Not only will Evident Grace Fellowship have their first worship service at Courthouse Road Elementary on August 2nd, we will also have our particularization service at Hope Presbyterian (EPC) that evening.
What in the world is a particularization service?
By definition, particularization is the process of recognizing something as individual. Here is what that means for us. EG was started by New Life in Christ Church, PCA (NLIC) and Hope of Christ Church, PCA (HoC) with the support of a dozen other churches in our area. With this massive effort, the goal was that we would eventually have our own church leadership and function autonomously, but in partnership, with all of those churches. So, Sunday evening, the 2nd, we will ordain our first elders and become a particular church.
One of the exciting aspects of this moment of growth is the number of churches that are celebrating with us. In addition to members of NLIC, HoC, and Hope Presbyterian, churches from all of our area and churches from other states will be there as well. Our desire is that as many people as possible would come and celebrate this momentous day with us. Partnering with Hope Pres (EPC) was a purposeful choice of venue as it demonstrates our desire to work cross denominationally to proclaim Jesus in our area.
So, this is what Sunday, August 2nd, looks like:
10:30 am – First service at Courthouse Road Elementary
6:00 pm – Particularization service at Hope Presbyterian
7:30 pm – Reception at Hope Presbyterian
Of course, going forward, we will continue to meet each Sunday at Courthouse Road Elementary, so if you can’t make any of these services, come join us one Sunday as it would be our honor for you to worship with us.
Evident Grace is excited to announce that we will begin meeting for worship services at Courthouse Road Elementary (CRES) on August 2nd. Why the move you may ask? EG’s mission is that God’s grace made evident in our lives enables us to make God’s grace evident to the world. We do that through our community, our worship, and our service. Moving to CRES gives us a greater platform and ability to do those things.
We have loved our present (and soon to be previous) home at Liberty Lanes, but the opportunity to move to CRES can’t be passed up. We will have a bigger and brighter worship space, larger children’s teaching areas, and greater visibility in the community.
Would you like to know more about Evident Grace? Our website offers a host of information (sermons, small groups, men’s and women’s groups), and we always welcome phone calls and emails. Feel free to contact either our lead pastor, Gordon (919-412-8161) or our assistant, Jeremy (757-876-8512) with either questions or a desire to meet.
Over the next few weeks, we will be showing you glimpses of our new space in addition to sharing greater details about our move. Additionally, we will begin rolling out advertising, both physically by the school and digitally on social media. If you would like to help with either, please contact Gordon and Jeremy, but right now, join us in prayer that God’s grace would become more evident in Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg through this move. Follow and share our progress on facebook, #egcres0802
We can’t wait to see all that God does.
In our last blog post, we looked at why should Ruling and Teaching Elders leaving their churches for a week, travel hours away, and vote on motions and even obscure points of theology each year. Many of you will never attend General Assembly unless is again return to Virginia (in 2012 it was in Virginia Beach). Gordon and I don’t want what happens in our denomination to be disconnected from our local expression here in Spotsylvania, VA.
To that end we want to share some information particularly relating to our General Assembly that we recently attended.
We want to highlight three things in this post.
First, we want to provide you a link for all the video sessions including business and worship services. This includes all the business and voting that happened as well as the worship services – that is the main sessions. In addition to the main sessions there are also many seminars that happen multiple times each of the days of general assembly but these are not video recorded.
Second, below are the specific links to the three worship services for each evening at General Assembly together,
Tuesday Worship Service (http://bit.ly/1JRJRW1)
- Begins (9:25)
- Sermon – Bryan Chapel (38:30)
- Moderator of the 42nd General Assembly
- Pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL
Wednesday Worship Service (http://bit.ly/1HOFbP2)
- Begins (4:50)
- Sermon – Kevin Smith (40:45)
- Pastor at New City Fellowship in Chattanooga, TN
Thursday Worship Service (http://bit.ly/1LeaNwx)
- Begins (2:30)
- Sermon – Rankin Wilbourne (46:20)
- Pastor at Pacific Crossroads Church in Santi Monaco CA
Third, Gordon and I wanted to provide you with the personal resolution that he referred to in his sermon on June 14th concerning our denomination in promoting racism and failing to act to support the goals of the Civil Rights movement, in the past.
The text of the personal resolution can be found here, http://bit.ly/1QBgc7u.
The video that walks through the almost 2.5 hour time Thursday night session as the General Assembly discussed this personal resolution can be found here, http://bit.ly/1feTxNz. If you don’t have that kind of time to watch all of it, you can read a summation of that session here, http://bit.ly/1QEmdQU.
Why should Ruling and Teaching Elders leaving their churches for a week, travel hours away, and vote on motions and even obscure points of theology each year? When I (Gordon) became a Ruling Elder some 15 years ago, I thought that General Assembly was at best a boondoggle and at worst a boring use of time. However, my attitude soon changed.
While General Assembly does offer great opportunities for fun, and there are some tedious moments of Robert’s Rules of Order, General Assembly has become an essential for me and I hope it will also be one the guidance of our church.
Each year, the PCA’s General Assembly takes up the issues that have arisen from individual churches, up to their sessions, to their presbyteries, and finally to the national level. The motions that are approved eventually go back to the presbyteries, and ultimately they return to the General Assembly. This back and forth provides that no one GA can makes things binding on the churches. They must follow a path of conviction that proves the issue relevant and worth the concerns of the church. Individuals and churches have a voice and hope for care and concern through this process.
In fact, last year, GA passed a bill that not only encouraged our churches to take steps to insure the safety of children in our care, the bill rebuke any churches that did not take these steps and offered a confession of sin that it has taken us this long to address the issue. This bill partnered well with Evident Grace’s desires and efforts to train our own people in caring for the children that God has entrusted to us.
Additionally, GA provides innumerable opportunities for training and partnership. Each year, pastors (especially the eager ones like EG has) search out new material for personal study, for the present needs of their churches, and future areas of training. At the same time, we get to meet and discuss the resources with the very authors and companies that write them.
Last year, we walked away ready to implement the Gospel Identity study because we had time at length with the people who shaped the curriculum. This year, we go hoping to have the same time with skilled authors and companies who have worked and trained churches in mercy ministry. Additionally, we hope to discuss internship and future partnerships with seminaries and seminary students.
So, please be in prayer as Jeremy and I will leave Sunday, June 7th and will be returning either Friday the 12 or Saturday the 13th. Our return is dependent on how swift the business is conducted on the GA floor. Pray for our families and seek them out while we are gone. Pray for how Evident Grace can grow to be more like Christ through this time, and then pray for your own heart that God will ultimately impact you in some way through all of these activities.
Biblically, a church is commanded by God to have elders, and the qualifications for such an office are outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 This office is an overseeing and shepherding office designed to “keep watch over your souls” (Hebrews 13:17). With as much ink as the Bible gives to both examples and qualifications, it is astounding how many churches disregard the office.
Listen to a few of the dozen plus examples in scripture:
- Acts 20:28 “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
- James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
- 1 Peter 5:2 “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain”
I thought we already had elders…
Evident Grace launched with me (Gordon) as your Teaching Elder (TE) and an appointed group of elders from other churches, but we are now at the stage of moving from that oversight to an oversight of me and a group of Ruling Elders (RE) coming from within our own congregation.
What can we expect from our new elders? What does it look like for elders to shepherd, oversee, and govern? While there are many resources to inform this thought, we have been following the ideas set forward in a great book called, “The Shepherd Leader”.
Prayerfully, this is what you can hope for…
Knowing, Feeding, Leading, and Protecting
An elder will know the church, specifically the members of which he is called to care. No one, including myself, can know every person at the church intimately, but an elder should make every effort to know as many people as possible. Additionally, as each elder is seeking to care for a smaller, more specific, part of the church, he should know them, their families, and their needs very well. Caring for them should be based on personal interactions with them throughout the month.
An elder will feed the church, specifically in teaching. EG will now have multiple, faithful teachers who have endured faithful, grueling challenges to be proven faithful teachers. You can look forward to their teaching in both public arenas like our worship service and in smaller arenas like our (eg)Groups.
An elder will lead the church, specifically in the area of leading the vision of Community, Worship, and Service. They will co-create plans and programs that will lead you in that direction through all that we do.
An elder will protect the church, specifically in the areas of identifying and teaching the church against cultural wolves and protecting the church in church discipline. Each elder will work to be aware of what is going on in our local community and even the larger world scale. They will also work to protect our members from areas of sin and work to protect the church when they do.
This listing and description is daunting and impossible apart from the grace of God. But we are gifted with a few men who are willing to undertake this calling under the power of the Gospel. With Christ as our Chief Elder, you can expect this level of care, and these men can expect to lead you with your full hope and partnership.
Pray for our men as they go through their testing and preparation for ordination. We will keep you updated as they make their progress.