Putting the "P" in TCPC
One of your pastors will be out of town this week, putting into practice one of the important convictions we hold as a church - connectedness. As a church, we believe that Scripture calls us to be connected to other churches. And that connection is not just casual and informal. We're informally connected to other churches around us in the Treasure Coast area to partner in ministries together, to fellowship together, to be encouraged by one another and learn from one another. But the kind of connection we see Scripture pointing us to is one that involves more than that. It's what puts the "P" in TCPC. It's why we are Treasure Coast Presbyterian Church.
One of the guiding principles of presbyterianism is that churches are not meant to be independent. The 15 PCA churches in our area send representatives every quarter to meet together and support one another (we call this gathering the presbytery). If a church is wishing to hire a pastor, the elders gathered from other churches help ensure that the new pastor is doctrinally sound and gifted to serve that church (see 1 Timothy 4:14 for an example of this). We cooperate to support mission work in our communites and abroad. We oversee the workings of each church to ensure that each flock is being well-cared for. We support ministries at local universities and we team up to support (financially and in other practical ways) the planting of new churches in our area.
And once a year, the churches in our denomination send representatives to a national gathering that we call the General Assembly. At that gathering we worship with one voice. We hear reports from ministries all over the country. We conduct business regarding the college and seminary our denomination supports, the mission work we support, the church planting we support, and much more. We hear rulings on judicial cases that affect our churches. We learn of helpful resources for ministry and discipleship. And, just as the gathered elders did in Acts 15, we debate and decide on doctrinal issues that have been brought forward by the local churches and presbyteries.
With nearly 2,000 representatives from different churches in the room, we are seldom 100% on the same page regarding every detail. So there is debate, discussion, and even strong disagreement at times. But here is the beautiful and encouraging thing: everyone in the room is passionate about God, his Word, and his glory. Our disagreements stem from how we read and understand God's word, but every last one of us is committed to finding truth in what God has spoken and in applying that truth in a loving way to the churches under our care. Much of our disagreements are over the 0.1% of things we see differently. But in 99.9% of things, we are united. And that doesn't always get the attention it deserves.
So pray for your pastor as he represents TCPC at our General Assembly this week. Pray that he would be encouraged and that he would be wise in how he votes. Pray that the church would be strengthened and in one Spirit. Pray that our church - and the whole body of Christ - would grow stronger and healthier as a result. This is an essential part of who we are as a church - we are connected in a real and vital way to many other churches, and it is worth the time and expense of having our church physically represented when those churches gather together and seek to better serve the body of Christ.
You can follow the livestream of the General Assembly by clicking here.