Thursday, April 26, 2007

Purpose Driven Presbyterians – Report 1

There is hope for the PCUSA! Presbyterians from across the country have converged on Satellite Beach, Florida, and Trinity Presbyterian Church. Some of the churches have been involved in “Purpose Driven” ministry for many years, some for a year or two and some are just beginning to explore the Purpose Driven model.

Two years ago I attended this conference. Evergreen Presbyterian Church had just completed a very successful 40 Days of Purpose campaign. I had read The Purpose Driven Church. The leadership of Evergreen had already been looking at new way of being the church and doing its ministry. To put it bluntly, the Purpose Driven model has had a powerful impact on Evergreen.

The conference has plenary gatherings for worship and some speakers. The bulk of the time we are divided into three groups, based on our church’s involvement in Purpose Driven ministry (looking at Purpose Driven, those that are in the midst of beginning it and those who have been doing it for a while—different groups for different needs).

Most of the churches represented at this conference have less than 300 in worship attendance—many have considerably less (like Evergreen). Most churches are faced with aging members and decreasing numbers. These churches have a passion for the gospel—the great commandment and the great commission. Most have realized that they cannot keep doing things the same way and have a bright future. Basically, these are “typical” Presbyterian churches.

So, what did I learn on Wednesday?

“We’ve got to change the values before we try to change the structures”

There is always a resistance to change—especially churches! There are a lot of things that a church can value: the building, a particular ministry, a “style” of doing things, etc. It is only when a church and its people grasp the great commandment and the great commission that change can occur.

It is easy to seek the Purpose Driven model as a passing fad until we realize that the five purposes are biblical (and to be a good Presbyterian—they are reformed). The five purposes of a church are: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission. The Purpose Driven model provides a good blueprint for keeping these five things in balance.

Have got to run… more later!


At 7:28 AM , Anonymous -Justin- said...

I agree that if there is hope for the denomination, it is going to come from people like those who are at this conference. I have been impressed with the dedication, passion, and sincerity of everyone.

I have literally been scared to hear every person I have talked to say that over half of their congregation is over retirement age. Many people have talked to me about how to draw younger people, but we seem to have a generation missing from our churches. There is no easy answer to those questions. It makes me wonder what the church will look like in 20 years, 30 years.

This is the exact reason I am really hesitant to seek ordination in the PCUSA.

Great meeting you the other day.


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