The South West School of Worship story dates back over 18 years ago when a local pastor prophetically spoke about a worship and bible school here in the South West. At this very same time, the current School Director, Claire, was woken in the middle of the night with the word “Expansion of the Church”. That night God spoke to her so clearly about His desire to see local worship teams resourced and equipped to reach the lost and expand His Kingdom. Claire began to pursue this call in another part of the country but quickly realised this vision was not for now.
Fast-forward to 2018 when God began to stir the heart of Jon Hudson, the School Founder, who was working as Worship Pastor for St Matts church in Plymouth. Jon met with worship teams and leaders from across the region and noticed that there was often a similar story. Time after time he met worship leaders and teams who felt discouraged, under-resourced, and sometimes ill-equipped to lead their teams, or simply desired to learn more skills to help move the church forward in the area of worship.
In January 2019 Jon Hudson prayerfully compiled a team of worship leaders and pastors from across the South West who shared a passion for Jesus and to see the local church set on fire for worship. Little did he realise that those God would lead him to approach, included Claire and the son of the very same pastor who had prophetically spoken out the vision all those years ago.
As a leadership team they set about creating a programme that could train, equip and empower worship leaders across Devon and Cornwall. In early 2019 the South West School of Worship was born and in September of the same year, the School opened its doors to it's first year of students. 25 worship leaders and musicians from across Devon and Cornwall came together in Plymouth to be equipped and empowered to further God's kingdom through worship in their local church.
Covid-19 arrived in the spring of 2020 causing the final part of the first year course to be completed online. In the summer of 2020 the leadership team decided to hit the pause button and not launch a second year intake and instead, reevaluate how to best serve the church in the midst of a global pandemic. With such a diverse range of challenges faced by churches and worship teams it became clear that what worship leaders wanted, was the support, prayer and encouragement from one another. With that in mind the School facilitated some worship leader network events on Zoom where leaders were able to connect with one another to pray, talk, encourage, and inspire one another.
As it became clear we would emerge from the pandemic in 2022, the leadership started seeking God as to whether it was right to relaunch the School once more. The feeling amongst the team was unanimous - that God's heart still burned for the same things; a passion for his church, for the unsaved, and to be glorified by His people in worship.
Our heart and vision for the School of Worship remains unchanged - to facilitate a programme where those involved in worship in the local church would come to be encouraged, refreshed, equipped and empowered to be and all that He has called them to be and all that they would fulfil all that He has created them to do. That they would be part of the "Expansion of the Church" in the South West through the ministry of worship!