A new initiative to mission Yorkshire is to be launched, later this year. A number of Christians in North and West Yorkshire started to meet in 2014 to discuss church planting.
Yorkshire has a larger population than California, and 35 other states in the US. It is more populous than Ireland, Denmark, New Zealand and 20 African countries, yet the percentage of people attending church once a month is only 0.9 per cent, and this figure is falling. There are huge areas of Yorkshire with no direct access to a Bible-believing, gospel-preaching church.
Gospel Yorkshire (GY) will formally launch with a conference on 7 October at Dewsbury Evangelical Church. Neil Powell, pastor of City Church Birmingham, and Andy Patterson of the FIEC will be the main speakers (details from www.gospelyorkshire.org.uk).
GY is an organisation that assists regional church planting initiatives, by identifying areas of need, identifying gifted gospel workers and promoting prayer. It is associated with the Yorkshire Gospel Partnership.
Graham Thomson, assistant pastor of Hope Church, Huddersfield, and pastor of Providence Baptist Chapel, Slaithwaite, is GY’s West Yorkshire co-ordinator. He said, ‘I have lived in Yorkshire all my life, and love the county and its people, but it breaks my heart to see the lack of gospel fruit. It is vital that we do not just bemoan this fact, but, under God, seek to do something about it’.
One of its regional initiatives is Plant North Yorkshire, where a group of church leaders meet to think and pray about ways to spread the gospel in North Yorkshire. Its next meeting is on Wednesday 26 November.
From previous discussions, West Bradford, Scarborough and Spen Valley, with particular focus on Cleckheaton, have been highlighted as priority areas for establishing new churches. Similar discussions started recently in South and East Yorkshire.
Mr Thomson added: ‘The only thing that will transform the spiritual darkness of our county is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order for people to hear that good news, they need local churches willing and able to reach out to them. It is my prayer that we will see churches planted all over our county that will reach out with the gospel’.