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Summer 2013 Outreach Newsletter

Summer 2013 Outreach Newsletter

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Summer 2013 Outreach Newsletter
Summer 2013 Outreach Newsletter

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09/06/2013

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SUMMER 2013 • www.ona-arp.org
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
outreach
 
Ho Evangism and Rnwal Rat
newsletter
ona
Outreach North America
From the Board Chairman
ONA Update
Wes Spring, ONA Board Chairman
As the “dog days of summer” set in formany of us, we can begin by rejoicing inthe recent meeting of the General Synod.I have communicated with numerous fel-low delegates who all agree that there wasa sense of unity which has not been felt by many for thepast several years. I thank moderator Jeff Kingswood for hisleadership and steadfastness to task. The ONA Board recom-mended that we look for opportunities to pray for each otherand for God’s guidance in our business meetings and worshiptime. Moderator Kingswood responded immediately duringthe opening session encouraging those present to break andgather with several others and pray accordingly. I believethat this helped set the tone for us to continue to debatethe issues, but always remembering that we are brothers inChrist foremost and always in the sight of God. I have heardseveral comments regarding how this year was like the Syn-od’s of past when it was an amazing experience to worshipand sing the Psalms as brothers committed to the gospel.Another recommendation from ONA to the General Synodwas to reestablish the pre-synod conference with the fo-cus on evangelism and how to better motivate and equip usto be more proactive in our reaching others for Christ. Asreformed theologians, we should be the leaders in makingevangelism and gospel growth a part of our DNA. I look for-ward to the challenge of developing a conference which willreach impact and strive towards that goal.This is a time of transition for ONA with former ExecutiveDirector, Alan Avera, joining Christianity Explored and JohnKimmons retiring from his position as Director of Evangelismand Care. As many of you are aware, we do have a commit-ted group of men serving as members of a search commit-tee to seek out and recruit a new director. We have metseveral times, have prayed together, and are currently in
the process of dening and praying for God’s wisdom in that
search. There is no time constraint, however we hope tohave a recommendation to the ONA Board no later than ourfall meeting in November. During this transition time, I asboard chairman, will attempt to increase my communicationand personal involvement where I can be of assistance to thelocal presbyteries. We are also blessed to have Joel Gardner
and Tessa Taylor in the ofce and available to coordinate
and continue to provide business and spiritual support to ourmission developers and their congregations. Please do not
hesitate to call the ONA ofce at any time with any request
and we will work to support whatever needs arise.This is also a time for all of us to step up to the plate and leadby example. The local presbytery church extension commit-tees need not rely on ONA to provide all of the communica-tion and support for the missions underway and those notyet discovered, but rather take a more active role in bothprayer and physical support where needed during this time.I encourage everyone who reads this newsletter to considerreaching out to at least one of the mission developers inyour presbytery and call the pastor once a month and askhow you might pray for him, his family, and his congregation.We should each take it upon ourselves to always do this,but now during this time of transition, it is imperative thatwe continue to encourage and grow our missions to reach-ing those who do not Jesus. We are not a tops down drivenorganization, but rather a grassroots church growth orga-nization where those mission developers and their familiesneed our prayer and support. I appreciate so many of you foryour prayers and support as followers of our monthly prayernewsletter. Consider, the extra step of making a phone callor emailing one of those on the prayer list and personallyintroduce yourself as a fellow ARP who is wanting to assistin any way you can. You will also get a chance to hear thewonderful stories being shared of how everyday people arehearing and rejoicing in the gospel in these young congrega-tions. (The mission developers’ contact information can befound on the ONA Website.) There is nothing more excitingthan to hear a new believer share how their life has changedand those stories are best heard amongst our new churchmissions and plants.I hope you will take notice of Ken Priddy’s article in thisnewsletter. Ken is a powerful resource in assisting anyonein developing a strategy for turning outward in your focusinstead of inward thinking. The harvest is still plentiful, butthe workers continue to be few. Let Ken help you get reen-ergized for the Lord. Finally, I ask for your prayers for myself as I have been called to step up in my leadership. Pray thatI become a more valued listener as real teaching and lead-ership begins with listening. May we learn to live in God’sgrace.
 
page 2 outreach
 
summer 2013
page 3
Outreach at Thomson
Responding to Needs
 
Fred Hope
This past academic year in McDufe
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 gloried 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 ofcials 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 decit 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 denite 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
messy 
,
but shing for men is always
messy 
.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.
 
in putting on a pre-Synod conferenceon evangelism next year. The Synod’sdiscussion this past June has planted aseed for further helpful dialogue on thisimportant topic of how to be both con-fessional and missional as a denomina-tion.Let’s pray that seeing the coherence be-tween our Reformed heritage and cre-atively engaging our culture will be adiscussion also had in our presbyteriesand churches.
3. Is God calling your church to be hishands and feet in your community? Re-member in Acts 1:8 when Jesus toldthe disciples that they would work outin concentric circles starting with thenearby Jerusalem. Many of our churcheshave a “Jerusalem” close by, desperate-ly needing the gospel message to trans-form lives.
My prayer is that you will nd the joy of 
serving a need close by in your commu-nity as well!
Christianity ExploredAppoints Former ONADirector as First ExecutiveDirector in North America toDrive Growth
WASHINGTON, June 6,2013 – Christianity Ex-plored USA (CE-USA) ap-pointed Dr. Alan J. Averaas executive director tolead its rapidly expandingNorth American ministry.CE-USA created this newfull-time position in order to mobilizemore churches in the U.S. and Canadain effective evangelism.In this role, Dr. Avera will establish anddirect a dedicated team to build onChristianity Explored’s current networksof churches and advocates; increaseawareness of the evangelism and dis-cipleship tools provided by Christianity
Explored; train people to condently
share the gospel message; and build astrong base in North America for reach-ing into Central and South America.“Churches today face a challenging en-vironment where fewer people have anybackground in Christianity,” Avera said.“The Christianity Explored (CE) courseis an excellent tool to help people meetJesus in the pages of Scripture by creat-ing a highly relational, non-threateningenvironment where people can ask theirquestions while engaging with the Gos-pel of Mark.”www.ceministries.org
Contact the ONA ofce if your church
would like to check out one of our copiesof the Christianity Explored Course.

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