One of the real joys of our move North has been developing new relationships with a host of excellent Gospel workers. A fortnight ago I hosted 20 churchplanters from all around Yorkshire as we talked about churchplanting together and heard updates on various ministries. The godliness and commitment of those assembled, from seasoned campaigners to those just beginning in ministry, did us all much good.
Yesterday I was at the Yorkshire Evangelical Ministry Assembly at City Evangelical Church, Leeds. Again, the calibre of those gathered was simply outstanding. Many are plugging away in really tough situations, and are seeking no attention for what they're doing. Don Carson preached for us, and his ministry brought back so many treasured memories. Don had a year working at Tyndale House in Cambridge when Sarah and I were undergraduates. I well remember passing on a note from Sarah to Don, asking him if he might address Christian literature students on deconstructionism. He later referred to that talk as the spur to writing The Gagging of God! To hear him again in the flesh brought back clear memories of some electric preaching on 1 John which he gave to CICCU those many moons ago.
In the evening Don preached to perhaps upwards of 300 from Yorkshire churches (including a dozen from Hope) on Ephesians 1, and his doctrinal and well-applied sermon finished the day perfectly.
Doing a phenomenal job as ever was Jonathan Carswell from 10 of Those. His dad Roger has written a great little tract which explores Yorkshire identity and values, and moves skillfully towards a Gospel presentation. I bought a bundle to keep in our porch to give to callers, adn gave one to a local car mechanic yesterday. The Lord bless the Carswells.
These encouragements reflect well what the Lord is doing in the County; but they mustn't give a false impression that there is not a huge battle to face. Yorkshire's population is fully a 10th of that of the UK. Its population is larger than Scotland's, and twice the size of that of Wales. West Yorkshire's dense conurbations are in urgent need of church plants and planters. The harvest fields are crowded and ready. How about it?