Archives For Being Presbyterian

Ode to the Small Seeds

Josh Kerr —  October 8, 2014

Photo Mar 02, 5 54 52 PMYesterday, I attended my first presbytery meeting as a member of Cimarron Presbytery.  For those of you unfamiliar with Cimarron, we are a small presbytery of mostly small churches in the small towns of north-central and north-west Oklahoma.  With only twelve churches, I believe we are the smallest presbytery in the PC(USA).

Being a small presbytery comes with its challenges.  Yesterday, for example, we approved a budget with a significant deficit, and pray that God will continue to provide in unexpected ways.  The shortfall is the result of the loss of membership (mostly one church that was dismissed), and with such a small overall pool of members, the loss of one small church creates a pretty big hit to presbytery funding. Continue Reading…

BCCThese are 7 signs that I simply and unashamedly share with you as to why and where I find seeds of hope scattered throughout my denomination – the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

1. Educate a Child, Transform the World … project passed by this past General Assembly in 2014 to inspire, equip and connect Presbyterians for the purpose of improving the quality of education for one million children in the U.S. and globally over the next 4 years. Within just one week, PC(USA) congregations joined together and pledged $1.65 million for a project proposed in South Sudan. Wow!

2. Theocademy … birthed by the Synod of Mid-America Synod and its PC(USA) partners, these free online video lessons are designed to better equip the people of the church to be the church – and they are doing just that!! They currently have two whole sets available (5 videos for new members & 13 videos for ruling elders and deacons) with big plans to release much more. Check them out – Continue Reading…

Photo Sep 27, 11 19 23 AMEveryone has a crazy idea—or multiple if you’re me.  Here’s the rationale for mine: every church and every candidate for ministry wants experience.  For candidates, it opens doors; it creates opportunities; it gives you purpose.   For churches, an experienced minister provides a sense of calm because the minister has done this before.  So what do you do if you need experience, yet can’t find an opportunity that provides it?  Looking at the statistics today on the PC(USA) website it shows there are 1494 individuals seeking a call; of that number 251 are candidates for ministry or first call seekers.  But there are only 486 positions,  of which 104 are open to candidates/first call seekers.  You don’t need a masters in mathematics to see there are more people than jobs.

Many of the folks I’ve spoken to who are seeking a call hear the response, “Thanks for your interest, but we are looking for someone with more experience.”  If you are a seminary trained, first call seeker your options for gaining experience are limited; if churches won’t call you how else does one gain experience?  The General Assembly has created various opportunities including Lilly Residents, For Such a Time As This, and 1001 Worshipping Communities—all of which provide experience for first call seekers.  These opportunities emerged when the church thought outside the box, finding ways to connect pastors with new opportunities.  I want to suggest the church continue this trend and urge churches to open themselves up to potentially calling first time call seekers to interim pastor positions.  The call of an interim aligns well with the experience first call seekers desire and/or need. Continue Reading…