This last weekend Sandy and I were not with you at WRPC because we were in Charleston celebrating the “Particularization” of Christ Church Presbyterian. OK, I realize that word may be foreign to you (it’s “Presbyterian-speak”), so let me explain. When there is a desire to plant a PCA congregation in a location, several things have to happen:
- A church planter has to be called and approved by the presbytery. In this case Dr. Jon Payne was called by Palmetto Presbytery (then Low Country Presbytery) from the Atlanta area to be the planter.
- Finances have to be raised – because the church planter has to be supported while a congregation is being gathered. A network of churches including WRPC, Second Presbyterian, Independent Presbyterian (Savannah), Briarwood Presbyterian (Birmingham), First Presbyterian Jackson, MS and several others generously supported this work since early 2013.
- The whole project has to deeply bathed in prayer, and so we (and thousands of other people ) have been praying for over 3 years that Christ would expand His church in Charleston, SC.
- A location for worship has to be found – In the case of Christ Church they have been a “pilgrim church”, moving around. But for the last couple years they have been using the facilities of a middle school on Mt. Pleasant for AM & PM worship on Sundays, with other meetings through the week held in homes and restaurants and other creative locations.
- A congregation has to be gathered – hopefully through evangelism and by Christians who want to see a new work built with their service and help
- Elders have to be identified, trained, nominated, and elected by the congregation and examined and approved by the presbytery
Now, a church is ready to leave “Mission status” and become a “Particular church”. In order for that to happen representatives of the presbytery come in to the mission church, ordain the elders, administer vows to the pastors and the congregation. When all that happens, the congregation has been “particularized”.
I had the immense privilege of “charging the elders” (more Presbyterian-speak) of Christ Church PCA in the AM service. This means I exhorted them from Scripture to be faithful in their calling.
The worship was delightful: Psalms and hymns that you know and love, sung with joy. Dr. David Strain (an old friend of WRPC’s) preached the Word with power in the AM Service. I had the privilege to preach in the PM Service. Note: Christ Church Presbyterian is deeply committed to AM & PM worship each Lord’s Day and has been from their very beginnings!
And, the best part for me – I get to see lots of old friends and have a foretaste of our heavenly communion. Here’s a shot of a few of the brothers who gathered in Charleston last weekend.
From left to right:
- Rev. Ross Hodges, Associate Pastor at Christ Church Presbyterian, Charleston, SC
- Rev. David Strain, Senior Minister at First Presbyterian, Jackson, Mississippi
- Carl Robbins, Senior Pastor at Woodruff Road Presbyterian, Simpsonville, SC
- Dr. Jon Payne, Senior Minister at Christ Church Presbyterian, Charleston, SC
- Dr. Rick Philips, Senior Minister at Second Presbyterian Church, Greenville, SC
- Ruling Elder Mel Duncan, Church Administrator at Second Presbyterian, Greenville, SC