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 “” 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!


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