Bible teacher, missionary and author Joy Dawson, a respected leader in the Youth With A Mission community, died early Thursday morning at 96 of natural causes.
Dawson's Bible teaching ministry and missionary journeys with YWAM took her to 55 nations on six continents worldwide. She also taught extensively on television, radio and is the author of several books. Her penetrating teachings are based on the character and the ways of God.
Dawson's oldest son, John, spoke lovingly of his mother and expressed a deep gratitude to the many thousands of people who are contacting the family at this time, recounting stories of the impact of Joy's life and ministry.
A memorial service is planned within the next two weeks at Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California. It will be attended by her missionary children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Among them, there are representatives of six languages and seven nationalities.
Dawson gave her life to missions and ministry since 1970. For the past 50-plus years, she has been traveling and teaching, imparting revelation in the character and nature of God as well as intercession and a lifestyle of pursuing Jesus.
Most of her teaching ministry was at spiritual leadership conferences. Multitudes were blessed by her ministry, which crossed many denominational lines. "My life's calling as a missionary and prophetic Bible teacher to 55 nations was against all odds," Dawson once wrote. "I came from a denomination that didn't believe a women should even pray in church in the presence of men—let alone teach them biblically! My wonderful dad was a strong leader in that denomination. I had no peers.
"When I started out in 1971, I found a book that had just been written about Dr. Henrietta Mears, who was a woman Bible teacher of depth, who greatly influenced both evangelist Billy Graham and Bill Bright as young men. Bill was the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, now known today as CRU. Dr. Mears had recently died, but the account of her powerful ministry to key spiritual leaders encouraged me.
"The unpredictable soon became the normal. Against all odds as a woman. I was pioneering a role of ministering full-time alongside male spiritual leaders."
Among the books Dawson authored were: Forever Ruined for the Ordinary; How to Pray for Someone Near You Who is Away from God; Influencing Children to Become World Changers; Intercession—Thrilling and Fulfilling; Some of the Ways of God in Healing; Knowing God; Jesus the Model; Intimate Friendship with God; The Fire of God; All Heaven Will Break Loose and her final one, in 2021, My Journey with Jesus.
She also hosted a podcast called Spiritual Authority.
Dawson was preceded in death by her husband, Jim, in 2013. Jim was a founding member of the YWAM International Council that was formed in September of 1972 to provide true spiritual eldership to YWAM, separating this spiritual leadership role from the function of legal/financial accountability to a legal board.
Jim Dawson served in many international, national and local leadership roles in YWAM from that time onward because of the wealth of wisdom that resided within him and the depth of his character and relationship with God. The role that he is probably best remembered for is that of global YWAM pastor, because of his compassion and relational skills.
Shawn A. Akers is the online editor for Charisma Media.
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