Last month I attended the Fellowship of Presbyterians gathering in Minneapolis. I think it’s fair to say that the organizers of the event are driven by concerns over the effect of the new ordination standard in the Book of Order – G-2.0104b – as well as by how the church in general can proclaim the gospel both effectively and with integrity in the 21st century. With nearly 2,000 in attendance, obviously the issues and concerns raised by the organizers struck a chord in many.
I was thankful that the tone of the gathering was not angry; rather, it was, “Where do we go next?” There was much energy, much conversation, and much discussion – all of which, it seems to me, is good for the church.
What’s even better for the church is that these conversations about how the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) can retool itself to be an effective and persuasive agent for ministry and mission are not just happening within the Fellowship, They’re taking place across the broad spectrum of our denomination – at the “Next” Conference in Indianapolis earlier this year, for example.
Those conversations are also happening within General Assembly groups that are tasked with figuring out what it means to do ministry in our present context: the Middle Governing Body Commission, the Committee on the Nature of the Church in the 21st Century, the Task Fore on Racial Ethnic and New Immigrant Church Growth, and more.
As a denomination, we face a daunting task that I like to describe this way: We have to rebuild the 1950s era black-and-white television set that tends to be the PC(USA) organization today into a new, flat-screen, HD TV – all the while ensuring that programs will continue to be shown while the rebuilding takes place.
The Fellowship organizers talk about creating a “new reformed body.” I appreciate the energy and commitment they are bringing to that task. But, in a sense, all of us across the entire PC(USA) are caught up in creating a “new reformed body” – that new flat-screen, HD PC(USA) that most effectively brings to a 21st-century world the good news of Jesus Christ.
Read the column in Korean. (PDF)