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28 July 2021
This morning I had the incredible blessing to see many of our Youth off as they embarked for the “Impact” festival which is held over a five-day period at Camp Green Hills in Alexandria, PA.
“The Impact festival combines powerful praise and worship sessions, challenging breakout seminars, ambitious athletic and outdoor activities, life changing lessons from God’s Word with seven main stage gatherings, and a relational emphasis through group building and campfire settings.”
I only had a brief moment to pray with them as their departure time from Zion Church on Carlisle Avenue was at 8AM, and our 6AM Men’s Fellowship often extends until 7:30 with lingering participants continuing to share in fellowship with one another. But I was inspired by this van load of 13 youth, even in a short period of time. They are taking 5 days out of their summer to be in fellowship with one another and other Christians to focus on God’s Word. Oh, the power of fellowship! The blessing of relationships with other Christians! The joy of communal praise and worship as the body of Christ!
We can all experience a bit of joy in their activities this week. They are a part of our fellowship. They are the witness of Yorkshire Church, being strengthened in their faith through their relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We can celebrate with them as they will be enjoying praise, prayer and worship every day. We can meet them in prayer as we pray for them, which is our duty as a part of their church family. I challenge us to pray regularly for our youth and the children of our fellowship as a part of our prayer discipline on a daily basis!
As I watched Pastor Megan drive the white van with our youth out of sight on this morning, I thought how great it would be if someday there were two vans, or maybe even a bus of our youth. As the Impact-bound caravan of vehicles disappeared out of sight and I was standing alone in the parking lot of one of our sister churches, I became aware that my desire for this future goal of “more” was not aligned with any biblical or scriptural mandate, but more of an objective for success in growing our church- numerically. After all, activities are more fun with more kids.
Now, as Christians, we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and this would arguably mean “more” disciples of Jesus Christ than what exists today. So, growth in and of itself, is certainly a biblical mandate, and actually a command of Jesus Himself. But Jesus did not come for the purpose of numerical growth as an achievement, or for the purpose to make activities more fun for our youth and children. No, His purpose was for much more. His purpose was to have more believers involved in a personal relationship with Him, and therefore, with the Father. We were created to enjoy fellowship with God, through our relationship with one another.
So, to wrap up these wandering thoughts, when we say we want more children and youth in the church, we must consider our motivation for “more.” I have a saying that I have shared with our leadership:
“Every organization is perfectly structured to achieve the results that it is currently getting.”
As a fellowship with an honest desire to grow our church, are we achieving the results that we are structured to get? In our study of Acts, we see that God was constantly adding to His church. But the additions that He provided came as the result of the believers spending time in prayer, Communion, fellowship, and basically time in the Word (teachings of the Apostles). As we desire more, is our desire for the purpose of honoring God, or ourselves? Is the purpose for more an objective of disciple making, or simply enticing more disciples to join our church? Are we designed to lead our youth (and adults) into deeper relationships with Christ, or are we seeking improved ways of creating an atmosphere that they will like when then come into our facility?
These are the thoughts and challenges that keep me awake at night. A recent question that I pondered with some of our leaders is what can we do as a church to make it a place that our youth would want to invite their friends to. We have also considered what can we do to make Yorkshire a place that our adults would want to invite their friends to. Of course, a quick point to make here is, “have you invited anyone into our church lately” (why or why not?). These are fair questions and thoughts to ponder and we certainly need to make Yorkshire Church a positive place for those who enter our doors. But we also need to focus on our efforts to grow into our relationship with Christ. How do our actions, activities, programs, functions, concerts, meetings, and worship reflect the light of Jesus Christ to those who do not yet know Him? And yes, we need to do things and have a facility that meets certain requirements in form and function to be a desirable place to be.
My conclusion on my reflections this morning is that as a church, we need to be more, do more, serve more, and reach more. We need more adults, more youth, more children. But not for our own survival or success factor. Not so there are two, three or four vans of youth leaving for Impact. But because we have been commissioned by Jesus to be more than we are today. More in our relationship with Him. More in our witness to others.
More in our love for one another. More time in the Word. More time in fellowship. More time walking with others who do not yet know what it means to have a relationship with Him. I think when we seek the right “more,” for the right reasons, that God will provide the “more” that we are looking for.
Have a Great and Blessed Day!
125 Edgewood Road, York, PA 17402 • (717)755-4952 • www.yorkshirechurch.org