Three Ways to Love Other Churches

Several times each year, our church has its Sunday evening worship service with other area churches. Before the service, we greet old friends in the parking lot and squeeze together in the quickly-filling sanctuary. Meeting in a place that a recent study called “the most post-Christian city in America” our combined assembly is not particularly large, but it is always immensely encouraging. Week-by-week, vastly outnumbered by our avowedly-secular neighbors, our individual churches can sometimes seem like minor oddities. But, every few months, for two hours on a Sunday evening, these scattered congregations gather. We sing together, pray together, confess our faith together, receive the Word together, and fellowship together. Together, we affirm that, though each local church may appear weak and solitary, we have never been—and will never be!—alone. In the book of Acts, when Luke reports on the earliest spread of the gospel, he describes it as the growth of a single church: “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied” (Acts 9:31). Congregations assembled for worship in various locations in Judea and Galilee and Samaria. They were unique groups of specific people under the care of particular elders. But, seen together through the lens of Christ’s great redeeming work, they were “the church.” In our local congregations, we are not just a few or a few hundred; we are part of something much, much bigger. We are part of the church...

Three Ways to Love Other Churches2022-05-05T00:43:00+00:00

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Mission to North America

Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we have been highlighting the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them. I recently interviewed  Paul Hahn, coordinator of Mission to North America (MNA). Christina: Can you explain the origins of MNA and its role in the PCA? Paul: Mission to North America (MNA) was established at the very beginning of our life together as the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), as a permanent committee of the PCA to coordinate the extension of the church in North America. From the very beginning, church planting (at that time usually referred to as organizing churches) has been core to MNA’s task of pursuing the flourishing of the gospel throughout the United States and Canada. And from early on, other ministries of word and deed which would serve to advance the gospel were given birth inside the MNA family: disaster response, chaplain ministries, networks promoting justice and mercy, and gospel outreach to college campuses (RUF was originally part of MNA). Initially, most new churches were formed in the PCA through transfers or splits from existing denominations who were drifting from their theological moorings. In the next phase, MNA staff directly recruited and launched most of the new churches. Since 2000, MNA has focused on providing services, resources, and hands-on leadership and training, so that churches and presbyteries can take full ownership of launching new churches. MNA has also been on the cutting edge of enabling the PCA to become a more diverse church in a gospel sense — with our various minority movements, as well as the New City Church Planting Network and our Justice and Mercy initiatives. In this most recent period, many more MNA Missional Partnership ministries have been added to serve established churches in their word and deed outreach to their communities: Metanoia Prison Ministries, Engaging Disabilities, ESL, Immigrant and Refugee, and Ministry to State, among others. Christina: What is your role at MNA? How have you seen it change during your tenure?

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Mission to North America2022-05-07T22:54:59+00:00

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Covenant Seminary

Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them. I recently interviewed Mark Dalbey, president of Covenant Seminary. Christina: Can you tell us a little of the history of Covenant Seminary? Mark: Covenant Seminary was founded in 1956 and served as the denominational seminary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod until the RPCES joined with the PCA in 1982. From 1982 to the present we have served as the denominational seminary of the PCA. Throughout its history, the seminary has been committed to the inerrancy of the Bible, the Reformed faith as expressed in the Westminster Standards, and the Great Commission. Christina: How does Covenant Seminary engage the broader St. Louis community? Mark: Covenant Seminary has served St. Louis PCA churches as a training ground in providing many pastors, ministry staff leaders, and church planters in Missouri Presbytery. While our primary role has been to serve the PCA, our location in St. Louis has also been a training resource for other evangelical churches in the greater St. Louis area as well. This includes a growing relationship with churches of ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural diversity in our area...

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Covenant Seminary2022-05-07T23:04:11+00:00

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Reformed University Fellowship

Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them. I recently interviewed Rod Mays, coordinator of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), about their work with college students on university campuses. Christina: What is your role at RUF and can you tell us a bit about how RUF started? Rod: Currently I am the Interim National Coordinator. I served as the National Coordinator from 1999 until 2014 and returned to RUF in 2017. As I retire again, at the end of the year as the National Coordinator, I plan to stay on in some other capacity. RUF was started in Mississippi in 1973 along with the PCA. RUF grew in the state of Mississippi and became a part of MNA in 1982 where numerous campuses were started in other southern states. In 2001 RUF became its own Permanent Committee in the PCA. At this time, we started to build our senior staff as our expansion started to grow quickly outside of the south. Our growth continues out west, the mid-west and north-east. Christina: What is its mission? Rod: “To reach students for Christ and to equip them to serve the church and the world” (“the gathering and perfecting of the saints”)...

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Reformed University Fellowship2022-05-07T23:10:37+00:00

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Covenant College

Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them. I recently interviewed Derek Halvorson, president of Covenant College. Christina: Can you share a bit of the history of Covenant College? How did it come to be the PCA’s college? Derek: Covenant College was founded in 1955 in Pasadena, California. (There is a longer story about its founding that I won’t tell now.) In 1956, the college moved to St. Louis and took up residence on the same campus as the newly established Covenant Theological Seminary (so the college is the “older sister” institution). In 1964, the college moved to Lookout Mountain. (Again, there is a longer story about the move.)  The college came into the PCA as a part of the 1982 Joining and Receiving between the PCA and the RPCES. It’s because of that older tie to the RPCES that the college has always drawn students from places—like Seattle/Tacoma, Colorado, Philadelphia, Delaware, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.—that are outside of the PCA’s historic areas of concentration in the South. Christina: What is the college experience like at Covenant? What makes it unique for students who attend?...

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Covenant College2022-05-07T23:15:16+00:00

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of MTW

Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them.I recently interviewed Lloyd Kim, coordinator of Mission to the World (MTW), about their work. Christina: Can you tell us a bit of the history of MTW and its relationship with the PCA? Lloyd: Sure—and I will give you the brief version. After the PCA formed in 1973, Mission to the World was immediately organized as the missions sending agency of the PCA, tasked with carrying out the Great Commission. We started out with 11 missionaries in four countries and then began to grow rapidly. In 1982, World Presbyterian Missions (from the Reformed Presbyterian Church—Evangelical Synod) joined with MTW, adding even more missionaries. God has continued to bless MTW and we now have 630 long-term missionaries, 88 two-year missionaries, and over 700 national partners serving in 95 countries. This growth has occurred under the direction of some very capable and godly leaders: John Kyle, Paul McKaughan, and Paul Kooistra. When we look back on our history, we are deeply grateful to God for the solid foundation and heritage He has given us. Christina: What is your role for MTW? Lloyd: As coordinator of MTW, one of my main tasks is to promote MTW’s mission, vision, and values within our denomination as well as in the larger missions community. What does that mean? It means that I serve as a key public face for MTW, representing our mission and its values to our constituents and potential partners. So—lots of travel, speaking, developing relationships; and there’s a commitment to fundraising for MTW as part of all that. Overseeing MTW’s financial stability and growth is part of my job—making sure that we’re good stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us and that we remain financially healthy. But we also want MTW to be spiritually healthy, so another aspect of my job involves tending to the spiritual vitality of the organization. We want to build a grace-based culture that encourages integrity, transparency, and mutual support. We also want a workforce that better reflects the diversity of the kingdom. These values have resulted in projects like our diversity initiative and efforts to expand opportunities for women in our organization. Finally, I provide leadership for our senior staff as we work together to focus our ministry efforts on our vision: fulfilling the Great Commission by establishing, growing, and maturing churches around the world. One of the challenges we face is that missions looks a lot different than it did even 10 years ago. The landscape is changing and we’re constantly looking for new channels and new methods for recruiting and sending missionaries. We’ve also just come through some pretty major infrastructure changes to support the growth that we’re praying about and planning for in our future missions force.

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of MTW2022-05-07T23:27:15+00:00

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of the Administrative Committee

Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them.I recently interviewed Dr. Roy Taylor, stated clerk of the PCA's Administrative Committee about their work for the PCA.Christina: Can you tell us the history of the Administrative Committee? Why it was formed?Dr. Taylor: The AC was formed by the First General Assembly in 1973 to provide the legal and organizational structure for the PCA to exist and function as a denomination.Christina: Many in the PCA are likely aware that the Administrative Committee is responsible for General Assembly, but there is more that you do for the PCA. Can you tell us what the Committee does?Dr. Taylor: The AC is to the PCA what Intel computer chips are to computers.  The AC enables the General Assembly, the other Committees and Agencies to function, serves like the State Department to relate to other denominations, and advances the purity, peace, unity, and progress of the PCA. The AC also acts as the Board of Directors of the PCA Corporation and provides the skeleton for the PCA to exist and minister.

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of the Administrative Committee2022-05-07T23:34:30+00:00

Connected Women Build Up the Church

I confess I do not remember the days of strong WIC Ministries in the PCA. I confess that I didn’t even know WIC Ministries existed until a year ago. I am currently thirty-five and became a member of a PCA Church when I was twenty-three. During my first several years in the PCA, I was a new believer, a new mom to four children under the age of five, and new pastor’s wife—I barely had any extra margin for women’s ministry in my local context—but my heart always longed to see more connected women in our Presbytery. The men in our Presbytery meet monthly for prayer, and quarterly for Presbytery Meetings; I always desired to see women from different PCA churches gathering together for encouragement, connection, equipping, and prayer. Part of a Greater Whole Last year, at my first Women’s Leadership Training (LT), Karen Hodge asked if I would be willing serve on her National Women’s Team as Regional Advisor to Women’s Ministries in Mid-America. I was quite shocked that she would ask me; I had only been leading women’s ministry in my local context for four years at the time, and I was in every way a newbie when it came to connecting women outside of my local context. As I have served awkwardly as a newbie Regional Advisor—learning as I go, one PCA acronym at a time—my heart has grown to see connected women on a Presbytery Level, Regional Level, and National Level. Being a small slice of the Women’s Ministry National Team has given me a diverse group of wise women who have prayed for me and walked alongside me during a difficult season in my life, and helped me troubleshoot the women’s ministry issues I have faced as a young leader in my local context. The love and connectedness I have received when I reached out beyond my local context, has blessed me more than I could ever ask or think. To step out of my small suburban, Ohio women’s ministry and serve alongside life-giving leaders from South Carolina, Texas, Delaware, and Washington has helped me practically see what Paul writes about in Ephesians 2, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Connected Women Build Up the Church2022-05-07T23:41:44+00:00
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