a lot of prayer on my own and with my school leader, we felt that God was not “calling” me to move onto something else and not join the staff at that base. The leadership was very supportive of this decision and I continued to have a great relationship with them and participate in weekly worship times and meet with my school leader after I had left staff there and begun work with a local church.

    It breaks my heart that there are those in leadership in YWAM (and other local churches and ministries) that use their positions to manipulate and control people.

  11. Bee bee ela said

    well this will probably sounds rude, but I don’t like YWAM or ywamers. Yeah, not all of them are bad and the ones who are genuinely there for God are the nice ones, but these young kids are looking for a place to fit in and get attention and that is what they get from YWAM.
    They get “love bombed” from the beginning and the sooner they get brainwashed into the YWAM delusion, the more narcissistic their behavior becomes and anyone who doesn’t display this love towards YWAm is shunned and thought of as sinful.

    My experience with YWAM was okay. But there were many things off. Because I was not conforming I was sent to a psychologist and then they told me I don’t know who God is and that there are words on my forehead telling other people to treat me badly.
    I care to disagree since Jesus said to us –
    Matthew 10:21-23. “People will hate you because you belong to Me. But if a person continue faithful until the end, that person will be saved.”
    So that is a better answer to persecution from people in general than the lame one YWAM gave me. Ywam seems to feed of off people’s money. You pay yourself poor in YWAM, yet you get crap food and dirty dorms. you almost never go sight seeing and you have to buy everything else extra. I don’t think God likes people who beg on the streets for money. since well, if it is God’s will then God will provide. But going out and asking for money is not right, doesn’t matter if they throw that “you have to work to get stuff” scripture in your face.
    They solely live their lives according to their own hearts desires. The one thing that got to me was the rigid working schedules. You are so busy with group activities, you never get a break. There are morning worship and stuff, classes and stuff, but all the other stuff that get’s taught inbetween are a load of garbage. Which makes you lose focus on God and end up focusing on yourself and all the stuff they plant into your heads. You learn so much about yourself and end up obsessing about yourself instead of focusing on God. They dig up things that happened in the past, which is supposed to be left behind. My group members got angry with me because I went to watch a movie alone, because i felt i needed a break from them. Being solo or “individualistic” is highly criticized against and anyone who doesn’t conform are seen as a enemy.
    I don’t like YWAM. I left YWAM and all the YWAM people ignored me from that day. They deleted my pictures on facebook with them, the group i was with ignored me for months… they all think I am rebellious and don’t know who God is.
    on top of that they all think they have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, but the fruits of that place is sinister. Then they pray in tongues, yet they have not really been baptized with the Holy Spirit, so they must be praying to something else then right?
    I’m not insulting anyone who believes that they have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, but you should know more about the subject before assuming that you were baptized, because the Bible says it’s like fire. So yeah. the point is, falling over and lying on the floor for hours laughing, is not always from God. but yeah. I guess it depends on your motives towards God and your relationship with Him, to really know when you have been baptized. What I’m saying is people could want that type of tag or attention and can make things up, but someone who knows God personally will know and God in Him will testify to that. The point of the matter is if you are not being persecuted or suffering conflict and troubles with people and even family in your life, and instead everyone loves you and you suffer no conflict, then you are not walking according to God’s will, because all persecution like Peter described is to become Holy for God. So we absolutely must carry our crosses to the end, so if your life is always merry and you suffer no persecution then you are friends with the world. Simple as that. read from Acts the story of apostle Paul, it just gives a perfect example of what living for God is really.

    Ywam is not that and instead they have all these worldly fruits and display it through their behavior towards people who question YWAM. They are a money grabbing cult who brainwash weak young people who want to fit in the world and feel love.


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    It’s awesome to go to see this website and reading the views of all colleagues on the topic of this article, while I am also zealous of getting familiarity.

  15. Randall Richnow said

    In 1982, I joined the YWAM FEET in Hong Kong. FEET was Far East Evangelism Team. It was a summer outreach. It was the best time of my life and quickly turned into the worst time of my life. Through this blog, I have come to see how I was not alone at all in the shunning and misguided practices I experienced from the leaders on outreach and then when we returned back to base in Hong Kong. I was basically told on outreach that I had sin in my life for something I said about the leadership, and that if my heart was right, specifically if I had a repentant heart, God would show me what my sin was. Well, He didn’t and it was announced by those who I had become close to and looked up to in leadership that the team was not to have anything to do with me and I was left behind, alone, as they went out to minister. Yet I would say that I was at that time probably one of if not the most spiritually on fire Christians on our team of 21 from several different nations. By the time I left a few months later, my faith had been so destroyed, I turned back into sin and joined the navy. I wasn’t a new Christian just joining YWAM either. I was a bible school graduate from Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. YWAM is not the church. It’s a parachurch. Today, I’m in a church and on fire for God again because God used one of my team members to minister to me in Japan while I was in the navy. I saw God in those who were faithful to me in God’s will and He used them to show me I was His son and was not rejected as the fruit of what the leaders had done to me had brought about in my life. I love my church here in Texarkana. I’m a retired school teacher and much wiser today as I’ve become overwhelmed with what God is doing in my life and going to do in my life. The promises of God are alive and well in me and I hear Him again. Thank you for starting this blog because it is God’s healing from the rejection I experienced from YWAM. Thank you and bless you.

  16. Shmaryahu said

    Back in the early 1970’s God got hold of me. Outside the church and I knew nothing about what people called Christianity. I ended up at a YWAM thing.

    A baby is born and the goes to it’s mother’s breast for the first feed. My first feed from “mother Christian church” was, Grace is a heresy called Calvinism. That was my introduction to YWAM.

    Years years later I was at a YWAM base and my friend’s (YWAM leaders). plus a YWAM elder, apologized almost in tears that they had ever introduced me to YWAM. I heard Gordon Olson (YWAM’s main teacher) deny Christ and say salvation was not of God. Only of man. This was a pure apostate cult. I walked out (and the leadership there backed me)!

    Interestingly enough, if I disobeyed (during those years) and walked in the Spirit, all kinds of good (and some pretty wild ones as well) things happened and people lives were blessed – but that very first teaching still had its ugly seed in me.

    It took 20 years before I was fully freed from the influence. I found that Grace is fine, Calvinism may be a heresy, but YWAM’s Moral Governement teaching was pure, total, apostasy.

    Over authority, denial of truth and emotional manipulation are all hallmarks of every cult. YWAM was no exception.

    Now I minister as He originally intended, rejecting Christianity (the name Christian was a gross insult and Yeshua never took one on board. So why on earth did his people?) and living as a son of the Most High saved through my Messiah Yeshua by what He did on a cross, on the hill of the skull, outside Jesusalem about 2000 years ago, rising from the dead and ascending to the throne set up for him.

    I see from comments here, not much has changed. It is still a cult, though there may be a few teams out and about that are okay (very few).

  17. […] They felt that allegiance to a cult of personality was more important than real people. Again, shunned. […]

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