The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted a new form of church government in 2011, providing new opportunities for mission and ministry.

Changes to the Book of Order permit flexibility for presbyteries, synods, and congregations to make decisions fit for their constituents, and define mission and language interpretation in the church.

“It also has a dimension of bringing us back to a truly constitutional document that contains broad governing and theological principles and emphasizes function over structure,” PC(USA) leaders wrote in a church-wide letter.

Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding is publishing a new study, acquainting Presbyterians with the basics of the new book and the theological and ecclesiastical insights it presents. Written in accessible language for congregational study, Faith, Hope, Love, and Witness: The PC(USA) Form of Government explains core affirmations and the foundations of Presbyterian polity.

Paul K. Hooker, a polity expert who was part of the Form of Government Task Force, takes participants through the structure of the church’s polity, beginning with the theological convictions that shape who believers are as Presbyterians.

“Our core theological affirmations and the foundations of Presbyterian polity provide the basis for considering the Form of Government and its descriptions of the congregation and its members, ordered ministry, the councils of the church, and the church and its relationships,” said Donald McKim, editor of Being Reformed. “This polity provides both structure and flexibility so the church can carry out mission and ministry in ways that are meaningful and significant for the lives of all God’s people.”

Each six-session study from Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding addresses its subjects from a Reformed theological perspective, while providing a foundational understanding of the Reformed faith. Studies include Scripture, in-depth commentary, and questions for reflection. 

Faith, Hope, Love, and Witness: The PC(USA) Form of Government will be available in January 2012. Preorder online today at the online store or by calling the Presbyterian Distribution Service at (800) 524-2612.