Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Week of January 28, 2018

Having watched the State of the Union Address last night, I thought it’d be cool to keep with the spirit and give a super brief State of New Kirk Presbyterian newsletter blurb. Of course, this is just my perspective. But I have the great privilege of not only ministering to the various families and folks involved in New Kirk Presbyterian’s work and worship but also serving as Moderator of the session. So I’ll address the state of our congregation through three simple questions: 1) are we faithful; 2) are we steadfast; 3) are we charitable?

Are we faithful?

If by faithful we mean the intent, the integirty, and the gumption of elders, committees, and individual members, then I’d say absolutely yes. On Sunday evening, our session met for the first time this year. We left that meeting exhausted, for it was almost nine o’clock at night. This three-hour session meeting wasn’t the result of infighting, controversy, or sensitive issues. Actually, there was nothing out of the ordinary in the way we typically conduct session meetings. The difference was in the elder leadership and their work to get members of NKP involved in the various avenues of the church’s work. Yes, three hours is too long to meet. We’re working on some approaches to make more efficient use of that time. But, man, what a wonderful problem to have to address here at NKP: our elders have so much they’re doing and wanting to do in ministry that we must create some agreed-upon procedures to balance it all out (and curtail excitement enough to end a meeting on time).

The elders are excited because the committees are hopping. The committees are hopping because you all, the individual members, are listening for and heeding God’s particular call in your own lives and seeking out your particular role in ministry at NKP. Are we faithful? We work, and we worship.

Are we steadfast?

If by steadfast we mean the resolve of the elders, staff, and members of NKP to make the church work and to continue in worship, then I’d say, again, absolutely yes. Pledges are up. Giving is up. In September, you’ll recall that the staff and the session agreed to a new pay structure that’s more sustainable for such a time as this. And the staff are doing whatever it takes to compensate for their loss of income, even though, on this side of things, the terms of this new stucture is indefinite. And you, too, have been willing to approve my terms of call, though they be on a part-time basis, allowing me time, like the staff, to work outside NKP to add to my income. I will begin Monday serving Hospice of Laurens County as a part-time Chaplain and Grief Counselor. Of course, Hospice offers are very particular service in a rhythm and style of ministering to which I feel called at this juncture in my life. So we are sustainable at NKP right now. We can worry less about the financial distractions of trying to tread water and more about feeling for the direction of God’s wind in our sails.

Are we charitable?

If by charitable we mean action-based love, then absolutely yes. The word “love” in our bible is anything but some abstract concept. Love in the bible is an action. Love at NKP is very actionable and seems to be on the move. You can feel it in the way we work and worship. For these are synonymous with the way we play together. Love, this love, will be the reason we stay together (1 John 4.10).

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