Church Army - November December 2011 - A Year on the Edge

XPLORE Church Army’s gap year scheme is a great way for 18 to 25-year-olds to learn about the challenge of modern mission, explains Programme Leader NEVILLE BARNES

XPLORE isn’t just another gap year – it will impact the rest of your life!

We are looking for young adults who want to be motivated, trained and equipped for relevant 21st century mission and who want to live their lives to the full for Jesus.

The programme starts with a six-week placement in Romania where the Xplorers work among some of the poorest people in Europe and learn what it really means to live as a mission community.

They will get involved in practical outreach such as building projects, youth and children’s work and spending time with families.

On returning to the UK and Ireland they are then placed with an experienced Church Army Evangelist at a mission base. These bases are located throughout the country and work with people on the edge of society who have little or no experience of church.

Alongside these practical placements, the Xplorers receive teaching which will help them explore the Bible further, understand what it means to live in community in a broken world and discover what it means to make disciples of Jesus.
Church Army’s Chief Executive, Mark Russell, who spent 10 years in youth work, said: “I am very excited about Xplore. As a youth leader I was always looking for gap years that would transform young people for mission. That’s exactly what Xplore is about!”

If you would like to apply for Xplore or to find out more, please visit, call 08445 853575 or e-mail

What the Xplorers say

Tim Cottingham, 21, from Wigton in Cumbria, graduated from Xplore in July 2011. Here he reflects on his time in Romania:

“For the whole team, the experiences we shared in Romania were some of the most incredible times of our entire training period.

“Our exposure to the poverty and injustice of life in Romanian villages was a massive blessing, and has allowed the Holy Spirit to further dislodge us from our love of the world.

“There is only so much that classroom tuition and biblical theory can teach us. While our studies provided a solid foundation of understanding, it was our time in Romania that made bringing the Kingdom of God a tangible reality.

“Most days were spent outside clearing land and digging trenches for water supplies. My aching back at the end of the day was a great reminder of the call to offer each day as a sacrifice of worship.

“I also had the opportunity to work with people in the ghetto in the city of Arad where I got involved in youth work, a local school and visited families.”

Felicity Pennington, 21, from Norfolk, also graduated from Xplore in July 2011 and spent a large part of her year working with vulnerable homeless women at Church Army’s Marylebone Project in London:

“Spending time at The Marylebone Project as a Community Enhancement Volunteer was a real honour. I was given the opportunity to work in all areas of the project, including the day centre and residential centre.

“I helped to organise activities for the women that included coffee mornings and discussions about faith and spirituality. I also really enjoyed working with a project called Sweet Notions, which reaches out to deprived women through jewellery-making workshops.

“Xplore really helped me learn who I was in relation to God and how to live as a Christian outside a family context.”

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