Hello friends, and thank you for your patience with me in waiting for an update! Pioneering means there’s loads of establishing to be done in the worlds of admin, finances, emails, certifications and sussing out legal requirements, so when we’re not actually out with people, there’s a lot to do!
But I do have a praise report! We received our charity number just two days after finalising and submitting our application for it - and that’s a process that could have taken up to 6 months! That means that YWAM York is officially a UK charity with a board of trustees and the ability to get a bank account, have property, etc. It also opens us up to apply for grants, donations and other things like that. We know that God is the one who has gone before us in this, because the application was a steep learning curve (thank you to Carrie at Radiant for all of her help!).
On another note entirely, I’ve just gotten out of a meeting with various YWAM Europe leaders in which we heard some appalling statistics that really shed light on what is going on in the UK right now. Fasten your seatbelts, because it’s grim:
The church is increasing massively in Brazil, China and Iran (that’s good news!).
But in the UK, 70% of young adults were polled as saying that they have no religion. Of the 30% of the total number polled that do, 10% are Catholic, 11% are Protestant and 9% are other religions (6% are Muslim). Of that 11% of Protestants, only 2-3% go to church.
These young adults, Generation Z and the tail end of Millennials (my generation!) are heavy on my heart. When going into evangelism recently, all four of us have realised that we need a heart change. We can’t go in and expect everyone to hear about and receive Jesus in one day. So when we talk to different people, we need to be willing and ready to invest time in getting to know them and in welcoming them into our lives. Getting to know Jesus can be a process!
This is actually amazing, because God has been speaking to us about being a base of hospitality and generosity. We want to welcome people in to be a part of family and life with us, whether that’s for an evening or as a student for five months, or if they become staff members and join our family! COVID-19 has shown everyone the need that we all have for community, and God has placed us so well to provide that.
We are still getting to know the youth in our community - next week is our first official youth activity as we host a holiday club during half term school holidays. We’ll do arts, sports and Bible classes with the children who come. But I’ve also gotten to know several artists recently, and through photo shoots, bespoke fashion workshops in our community centre and just doing photography round town, I’ve got to start building relationships with these women who have common interests with me.
I also joined my first ever running club this past week, and the girls are starting to attend dance classes in town from next week. It’s amazing to get to bring Jesus to people in these relational ways. All of this is in addition to the classic street-style evangelism that we do. This past Saturday, we played worship and did dance in front of the Minster, and we got to talk to and pray for the people who stopped to watch and listen.
Thank you for all of your prayers. It really is exciting to work alongside God as He gives us new ways of reaching the people of York. One of the great parts of pioneering is trying many different ways of doing things. If one doesn’t work, we just try again! And so often, as we pray and listen to God, He shows us where doors are open, where people are willing to hear about Him, and we get to follow Him into new activities and ministries. So if you are praying for us, please pray that we will hear God clearly and follow Him to the next thing, and the next!
There are many other ways that we need prayer, from the finances to pay off the rest of the base building (£11,000 now - down from the £30,000 that it was when we moved here in November! God is so good!) to getting a bank account to receiving male staff when God’s timing is right - there are so many little boys in our community who would benefit from knowing Godly men! But for now, I wanted to share how we see God moving and our hearts for reaching the people of our beautiful city. It is such a privilege to get to serve God here.