A former British Army sniper is on a new mission to help young people discover Christian faith in a hard-pressed part of Leeds.
The Anglican Diocese of Leeds is delighted to welcome Neil Obbard who has been appointed as Lead Evangelist to begin the first new Missional Youth Church (MYC) in the Leeds Centre of Mission in east Leeds.
Neil Obbard, a former special operations combat operator, will pioneer the first MYC. He will be working with a local volunteer team and young people across the Seacroft Estate, parts of which are judged to be within England’s 10 per cent most deprived locations.
Bishop Paul Slater, Diocese of Leeds, said: “Please join me in praying for Neil and his team as they begin their first steps to help young people to find faith in Jesus Christ in new ways. There is a real sense that God wants this to happen in this place.”
Neil is a former British army sniper who has seen active service in Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Iraq. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder before finding faith in Jesus on a Mothers’ Union Holiday.
Now an experienced evangelist, Neil has preached the Gospel in some of the toughest prisons in the world and author of One Shot, One Kill, One Mission – the story of his life.
Speaking of his new role, Neil said: “I am excited about helping the young people in Seacroft come to know God for themselves, and experience his power to change their lives."
The vision of the Missional Youth Church Network (MYCN), which is a joint partnership between Church Army, Archbishop of York’s Office & Archbishop of York Youth Trust, is to establish at least 30 missional youth churches over the next five years, enabling 11-18 year olds to build community and discover faith in Jesus Christ.
Local schools and colleges, churches and community projects will work together in partnership to reimagine church for this generation. Youth leaders and volunteers will become part of a wider learning network accessing training, encouragement and support for one another as they build for the future.
Andy Milne, Church Army and leader of the MYCN said: “We are greatly encouraged by the conversations across the North of England about establishing Missional Youth Churches.
“We’ve been listening to what is happening in communities and sharing the MYCN vision and praying for what might be possible. This is the first of many projects that will be created.”
This exciting new appointment links with the Leeds Diocesan Strategy's Goal 5: Growing young people as Christians.