22 June 2023
Greetings and Welcome to Summer!
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for his life time.”
This is not a biblical quote and how or where it originated is in question. But I find relevance in its intent for today’s church. I wonder if this is not how we approach the Word of God in our daily lives. I often receive inquiries that are seeking a scripture or passage to answer someone’s specific question or need. “Can you give me a scripture to help me deal with…” or, “Can you show me in the Bible where it addresses….” These are good questions and I love to help. And, I even find joy in knowing that I have fed someone for that day. I think that many of us use daily devotionals to provide our daily fish. We have established regimens that have us start our day with a cup of coffee, breakfast, and a few minutes in our devotional or reading plan of choice. And this is also good, very good.
However, if we did not have that fish thrown to us each day from someone, or a specific devotional, would we know how to open and read the scriptures on our own? Do we know how to read the scriptures in a way that provides a lifetime of provision – or even an eternity of provision? So, if the opening quote in this letter related to God’s work in our lives, how might we receive His provision in it? In John 17, Jesus is praying on behalf of those He desires to feed… “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). So, to be fed for a lifetime involves knowing God, and Jesus Christ. Jesus calls Himself out in the prayer. He also states, “I have given them your word…” and prays that we are sanctified by it, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:14, 17).
Today we have the Word of God preserved for us in the Holy Scriptures. It is where we get to know Him, it is where we seek Him, and it is through His Word that we are provided an eternity of provision. Over the past few months, many of you have shared with me a great desire to learn how to read the Bible. Many have expressed this as a specific challenge and have made a goal to become more familiar with the scriptural story and God’s revelation of Himself in it. And this is very exciting, and it is a specific goal of our ministry focus at Yorkshire Church to teach everyone, “how to fish.”
During the first half of 2023, our Sunday School participation and group Bible studies have continued to grow. Our women’s and men’s fellowships have completed some great studies focused on the Word of God and we are enjoying a new summer study on Wednesday nights which is geared directly to understanding our faith and growing into it through scriptural focus. If you have not yet attended one of our studies, I would invite you to check a class out, either on Sunday mornings at 10:15, or one of the Group Bible Studies that are in session (see announcements for current classes).
During a recent Worship and Education Team meeting, one of the topics of discussion was our service schedule and consideration what it should look like moving forward. NOW, THERE ARE NO CHANGES CURRENTLY RECOMMENDED. One of the considerations is having only one worship service each Sunday,
instead of two. It would be a combined service which would reflect a hybrid worship style including both contemporary and traditional elements. A reason behind making this change, is that although our worship attendance averages are growing, we do not have enough volunteers to staff the various functions necessary to operate two separate services. This includes, greeters, ushers, money counters, media center volunteers, and general hospitality needs. So, in recognizing our current capabilities, a one service model is a topic of consideration. Your input and feedback would be greatly appreciated and again, I emphasize that no permanent changes will be made without hearing from all of you!
Over the past few years, I have consistently heard that having a “fellowship time” on Sundays was of great interest. We heard your requests! Since the Lenten Season this year, we have offered a time of fellowship in the Fellowship Hall at 10AM which has included everything from home cooked breakfast specialties to simple snacks, coffee, juice, and other beverages. Yet, the participation in this time of fellowship is often only a few, sometimes only 2 or 3 folks, yet we have folks working hard to provide the various refreshments. But we want to give it another try, and our Education and Worship teams have put forth a plan to try something different. On Sunday, July 30th, we will have a Combined Worship Sunday format. The schedule will be as follows:
SUNDAY, JULY 30th
9:00AM Sunday School
10:00AM Combined Service (Hybrid of Contemporary & Traditional) 11:00AM Pot-luck lunch/brunch fellowship in Fellowship Hall
Please share this information with folks that you know attend our services – even if you think they get our announcements. We want to ensure that we let everyone know of the modified schedule for July 30th!
I want to acknowledge the great work of all our teams so far this year. We are growing in so many areas and great things are happening across the board – worship, education, finance, SPRC, missions, leadership, et al! Our Trustee team has been busy with continuing improvements to our facility. Since our Fellowship Hall renovations were completed at the beginning of this year, we have needed to address many other facility concerns. Some of these key areas include having our parking lot repaired and sealed, windows in the Administration wing repaired, media projectors in the sanctuary replaced, lighting controls in sanctuary repaired, roof concerns, HVAC unit replacement in Nursery, and most recently, our generator has begun to fail, which will require a new unit in the near future. All these necessary repairs have come at a great expense. As of the end of May, we have spent nearly $45,000.00 on these items and anticipate these costs to grow to well over $50,000.00 by the end of July. The good news is that we have been able to fund these repairs without capital fundraising campaigns or weekly reports to the congregation to ensure that we can cover the expenses. We have been able to cover all of the needed costs, but the level of expense has put some stress on our financial reserves. We budgeted $20,000.00 for expected repairs, but as you can see, some of our components are failing faster than we expected.
We will provide a complete financial report in July which will be based on the first two quarters of 2023. But I wanted to give you an idea of where we are through the end of May. The numbers include the Joyful Noise Preschool:
Income (Offering, Gifts, Designated Giving, Tuition): Expenses (including Preschool):
$ 198,031 $ 215,815 $ -17,784
125 Edgewood Road, York, PA 17402 • (717)755-4952 • www.yorkshirechurch.org
So, you can see that we are operating at a deficit through May. But we have had the funds in our accounts to cover the additional expenses that we have incurred. However, one of the things that we must consider as we move into the second half of the year is that even though our attendance continues to grow, our giving is basically the same as last year. If we take the Preschool tuition numbers out of the income, our congregational giving has grown less than one percent, while many of our operating expenses such as utilities, materials and repairs have grown at a much higher rate. As we have incurred the fellowship hall line of credit debt, we have seen an increase in our “Building Fund” giving, yet it is directly proportional to a reduction in our general giving, meaning that we are not realizing increased giving to offset the additional expense, we are just moving it from one general account to another. So, with additional expenses realized, the giving has remained the same.
The numbers that I have reported are certainly part of the ebb and flow of church finances. We are in a position, based on the expertise and diligence of our financial leadership team, to continue to invest in our ministries, our missions, and our church and preschool staff. But we also need to keep a keen eye on the trends as we move forward, and it is our hope to continue to grow in the ministry and mission work that we are called to.
As I close out this episode of “What’s Brewing,” I would simply ask that you enjoy and praise God for all the wonderful things He is doing in our church fellowship. Share in the joy of our growth in our Bible Studies and Sunday School classes. Be thankful for the enhancement of our various outreach ministries including a refreshed card care ministry, visitation ministry, and growth in our various elements of hospitality. Be thankful that God has provided us with all that we need to continue to serve Him in our church fellowship, community, and areas of mission’s support that He has called us. Continue to pray about where you fit into these various ministries through your participation and involvement and financial support.
Most of all, continue to seek God through your time in His Word. We can grow in every area of church administration and numerical participation in services, but if we are not growing in our relationship with God, through our time in the Word, then all we do is for naught. God is doing so much for us. In the Book of Acts, Luke writes about many of the things God had done for His people, which includes us (Read Acts 17!), and he documents why…
“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:27).
Have a great and blessed day. Learn how to fish!
125 Edgewood Road, York, PA 17402 • (717)755-4952 • www.yorkshirechurch.org