About the Base
YWAM Oxford is a beautiful 1.2 hectare property with two additional houses off the base. We have recently built a modern kitchen and dining room with under floor heating, classroom and office block. There are other older buildings on the base and a charming character home which was built in 1870 and was the original property on the base, called ‘Providence’.
Our aim is to be a home away from home for students and staff with nutritious and tasty meals and comfortable shared rooms. Accommodation ranges from dorm style to a modern house where couples have their own room and singles share with one or two others. We aim not to be an institution but to provide a family atmosphere.
You will find quality teaching on our schools with anointed speakers coming from all over NZ and some internationally based speakers as well. There are opportunities on the weekends to explore the beautiful area around Oxford. North Canterbury is surrounded by beautiful rivers and mountains as well as beaches, cafes and the historic but recently modernised city of Christchurch.
About the Area
Oxford is a beautiful rural town of approximately 2100 people. It is situated in the Waimakariri district and set in the foothills of the majestic Southern Alps in New Zealand’s South Island. The town supports a thriving farming industry but many people also commute the 50 kilometres into the city of Christchurch for work each day. The town has a full range of retail and service facilities including a supermarket, post office, chemist, weekend movie theatre, 3 cafes/diners and several speciality gift shops.
Ashley Gorge is just 8 kilometres from Oxford and is a fantastic picnic and swimming spot with beautiful surroundings and crystal clear ‘cold water’. There are many popular hikes/tramps in the sorrounding hills and mountains including our own Mount Oxford, a challenging hike even for experienced walkers. Christchurch is just 50 kilometres away and is a very beautiful and historical city, with the Avon river running through it. Despite it’s historical past many new and hip buildings have arisen since the earthquake leveled much of Christchurch CBD in 2011. The beautiful Botanical gardens and Hagley Park are a must see.
Oxford has a large Christian community and there are several fruitful churches with Oxford Baptist church being one of the largest rural churches in NZ.
YWAM Oxford Vision
Our vision is to see hearts revived, refreshed and renewed and from this God’s love can be poured out on others in our community, in NZ and in the nations. We do this through our training schools, through living and working in community and through any other means that God may show us.
The Heart of the Base (Our Values)
1) We are a family
We are a group of people of different age groups and nationalities called to be a family together. We are an interconnected, multi generational family doing life together. Our aim is that YWAM Oxford would feel like a home more than an institution.
2) We are a pioneering base
We have been called to be a pioneering base in which new training schools and ideas flow out of. Our base has been a catalyst for many new ideas and schools in YWAM.
3) We find our identity as God's children
We find our identity in being beloved sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. This identity comes from knowing God as Abba and and living in this reality daily.
4) We are creative
We believe that one of the expressions of being God’s children is being creative. We encourage creative expression through worship, art, the performing arts and any other form of creative expression.
5) We are a safe place
We believe YWAM Oxford is a safe place where people are free to be themselves and can take off their ‘masks’. People feel accepted and loved and this gives them freedom to grow in the discovery of who they truly are.
6) We are missional
We believe that the love we receive needs to be shared into every sphere of society in NZ and beyond.
7) We are adventurous
We believe that our faith journey is one of adventure and life. Our Father invites us to go on an adventure with him and we embrace this journey.
8) We are on a journey of restoration
We desire that people’s hearts are restored in God’s presence. As we are restored we can help others in their journey of restoration.
Where Have We Come From?
YWAM in Christchurch
YWAM had begun in Christchurch in 1984 on Leinster Rd and at it’s peak had a staff of 50 who ministered around the South Island. The property was sold in 1989 and YWAM Christchurch continued to operate out of an office.
The current property at Oxford was called ‘Providence’ and was a home for people exploring the charismatic move. Before this it had been used as a retirement village until 1976. The trust at Providence were seeking how the property could be best used for the Lord’s work, when a God ordained meeting occurred at the back of a church in Christchurch between Providence trust member Barry inch and YWAM Christchurch leader Bob Scroggins. This led to the Oxford property being given to YWAM Christchurch in late 1991. In February 1992 the first DTS began at YWAM Oxford and the base began with an act of faith and a gift of generosity.
The base has a special heritage with the land being owned by the Anglican church in 1870 and the main house built at this time. The first minister to live in the ‘main house’ spent many hours praying that a mission force would come from this small town. His prayers were answered many years later with the YWAM base established and sending thousands of people into the nations.
In the early beginnings Oxford was set aside as a possible place for a University away from the influence of a seaport. This never did eventuate but instead the Lord established YWAM Oxford – a ‘University of the Nations’ in Oxford, to send labourers into the fields.
A New Vision
In 1998 six years after the base began numbers of staff and students were dwindling and a new vision was needed. As leadership sought the Lord he pointed them to Psalm 121:1 ‘ I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.’ As they looked at the beautiful hills and mountains that surrounded the base, the idea of a Snowboarding Discipleship Training School (DTS) came to mind. The school was birthed and quickly multiplied into a fruitful and thriving school. The first school had 8 students, then 13, then 25, then 36 then 38.
In the year 2000 a meeting was sort between Loren Cunningham (YWAM Int leader), Frank Naea (YWAM NZ leader), the trust and leadership of YWAM Oxford and some of the past leaders of YWAM Christchurch. The meeting was to address the hurts caused by the selling of the YWAM property in Christchurch. At the time YWAM NZ was centralised and all decisions made by a National Leadership team in Auckland. A decision was made to sell the Christchurch property by the National leadership to help clear debt and it was felt that the local YWAM staff and associates in Christchurch had not been properly consulted on this. Many felt this had become a blockage for the growth of YWAM Oxford at the time. The meeting brought closure and forgiveness for those affected by the selling of the property. Some felt that this occasion was the catalyst for rapid spiritual growth after this time.
Fruitful Season of Ministry
The Lord then showed the leadership that the second part of this word ‘look to the hills’ was to be a summer school attracting backpackers. In 2002 a summer school called the Backpackers DTS was born and it grew even faster than the snowboarders school.
After this beginning other schools began to arise; 2001 a Biblical Core Course (BCC), 2004 the Around the World in 80 days (AW80) DTS, 2009 the Fathers Love DTS, Earthcare DTS and Kings Kids Ministry, 2011 – the Justice DTS, and 2012 the Climbing DTS. This was a very fruitful season of growth for the YWAM Oxford ministry.
In 2014 the base entered into a 3 year pruning season and transition. Some schools were stopped and DTS numbers decreased. Leadership felt the Lord asked them to give the snowboarders DTS to a new YWAM base being established in Queenstown. YWAM Oxford were involved in assisting new leaders Andy and AJ Scalas in getting YWAM Queenstown up and running.
In August 2016 a 4 week seminar called the ‘School of Sonship’ began that helped people understand and grow in their identity as our Heavenly Fathers sons and daughters. The base also identified a new theme and branding based on the focus of ‘Family’ and ‘Sonship’.
In 2017 the decision was made to finish the AW80 DTS and Justice school in their current format and start a new school with 3 different themes based on God’s ‘Radical Love’. These were Radical Love through Justice, Radical Love through Missions and Radical Love through Worship and the Creative Arts.
This is the beginning of a brand new season and era at YWAM Oxford and God’s story continues to be written here.
YWAM Oxford Leaders
The base has had a number of leaders since it’s inception. These include Bob Scroggins (USA) 1991-95, Luis Lemmons (NZ) 1995-97, Boyd Henderson (NZ) 1998, Chris Donaldson (NZ) 1998-2010, Jeremy Slough (USA) 2010-2013 and James Smith (Australia) 2013 – current.