How it Got Started
- The seeds of Living Hope were planted in the fall of 2006 when our lead pastor met a family in New Freedom with a vision for a new church in the community. In the months that followed, a small core group gathered to seek direction from God.
- In the spring of 2007, the ten or so families that were beginning Living Hope needed a place to gather for Sunday worship. They contacted the YMCA and made arrangements to hold the first service in June.
- While the connection to the Y started as nothing more than a room to rent, we soon realized that there was potential for the Y to be a strategic partner and a platform to reach the community.
The Mission of the Y
- The mission of the YMCA of York County is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. They exist to develop and practice the principles of faith, hope, love, honesty, respect and responsibility. They focus on fulfilling this mission in the areas of Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.
- The Y has a vision to be a leader in providing need-based programming, building strong kids, strong families, and strong communities. The Y intends to be a catalyst for community collaborations with kindred organizations and demonstrate stewardship, creativity, efficiency and friendliness. Steeped in its history, the Y will provide the means for people to “Be Moved” to engage youth, strengthen families, build healthy lifestyles and engage in community development.
- To find out more about their mission, vision, and programs, visit the YMCA online.
Our Strategic Partnership
- We want to be intentional to develop a partnership with the Y that moves beyond the tenant/landlord relationship. The executive director and staff have been very supportive of Living Hope Church, and we want to be supportive of them. Our lead pastor currently serves on the Board of Managers of the Southern Branch of the Y.
- The Y has been very generous in our use of the facility. In addition to the gym and multiple classrooms on Sunday mornings, we have a designated storage room, our youth group uses the building on Saturday nights, and we hold numerous special events at other times. Additionally, the very reasonable financial arrangement frees up funds for other ministry opportunities.
- While there can be some challenges to our arrangement with the Y – set-up and tear-down, scheduling conflicts, facility concerns – we believe that God is at work through our partnership. We have joined with the Y for community-wide teen lock-ins, holiday events, and building maintenance projects.
- We view the Y as a strategic center of the community and a great launching point to reach the lost. Many people have visited Living Hope because they are involved at the YMCA. Some of them would never visit a church building on a Sunday, but God has led them to worship with us. Many in the community know of Living Hope because of our connection to the Y.
- There are countless opportunities that could develop from intentionally partnering with the Y as a platform for reaching Southern York County. It could mean praying for the staff of the Y, exercising at the Y and looking for opportunities to share Christ, volunteering with children’s programming, or contributing to the “Y for All” campaign (financial assistance for those in need). We know that God has called us to reach the unchurched in this area, and the Y seems like a good place to start.
- The leadership at Living Hope was very excited to discover that churches all over the country are meeting in YMCA’s and using them as a platform for church planting. There is even a growing network of YMCA chaplains and pastors of churches in Y’s who meet each year for a vision and training conference.
- One possibility for future partnership with the Y relates to their plans to expand the facility with a full-size gymnasium. While this project is a few years away, both our leadership and the leadership of the YMCA are open to the potential for a collaboration. We are exploring the possibility of the church making a financial contribution to the expansion, so that the gymnasium would be designed to meet our Sunday morning needs (worship platform, sound system, storage, bathrooms, lobby area, etc.).
- Why the Y? Well, we hope the answer is that God has led us here! We are still discovering all the implications of our connection to the Y, but we continue to be encouraged by the partnership that has developed and the opportunities God has brought to us.