Our Minister: Rev Paul Stokes
I was sixteen when I discovered the Church. Not the building where our Scout Group met, at the corner of the road, but the people. It changed my life.
I discovered a community of people who had faith in Jesus Christ. People with a purpose, whose lives were being changed because God's Holy Spirit was at work in them. The Bible describes them as "the household of God" ...a family.
The Church at Plymstock is truly a family, with people of all ages and abilities. I wish it was perfect but, as with any family, people have to cope with all of my faults, and I have to learn to cope with theirs too!
But I also know that Jesus is 100% committed to his Church and, somehow, through his Church he allows us to experience hope, love, acceptance and purpose.
There's a great part in the Bible that invites us to: "Taste and see that the Lord is good." God wants us to discover for ourselves that there's something genuinely good about the Christian faith. It's not a set of dreary rules, it's about:
- Having an authentic relationship with a heavenly Father who loves us.
- Living in a place where heaven's power touches earth and changes lives.
- The challenge of living with purpose and making a difference in Jesus' name.
Jesus repeatedly invited people to "Come, follow me." It's a journey of faith, and he promised to be with us every step of the way.
We'd love you to walk that journey with us. Come and meet our Jesus, and see where he takes you...
A bit about me...
I grew up in the Midlands, with Scouts, rugby and competitive swimming dominating my childhood. It was a combination of Scouts, a girlfriend and a retired university lecturer that helped me come to faith in Jesus Christ.
I studied Civil Engineering at Aston University, on a 'sandwich course' ...which meant six months working on a building site each year. During my first year placement I had a profound encounter with God while cycling home from work. I was overwhelmed by a vision of people ignoring Jesus and falling to destruction, and I heard God inviting me to do something about it. That was the start of my call to become a Minister. It was the same summer that I met (and fell in love with) Cynthia, and we married in 1986.
I trained for Ministry in Cambridge at Westminster College & Fitzwilliam College, and was ordained as a URC Minister in 1992. I've served two other Plymouth Churches (Laira and Pilgrim), and also worked nationally with GEAR - the Group for Evangelism And Renewal in the URC. I am now simply 75% time in Plymstock.
I am also involved in a voluntary capacity with providing leadership for the Dunamis Fellowship, both here in Britain and also overseas. It's an exciting training and equipping ministry, helping churches and Ministers grow in co-operating with the Holy Spirit. And it has led to several publications:
"Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit" (published by Zondervan, and co-authored with Brad Long and Cindy Strickler)
"Mission Enabled" (a GEAR booklet)
"Evangelism" (a GEAR booklet as part of the URC's Vision2020 resources)
"Prayer and Spirituality" (a GEAR booklet as part of the URC's Vision2020 resources).