page 2 outreach
Outreach at Thomson
Responding to Needs
This past academic year in McDufe
County, Georgia, changing demograph-ics and the uncertain economic environ-ment opened the gateway for ThomsonPresbyterian Church to ask, “How canwe serve the kingdom in the midst of these times, in this community?”Word got out that the local school systemwas going to cut many of its after-schoolprograms because of budget realign-ment. At Thomson, our ideas began tocirculate around the idea that maybe wecould lend a hand to parents who workand need some form of child care afterschool. We also looked at this as possiblyactual, real life ministry. We could planthese hours in the training and spiritualnurturing of these children, rather than
a gloried after school day-care.
These ideas resulted in the youth pro-gram radically changing its scheduleand mission. Instead of the standardWednesday evening program, we madethe decision to pick the children up fromschool for an afternoon program. We alsoincluded a Tuesday afternoon communi-cant’s class. In time, the Wednesday af-ternoon middle school program outgrewour capabilities, so we added a Thursdayafternoon program.What resulted in these decisions wasthe Thomson van, “Big Red,” was nowa presence at the school. We forged re-
Motion for Prayer
Rev. Rob Roy McGregor
Synod passed a statement of willingnessto have congregations of the denomina-tion engage in an annual National Day of Prayer against Oppression on September11. If we ARPs make an effort, this can, Ithink, become an ARP initiated nationaleffort.The motion states: That the GeneralSynod of the Associate Reformed Pres-byterian Church encourage each Presby-tery and congregation of the denomina-tion (a) to participate in an annual Dayof Prayer against Oppression, (b) to en-courage other Christian congregationsand denominations to join with our con-gregations in the same private and/orpublic undertaking, (c) to set Septem-ber 11 as that annual day, (d) to markthat day in the Plan Book, and (e) to in-struct Outreach North America to send atimely reminder to each Presbytery andto include it in their publication as ap-propriate.
You can help:
• Invite other denominations in yourtowns and cities to join with you in yoursanctuaries or encourage them to havetheir own services.• Suggest that those who sponsor com-munity days of prayer in squares and atcourthouses engage in this undertakingon that day.• There could be notices in local andstate newspapers, signs, billboards, etc.Start your efforts now!
lationships with administrators, car-line
workers, and public safety ofcials sta
-tioned at the schools. Parents were nowaccustomed to seeing the van three daysa week and had their interest perkedabout why the church would be there sooften.More important than simply having thechurch as a presence in car-line, stu-dents have come to know Christ throughthis ministry. Three students who at-tended communicant’s class now knowJesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Therehave also been numerous students whohave grown in their life in Christ throughthis ministry. We have combined funactivities with the gospel message andhave seen fruit grow in the lives of thesechildren. While it is a challenge on someweeks to keep them interested and en-gaged for 3 hours, we often times lookat it as a “stretching time” for us per-sonally. We are reminded that it is thepower of the Holy Spirit working in andthrough us, not our own feeble powerwhich fails so often. I love how our Lorddoes this; for when we empty ourselvesand rely on his power, he gets all theglory.As a result of helping with the after-
school decit in the school system, our
members have had the chance to comeand mentor these children. Recently, aretired teacher came by and made fun-nel cakes for the girls, showing themhow to make these delicious favoritesat home. We pray that relationships inthe church with these students will con-tinue. It truly has been remarkable tosee God’s grace span many generationsand cultural differences.You might be wondering if somethinglike this could be done in your church aswell. There is no secret; God has simplybeen pleased to bless our meager effortsin bringing Christ to this community.With that said, I would like to encour-age everyone with a few questions thatmay spur such ministry activities.
1. Is there a denite need that has sur
-faced in your community’s newspapersor bulletin boards?2. Do you have the resources to handlethis need?
Synod Begins with ImportantDialogue on Being Missional
Daniel WellsHill City Church, Rock Hill, SC
There was plenty tobe excited about af-ter the 2013 GeneralSynod. One aspectwhich deserves excite-ment is that nearlyone hundred delegatesgathered Monday nightJune 10 to have a con-versation about when it means to beboth confessional and missional.After Outreach North America provid-ed a pizza dinner at the Pinecrest ARPChurch, pastors, elders, and lay peoplelistened as Rev. Matt Lucas (ReformationPresbyterian Church, Hendersonville,NC), Rev. Wayne Frazier (Back CreekARP Church, Charlotte, NC), and Dr. R.J.Gore (Erskine Theological Seminary) leda panel discussion on how to wed bothour confessional heritage and our mis-sional mandate from Scripture.Dr. Gore used his military background asa way to describe what it means to bemissional. “We have a mission, and weseek to accomplish that mission... whichis to make disciples,” Gore said.The challenge of changing demographicsis a topic Rev. Frazier engaged. His ownchurch has seen an entirely differentcommunity planted around their church,and Frazier explained that Back Creekplanted a church within itself to reachout to the African American and urbancommunity in their neighborhood.Rev. Lucas spoke of his experience thelast four years in seeking “Christ-cen-tered, gospel-driven, and kingdom-fo-cused” renewal at Reformation. Lucasnoted that being missional can be
but shing for men is always
.The audience was overwhelmingly re-ceptive to the content of the discussion.ONA hopes to renew its commitment
How can we serve thekingdom in the midst of thesetimes, in this community?
From the Director
Outreach & EvangelismProduce Renewal
Dr. Ken Priddy Director of Church Renewal
There is a troublingdivision between theoutward focus of thechurch (evangelism),and the inward focusof the church (disciple-ship). Discipleship isthe usual path chosenin guiding a congrega-tion toward renewal. However, the vastmajority of American Protestant church-es are in plateau and decline. Why? Theleading cause is self-focus that manifestsin pouring resources into congregationalministry, that is, ministry to ourselves.If we are to become renewed, it will notcome from additional commitment toministering to ourselves. Rather, renew-al will come through the commitment tominister beyond ourselves by focusingour ministry on reaching the lost throughoutreach and evangelism.In-reach (discipleship), per se, is notthe problem, but we have to changewhat we do with in-reach. Ministeringwithin the church should be focused onobedience to all that Jesus commanded(Great Commission) and not just on ex-panding our Bible knowledge inventory.Jesus came to seek and to save the lost(Luke 19:10) and the Great Commission,Jesus’ commandment, tells us to do thesame in the phrase, “Go, therefore, andmake disciples.” (Matthew 28:19)If in-reach was driven by equippingand empowering our congregations forbiblical living, featuring outreach andevangelism, I would be pushing churchleaders to focus on in-reach. But this isnot how our in-reach typically works;it is not producing light in a darkenedworld.When church leaders focus on outreachand evangelism, discipleship, in fact,turns more toward equipping people tobe salt and light. Internal issues within achurch tend to self-correct or disappearaltogether. Perhaps we’re caught in achicken-egg dilemma here, but at leastfor now, I am convinced that healthy in-reach begins with a commitment to out-reach and evangelism. The result is thatthe lost are reached and the found arerenewed.