Pastor’s Pen

Dear Friends,

In 1996 Angela and I were called to serve as co-pastors of McConnellsburg United Presbyterian Church. There was a lot to love about that small congregation, but one of the things that first drew us to them was the way they listed their staff and leaders on the back of their worship bulletin. The first line, before the pastors’ names, was this:

Ministers …………….. All the members of the congregation

The good folks of McConnellsburg were making a statement. The ministry of the church is the work, first and foremost, of the members of the congregation. It’s not just the pastor, or the session or the deacons, but every member, who is called to serve.

When I teach church officers about our Presbyterian polity, many are surprised to learn that many of the tasks and responsibilities we assume belong to the pastor, are actually the work of the people:

Here’s a brief sample:

  • proclaiming the good news in word and deed,
  • lifting one another up in prayer, mutual concern, and active support,
  • studying Scripture and the issues of Christian faith and life,
  • supporting the ministry of the church through the giving of money, time, and talents,
  • demonstrating a new quality of life within and through the church,
  • responding to God’s activity in the world through service to others,
  • living responsibly in the personal, family, vocational, political, cultural, and social relationships of life,
  • working in the world for peace, justice, freedom, and human fulfillment.

It is quite a list, and may seem a bit overwhelming, but we believe that we are equipped for ministry by the Holy Spirit.

This fall we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Among the major themes of the Reformation that we will explore, and which is still quite relevant for us today, is that we are a priesthood of all believers.

Friends, as a new church year begins, let us embrace our calling, so that we too can proclaim:

Ministers …………….. All the members of the congregation

Peace be with you,