YWAM Plymouth

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Plymouth Hoe


The YWAM centre in Plymouth was started on the suggestion of the South West Leader at the time, Steve Jones, who heard that the 70+ churches of the city were going to hold a year of mission and that to send a YWAM team to the city for a year would be of benefit. Kevin and Nicki were intending on starting a mobile team in Cornwall but went to Plymouth at Steve's suggestion.

Following the year of mission Kevin and Nicki decided to stay in the city as there seemed to be so many opportunities opening up and to move on to Cornwall would be not the right thing to do at that point. The way they started the work was to bring an Operation Year team to the city. They continued to run Operation Year teams each year to grow and develop the work.

Initially the team lived in the centre amongst the University students but over the first three years they realised that God was calling them to the West of the city, the poorest regions and in particular the Barne Barton area, one of the most troubled areas of the city.

Some of the local lads from Barne Barton
Over the next five years the youth outreach and evangelism work in Barne Barton grew and developed. Also the work of training grew as the team trained local youth workers on a discipleship course alongside the Operation Year team (see Annum. They also ran the Cords inter-church worship, teaching and short term missions programme. Many other short and long term projects were completed including many Summer of Service programmes.

The work was closed after a fruitless two year search for replacement leaders, as Kevin and Nicki desired to move on to other things in YWAM. Three of the staff stayed in the city working with other churches and youth projects. The Barne Barton work still exists under the wing of a local church and remains fruitful under the leadership of the former YWAM staff member who developed it. Mutley Baptist church is now in the process of starting to plant on Barne Barton - part of our dream and an answer to many prayers.

Lessons Learned

  • Knowing how to start well and how to finish well would have helped.
  • Having more support in terms of finances and coaching on small base leadership would have been very helpful.
  • Having a superbly supporting leader in the latter 5 years of the centre's existence made a huge difference to the morale and effectiveness of the workers.
  • That there is a deficit of up and coming leaders in and around YWAM England - the centre need not have closed if suitable leaders could have been found.
  • The centre was planted out of YWAM Torquay (since closed). YWAM Torquay is about 200 miles from the nearest YWAM base. Plymouth was about 220 miles away. Planting something without the links to a strong YWAM centre was challenging.

Advice to Other Leaders

Questions and Answers

Other readers please place your questions here and answers will be sought.