Worker Profile: Tyler and Kendra Yoder
Posted on November 2, 2020 by VMMissions Staff
We are planting Garden City Church in Richmond, Va., where we seek the wholeness of Southside Richmond by focusing on reconciliation, maturity, and multiplication. We moved to Richmond in 2018. We are creating a network of neighborhood-based house churches that will also meet regularly as a large group. We see that lasting and effective discipleship happens in smaller groups, so our primary focus is on house churches, while we still desire to meet as a corporate body to celebrate God and his work in the city and in our lives.
We launched our first house church on the day of Virginia’s stay-at-home order, so we immediately pivoted towards meeting online. Even with this change, God worked in profound ways. In August, we started meeting in our backyard. Engagement has increased since meeting in person, which is evidence of people’s great need for community right now. Part of our vision for Garden City Church has always been to actively participate in reconciliation of all kinds, and to be a multiethnic body of believers. The need for the church to take action in racial reconciliation was amplified by George Floyd’s killing and the Richmond protests which followed, both peaceful and violent. Though choosing how to respond from one day to the next was challenging, we are grateful for the ways that the broader church of Richmond has taken action as well as for the opportunities we have as Garden City Church to continue to enter into this work.
We sensed God inviting us to put down roots more deeply in our neighborhood. During quarantine he answered our prayers for a house right where we felt him leading us to be, only about eight blocks from where we had been living. It has a front porch where we can take part in our front-porch-sitting neighborhood, and great hosting potential both inside and outside. Our neighbors on our new block have been incredibly friendly, and we are learning to know them more quickly than we anticipated. Kendra also decided to put more of her time and energy toward church planting rather than teaching art again this fall. Making this change has been life-giving for her and has opened up more space to cultivate new and existing relationships.
A typical day:
Both of us are bi-vocational. Thus, we can naturally integrate with our city while also devoting time to church planting-specific work. On a typical weekday, Tyler drives school bus in the morning and afternoon for students whose in-person learning is necessary. In between, he prepares teaching for church, meets with others, and prays in the neighborhood. Kendra’s schedule alters daily as she works at a local coffee shop, connects with others, prays, and spends time in learning mode exploring church planting resources on our porch. On Tuesday evenings, we meet for church in our backyard, which involves eating food, hearing a short teaching, discussing the teaching together and praying with each other. Because of the pandemic and life changes, we are continually revisiting our rhythms of life, especially our work/life balance, knowing that God invites us to both rest and work.