Josh’s Bio

As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless. However, when challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling, overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Josh’s life changed dramatically as he experienced the power of God’s love.

After his conversion, his plans for law school turned instead to plans to tell a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ. After studying at Kellogg College, Josh completed his college degree at Wheaton College and then attended Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree.

Josh McDowell: 50 Years of MinistryIn 1961, Josh joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ International. Not long after, he started the Josh McDowell Ministry* to reach young people worldwide with the truth and love of Jesus.

Well known as an articulate speaker, Josh has addressed more than 25 million people, giving over 27,000 talks in 125 countries.

As he traveled to other countries, Josh quickly realized that where people were sick, homeless, and hungry, words were not enough. In 1991, Josh founded Operation Carelift to meet the physical and spiritual needs he discovered in orphanages, hospitals, schools, and prisons in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Since that time, Operation Carelift has delivered humanitarian aid (food, clothing, and medical supplies) worth more than $46,000,000. That is the equivalent of 278 forty-ton containers. Nearly one million children have received school supplies, food items, hygiene items, and toys from the volunteers that traveled twice a year to share God’s love with them.

Josh has received two significant honors from the Russian people because of these efforts. He is the only non-Russian to receive an honorary doctor of pediatrics degree from the Russian Academy of Medicine — in recognition of his work among the children of Russia. Also, Josh is the only foreigner to become a member of the prestigious Russian Club of Scientists. Operation Carelift, which has grown into in one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations based in the United States, is now a part of Global Aid Network (GAiN USA).

In the United States, Josh and his team have created many cutting-edge live events to help young people stand strong and firm in their faith in the face of a rapidly-changing culture. These have often developed into full-blown campaigns, such as:

  • Six Hours with Josh
  • Why Wait?
  • Counter the Culture
  • Right From Wrong
  • True Foundations

Since 1960, Josh has written or co-authored 148 books, with two more being released in the fall of 2017, in 128 languages including:

In addition to many other awards, Josh has been nominated 36 times for the Gold Medallion Award and has received that award on four occasions.

In spite of all the honors and awards he has received, Josh will tell anyone that his greatest joys and pleasures come from his family. He and his wife Dottie have been married 46 years. They have four children and ten grandchildren

* Josh McDowell Ministry is a Cru ministry (the U.S. division of Campus for Christ International)

(Updated 7/5/17)

Josh McDowell's Legacy of Love

“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
Psalm 78:4

We all tend to look ahead rather than behind, so we can easily forget the lessons learned along the way and neglect the wisdom of the past. Ecclesiastes says “nothing is new under the sun”, so whatever you’re going through, God has seen others through similar events to show you that if God can do it then, he can do it now, for you.

These videos are Josh’s Legacy of Love* — life lessons he’s learned along the way — and designed to guide younger Christian leaders through the trials, triumphs, and traditions of life and to serve as sort of a spiritual roadmap they can apply to their own lives and ministry.

Feel free to use these stories in any multitude of ways, including devotionals, personal edification and encouragement, group meetings and spiritual training, or witnessing tool. But however you choose to use this, it is sure to touch your live and strengthen your faith.


* Josh’s Legacy of Love is part of the Cru Legacy Project.

Josh shares his struggles of pride and purpose in ministry early in his Christian life.

Josh shares how he struggled with the idea that God could use him for the glory of the kingdom, because of all his weaknesses and childhood baggage. But the moment he decided to give those weaknesses up to the Lord, everything changed.

Josh shares the amazing ministry a man has on a train in Jamaica on the way to work.

Josh tells the remarkable story of a wheel chair bound young lady who won’t let pain or inconvenience stop her from sharing the love of Christ.

Josh shares his experience in dealing with the Orthodox Church in Russia and a notorious Bishop who was against American Missionaries. Josh talks about how because he showed he cared first, he was able to be bold and form lasting relationships later.

Josh shares how he had desires for himself, but at every turn, God reminded him that he had better plans, if Josh would only listen.

Josh talks about an epic Spring Break battle of drunken party kids vs. Jesus. Guess who won?

Josh shares about sexual abuse and the tough truth and power of forgiveness.

Josh McDowell shares his testimony of of a family life filled with hate, rage, addiction, and shame. And how God turned that into a story of love, redemption, forgiveness, and truth.

Family: love them now and they’ll love you later. Josh shares the most important lesson he ever learned, that family must come first.

Josh shares his experience sharing the gospel to Marxists in South America and that in the face of fear, he found courage to speak in the Lord power

Josh shares how much God personally cares about what you care about and intimately answers your prayers.

Josh shares some of the more innovative, creative ways people have witnessed to the power and love of Jesus Christ.

Josh explains the importance of Christians giving unexpected compassion and love to everyone.