So in a very brief nutshell, I have been involved with a team in pioneering YWAM in Belfast. Officially we started in 2002 although that came at the end of about a year of prayer, soul searching, and checking out places.
Utimately we decided to initiate our base in the most notorious part of Belfast, a place that has been plagued by paramilitarism and sectarian strife for nearly 4 decades- The Shankill and Falls Roads. In 2002-3 there was a major feud going on and our DTS students were mixing with the perpetrators of the feud as well as looking after their kids.
Obviously 'reconciliation' became a major focus. 6 years down the line I can say that there have been many successes - we now have a fairly sustainable base up and running, leaders raised up, great DTS' under our belt, great ministry done, a great reputation amongst Christians and non-Christians in the city as they look with respect at a bunch of idealists renting 7 houses and living in the parts of Belfast that most nice people don't want to go to, we are taking 'forgiveness' teaching to over a dozen schools, we have offered full scholarships to 19 students from nations of conflict (South Africa, Palestine, Lebanon) we have only had a total of 53 students in our 6 schools, so 19/53 is a pretty good ratio of sponsored students - if every YWAM base did that, how many people would we be able to bring to do a life changing DTS that would otherwise be prohibitive due to the socio-economic background that they come from?!
We have had our fair share of failures too, in fact I think we should talk more about failures. We made mistakes by not buying houses when prices were 25 grand for a 2 bedroom house, now they're 150 grand (does give us freedom though not owning anything).
We partnered with an organisation that ended up nearly killing us - it was a mistake, a short cut... I think partnership is key for YWAM but it can be really hard work, and you can find yourself unequally yoked. We have run a couple of DTS' with staff that lacked the needed maturity; we have not made as much of an impact as people think we have - just cause we're based in an infamous area doesn't mean we have the right to be treated as if we are changing that area, sometimes I think our influence is so small... there's much more.
From a conversation on Facebook, 20 Jan 2008 (Retrived 23/1/2008) by User:Jonnyclark