Monday, July 10, 2006

Final Thoughts on Church/Pastor Options

There are numerous denominations to which a church or pastor could go to as they leave the PCUSA. A web site called “shasta.com” has a very complete list of denominations in the “Presbyterian” and “Reformed” families (as well as most other church families as well). The site provides links to the web sites of the denominations that are listed.

One denomination to look at is the Reformed Church in America. Their web site states, “Our Call in the Reformed Church in America is to build on the foundations of discipleship, leadership, and mission and to renew existing congregations and start new churches.” Four key areas are revitalizing and multiplying churches, discipleship, leadership and mission. The “consistory” for each congregation is made up of the pastor(s), elders and deacons—this group governs the local congregation. A governing body called a “classis” oversees pastors and congregations in a given geographical area. The RCA also has Regional Synods and a General Synod. I am not very familiar with the RCA so I encourage you to look closer at this denomination.

A final option that I want to touch briefly upon is not going to be a popular one—it deals with pastors. This option is to leave the full-time pastoral ministry. Pastors and their families can be casualties of the battles in the PCUSA. One of my pastor friends has resigned from his church and is taking a break from pastoral ministry. Worship wars, congregational power struggles and frustration with the PCUSA all contributed to his decision. My friend has a passion for Christ and his church, yet he is FRUSTRATED with the institutionalized church. His heart breaks for those who are apart from Christ, yet he knows that most of these people will never walk in the doors of a church. He is intrigued with the idea of starting a very non-traditional outreach geared for these folks. The bottom line is that he is no longer serving as a pastor of a local church in the PCUSA. How many others will choose to leave the ministry?

Where to Next?

My intention was to spend several days commenting on the General Assembly’s Stated Clerk's interpretation of the PUP controversy when it was released. I read it with anticipation. It made me so angry that I wanted to leave the PCUSA right then! His crotch must get very sore from trying to ride the fence of pleasing both “sides” in the ordination debate. He has been on the fence so long that he has become impotent. I needed a straight-forward answer—he gave me lawyer babble. I wouldn’t mind if he gave a straight-forward answer and then backed it up with lawyer language. Would he do that? NO!! A long-time church member came up to me before church on Sunday and expressed his EXTREME ANGER toward the PCUSA and said that he was having a hard time staying with the PCUSA. I shared my frustration. The Stated Clerk’s office gave me no tools/help in trying to decipher the PUP controversy to my congregation. The State Clerk failed me, my congregation and the PCUSA. I am going to wait a few days look at specifics of his interpretation until my anger and frustration level go back to manageable levels. Until then, I am going to look at a wild idea that I have. See you tomorrow as we start on a new journey!

5 Comments:

At 12:32 PM , Blogger Classical Presbyterian said...

Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral are in the RCA. For me, that equals a big NOPE.

Our presbytery e-mailed out that Advisory Opinion fiction today to all of our churches. It was like they were saying, "See churches, it's all ok....it's just a little apostasy...can't we all get along now!"

It made me sick. I wanted to reach into my computer monitor, yank out the e-mail, wad it up and then toss it physically in the trash.

Boy, physics aside, that would have really felt good!

 
At 1:58 PM , Anonymous Larry said...

One positive to say about Kirkpatrick is that he has been consistant in his spin regarding the actions at Birmingham.

When all is said and done, what will matter amount of rebellion by the grass roots.

One idea is to put up a petition calling for Kirkpatrick's resignation.

Another idea is to create a website focusing on churches not sending money to the denomination.

I do not see the various renewal groups being effective. They have not been effective in stopping anything for the past 40 years so why should anyone expect anything different now.

It only takes a few people to get these ideas going.

 
At 7:17 PM , Anonymous Presbyterian Gal said...

Here's some of what my presbytery (San Fernando) posted on it's website re: FAQ's about the PUP report:
Question: So, what's different now?
First sentence of answer: "The standards of the church didn't change; it is the spirit that has changed..."
Question: Will gays and lesbians now be ordained?
Part of the answer: "Each governing body will be required to decide if a departure from a standard of faith or practice represents a violation of an 'essential' of the faith...."
These two points alone jump out to me. First, I'd agree that the spirit of the church has definitely changed. And renaming the Trinity underlines that one. The second, so now the Bible no longer determines standards of faith or practice? The individual governing bodies do this now? And does this mean we throw out all of Paul's directives on how to govern the church? Are there any commandments left we need observe?
I've no appetite for supper tonight.

 
At 12:56 PM , Blogger Xtrsk33r said...

I remember when I was nominated to be an Elder. I was excited. I would be a third generation Elder at my church. I was single, but dating, and I called my girlfriend (now wife) with the news. She reminded me of the scripture in First Timothy regarding requirements for Elders. I took the scriptures to heart and prayed. I feel so disgusted that my ordination seems somewhat cheapened by this action.

How can 57% feel they were "moved by the Spirit" and approve this, which completely disregards that which is specifically stated in the Bible? Did they feel Paul wasn't serious? A man that went through so much for God and his word. And they tossed it aside.

Paul wasn't a "Politically Correct Man", I wonder how the Church would receive him today.

 
At 5:51 AM , Blogger niebuhrian said...

I respond to this here:

Theospora

grace and peace

 

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