The Presbytery – Our Best Kept Secret?
At Second RP in Indianapolis, we desperately need to update our website. I’ve visited a number of reformed and presbyterian websites as we consider what would be best. Most sites copy others with tabs like “About Us,” “What We Believe,” “Leadership,” “Sermons,” “Schedule,” “Contact Us,” “Bible Studies,” “Ministries”, “Links,” “Calendar,” “Members,” et cetera.
Almost all note and link the connection to the denomination. Yet, strikingly absent are references to the practical and personal benefits of the presbytery.
Most congregations note that the word “Presbyterian” in the name describes the biblical governance of the church. A few note the name of their presbytery and occasionally links to other congregations appear, and a scant few make reference to presbytery conferences or youth events.
But almost none describe the functional reality of being presbyterian and the practical benefits members reap of being in a church that is so led by Jesus. When a person joins a presbyterian church, he is instantly united to the larger visible church. Even little congregations have a tangible sense of the largeness of Christ’s body.
Think about the benefits that ought to attract those making virtual inquiries! We have formal oversight and accountability, we have occasional joint worship services in many locations, we have pastors and elders who gather for prayer for the presbytery and mutual encouragement, we have youth conferences and service opportunities, we have family conferences with right fellowship, teaching, and singing, and we have collaborative missions efforts. Churches in university towns become spritual havens and ministry launch-points for students from other congregations, professional development and job placement opportunities are made known through this precious spiritual family, and of course, God unites the sons and daughters of our churches through the relationships of the presbytery. Our own small presbytery has for many years averaged at least one marriage per year between young people from two different congregations within the presbytery (yes, I’m one such beneficiary) – and that doesn’t begin to count intra-congregational marriages or marriages to those from other presbyteries in our denomination.
Okay, so maybe that last part doesn’t need to be advertised on a local church website, but you get the point. We are blessed with a sense of connectedness in Jesus Christ that independent churches do not know, from my observation. Why don’t we do a better job of advertising these blessings, which a casual observer may not see in one visit to a small local congregation? Maybe we’re not the only church with a need to update our website in order to extol the greatness of our Savior in the governance a nurture of his church.