Thursday, April 24, 2008

Presbyterians Seeking Purpose Driven Ministry Conference – Post #1.

(The Present Future series will conclude next week)

The annual “Presbyterians Seeking Purpose Driven Ministry” conference is going on in Satellite Beach, Florida. Once again, Presbyterians from across the nation have descended upon Trinity Presbyterian Church to learn about Purpose Driven ministry and to share ideas on how to make the transition to this ministry model. In many ways, it is a continuous process—a church never “arrives,” there are always changes that will need to be made.

The largest expansion of the Christian faith (in terms of numbers of conversions) is currently going on on planet earth. God is doing amazing things in Central and South America, China, India, the Philippines, Africa and Australia. The only two regions of the world that are not experiencing this revival are Western Europe and North America! God is not the problem—God is the same all around the world. The problem is the church and the Christians in North America and Europe.

Yesterday I had two interesting experiences that I would like to share.

The first happened as I was walking to dinner. The good folks at Trinity provided dinner for us last night. The food was wonderful! Walking to the dinner line the two people in front of me were criticizing the content of the afternoon’s speaker. They didn’t think that the content was “Presbyterian” enough. They didn’t think that it “fit” within our Presbyterian system of government. They were so stuck in their small “Presbyterian” world that they missed many points that fit nicely into the Presbyterian system.

The second happened at the beginning of the evening worship service. I heard a comment that went something like this: “Doesn’t this church have any traditional music? The kingdom of God is open to all people!” Once again, a major point was being missed. Trinity has three different worship services: traditional, blended and contemporary. Many Presbyterian churches do absolutely no contemporary music. Trinity wants participants to experience blended and contemporary worship—we are already steeped in traditional worship!

I have tendonitis is my right arm. Doing some things is quite painful. If my arm is to heal then I must do some things differently (clapping is a no no—it inflames the tendon).

The Presbyterian Church has memberitis—we are losing 40,000+ members year in and year out (not counting the recent members that have left for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church). Presbyterian churches need to do things a little differently if they/we are ever going to reverse this trend.