In Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin says, “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.” It has also been said this way, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Both statements express great truth. Unfortunately, the church has a great reputation for not planning. Instead we live on activity and hope it is accomplishing something. Remember the last seven words of a church? “We’ve always done it that way before!”
The 36th General Assembly, after many hours of committee and floor debate, answered Overture 9 in the negative, declining to establish a study committee. This action was taken in spite of a minority report that attempted to persuade the assembly to answer in the affirmative. As the coordinator of Christian Education and Publications, under whose oversight the Women in the Church is positioned in the PCA, a number of people have asked my opinion on the issue.
In liberation theology, God is seen as the God of the oppressed – and therefore against the oppressors and their false god. Jesus is found in the movement for liberation and freedom. Jesus came as a liberator, and he identifies with those mobilized for liberation.
Given the overwhelmingly negative statistics concerning young adults and church involvement, I am willing to go out on a limb here and suggest that engaging teenagers in the life of your congregation is one of the more important things you can do in your student ministry. Stepping a little further out on the limb, let me also suggest that though the application of the Great Commission must be contextualized, the call to make disciples is equally as valid for the teenagers in your congregation as it is for the adults who inhabit your pews.
In this particular article, I want to focus your attention on the theme expressed in the title above; the church as a believing community learning to live in communion. As our Westminster Confession of Faith says in 26-1, “All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces.”
They call themselves the Samson Society. They started in Christ Community Church, Franklin TN, and their society is spreading to other PCA churches. It is a fellowship of Christian men who are serious about authenticity, community, humility and recovery – serious, but not grave.
A foundational principle in men’s ministry is recognizing that even though our men know Christ died for their sins, many, perhaps most, still feel too dirty and sinful to be loved by a holy God. No matter how good our programs are, how rich our Biblical insights may be, or how successful we are at helping men better connect, our men’s ministry will fall flat if our men’s guilt and failure make them doubt God’s love for them.
When the Presbyterian Church in America was established, Christian Education and Publications was one of the first three program committees put into place. Christian education is a God ordained covenantal process and the denomination established CEP to lead, nurture, and instruct its people. From the May/June 1998 Equip for Ministry magazine.
With the myriad of great youth events in America, the last thing students need is just another youth conference. However, I believe YXL is not just another youth conference. YXL is not the largest conference. We do not have a lake with ski boats or meet at the beach. We do not have the hottest Christian musicians, comedians, or speakers. But, students who come will be challenged to go out into the world and live as faithful disciples of Christ.
Since the founding of the PCA, the Women in the Church have played a vital role in supporting the ministries of the various committees and agencies. Each year, a Love Gift presentation has been prepared and made available from the Christian Education and Publications office highlighting the particular project for the year’s designated offering. Contributions are sent to CEP’s Love Gift Fund during the year and presented to the receiving agency or committee at the annual WIC Leadership Conference dinner.