YWAM York is in…
In February, the northern England team hosted a commissioning service for their newly-purchased community centre, The Barnabas Centre, that will serve the local neighborhood and give the YWAM team much-needed office space.
“It’s really exciting. This building has huge potential for how we can serve the community,” said base director Jennifer Locke.
Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement,” Jennifer said, and the team at YWAM York hopes to be an encouragement to their York neighborhood.
“Really, we want to evaluate the needs they have for community, and try to meet them,” she said. “We want to do a café ministry, so we can build relationships with local people. As time goes on, hope to run other sorts of ministries. We have a DTS running here, sp we hope to have them pioneer something during their school that can keep going.”
The building is now operational, but it has been a more than five-year journey to purchase the property. YWAM York was renting a small space from a church back in 2006 when word reached the young team that St. Barnabas was selling their church hall and school.
“We wanted to see what we could do with a building that wasn’t tied to the need for housing. We were drawn to the concept of a community centre,” said Carl Tinnion, who founded YWAM York in 2004 with his wife Mel.
Jennifer recalls visiting the building for the first time.
“We went with our DTS at the time to have a look at it and pray,” Jennifer said. “To be honest, I wasn’t all that fussed at first. It took me a while to get my head around it. I was thinking more about what the typical YWAM base looks like, lots of space, and accommodation.”
It took several years of prayer and steps of faith to see the reality of the community centre come to life.
“It was a long process of prayer,” Carl said. “The thing that was really challenging was we started pursuing this building just as the economic downturn came.”
However, the team was able to see God’s hand at work with through financial blessing and favor with the church.
“At one of the YWAM gatherings, we took an offering, and a lot of money came in just from that. People were incredibly generous,” Jennifer said.
The base was able to raise about £50,000 toward the purchase of the building. The other half came in the form of a loan.
“God is an amazing provider,” she said, “but the key way he does that is open honest relationships with people. It would have been easy to miss opportunities if we hadn’t kept pushing. We kept walking in humility and pushing on doors. It’s amazing to see what God can do through people.”
The deal for the building was completed in September, but there was still work to be done before YWAM York could move in.
“During a survey, it was recommended to us that we have a structural engineer to come out,” Jennifer said. “There was a significant lean in one of the walls that needed to be fixed.
“To be honest, I was filled with a feeling of dread. I asked God if we were making the right decision, but I felt like we needed to go ahead with it. We anticipated a little bit of work, but not that much.”
In the end, they found a really good builder who finished before the deadline. It also turned into a ministry opportunity.
“The builder is a very old fashioned kind of gentleman. He had family members who were Christians, but didn’t really believe himself,” Jennifer said. “Once the project was finished, we had a conversation where I really sensed that he was recognizing God at work in this project, that there was more to this place than meets the eye.
The team officially moved in last week. Money still needs to be generated to pay off the loan, and for the continued renovation of the community centre, but YWAM York is moving forward, with many groups nearby already showing interest to make use of the new building.
“It’s a relief to have it finished,” Jennifer said. “We’ve got it, the building is sound, and now we can really move forward. It’s an exciting new season for YWAM York.
Written by: Lauren Nelson
Hope Ink Magazine