Just as there is a timber in every tree in the forest, the folks at Timber Coffee Co. are revealing the hope and potential in Jesus to every person they meet.
Briercrest alumni, Dan and Megan Jensen recently opened Timber Coffee Co., a high quality, non-profit coffee shop in partnership with Youth Unlimited. The couple’s heart for Timber Coffee Co. is that it would build community among the people of Sylvan Lake and connect them with one another.
“Instead of it just being a new and fresh coffee shop in Sylvan, it is a coffee shop that focuses on youth and community,” Dan explained. “To bridge the gaps from non-churched to the churches. To bridge the gap between a youth and a grandparent.”
“We know that God has so much in store for the community of Sylvan Lake,” Megan added. “We pray often and ask for His heart for this place. We know that God wants to bring hope and restoration to this community. We pray that Timber Coffee Co. will help to foster unity here and that we as a staff and a business can give the light and hope of Jesus with every cup of coffee.”
Timber Coffee Co. began as a ministry dream for Dan and Megan back in the summer of 2015. As they entered a season of transition, the Jensens began praying for a career where they could use their giftings and passions.
“I’ve always known that God has given Dan some amazing gifts. He is so good with people and I knew that truck driving wasn’t really what he was meant to do. We went through a season of life where we really had no idea what we were doing—no jobs, no family around, and no close friends yet. We hit a low, but we turned to God and we prayed, and within a week God brought a job with Incline Industries and Youth Unlimited to us. It was hard to say yes at first because it would be a step of faith financially, but we knew it was from God and we haven’t looked back,” Megan said.
Dan and Megan were contacted by the owner of Incline Industries, an indoor skate park that now shares the space with Timber, asking Dan to manage the facility. The owner was looking for someone to make an impact on the skate park, building relationships with the kids and sharing the love of Jesus with them.
“[This] is the same heart and vision of Central Alberta Youth Unlimited—a chapter of Youth for Christ Canada. Incline and CAYU had been in a few discussions over the years to team up but never had the proper personnel to bring the two organizations together,” Dan explained. “The day that I signed up to manage Incline, I submitted an application to Youth Unlimited to join their team and plant a flag in Sylvan.”
Dan and Megan shared where the idea for a coffee shop originated.
“Instead of launching Youth Unlimited in Sylvan Lake through a drop-in center—which is great—we did not feel that it would be the most effective way to reach and attract 15 - 19-year-olds. Our location at the skate park is 200 meters from the only public high school in the town, so students can over during their lunch or in their spare time,” Dan said.
After a number of months building both prayer and financial support, Dan and Megan’s efforts shifted to planning the space, and working through business plans, grants, and budgets.
“We started first shopping for our cabinets and fridges for the coffee bar in October,” Dan explained. “It was remarkable how fast the renovation was done. We had electricians from two different churches, and three plumbers all donating their talents and time to help run pipes and plumb in fixtures. I was in way over my head in many of the construction pieces but I learned a lot—running cement cut-off saws, jack-hammers, smashing out windows, and installing doors. We renovated and painted and decorated all within five weeks! And all of the people that helped got to see our vision come together, and buy in the heart behind the space.”
“I believe that we can build community in our little awkward building away from the downtown core and the business sector on the east side of Sylvan,” Dan continued. “We are in the neighbourhood—close to the schools, close to the people. Timber Coffee Co. is often assumed to stand for Timber Coffee Company, but our favourite meaning is actually Timber Coffee Community. That’s the whole point of the space.”
Within just a month of being open, Timber Coffee Co. has already become a place where relationships are being formed with the youth.
“We have already seen the slower evenings transition into building relationships with youth skate kids. They have come in and stamped cups with our logo, washed dishes, swept the floors and wiped tables,” Dan said. “And out of those jobs, our staff have been able to ask questions about broken homes and share biblical perspectives on healthy relationships with girlfriends and testimonies of how they have seen God work in their own lives and past relationships. We are beginning to change the atmosphere in the heart of Sylvan Lake and in the hearts of the students and share the hope of Jesus with them.”
If anyone has any questions or wants to partner with Dan and Megan they can email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.cayu.ca. To see what’s going on at Timber Coffee Co., “like” Timber Coffee Co. on Facebook and follow them on Instagram @Timbercoffeeco!