By the time you read this, $1,000 Coordinating Council Ministry Challenge checks, along with a letter from the Coordinating Council, will be headed to each church in Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery. The Coordinating Council Ministry Challenge was announced at the recent Tri-Presbytery Meeting. The idea for the challenge was sparked at the Coordinating Council Retreat in the spring. The Coordinating Council, with representatives from the presbytery’s committees and from across the regions of Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery, met to consider, discuss, and dream about the present and future ministry of this presbytery. They also spent time focused on the concerns and expressed needs of churches, ministers, and members. How can the presbytery help struggling churches? How can EOP partner with churches to do ministry? How can we assist churches to impact their communities for Christ in new ways?
A $1,000 check is a not a cure-all for the issues facing the church today, but it is a starting place. The purpose of the Tri-Presbytery Meeting was to spark an idea or plant the seed of a possibility for a new ministry. The Matthew 25 theme and initiative gave us a plethora of entry points. The checks are a second step of taking good intentions from thoughts to reality. Budgets are tight. They almost always are in a church. As you heard from many of the presenters at the Tri-Presbytery Meeting, small beginnings can turn into ministries that transform churches and communities. As a grant from the presbytery, the funds will allow sessions to implement a new ministry without diverting from other budget line items. I am excited to learn what they will do. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)’s Book of Order begins this way:
F-1.01 GOD’s MISSION
The good news of the Gospel is that the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— creates, redeems, sustains, rules, and transforms all things and all people. This one living God, the Scriptures say, liberated the people of Israel from oppression and covenanted to be their God. By the power of the Spirit, this one living God is incarnate in Jesus Christ, who came to live in the world, die for the world, and be raised again to new life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ announces the nearness of God’s kingdom, bringing good news to all who are impoverished, sight to all who are blind, freedom to all who are oppressed, and proclaiming the Lord’s favor upon all creation.
The mission of God in Christ gives shape and substance to the life and work of the Church. In Christ, the Church participates in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity by proclaiming to all people the good news of God’s love, offering to all people the grace of God at font and table, and calling all people to discipleship in Christ. Human beings have no higher goal in life than to glorify and enjoy God now and forever, living in covenant fellowship with God and participating in God’s mission.
It goes on to say “The Church’s life and mission are a joyful participation in Christ’s ongoing life and work. (F-1.0201)” As churches across the presbytery engage in new ministries, I hope we see that joy spread.
Blessings, Rev. Tim Blodgett General Presbyter