Nearly 5.5 million people live and work here, and are rightly proud of Yorkshire’s contribution to national life, in industry, commerce, sport and culture.
Yorkshire people have also made a huge impact for the Gospel in our county and far beyond. Through revivals, church planting, cross-cultural mission, training and discipling, our region has experienced and passed on incredible blessing through many centuries. To quote an old observation, Yorkshire has been a ‘garden’ of God’s grace.
That was then. Today, the spiritual condition in Yorkshire is very different. Church attendance is amongst the lowest in the United Kingdom. Churches which hold to and hold out Biblical Christianity are very few and far between. Those which exist are, almost without exception, small and poorly resourced. Many have significant challenges, and a large number of them are facing closure. Across Yorkshire you can see dying and empty chapels, which give ample witness to the fact that what God was once doing, He doesn’t seem to be doing now.
We know that God is still on the throne, and that the Gospel is His power to save all who respond with faith in Jesus Christ. We know that His Spirit is still working to bring people to Christ. All around us, though, are entire communities with no witness to all to Christ. There are vast urban as well as rural stretches of Yorkshire where no one is hearing about God’s love, and who are facing a lost eternity without His rescue. Who will reach them with the Gospel?
“There’s a ring around London in which close to 10 percent of the people go to church, many of them evangelicals; the percentage in Northern Ireland is higher, though falling. By contrast, in Yorkshire the percentage that goes to church once a month or more is 0.9 percent; evangelicals account for only 0.4 percent. Both figures are still falling. This is comparable to the state of affairs in, say, Japan.”