My ministry with Christ Presbyterian Church in Danville, VA is in the process of going through a change. Back in January, we determined that CPC could no longer financially support a full-time minister (no unfaithfulness in tithing should be implied), so we, as a church-plant, had to go through what amounts to a congregational gut check. Our full-time pastor, Tre’ Smith, would be leaving and we had to decide what the next stage of our church’s life would be. We asked ourselves questions like, “Should we call another church-planter to come and continue the work? Do we try and become a particular church but without a full-time pastor? Or do we throw in the towel and call it quits?” Our situation being what it was and our desire to see the gospel move forward in this community CPC decided … to proceed with the process of trying to particularize, which is Presbyterian jargon for moving from a church plant status to a particular church. For any church in our denomination (PCA) to do this, it must have local leadership made up of at least 2 ruling elders. So our congregation nominated elder candidates. Our pastor began leadership training, and of the five men who started the training, two men completed it and have been examined by the presbytery and reccommended for election. I am one of those two candidates.
At the end of this month our congregation will have an organization service where the other elder candidate and I will be ordained to the office of ruling elder. Also, because I am licensed to preach (by our denomination), I will assume the weekly preaching duties starting in July.
Is the way we are proceeding as a church body ideal or even preferable? No. Does it fall in line with normal church-planting patterns? Not at all. Could you have convinced me five years ago that I would be where I am today? Never. But is the situation in this community in this time with this small band of believers with these obstacles with this powerful gospel a chance for the Lord to get the glory? Absolutely! Think about it. Our heavenly Father whittled Christ’s followers down to a paltry few between Palm Sunday and Easter morning. But then the resurrection! And with the resurrection comes freedom from the power of death and sin and power for living. If we worship a God who can raise the dead, then surely He can glorify himself through these flawed jars of clay at CPC in Danville, VA.
Hopefully, I will be able to update the blog more frequently this summer, so stay tuned…