Pastor’s Letter-June-July

‘Renewal’

We are a people and tradition that are not nearly as popular and mainstream as we used to be. For 1700 years the Church of Jesus Christ held an unparalleled place of prominence and power in Western society and indeed across the globe. But something happened that we did not expect.

A tipping point. A moment in time, due to forces and trends that we have yet to fully understand, occurred when interest in organized religion began to falter. And it has taught us something.

To be fair, it has taught us many things. But chief among them, we have learned that we must always be open to the Holy Spirit’s desire to do something fresh and new in our life together.

Paul talks about this in his letter to the church of Rome. He says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

This is key to our common calling as disciples of Jesus. We are, by faith and the active inworking of God, undergoing a persistent process of total transformation. What our forebears used to call, Sanctification.

It is to that end, not out of a place of fear or scarcity or trying to be hip, but out of a very real conviction that renewal is central to our faith, the leadership of our church has discerned the Spirit is calling us to do a new thing.

Presbyterians have a long standing reputation of doing things in decent and orderly fashions. And this happens most often by committee. The only problem is, most people can’t stand to serve on a committee. It is synonymous with boredom and bureaucracy for many people – not a deeply moving encounter with Christ. But that’s the whole purpose of a church! The whole reason for our existence is to empower people to serve Jesus together, and let His will be done.

o the elders of our church have decided to reform and renew how we structure ourselves. All operational functions at RPC, tasks that exist to enhance and stimulate the ministries of the church, will be coalesced into just 4 committees. All other aspects of our life together that fall under the category of ‘ministry’ are undergoing a process of transformation, to become Ministry Teams.

These are loose groups of people that are 100% focused on one thing, the work of Jesus Christ that He has put on their hearts to do. And that’s it.

It is the role of the elders, not to find people to serve the church, but to empower people to sustainably serve Jesus through His church.

My favorite line in our denomination’s Book of Order, I can’t believe I’m actually quoting the Book of Order in a newsletter article, but you’ll see why, is the phrase, “The Church is to be a community of faith, entrusting itself to God alone, even at the risk of losing its life.”

There is great risk involved in the process of entrusting ourselves to God alone. There is incredible risk involved in striving to be a community that is always undergoing a process of spiritual transformation. It can be messy and scary, also beautiful and awe-inspiring. Nevertheless we invite you to join us, as we are renewed by the grace of God. This is who we are. This is who we are called by Christ to be.

Amen