I put the phone down, my heart racing faster.  Imagination kicking into gear, filling with images of revolution and uprising, of an army rising up from the ashes, an army of students  with a fiery passion in their eyes, relentless in their pursuit of Jesus in the midst of student culture. 

On the other end of the phone was Luke, one of the leaders of Fusion, a UK based movement passionate about equipping students and churches to be effective missionaries in universities.

For a bit of context, let’s rewind for just a moment.  Two weeks prior to this conversation, our team leader Doug, here at YWAM York and myself were discussing how much we would love to connect with Fusion and work more closely with them.  As I talked with Luke on the phone, it became clear that God had prompted Luke out of the blue to get in touch with us.  God was on the move.  As we talked we all sensed we were caught up in something bigger than just ourselves.  Luke invited us into a creative collaboration with Fusion, to create a large body of engaging artwork to fill a warehouse for their annual conference.  A series of work that would embody what they felt God was saying about a new uprising in student missions.

Sensing God was really in this, we grabbed this opportunity with both hands. Our team had been given an incredible chance to collaborate as artists, alongside a movement we love.  We brainstormed, prayed, wrestled with ideas and bounced off each other.  As ideas began to form we kicked off with a couple of photo shoots in our YWAM centre, led by Garrett.  These images then became a playground for our graphic designer, Lauren, as well as for two large painted portraits that I started working on. Alongside these portrait based pieces, Doug, equipped with a small arsenal of power tools carefully crafted some striking text based pieces out of old pallet wood along with large frames to present the artwork.  Spray cans covered old furniture as we created an installation centred around the theme of ‘surrender’. After a month of pouring ourselves out in creative collaboration and a van full of artwork, we set off to fill the warehouse.

As we stepped back from the finished work, and as people began to engage with the pieces, our prayer was that this artwork would go beyond simple decoration and become significant meeting places where people could engage with God and hear His voice.

We feel that this process has been a significant milestone in our journey as YWAM York.  We are excited about collaboration, about the power of art to speak to the heart.  We are excited for more artists to join us in this great adventure of following Jesus wholeheartedly with our creativity.  We too sense an uprising.

Dave Nevard

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