As I prepare for a Council meeting this Saturday, I've been reflecting on the state of our presbytery and the good place we're in right now to move forward on a number of fronts. Over time, we've been open to the new opportunities God has given this presbytery to grow and we're responding. One example comes to mind regarding "new church development."
In 2008, the Black Diamond Presbyterian Church was closed and its building was left in a state of abandonment. There was no plan to redevelop the property, let alone start a new church, but a local pastor approached me and asked if he could renovate the building and eventually re-open it to the public. We talked it over at Council and eventually approved a very favorable deal for this new pastor to go to town renovating the building and inviting the community to join him.
Three years later that pastor, Tom Stark, has about 70 people worshipping with him in a beautifully-renovated building, and on top of that he's catalyzed the community toward serving a Wednesday nite banquet to over 200 people who need a solid meal and some Christian care. Is he Presbyterian? No. Is he a member of our presbytery? No. Is there a need for what he's doing and are we 100% behind it? YES. Is the Gospel being proclaimed in word and deed? YES. Did God surprise us with a new way of viewing our role as a presbytery? Undoubtedly.
Since that time we've formed a group, Catalyzing Missional Communities
, to respond to new winds of the Spirit blowing in and through us and God seems to be bringing more people with similar passions. Interestingly this group is now in discernment with Tom Stark of High Road Church, about becoming a fellowship in this presbytery.
Please join me in praying for Tom and good ministry that High Road Community Church
is doing in Black Diamond, and pray for our presbytery as we seek God's leading in new and faithful ways (even if those ways aren't always the way we've done it in the past!).
Blessed Ash Wednesday,