The PCA’s first General Assembly, 1973
Our mission is to glorify God by serving the members and churches of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) as they seek to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). When the PCA began in 1973, the First General Assembly formed the Committee on Christian Education and Publications (now called Committee on Discipleship Ministries) to “assist … local churches in the task of learning and proclaiming the truth to the end that God’s people will be adequately equipped to do the work of ministry.” At its essence, discipleship is the process by which the Holy Spirit brings a sinner to a life-changing knowledge of Christ, using the Word of God and members of the Body of Christ. Discipleship goes beyond evangelism as it includes every aspect of a believer growing in his/her love for and obedience to Christ. In a local church, discipleship ministry is multi-faceted; therefore, the ministry of CDM covers five areas: ministry to children, youth, women, men, and seniors. We are committed to philosophies and practices that are grounded in covenant theology, whereby God reached out to his fallen creation and began a work of redemption through Jesus Christ. We seek to promote ministry that enables God’s people to engage a fallen world with a Christian worldview, thus participating in God’s work of redemption.
Our vision is to be a “hub” for resources (people and materials) that members in a local church can use as they seek to lead others to a deeper knowledge of Christ. We want to connect people with people and people with resources in order “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).
HOW WE ACCOMPLISH OUR VISION
We connect leaders. God has blessed the Church with human resources. Our desire is to connect leaders with leaders and leaders with learners, so that resources can be developed and shared with the purpose of leading others to a deeper knowledge of Christ. We provide training. A follower of Christ is one who is always learning. CDM staff, trainers, and associates work with individuals and groups in local churches to improve the ministry of discipleship. We seek to help leaders identify best practices for their particular context and need. We provide resources. CDM desires to equip the members of the local church with quality materials for Bible studies, small group meetings, and educational programs. The PCA Bookstore is a ministry of CDM that provides books, materials, and curriculum for those serving in the local church. We also serve the PCA by overseeing the work of Great Commission Publications (GCP), which produces curriculum for children, youth, and adults. GCP is jointly owned by the PCA and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).
“We are focused on teaching from a Biblical world and life view within our covenant framework.”
When the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) was established in 1973, the Assembly formed Christian
Education and Publications (now called Committee on Discipleship Ministries) as one of three program committees to help local churches lead, nurture, and instruct the members of the new denomination. Throughout its history, Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM) has focused on teaching from a biblical world and life view within a covenant framework. Over the years CDM has worked to train ministry leaders by providing a variety of tools and resources:
- Publishing, Curriculum, & Training Resources—over half of PCA churches have used the curriculum published by Great Commission Publications (GCP), which is jointly owned by the PCA and Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). CDM staff have visited local churches to help leaders identify curriculum that meets the needs of the congregation, as well as how to use curriculum effectively.
- Denominational Magazines—over the years, CDM has produced a number of magazines to inform PCA members about cultural and theological trends. The current magazine, Equip & Connect, is designed to keep PCA members informed about discipleship ministry throughout the denomination.
- Seminars & Conferences—local, regional, and national conferences have provided a forum for members of the local to receive quality training and develop relationships with others who serve in discipleship ministry.
- Bookstore & Video Library—the PCA Bookstore is a ministry of CDM and offers excellent resources for personal reading and study, as well as small group and class studies. Materials feature the works of Presbyterian and Reformed authors, with over 2,000 titles in stock.
- Ministry Coordinators & Consultants—CDM’s ministry coordinators and consultants assist local church leaders in a variety of ways: curriculum/program development, staff/volunteer training, conflict management, officer training, retreats, conferences, and a variety of training seminars.
The Coordinator for CDM is the chief executive for the ministry and is responsible to the General Assembly, through the CDM committee. The Coordinator oversees the work of the ministry staff and trainers, directs the writing and training projects, and consults with local churches across the denomination. The position has been filled by three different men since the formation of CDM in 1973.
- Paul Settle, the first CDM Coordinator, served for from 1974-1976. During that time CDM published the denominational news tabloid, Continuing; developed teacher training seminars; and Women in the Church (WIC) ministries. Under Settle’s leadership the joint venture, GCP, came to be. He also worked to establish an annual pastor’s conference.
- Charles Dunahoo pastored churches in Georgia and Alabama before being called to serve as CDM Coordinator in 1977. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Columbia Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary, he served on the organizing committee of the PCA and was the chairman of the first Constitutional Documents Committee. While serving as coordinator, Charles conducted a number of seminars and conferences across the denomination, authored several books: Making Kingdom Disciples, Changing Trends in Missions, and Foundations and Authority, and served as publisher and editor of Equip to Disciple, CDM’s resource periodical.
- Stephen Estock began serving as Provisional Coordinator in January 2013 and was elected Coordinator by the 41st General Assembly in June 2013. A graduate of Rhodes College, Stephen served five years in the Air Force before pursuing an MDiv degree at Covenant Theological Seminary. After ordination in 1995, he was Assistant, Associate, and Senior Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, AL. In 2002, he was called to be Associate Pastor at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church in Saint Louis, MO. Stephen’s love for education led him to earn a PhD in Education from Capella University. His desire is for the members of the PCA to see CDM as a vital resource for those who serve in the local church.
WHO WE ARE
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) was formed to be a denomination that is “Faithful to the Scriptures, True to the Reformed Faith, and Obedient to the Great Commission.”
The PCA is an Evangelical and Reformed Presbyterian denomination. By Evangelical, we mean that we emphasize the gospel (good news of salvation) through faith in Jesus Christ, as well as affirming other orthodox Christian doctrines and holding to the inerrancy of Scripture.
By Reformed, we mean that we are connected to the teachings of the historic church and the doctrinal beliefs recovered by the Reformation. These doctrinal beliefs are expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. All officers in the Presbyterian Church in America must personally subscribe to and uphold the teachings of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
By Presbyterian, we describe our representatives form of church government. Local churches are governed by a “Session” or “presbyters” (elders), elected by the members of the congregation. Representatives of local churches within a geographical area compose a “presbytery.” Representatives of presbyteries meet annually at “General Assembly.” Thus, through the combined efforts and resources of all the churches, we are enabled to advance God’s Kingdom much more effectively. The Committees and Agencies of the PCA help lead this Kingdom work.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
- We believe the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.
- We Believe in the Holy Trinity. There is one God who exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that all sinners are totally unable to save themselves from God’s displeasure, except by His mercy.
- We believe that salvation is by God alone, as He sovereignly chooses those He will save. We believe His choice is based on His grace, not on any human individual merit, or foreseen faith.
- We believe the Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who through His perfect life and sacrificial death atoned for the sins of all who will trust in Him, alone, for salvation.
- We believe that God is gracious and faithful to His people not simply as individuals but as families in successive generations according to His Covenant promises.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells God’s people and gives them the strength and wisdom to trust Christ and follow Him.
- We believe that Jesus will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all mankind and to receive His people unto Himself.
- We believe that all aspects of our lives are to be lived to the glory of God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
WHERE WE ARE GOING
We desire to take the message of Jesus Christ’s atoning love on the cross to every nation so that all people will trust in Him alone for their salvation from sin.
We want to show compassion and render mercy, to love and to serve people from every ethnic group, nation and socio-economic level.
The mission of the Presbyterian Church in America is to glorify and enjoy God by equipping and enabling the churches of the PCA to work together to fulfill the Great Commission by making disciples of all nations, so that people will mature as servants of the triune God, will worship God in spirit and truth, and will have a reforming impact on culture.
This description of the PCA is taken from a brochure called Presbyterian Church in America.
Click here to order copies of this brochure for yourself or your church.
Other helpful resources about the PCA denomination include (click on titles to order copies):
CDM Permanent Committee
Similar to how committees or ministry teams operate in a local church, the work of the General Assembly is accomplished through committees and boards whose members are elected by the General Assembly. CDM is comprised of ruling and teaching elders who guide, encourage, and oversee the work of the CDM staff. These men are elected to serve 5 year terms, and they appoint a group of advisors to assist them. Below is the list of the 2014-2015 CDM Permanent Committee members:
TE Scott Barber
Providence/TE Class of 2019
RE Ward Bursley
Calvary/RE Class of 2020
TE Michael Craddock
Ohio Valley/TE Class of 2020
TE Stephen Estock
Georgia Foothills/CDM Coordinator
RE Charles Gibson
Evangel/RE Class of 2018
TE Ron Gleason
South Coast/TE Class of 2017
Yorba Linda, CA
RE Donald Guthrie
Chicago Metro/RE Class of 2017
RE John Kwasny
Mississippi Valley/RE Class of 2019
TE Bernard Lawrence
Central Carolina/TE Atlernate
Mint Hill, NC
RE Steven Manley
Calvary/RE Class of 2018
RE James D. Murphy
Round Hill, VA
TE Ed Norton (Vice-Chairman)
Covenant/TE Class of 2019
TE Marvin Padgett, Jr.
Nashville/TE Class of 2018
RE Marshall Rowe
Tennessee Valley/RE Class of 2015
Lookout Mountain, GA
RE Bill Stanway (Secretary)
Grace/RE Class of 2016
TE David Stewart (Chairman)
Northern New England/TE Class of 2017
RE Gary White
Southeast Alabama/RE Class of 2016
Kathy Stair (Programs)
Class of 2016
Sherry Lanier (Development)
Class of 2017
Janice Mutchler (Administration)
Class of 2018
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Committee on Discipleship Ministries
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MINISTRY STAFF AND CONSULTANTS
Responsible to the General Assembly for the ministry of CDM. Works to promote discipleship ministry throughout the PCA by connecting leaders with each other and with resources designed “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” (Eph. 4:12) Develops resources, conducts training, and consults with members of presbyteries and local churches across the denomination.
Children’s Ministry Coordinator
Oversees the effort of CDM to connect and equip those who serve in discipleship ministry to children. Develops and reviews resources to help those who work with children and youth. Conducts training for church leaders, staff, and volunteers.
Youth Ministry Coordinator
Coordinates the effort of CDM to network local church youth leaders and provide resources and training for those who serve in youth ministry. Reviews resources, conducts training, and provides job placement assistance for youth ministry workers.
Women’s Ministry Coordinator
Works to promote discipleship ministry among women in the PCA. Coordinates the efforts of regional leaders and trainers to plan events, develop resources, and connect those who serve at the presbytery and local church level. Consults with church leaders to develop a vital ministry to women in the PCA.
Men’s Ministry Consultant
Provides advice and support to the staff of CDM in the area of men’s discipleship. Serves local churches through training, consultation and coaching in the area of men’s ministry, particularly through his work with the Forging Bonds of Brotherhood ministry (www.forgingbonds.org).
Older Adult Ministry Consultant
Provides advice and support to the staff of CDM in the area of older adult ministry. Serves local churches through training and consulting on older adult and intergenerational ministry. Oversees the pastoral care department in a retirement community as chaplain.
ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT STAFF
Assists the Coordinator in overseeing the ministry of CDM by managing business and ministry operations, including personnel, accounting, and technology resources.
Manages the day-to-day operation of the Bookstore. Consults with members of local churches to help locate resources to meet ministry needs.
Ministry Development Assistant
Assists the CDM Coordinator by providing administrative support and advice on issues related to ministry development, particularly relationships with ministry partners.
Assists the CDM ministry by handling communications and special projects, particularly those related to publications, conferences, and ministry events. Manages the CDM website and social media presence.
Coordinates logistics of CDM training events and conferences at the regional and national level (e.g., Women’s Leadership, YXL, Children’s and Mercy Ministries Conferences). Assists the Coordinator in developing ministry partners for CDM.