In the last few weeks I put before the session a document entitled A Narrative on the Health of Mission and Ministry of the Church. It is, in part a return to our roots. It was, prior to 1925, the annual report of a Presbyterian congregation shared with a small number of other local churches who shared the goal of “doing better” at the job the Lord had given each to do. There are ten areas in this document. To do all ten of them would be overwhelming. So, the question was put to the session, “If we could only focus on one of these items for the rest of this calendar year, which one should it be?”
The clear winner was: How are you encouraging people to allow God’s Word to shape their priorities and actions, and to nurture constant learning and the life of the mind?
The description that went along with that question was: Reformed people are people of the Bible. How is the Scripture impacting the life or our congregation; nurturing a lifetime hunger and deepening our theological and Biblical understanding? We are committed to making sure faith is understood, expressed, and passed on. We will continue to nurture study and growth, but our study is not designed only to increase our knowledge. Everything we study from the great Confessions of history or our Essential Tenets of Faith is designed to focus back on the Word of God for personal growth and increase in ministry effectiveness.
This is the commitment of your session for the rest of this year. We will indeed do other things as well, but we recognize that our growth in faith is often tied to our growth in study of the Word of God. To that end we will take the Word of God seriously, turning to it for guidance and encouragement. It will be our standard by which we make our decisions.
This is not as though we have never intended to do this prior to this year. No, this is a re-emphasis on learning what our Lord has to say to us through the Scripture, our sister churches who covenanted with us in this process, and what our forefathers in the faith have written and passed down to us across the ages.
It is our hope that this recommitment to these standards will lead each one in our faith community to a renewed sense of presence of the Spirit working daily in us and through us that we might show forth the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to one another and the world around us.