SWYM’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations
September 1997 saw the official launch of SWYM, with the first five trainees moving into Mid Devon. Twenty years later on and how SWYM has grown. It seems fitting, therefore, to reflect for a moment on where we’ve come from and what’s new in the world of SWYM.
We chose to mark our 20th year with two events held over the same weekend in October. First a reunion for former SWYM trainees, with people flying in from America, Germany, Kenya, Uganda, Hong Kong and other places besides. Then we held a celebration on the Saturday night at Exeter University’s Great Hall. Over 500 people gathered to rejoice over what has been and to look forward to what will be. It was a brilliant night.
I was overwhelmed, and humbled, by just how far people travelled to be with us. They came to celebrate what they described as the formative years in their character and ministry. Across the course of the weekend, several people commented that it was strange we had chosen to celebrate our 20th year, rather than our 21st or 25th. But they also said that they felt it was right and appropriate. It felt as if SWYM was both marking the moment and moving into a new season, one of impact and influence. That was such an encouraging vision for them to share with us.
Our 20th year has been one of significant changes. Not least of these was the purchasing of a new admin and resources building, to act as a base for our team. This miraculous provision came out of nowhere. When God provides £250,000 to buy a building, it makes you sit up and take note. We found ourselves asking: what is God calling us to do, now that he’s provided this base? What is next?
Since then, we have had a couple of staff members move on, and others join: including Ollie who will be heading up all of the SWYM resources. Ollie will be looking at how we support churches in cutting edge discipleship and leadership training; through developing new, locally based, activity days and residentials.
We are continuing to seek God, to discover what he has next for us at SWYM. We sense He is calling us to continue to build upon the last 20 years and to seek new and innovative ways of partnering local churches. Our dream is to reach this generation where they are. We want our training to be the best it can be, truly equipping leaders to reach and disciple the youth of today. We long to see our graduates become godly leaders wherever they find themselves in the future.
And finally we want to be known first and foremost as people who are passionate about Jesus, making Him known as we seek His heart for this ministry.
Please do pray for us, to be truly led by the Spirit. And, as Paul said, pray that God will continue to open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.