Thoughts on a Presbytery
Every year, it is the responsibility of the local church to provide training for those who are called to serve as officers on the boards of the church. This training is to provide a framework of understanding of the ministries of those offices and boards, and to set us all in the right direction as we seek to serve our churches.
This training varies widely from church to church, ranging from cursory (“Here, read the Book of Order”) to intense (multiple weeks of several hour long lectures detailing the work of the church). Sometimes, a church doesn’t feel like it has the resources available to provide adequate training for its officers, and so does nothing at all.
Out of a desire to provide in depth, yet not cumbersome or boring, training for our officers, four churches from the area partnered together to sponsor a joint training event, a day where we could come together to talk about what it means to serve the church through the ministries of Session and Deacons, and discuss ways and means to go about it. Along the way, leadership from these four churches (SHPC, Fourth-Lincoln, Eastridge, and First-Nebraska City) were joined in the planning by leadership from several other churches (including Good Shepherd and Heritage) and Homestead Presbytery as we worked together to provide a quality training event that would enrich and embolden those who were called to serve in these specific ways.
And so, on January 11th, over 85 Deacons, Ruling Elders and Teaching Elders from around Homestead Presbytery (with some additional leadership from West Virginia!) came together at Southern Heights for the First Annual Homestead Presbytery Officer Training.
The day was a great celebration of ministry and community, as we gathered around tables, discussed and discerned how God was calling us to serve our individual churches through the ministries and the work of our offices.
This event, I believe, is a prime example of exactly what a Presbytery is all about.
Most often, when we think about “Presbytery”, we think about the quarterly meetings of commissioners who gather together to debate and discuss and vote on business and polity matters. Frequently, when we think about “Presbytery”, we think about the staff and the structure of our polity.
But, a Presbytery is more than meetings and committees. It is more than staff and polity.
A Presbytery is people.
More specifically, a Presbytery is the collection of people, as represented by the individual Presbyterian churches in a region, who all come together to share in a common, collaborative ministry. A ministry that we cannot accomplish on our own, but that we can work together to build and create into something amazing in our area.
A ministry that manifests itself in ways like a joint training event, where officers from churches across the region are strengthened in their ability to engage in ministry in their own community. A ministry that manifests itself in ways like a commonly held camp, where children, youth, and even adults, can come together to learn and grow in faith, love, and knowledge of God. A ministry that manifests itself in ways like financial and structural support of churches of all sizes, in whatever situation they find themselves in, so that they can be a great witness to Christ’s love in their own unique and amazing ways. A ministry that manifests itself in the building up and supporting of the work and the ministries of individual churches.
I am proud to be a part of a church structure which allows for, and encourages, this kind of shared ministry. I am honored to be able to work in collaboration with our sisters and brothers across the Presbytery to accomplish great things. And I am excited for the collective support that we give to the work of the Presbytery and for the collective support that engages and encourages us in the things that we are doing here at Southern Heights.
**Thoughts published here are mine and mine alone, and may or may not represent the thoughts or opinions of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, Homestead Presbytery, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, or the Presbyterian Church (USA)**
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