1 July 2021 Good Day Yorkshire!
A few months ago as we began to experience the reality that the church was returning to a more active posture, the leadership team discussed how the church should begin to reopen and reengage in various activities and ministries. One of the questions that was discussed was “what is our mission and vision as a church?” Over the past few years, some work has been done on these questions, but as of today, the church does not have a definitive mission or vision statement. We agreed that if I asked each person leaving the church on any given Sunday what the mission or vision of Yorkshire Church is, that I would get almost as many answers as the number of people that I asked.
But obviously, we understand that our core mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We may not have a fancy slogan to encapsulate that point, but I think that we all get it. The question then becomes, “how” do we do this as Yorkshire Church? What is our plan? Is it simply to have worship services at 9 & 11 with 45 minutes of Sunday School in between? Maybe a few Bible studies here and there? We certainly do some great things, but are we doing the types of things that meet our mission objective to make disciples?
There are a couple of ways to begin a process to answer such questions. One is to hold planning style meetings for our leadership to design programs and activities that will help us make disciples. We can model what other churches are doing and implement a structure to accomplish our mission. We can teach our church just what our plans include and then measure the results. This is what many church leadership teams do. And some are very successful. But I believe the heart of a church cannot be created or developed from a planning meeting. What I mean is that we cannot sit in the fellowship hall and design plans to create passion or energy within the body of our church. Instead, what we need to first do is understand what is the passion and energy with our church and then provide the structure and programs to support that passion and energy. To begin this process of understanding just who we are, I asked our leadership team to respond to four questions. They had a few weeks to consider the questions as they discerned their answers. I wanted them to speak on behalf of the folks that they interacted with at Yorkshire. After all, a leadership team has the responsibility to serve the will of the people! The four questions were:
- Where will we be in six months?
- What should be different for us in six months / one year?
- What is not getting better in our church?
- One thing that we should do immediately is…
We received 84 responses from the team. The results were categorized into focus areas that could be quantified in a manner that we could address as a church. The results are helping us to discern how we move forward and in what areas to put our efforts. The idea is to ensure that we put our energy into things that support and compliment who we are as a church and where our passion for ministry and our natural gifts leads us. Through prayer, it is intended that this will result in our church growing in areas that God is calling us to, as a particular church, for a time such as this.
The ranked responses look like this:
Area of focus Number of Responses
Missions and Outreach (Local and Abroad): 18
Education (Sunday School, Bible Study, Small Groups): 15
Fellowship (Worship & Hospitality Activities): 14
Attendance (Growing our Fellowship): 9
Leadership (We have “leaders” but do we have a team?): 7
Music (Praise & Worship, Choir, Special Music): 6
Youth Programming and Activities: 6
Facilities, Administration, Preschool, Denomination Finance: 5
As a result of this information, we are working as a staff and a team to focus our energy on what these results tell us. This information is also validated by what the Ad Council shared with Holly and me as things that were important to Yorkshire when we were introduced back in January, 2020.
Some may ask, “did you really need to do a survey to figure this out?” The survey simply gives us a mandate to focus on. While there are so many ideas of what should we do and how we should do it, we also have to realize that we are a church of finite resources- financial and personal. If we focus on the areas where we have a clear objective as a body, then we can make the biggest impact on achieving our ultimate objective- making disciples.
What you are seeing as a church as we move forward is an increased focus of our leadership, staff and teams in the areas of Missions and Outreach, Education, and Fellowship. There are 9 areas of focus that were listed and all areas are being addressed, but we are simply addressing everything we do through the lenses of Missions, Education, and Fellowship. And the key to doing that is to remember that end goal of all things is to share our witness, continue to grow in our faith and relationship with God, and of course, make disciples of Jesus Christ!
The survey had no preparatory scriptural study or reference. But, when you consider the results with our current Acts study, I like to think that I see God’s hand in preparing us for what lies ahead.
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Missions/Outreach) Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Education/Fellowship)
To close, the following leaders participated in our study. It is our goal to ensure that we lead in a manner that serves the church. Your voices are important! Always feel free to reach out to me or any of our leaders to share your thoughts, concerns, and inspirations! We are the church. We are Yorkshire Church!
- Jim Valentine, Council Chair
- David Lloyd, Trustees
- Susan Workinger, Missions
- Fran Lucash
- Doug Berman, Finance
- Steve Spangler, Trustees
- Rick Focht, Education
- Justin Mann, Treasurer
- Joe Blackwood, Staff Parish
- Frank Herron
Have a Great and Blessed Day!
125 Edgewood Road, York, PA 17402 • (717)755-4952