As Youth With A Mission gets ready to celebrate 40 years of mission, serving young people and connecting them with the gospel, youth and family worker Andy Kennedy highlights the amazing transformation the organisation is making in the lives of young people in Warwickshire and beyond.

I live at YWAM The King’s Lodge, which is a missions sending and training centre located in Nuneaton. We are an all-age, full-time missional community who live together, often representing around 15 nations. We are deeply inspired by a vision that Loren Cunningham, YWAM’s late founder, had as a 20-year-old in 1956. He envisaged waves of young people bringing the good news to every nation until every continent on earth was covered. In the 60 years of its history, YWAM has equipped and sent out over four million people. 


We offer a six-month residential course called the DTS (Discipleship Training School), open to those 18 years and older. Three months of live-learn faith formation is followed by two to three months of fieldwork nationally or internationally. It’s all about growing in knowing God before stepping out to make Him known! 

One of the young people who has just finished her DTS is Karyna, 19, from Ukraine. She said, DTS has been one of the best experiences I have ever encountered. It has been an opportunity to experience quality and depth in friendship with people from different nations, learning to live, worship and serve together… I’ve been changed and healed. I’ve found my identity and my faith has been strengthened. I have stronger foundations in God for the future.” 

Since 2002, my wife Catherine and I have led or facilitated intergenerational teams to more than 25 nations, including China, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa, Bosnia, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Tanzania, Senegal and Greece. We call these teams Wildfire Teams’, and they are open to all 10 – 18-year-olds as well as their families. We passionately believe in mission as the missing ingredient in so much discipline of young people, indeed any age group. 

"I’ve found my identity and my faith has been strengthened. I have stronger foundations in God for the future."

The local schools in Warwickshire are very open. Two primary schools have allowed us to run lunchtime or after-school Christian clubs for 15 years. Local teacher Debbie wrote in the SiAMS (church school) inspection report in June 2023: The King’s Lodge is instrumental in sharing and promoting God’s love amongst our school community and gives our children a sound understanding of the worldwide nature of the Christian faith.” 

From this school’s ministry, a new youth group was formed. Parents approached us in the playground asking for something to help their youngsters leaving primary school, so our Wednesday Youth Club started. It is led mainly by the young people with input and encouragement from the older generation. We call it family based youth ministry because parents are welcome to get involved as well! 

One solo mum Suzanne said to me: This is the only place my two kids, [aged] 12 and 15 feel safe and able to be themselves.” 

YWAM image
Photo by Youth With A Mission

In the past 18 months we’ve noticed a fresh hunger for God in our young people. In the place of prayer, they heard God’s broken heart for their own generation. After hearing from a guest speaker who shared a vision, one of our young people heard from God at school one day. I felt a million ideas downloaded in a moment. I saw the field with tents and a stage. I got the words Deluge Project’.” The youth group enthusiastically embraced this and started praying for their non-Christian friends. They raised £8,000, and booked bands like ChipK from Manchester and Deluge became a reality in July 2023

It was a powerful weekend of local youth groups coming together to encounter God. Conor, a local 16-year- old, told me, I’ve never known the presence of God like I experienced Him on Friday and Saturday night at Deluge.” Highlights included 80 young people on the local street sharing the good news and raising the joy level. 

Please pray for us and that the work we do with young people may long continue. 

Prayer points:

• That God would send us more workers to reach every child and young person in the Midlands. 

• Please pray for the YWAM King’s Lodge community celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2024, that we will continue to make Jesus the centre of all of our lives and mission. 

• We are currently praying and planning about having one or two teams in France, especially with the Olympics there in the summer of 2024! What a great opportunity to take all ages, to partner with churches across that great nation and practise our French! 

This article is dedicated to founder Loren Cunningham who passed away on 6 October 2023

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