For anyone out there who hates to read actual books—you’re missing out by not reading this one. Values Matter, By Darlene Cunningham. It is a book I’ve been waiting to read and review for 6 months now, mostly so I could go through it together with my BLP students. 

Why was Values Matter needed to be written?

YWAM – Youth With A Mission isn’t just a Christian missions organisation. It’s a missions movement. Started by God sharing a vision to Loren of waves of young people going out across the whole world to share the gospel of Jesus to everyone. Back in the 1960’s people weren’t sent out as missionaries or did missions in other countries unless they had first been to Bible School and had additional specific training. So starting to take a group of teenagers and young adults out to share the gospel just didn’t happen. A lot has changed in these past 60 years, but the core reasons of what God said to why we do what we do as YWAM needs to be caught by those new to the mission. We need to understand the why behind what we do to be fully engaged. 

So Darlene, who’s been with Loren since those early years, was asked to write it down. Darlene helped shape these values and is a great storyteller and teacher, which you’ll see why her passion for God and YWAM is reflected throughout this book. Her prayer is for those who don’t know the old stories will catch the heart, identity and mandate God has given YWAM to be the way we are and inspire them to hear what God has called each of us as individuals so that together we can see the Great Commission fulfilled. (We know YWAM is a part of God’s bigger plan and we want and love to partner with local churches and other Christian organisations to work together to see the Christian mandate fulfilled.)

How Values Matter is structured

There are 4 main parts

  1. Chapters 1-4 are an introduction to YWAM and why this book. Plus, it’s great to hear some of the early years of YWAM from Darlene’s perspective (since we are used to hearing/ reading Loren’s).
  2. Chapters 5-22 are YWAM’s 18 values. Which are then sub-divided into 4 sections to cover: We want to know God; We are visionary; we value people and we are a global missions movement.
  3. Discovery Starters. They are a way to go deeper into each of the values and core beliefs (appendix 1) So you can apply them to your life. We don’t want to just have better head knowledge but process it with God to make it a part of our life. 
  4. Appendixes – Giving the additional background and fundamental teachings to understand YWAM. The Statement of belief (with our core belief), Belief Tree teaching and the 4 Legacy words (key messages God has given YWAM): The Vision of the waves, Seven spheres of influence, Christian Magna Cara and End Bible Poverty.

I’m used to seeing an application type section at the end of a chapter or book – so you might not realise these Discovery Starters until later. But it’s worth going through them step by step with the chapter it relates to while it is fresh in your mind.

I’d also recommend reading the Introduction chapters then the Appendixes before going on with the values. As it will give you the bigger context to understand our values.

I want to speak to the two audiences for Values Matter. Those who know YWAM and those who don’t. 

If you’re not familiar with YWAM, why you should read this book?

I know you may not care to understand why YWAM is the way it is. So here are some reasons to use this book as a valuable tool to help you develop your Biblical World view and values to be who God’s created you to be in your life, work and ministry. 

  • Use it as a living example of how to see God can take one man with a crazy vision to become a global Christian movement. 
  • Helps us to see how we develop our beliefs, values and identity are needed to come from God’s word. To reflect His nature and character. 
  • To reflect on how to apply scriptures to your life today.
  • To seek God on what He is saying personally through each of these values to help you reflect more of Jesus in these specific areas of your life. E.g. how can I get to know God more, or share with non-believers who God is, or 
  • To be inspired that God can use you beyond your current understanding. To think outside the box and dream with God.
  • Perhaps to take some of these values as your own as well.
  • The chapters are short and easy to read – so you can read one in 10mins and then ponder with God what He wants to say to you from it for the rest of the day. 

Lastly, there is fantastic teaching in Appendix 2 – The Belief Tree. Using the analogy of a tree to help us understand the why we do what we do comes from our core beliefs and worldview. This teaching will help you understand the different processes we go through consciously and subconsciously. It’s hard to understand a biblical worldview, but this will help you start the discovery process with God of what and where your’s could need to be changed to align with God’s word.

Those who are in YWAM

Whether you’ve been in YWAM for 60 years or thinking about doing a DTS (Discipleship Training School). Then this book will help you understand who YWAM is.

I’ve been in YWAM for a combined total of 16 years. I have read and taught many of the sections of this book. I’ve heard many stories from Loren, Darlene and other YWAM’ers who have been around the mission for 40-50 years. So I would say I have a good understanding of who and why YWAM is the way it is.

But to have it all in one book, succinctly written, is an excellent mixture of story, heart, and essential information. Helps capture the essence of the point or value brilliantly. God has reminded me of things I’d forgotten, helped me piece different parts together and reminded me of why I love being part of YWAM. I cried when I read Chapter 9 about being visionary. To see God’s heart to call us to be who He’s created us to be and think bigger. To thank God that there is room for everyone and make room for everyone. God has gifted each person perfectly to contribute their vital piece to help others discover God’s whole nature and character. Just think how the next generation will add even more of their unique expressions to the body of Christ. So we can bring God’s life and truth to every person on Earth.

My BLP (Basic Leadership Practicum) students are new to being staff; some are also new in their faith. We are so enjoying going through each part to discuss together and have others on the base come and share why our values are important personally. To look together with God how we can apply them to our lives today and what that looks like in reality. As new staff, they didn’t understand why we did some of the things we do in that way. It didn’t make sense to them. But now it’s slowly bringing that revelation of the why, so they can join us in seeing its importance. 

Taking our values – looking at them and asking God – how am I doing in this area, can I help others, or do I need help expressing this better? I’m glad we are part of a team to lean on others’ strengths and vis versa. And to see where I need to change and ask God to transform my thinking to be more in line with His word. 

Did you realise that each value has 10 scriptures attached to it to show how it’s biblically based? And that none of them are repeated. That’s 180 scriptures to backup—be the foundation of who we are as YWAM. That’s a considerable number. But it also shows just how important having the Bible as our foundation is. 

This book is especially significant to those who’ve just done a DTS or been in the mission a few years. Because this book is firstly aimed for you. To help you understand the bigger picture of who we are.

I’ve also heard others, like me, who’ve been around for over a decade and are loving reading and remembering experiences they’ve had and how God is speaking to them while reading. 

God is speaking to us, challenging us, reminding us of things we’ve forgotten or been lax to not see the importance of. God is into the All’s. The ALL’s: nations, peoples, all generations (but especially the younger), all languages, all giftings and personality types. If we are going to see the whole world reached with the Gospel of Jesus and God’s love. Then it will take all of us in as many different ways together to make this happen.


I hope you can see why I love this book and why I’m highly recommending Values Matter as a great book and inspiration to all believers. It’s OK to read it on your own, but it’s a book you’ll want to talk to others about and share what God’s speaking to you. So why not do it with a group of friends, teammates, in a bible study, small group or book club. We all go deeper with something when we share it with others and hear from their perspective. 

Whether we realise it or not, we all live out of our own set of values—you might just not be aware of them all. This book will help you ponder some deeply biblical ones you might want to consider adopting on a more conscious level. Or at least explore why it’s not a value you want to have in your life. 

At the very least, it will help you explore some key points in what having a biblical worldview could contain.

If you don’t like YWAM?

This is just a side-note for anyone who thinks YWAM’ers are brainwashed or crazy or part of a cult. We understand YWAM isn’t for everyone and isn’t meant to be. But YWAM is a Biblically-based organisation that wants to know God and make Him known. Our values and all we do come out of times where we’ve asked God to speak and then we’ve done what He has said. There is space for everyone to be themselves, but they must be followers of Jesus. We love partnering with local churches and other organisations because we see the bigger picture: we are all part of the same body of Christ. So if you are part of another Christian organisation – we bless you to go and do what God’s called you to do in the way He’s asking of you. 

Everyone has a voice, an opinion and a unique relationship with God which we welcome. God can and does speak to everyone and we value you as an individual. We love questions. We want to hear where we’re not doing so well to grow and develop and be better. But we also know we are human and have weaknesses. So we want to extend grace, we’re not looking for perfection and we know how important it is to be humble and ask forgiveness.

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about YWAM, go to, which has so much information. I’ve done a quick review of here

Or you can write and ask me. I’m happy to help if I can.

If you want to read more about the initial story of YWAM – Loren Cunningham’s book “Is that really you, Lord” will be perfect. I’ve also recommended this book in a blog here.

There is a website:, where you will be able to get so much information. But also download the legacy teachings and covenants (which aren’t all mentioned in the book but are equally important). 

The great news is that Values Matter isn’t just available in English. 41 languages have committed to translating it. Many are still in process, but currently, you can get it in: English, French, Hindi, Malayalam, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. All of these are available in the store section on the YWAMvalues website. 

YWAM Townsville has created an online course to accompany the Values Matter book. Which will also give you 1 UofN credit. It costs $40 AUD and will take around 25 hours to complete. I was hoping for more video content with this course, but sadly no. But great to do further application and processing of this book.