Friday, September 14, 2018

Session, Presbytery, Church, O My!

I had a great time this past Sunday in our adult institute class as I took a gauge on people’s understanding of the PCA in Grand Rapids. One of the questions that came up was about the way presbyterians handle church governance, and then this week for me turned into a very “presbyterian” week with session meeting Tuesday night and presbytery looming ahead this weekend.

For those of you new to the lingo, Session is the elders of a local church charged with serving the church by ensuring the centrality of the gospel message and overseeing the various ministries. We meet once a month (generally the 2nd Tuesday) to pray through the congregation, deal with congregational care issues that arise, hear ministry reports, and prayerfully give consideration to items of business before the body. As you can imagine, in addition to the everyday ministry cares, some of the “biggies” on the agenda these days are our staffing search, our capital campaign, and Gracehill. Each of these are being given support by teams focused on carrying forward the objective, but the session continues to monitor and make adjustments as needed. As reported recently, both the staffing search and capital campaign have hit visible slowdowns as we await outside response, either from candidates or from the construction company. But, they continue forward and we expect more visible progress in the days to come. Gracehill has recently made progress on a new and desired meeting facility at Coit Elementary School. We continue to seek to follow where God is leading as the public launch of Gracehill gets closer and the ministry becomes increasingly viable.

Presbytery is comprised of representative elders (both teaching elders and ruling elders) from our region who meet three times a year for various cooperative ministry endeavors, including the examination of ministerial candidates. We will meet this Friday and Saturday in Fenton, MI. Our own Addison Hawkins will be undergoing his final examinations for ordination. He will be examined in the areas of church history and sacraments, and will have to preach for the gathered presbytery as well. Presbytery has its moments of mind numbing minutiae, but it is important as the holding forth of the standard of the Word and sacrament is seemingly more of a battle in today’s culture than it has ever been.

Church is this Sunday as we will gather for worship again. Here we will exchange greetings with friends, fist bump with a five year old, open our copies of the Word together, and encourage those in despair with the confidence we have in a God who raises the dead. Feel free to read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ahead of time. It is just a few verses, but they are filled with a hope that touches down into the reality of our daily lives!

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