A brief report written for Affinity Magazine
80 people gathered at Dewsbury Evangelical Church in West Yorkshire on the 7th October for the Launch Conference of Gospel Yorkshire, entitled “Why Not Now?” Gospel Yorkshire is a church planting initiative in association with the Yorkshire Gospel Partnership. We are a new network of Gospel-believing people across the county who long to work together to see more Gospel churches in needy communities. At the conference were church leaders, ministry trainees, Bible College students, retired people and others in the workplace. We had a truly excellent day, and the feedback from delegates has been very positive.
Neil Powell (City Church Birmingham and 2020birmingham) and Andy Paterson (Mission Director for the FIEC) came to open up God’s Word to us. Neil gave a masterful overview of Jonah, probing the motives of our hearts as we engage in (or avoid!) sharing the Gospel with the lost. Andy urged us to humble, Gospel-serving partnership from Acts 17, and pressed home the implications of Yorkshire’s needs, as he explored social data on the county with us. Their input brought much-needed realism, about ourselves as Gospel servants, our county, and the infinite power and possibilities of God’s grace.
As well as hearing God’s Word, we had extensive updates from different churches and ministries in the county (Acts 29, International Presbyterian Church, the new Church Planting Academy baes in Sheffield, and Anglican Mission in England). We also broke into regional groups for news, conversation and prayer. In those groups it was brilliant to explore serious planting plans in Leeds, Scarborough, East Hull and the Spen Valley, as well as to look at the needs of Central Doncaster.
As we had hoped and prayed for, one of the best features of the day was the opportunity to talk together, either as already-established Gospel partners, or as new friends. Several came from outside Yorkshire, and are seriously looking at ministry opportunities here. The result of the day was that we went home encouraged to get to work, relying upon the Lord, and ambitious to partner in seeing churches established.
Gospel Yorkshire exists to help churches plant churches. We want to see Yorkshire alive with Gospel life in local churches, and are convinced that churches must own the work of planting. Equally, experienced church leaders and planters must work together with their churches to get them doing the real, hard work of planting. Gospel Yorkshire is a network of leaders and churches working together for these aims.
After such a successful conference it’s vital to remind ourselves that we’ve done almost nothing, yet. The challenges are enormous. And we are keen to hear from anyone who wants to pray for Yorkshire’s needs, get involved in planting, or offer us financial or any other support. Check our website, www.gospelyorkshire.org.uk.