One year has gone
by since our
Quite a long time to be honest... but this has been an opportunity for our community to invest thoughts and energy to wrestle with some of the questions and ideas that we shared last December. This season birthed new changes and some forward movement in the direction we want to go in the future. The purpose of this update is to share some important aspects of the journey we have been on.
But before we go further: thank you! Thank you for the way you have carried this place in your heart throughout the years. And also, thank you in advance for taking the time to read the lines below.
The entrepreneurial mindset: an energizing catalyst for the reshaping
of our community.
God's heart &
When we look at the world, we see a rising tide of young people who are looking for a way off the beaten path. Plainly, they see the world for what it is, full of hardship and brokenness, but at the same time, filled with beauty and potential. And they long for the work of their hands to contribute to both the healing and restoration of what is shattered, but beyond that, they also aspire to use their gifting and abilities to create, with God and others, hopeful solutions for the issues humanity is facing today.
They understand and believe that they are called to be salt and light of the world, being living epistles of the Gospel, whatever the context God has called them into. They know that their faith is meant to be more than just Sunday morning christianity, that it should be the fuel for living lives of hope and speaking the truth into their communities, cities and cultures.
And this is exactly where we see
this entrepreneurial mindset kicking in...
Wisdom of old, wrapped in
a new packaging.
We believe that entrepreneurship is a cornerstone of human progress. It is creativity and innovation, anchored in the Good News, that challenge the status quo and fight to pull communities out of cycles of lies, poverty, injustice, and hopelessness.
We have seen the significant impact even small projects have on the hearts and minds of the people they touch, as former Restenäs staff started a small business which provides empowering jobs with training and fair wages for women in remote villages of Nepal.
Or long ago, in India in 1818, it was a Christian missionary named William Carey, considered by many to be the “father of modern missions,” who used practical innovation and creativity to pioneer the first degree-awarding university in Asia.
By God’s design, entrepreneurship and reaching the lost are integrally connected. Because entrepreneurship is a mindset, a way of thinking that says ''What do I have in my hands? What are the needs around me? And how can I, with the gifts and abilities I've been blessed with, meet those needs in a way that glorifies God and points others to Him?''
The term ‘’entrepreneurship’’ might be a modern concept, but really, we believe the ideas it embodies are simply pointing us back to the role God always intended for us as believers - being salt and light of the world.
And all of this led
us to ask ourselves:
What if we used our massive property as a creative space to inspire, train and launch young people to develop, start and run hands-on, entrepreneurial ventures and projects? Imagining and innovating towards making Earth more like Heaven. An entrepreneurial playground to teach young people how community, when fuelled by faith and creativity, has the power to rock the world with God's kingdom!
This question became the fuel for the vision we are moving towards as a community.
A vision we call SPARKBOX.
Sparkbox is the vision we are now moving towards at Restenäs. It's the dream we have of growing into a hub for pioneers, entrepreneurs and community builders here on the west coast of Sweden. Together and with God, being committed to creating and cultivating sustainable solutions for the problems facing our world today. And through it all, to inspire and empower young people with the truth of the Gospel, so that they may see and know what it means to build a better tomorrow - one that makes manifest our Father’s kingdom, both locally and abroad.
As a community, we believe in the enormous creative potential of all individuals. There are God-inspired, innovative ideas out there, waiting to explode into brilliance… like a gunpowder box.
And all they need is a spark.
Just imagine for a second what this could look
like at Restenäs... and abroad!
...starting a small scale agriculture and food production farm, taking on the challenges of widespread poverty, famine and malnutrition plaguing today's world, as well as being a voice for truth and hope in the current polarized environmental debate...
...starting a music recording studio, preparing the future musicians of the industry and walking alongside them on their creative journey, seeing them shaped into men and women of truth, individuals who will write the new songs and melodies that will inspire the upcoming generations...
... starting a community kitchen, helping people rediscover the fellowship of the table and the art of preparing meals that speak both to the belly and the soul, being a force for community-building in a culture plagued by isolation, loneliness and individualism...
... starting a dance studio, forming artist who will help people reconnect with the beauty and strength of their own bodies, as well as learning to tell powerful stories through movement and rhythm...
... starting a tree-to-tree obstacle course, inspiring people to overcome their fears, believing in their own abilities and learning to work in teams...
Those are just a few examples of what we have in mind and what could be and we think that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Because we believe that Sparkbox is to be a place for creativity and innovation, a place that will be home to a variety of projects and ideas inspired from the heart of God for such a time as this. And through all those future endeavours, projects and ideas, our heart is to reimagine our approach, as believers, on how we could engage and bless our communities, near and far, all the while rethinking the way we might help and encourage today's youth to understand their unique role and calling in the building of God's kingdom.
RESTENÄS' LONG HISTORY...
...and how Sparkbox
connects it all together.
Looking back on the history of Restenäs, God has been giving us many key pieces to help us focus our work and efforts. Whether by seeing this place built into a major University of the Nations campus, or sending people to the least reached and most vulnerable, or again by inspiring and mobilizing the Church in Sweden, especially the youth. Those different parts have and will continue to play a central role for the future of this place. Many have dedicated years of service to see those God-inspired pieces become reality, in and through Restenäs, and as we are now looking into the future, it is with thankfulness in our hearts that we look back on all that has been done in this place these last 40 years. We believe that God is now giving us a new key, through entrepreneurship and the vision of Sparkbox, to find fresh ways to bring together the afore-mentioned areas in a way that connects with the hearts and minds of the upcoming generation.
To put it simply, Sparkbox is not an end in itself; it is a holistic platform through which we aim to gather like-minded people in a conducive environment in order to develop, start and run entrepreneurial ventures and projects in a way that truly blesses our world - right here in our own backyard, as well as out there, in our global neighbourhood. And as we live, work and create in this way, we want to invite the upcoming generation to come and tag along, working together to inspire, train and launch them to go and do the same. And through all these crazy, risky and lively endeavours, this entrepreneurial playground, our hope is to see lives transformed by the truth and love of God, seeing even more individuals and communities get the ‘’spark’’ and join into the vision and mindset of Sparkbox.
'' It has to start somewhere. It has to start some time. What better place than here?
What better time than now? ''
WHERE THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD
Here's the plan for
the coming year.
SPARKBOX DTS &
CALLING IN THE BRAVE ONES
BLÓM & TERRA FIRMA:
OUR PILOT TEAMS
Having a vision is only the beginning. We will use the coming year to get out there, meet young people, hear their dreams and struggles, and share with them the stories and ideas that have inspired the vision of Sparkbox. We want to start planting seeds, but also challenge young people to seriously evaluate where they are at in life, and where they believe God is calling them. And from there, we want to invite them into this playground we are building, starting with a Sparkbox DTS we will run in September 2020, but more importantly, calling them into what could be, as they would step out in faith to co-create the future with God.
We also want to call in our fellow YWAMers, those who are currently standing at a crossroad and are ready for a new challenge. We believe that the vision of Sparkbox goes wider than only our current staff team, and we will use this coming season to connect and network with the brave souls that are to join us on this exciting journey. We want to help people grasp what life, community, work and creativity could look like in the context of Sparkbox and we want to hear what ideas & visions are being carried by the members of our big international YWAM family!
And since we believe that this ''blowing of the trumpet'' cannot only be about fluffy ideas, we will be using this coming year to pioneer at least two teams that will mark the start of this new season, as well as turning the vision of Sparkbox into something concrete.
The first team is Blóm, a design collective made up of individuals who firmly believe that every single person on earth has a unique contribution to make in this world. And their passion is to help people discover and live out this truth. They use design and creative thinking as a vehicle for helping individuals, projects and organisations reimagine how to engage with issues facing society, in order to create value, build community and see lives transformed by God's love and truth.
The second team is Terra Firma, an agriculture project, meeting needs around them through sustainable food production. There are more than 800 million people suffering from malnutrition on a global scale. And locally, poverty is at everybody’s doorstep. They believe that God has given us everything we need to provide enough food for all people, everywhere in the world. They are hoping to use our amazing property to create a learning environment for agriculture that regenerates the lands that God has given us.
Those two teams will work together in the planning and running of our upcoming DTS, hoping to infuse it with the passions they carry for their respective areas and also helping the students to see and understand their God-given potential to impact the world around them.
So in short, this coming year will be about creating momentum and forward movement towards the future of this place. We have planted the seeds for Sparkbox during this last season and we now need to do the watering, trusting that God will grow the crop at the right time.
ONE IMPORTANT DETAIL
A new name &
As we prayed and sought God in this last season, we sensed He was encouraging us to make a bold statement in connection with the changes we are making at Restenäs. This is why Sparkbox is a new name and visual identity for our entire community, one that describes the essence of who we aspire to become and what we want to see at Restenäs.
That being said, we are still YWAM. We are still in Restenäs. And nothing will change that. The difference is that we will use the name Sparkbox, alongside YWAM Restenäs, to communicate our new identity and vision.
LET'S DO THIS TOGETHER!
join us on
We are excited and hopeful about this new season, but with all that being said, it is also important to understand that we are still facing big challenges. Low staff numbers and low finances in the face of major mandatory infrastructure projects are still an issue here, and many other challenges are ahead of us as we launch Sparkbox. Would you stand with us in prayer as we sail into this new season and consider giving financially?
One of the key elements needed for this vision to move forward is to see entrepreneurial individuals join us on the ground. We want to see a fresh wave of people who believe in the vision of Sparkbox come to Restenäs. People who are carrying innovative and creative ideas and visions for how to change communities for the sake of the Gospel.
Could that be you?
We cannot wait to welcome the next generation of trailblazers here at Restenäs!
Thank you for standing with
us in this new season!
Sparkbox - YWAM Restenäs leadership council, together with the community.