“In All Things” podcast episode 37 features longtime EPC Sierra Leone ministry partner Samuel Sesay

 

Samuel Sesay, missionary evangelist with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sierra Leone and President of EduNations is the guest for episode 37 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.”

This week, host Dean Weaver and Sesay discuss his journey to faith from a Muslim background within the syncretic religious environment of Sierra Leone. Sesay also describes the mission and vision of EduNations, which operates 15 Christian schools with more than 3,500 students in predominantly Muslim villages in the West African country, as well as how the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sierra Leone—which has witnessed more than 1,000 baptisms in the past eight years—was birthed from the ministry of EduNations.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

June 2022 EPC financial report: FY22 PMA contributions conclude year under budget

 

At the June 30 close of the EPC’s fiscal year, Per Member Asking (PMA) contributions to the EPC totaled $2,291,002. The total is $118,730 (5.2 percent) less than the General Assembly operating budget of $2,409,732. June PMA support was $218,276—$14,704 (6.7 percent) less than the monthly projected budget amount of $232,980.

Fiscal year 2022 (FY22) PMA support was $100,869 (4.2) less than the $2,391,871 contributed over the same period in FY21. The EPC’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. In addition, June PMA support of $213,296 brought the 12-month rolling average for monthly PMA contributions to $190,917. The rolling average is 4.6 percent below the 12-month rolling average as of June 2021.

“Though we did not end the fiscal year as we hoped to, God is still on His throne,” said Stated Clerk Dean Weaver. “The past five or six months have been incredibly challenging for our churches as their members deal with inflation and other financial pressures. I am very thankful for that our churches continue to understand the value of in being in the EPC, and that they support the EPC as sacrificially as they do. In this very challenging year, I would be remiss in not celebrating the five churches with the highest PMA contributions last year: Hope Church in Memphis; Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis; Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville; Colonial Presbyterian Church in Kansas City; and Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church in Signal Mountain, Tenn.”

Of the $2,291,002 received, $458,200 (20 percent) was contributed to EPC World Outreach.

In addition to PMA contributions, the Office of the General Assembly received $6,784,909 in designated gifts in FY22. This total was $1,261,256 (22.8 percent) more than the $5,523,652 in designated gifts received in FY20. Designated gifts include support for World Outreach global workers and projects, and contributions to EPC Special Projects such as Emergency Relief, church planting and revitalization initiatives, and the EPC’s holiday offerings.

Of the total, $6,290,467 was designated for World Outreach workers and projects, and $494,442 was designated for EPC projects. These amounts only reflect gifts received and distributed by the Office of the General Assembly, and do not reflect donations given directly to WO global workers or other projects.

Notable donations contributing to the increase from FY21 include more than $518,000 for the International Disaster Relief Fund following Russia’ invasion of Ukraine; and nearly $300,000 donated to the Domestic Emergency Relief Fund in response to Hurricane Ida in September 2021.

“Clearly, when needs arise the people of the EPC step up—regardless of the current financial climate,” Weaver said. “That tangible demonstration of God’s sacrificial love is part of why I love the EPC so much.”

“In All Things” podcast episode 36 approaches intersection of suffering and spiritual growth with Bryn MacPhail

 

Bryn MacPhail, Senior Pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk in Nassau, Bahamas, and author of Purposeful Pain: What Your Troubles Achieve, is the guest for episode 36 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.”

This week, host Dean Weaver and MacPhail discuss how God uses suffering to make believers more like Jesus. MacPhail explains how repeated pain and suffering—unlike manual labor that develops strength and durability—results in a heavy burden that only being yoked to Christ can relieve. He also provides a list of additional resources on the topic.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast hits 5000-download milestone

 

“In All Things,” the EPC’s weekly podcast hosted by Stated Clerk Dean Weaver, has reached the milestone of 5,000 downloads. As of July 25, 35 episodes have been published.

“I am excited that so many people are listening,” Weaver said. “When we launched ‘In All Things’ last fall, our goal was to further tell the stories of how God is working in and through the EPC, our churches, and our church members. I am especially thankful for all of our guests, who are the reason anybody should listen at all. Of course, our greatest hope is that the Lord Jesus Christ gets all the glory through the stories of the EPC.”

Statistics reveal that in addition to the United States, episodes have been downloaded in Puerto Rico, Latvia, Canada, Germany, the Bahamas, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Japan, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Sierra Leone, China, France, Greece, Honduras, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, and South Africa.

Upcoming guests include Bryn MacPhail, Senior Pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk in Nassau, Bahamas, and author of Purposeful Pain: What Your Troubles Achieve; and Samuel Sesay, Missionary Evangelist in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sierra Leone and President of EduNations, Inc.

“I hope our listeners will continue to share ‘In All Things’ with their friends, and also circulate on their social media,” Weaver said. “We drop a new episode every Friday.”

“In All Things” is available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

Episodes also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 35 features EPC church member, former imam Mark Christian

 

Mark Christian, member of the EPC’s Covenant Presbyterian Church in Omaha, Neb., and author of The Apostate: My Search for Truth, is the guest for episode 35 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.”

This week, host Dean Weaver and Christian discuss his upbringing in Egypt in a family of the Muslim Brotherhood, becoming an imam at age 12, and how a journey of questioning the claims of Mohamed for a deeper understanding of Islam resulted in a failed attempt on his life and ultimately to faith in Christ.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings. Christian’s book is available on request from the EPC Office of the General Assembly by emailing info@epc.org. Supplies are limited.

Diversity fuels mission of newly localized Tennessee church plant

 

The congregation of The Avenue Community Church in Memphis, following the service of localization held on March 20, 2022, at Highland Heights Baptist Church in Memphis.

Embracing diversity has fueled the mission and growth of The Avenue Community Church (TACC) in Memphis—leading to achieving local church status in the Presbytery of the Central South in March. Local church status means a congregation is self-governing with its own elected and installed officers, including Ruling Elders and Deacons.

“We know from Scripture that God’s true church is diverse, from every nation, tribe, tongue,” said Lead Pastor Tim Johnson. “So as the local church, we strive to be diverse as well.”

Tim Johnson

Johnson noted that TACC’s goal is to be not only multi-ethnic, but also multi-class and multi-generational.

“We have to seek to reach people from all types of backgrounds,” he said. “Our heart is to do what every other faithful church has been doing since its inception, and that is to be working for the God of the Bible reverently, passionately, and faithfully. There’s a blueprint to the church that the Lord left us and that’s what we want to fulfill. We want to witness, we want to worship, we want to edify the body until He comes back.”

TACC has been focused on the community in and around—and is named for—Summer Avenue since its launch in September 2018. Running east-west on the north side of central Memphis, Summer Avenue is one of the most diverse areas of the city. In fulfillment of Johnson’s vision for ministry in the community, TACC acquired and is renovating the old Highland Heights United Methodist Church property on Summer and hopes to hold its worship services in the historic Gothic structure within the next year or so. TACC has met at a local school for the past three and a half years.

“The new location places us right in between two communities we would love to wed and be a bridge and bring together,” Johnson said. “One has the highest dollar amount per square foot, and the other is a very multiracial, lower-middle-class. We strategically have always prayed to be on the Avenue. Now that we are officially on Summer Avenue, we can truly be The Avenue sitting right in the middle of all the intersection of all the people who are doing business on our streets.”

The Summer Avenue corridor in central Memphis is the focus of The Avenue Community Church’s ministry.

Johnson and TACC are accomplishing the work that Second Presbyterian Church of Memphis envisioned in the pre-pandemic days of 2017, according to Dan Burns, Second’s World Missions Pastor.

“We were dreaming and praying about how to help plant a diverse, multi-ethnic church in one of our ‘edge’ neighborhoods,” Burns explained. “There are many dividing lines in Memphis where economic and racial patterns tend to divide the community. We were praying about launching a church ‘on the line’ that could serve the community on both sides and draw them into a common fellowship.”

Burns said Johnson has both the vision and passion to pursue this vision.

“He sensed the Lord lead him and his core team to Summer Avenue, immediately got engaged in the community through youth work and community connections, and launched The Avenue a year later,” Burns said. “The Lord soon gave them energy, direction, and resources to launch—and they weathered the pandemic and racial tension of 2020 with gospel grace.”

And the gospel ministry of TACC will now reach literally around the world.

“I was overjoyed to see the first couple from The Avenue commissioned at the 2022 EPC General Assembly to serve as World Outreach global workers in the Middle East,” Burns said.

Johnson said the journey to local church status wasn’t as encumbering as he anticipated.

“The administrative commission from Second Presbyterian and the delegates from the Presbytery just really made it seem more relational, and that we are brothers and sisters and that we’re excited about this process,” he said. “It did not feel like an interrogation—like with the hope that you would fail—but was a discovery and birthing of a new relationship and friendship. That was quite refreshing.”

Tim Foster, Senior Pastor of Highland Heights Presbyterian Church in Memphis, prays over Tim Johnson during the service of localization held March 20, 2022.

Seeing God’s hand in the formation of TACC and its success led to a “marvelous day of God’s grace” when TACC was constituted as a local congregation, said Ken Van Kampen, Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Central South.

“It was, in one sense, the climax and closing of one chapter and the opening of another chapter in the life of the church,” he said, explaining that the timing of TACC’s localization was evidence of God’s blessing.

“The Lord graciously upheld the congregation during COVID,” Van Kampen said. “It was during this time that the leadership of The Avenue—who were ordained and installed as the initial class of Elders and Deacons on March 20—was raised up and trained. In the midst of this it was clear that the Lord prepared the congregation for localization. It was all the power and grace of the Lord.”

Johnson said he has been humbled to see God work through TACC from the very beginning.

“We believe the nations are literally in our backyard: Black, white, Hispanic, rich, poor. We believe that God has placed us uniquely and strategically in the middle of all those people,” he said. “And we think He has placed us in the middle of all those people to preach the gospel, to preach it faithfully, and to preach it indiscriminately to whomever we encounter.”

by Tim Yarbrough
EPConnection correspondent

“In All Things” podcast episode 34 emphasizes pastor and spouse care with Jim and Shari Hobby

 

Episode 34 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Jim and Shari Hobby, facilitators of the House of Gladness in Thomasville, Ga. The Hobbys—both of whom are ordained in the Anglican Church in North America—were the guest speakers for the EPC’s 2021-22 pastor/spouse retreats.

This week, host Dean Weaver and the Hobbys discuss how the Psalm 13 passage they taught from at the pastor/spouse retreats helps those in ministry walk through—but not stay too long in—the process of lament so they can look to and embrace hope. The Hobbys also describe their House of Gladness ministry and the importance of pastors and spouses connecting with other pastors and spouses.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 33 highlights innovation in local church ministry with Dave Wahlstedt

 

Episode 33 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Dave Wahlstedt, Pastor of The Table in Dallas, Texas, and author of Shift: Catalyzing Creative Change in Innovative Christian Ministry.

This week, host Dean Weaver and Wahlstedt discuss the ministry of The Table as a worshipping community—what Wahlstedt calls a “craft church” surrounded by megachurches in suburban north Dallas—and how spiritual formation became the focus of the ministry. Wahlstedt also talks about how his book is a reflection of his ministry experience, and describes ways to innovate in the local church and among its people.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

42nd General Assembly recordings available

 

Video recordings of the 42nd General Assembly are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/ga2022recordings. Included are the Leadership Institute plenary sessions, Church Health Workshop, worship service messages, select committee verbal reports, the nomination and election of Moderator Rosemary Lukens, and the nomination and election of Moderator-elect Joe Kim.

The videos feature Vincent Bacote, Professor of Theology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.; Sandy Willson, Pastor Emeritus of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn.; Andrew Brunson, Founder of WaveStarters in Reston, Va.; Brad Strait, Senior Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood Colo.; Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College; Jimmy Scroggins, Lead Pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Todd Thomas, Campus Pastor of Family Church Sherbrooke in Lake Worth, Fla.; Julie Hawkins, Pastor of Next Steps at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor, Wash.; Scott McKee, Senior Pastor of Ward Church in Northville, Mich.; Terence Gray, Assistant Pastor of Ward Church; Marcelo Robles, Senior Pastor of La Misión Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and more.

In addition, audio recordings of the Leadership Institute seminars “Trafficking in Our Backyard” and five lectures on historical theology from the Westminster Society are available, as well as audio recordings of select Networking Lunches. These also are available in podcast form on the EPC’s podcast channel at www.podcast.epc.org as well as Spotify and iTunes—search for “Evangelical Presbyterian Church.”

#epc2022ga

Sesay presents 3 Circles evangelism tool in Sierra Leone, West Africa

 

After returning to Sierra Leone from the 42nd General Assembly in June, Samuel Sesay presented the 3 Circles personal evangelism tool to the congregation at Grace Community Church in Freetown. Sesay is a Missionary Evangelist in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sierra Leone and also currently serves as President of EduNations, Inc.

Among the items of business approved by the Assembly was for the EPC to enter into a formal fraternal relationship with the EPC of Sierra Leone. The 3 Circles is the recommended evangelism tool of the EPC’s Church Health Team. For more information, see www.epc.org/evangelism.

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“In All Things” podcast episode 32 examines Christian fantasy literature with Dustin Leimgruber

 

Episode 32 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Dustin Leimgruber, EPC Teaching Elder and author of The Sanctus Chronicles: The Plague of Tradium. Host Dean Weaver and Leimgruber discuss his journey to faith as a Jew in a rural area, to reading the Gospels in an Intervarsity Fellowship Bible study in college. Leimgruber also describes the story behind the book, and how fantasy literature in general can frame spirituality in a “I am in a struggle but the good guys win in the end” context that often is relatable for the reader.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

EPC National Leadership Team issues statement on U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade

 

During the morning business session of our 42nd General Assembly on Friday, June 24, we learned that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision. The Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson that there is no right to an abortion in the Constitution, and thereby returned the question of abortion to the states. At the beginning of our afternoon business session, we stopped to acknowledge this historic moment. Then Bonnie Gatchell, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the East who leads a ministry in Boston to exploited and vulnerable women, led us in prayer.

As a completely and consistently pro-life denomination, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church rejoices with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. We rejoice in the Supreme Court’s decision, yet we grieve the estimated 63 million lives1 tragically lost since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973. We rejoice in all decisions that support the most vulnerable and defenseless. We also weep with those whose lives have been deeply affected by such suffering and pain, including women who have experienced rape and sexual abuse.

As the EPC’s Position Paper on Abortion states,

“The Evangelical Presbyterian Church affirms that the Bible does not distinguish between prenatal and postnatal life. It attributes human personhood to the unborn child. This extends to the unborn child ex utero as no less a human being than the child in the mother’s womb.”

And…

Because we hold these convictions concerning the unborn child, we urge the promotion of legislation that brings our judicial and legal systems into line with the scriptural view on protecting the poor, the weak, and the defenseless.”

And…

“The Church must serve as a loving and supportive community to those who have experienced physical, emotional, or spiritual wounds as a result of undergoing an abortion or placing a child for adoption.”

As a denomination of more than 630 churches, we affirm that all human life is sacred—from the “womb to the tomb.” We affirm that all human life is created in the Imago Dei (Image of God). We affirm that as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to offer substantial support for those impacted by problematic and/or unexpected pregnancies.

In the days to come, we call upon all members of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church to pray and renew our efforts to speak the truth in love, to create loving and supportive communities, and to provide substantial support for those impacted.

To read the EPC’s Position Paper on Abortion in its entirety, see www.epc.org/files/positionpaper-abortion.

EPC National Leadership Team:

Brad Strait (Chairman)
TE, Presbytery of the West

Earla Bethel
RE, Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean

Brian Evans
RE, Presbytery of the Midwest

Michael Flake
TE, Presbytery of the Central Carolinas

George Hertensteiner
RE, Presbytery of the Great Plains

John Ivy Jr.
RE, Presbytery of the Central South

Victor Jones
RE, Presbytery of the Gulf South

Patrick King
TE, Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest

Linda McDaniel
RE, Presbytery of the West

Neil Smith
TE, Presbytery of the East

Carolyn Poteet
TE, Presbytery of the Alleghenies

Dave Strunk
TE, Presbytery of the Southeast

Rosemary Lukens, 42nd GA Moderator
RE, Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest

Joe Kim, 42nd GA Moderator-elect
TE, Presbytery of the East

Dean Weaver, Stated Clerk
TE, Presbytery of the Alleghenies

————————————
1Statistics from the National Right to Life Committee’s tracking of CDC and Guttmacher Institute data.

42nd General Assembly sings God’s faithfulness

 

The “Singing Moderator” of the 40th General Assembly, Glenn Meyers, leads the 42nd General Assembly in the great hymn of the faith, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” during the final business session on June 24, 2022. Meyers serves as Commissioned Pastor of Ardara Presbyterian Church in Ardara, Pa. The 42nd General Assembly was held June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

#epc2022ga

“In All Things” podcast provides 42nd General Assembly update from Dean Weaver

 

Episode 31 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. This week, Weaver explains the purpose behind and activities at the 42nd General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

#epc2022ga

42nd General Assembly worship service message: Terence Gray

 

In the Thursday morning worship service on June 23 at the 42nd General Assembly, Terence Gray preached from John 13:1-17. Gray serves as Assistant Pastor at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

Gray noted that in the book Leaders Eat Last, a U.S. Marine officer explained that what made the Marines different was that its “leaders ate last.” As a result of this modelling of servant leadership, a Marine can trust that his or her officer puts the needs of the soldier first.

“We live in a celebrity culture; a day when we want to get followers,” Gray said. “But we see in John 13 that Jesus loved these people. He washed their feet. And He loves you, too.”

Gray challenged the Assembly, “So when we are asked, ‘What makes the EPC different?’ We want to able to say—we ought to be able to say—’We wash each other’s feet.”

A recording of Gray’s message will be available on the EPC website soon.

#epc2022ga

Rosemary Lukens elected Moderator of 42nd General Assembly

 

Praying over Rosemary Lukens (second from left) following her installation as Moderator of the 42nd General Assembly are (from left) Mark Toone, Senior Pastor of Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church (CHPC) in Gig Harbor, Wash.; Rachel White, Pastor of Life Groups and Alpha at CHPC; and Megan Hackman, Church Planting Pastor of Kitsap House in Port Orchard, Wash.

Rosemary Lukens, Ruling Elder for Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor, Wash., was elected Moderator of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly on June 22.

In her opening remarks, Lukens told the Assembly that the EPC “does not just have a mission—we are on mission: to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus as Presbyterian, Reformed, Evangelical and Missional.”

“We say we aspire to be a Revelation 7:9 denomination,” she said. “The time for aspiration is gone. Now is the time to live Revelation 7:9. If we truly are Reformed—truly are Evangelical—then how is that showing up in our churches, our Presbyteries, and our own personal lives? If you are not on Jesus’ mission, then you are robbing Him of His inheritance. Live out your calling as Evangelical—be evangelistic—by reaching your sphere of influence with the good news that saved your life and soul.”

Lukens reminded the Assembly that American culture has changed to the point that “being a Christian is no longer acceptable. We are aliens, strangers to the values and culture in which we live.”

Yet she emphasized that “our beliefs do not change with the culture. What we believe in Jesus never changes, just as He never changes.”

Lukens is a Registered Nurse by training and holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Puget Sound and a Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science with a specialty in Coaching and Consulting in Organizations from Bastyr University’s Leadership Institute of Seattle. She holds certifications in the Conflict Dynamics Profile from the Center for Dynamics; Crucial Conversations from VitalSmarts, Inc.; The Harrison Assessment (Levels I & II) from Harrison Assessments International; the DISC Index from Innermetrix, Inc.; Benchmarks 360 from the Center for Creative Leadership; Coaching for Development from the Center for Creative Leadership; the Kolb Learning Style Inventory from the Hay Group; and the Mayer, Salovey, Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) from Multi-Health Systems, Inc.

An Executive Coach with extensive leadership development experience in health care and nonprofit organizations, Lukens has helped a diverse array of physicians, executive leaders, managers, and their staff members with relationships, strategy, and goal setting. She also has assisted such non-profit organizations as hospitals, physician groups, city governments, universities, and churches adopt practices and build cultures that appreciate and embrace change, improve performance, and optimize talent. Her areas of professional expertise include coaching and consulting with individual developmental planning; conflict reconciliation; leadership development for teams and individuals; program and curriculum development; and workshop, meeting, and classroom facilitation.

In addition to being a Ruling Elder, she serves CHPC as a certified Spiritual Director, Lay Counselor, and Leadership Coach/Consultant. She is a member of the EPC’s National Leadership Team (NLT) and was a member of the Stated Clerk Search Committee. She also serves as a volunteer board member with VitalChurch Ministries.

She is married to David Lukens, DO, and they have 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 3 “adopted” grandchildren.

#epc2022ga

Live stream webcast available for 42nd General Assembly worship, business sessions

 

The 42nd General Assembly worship services, business sessions, and Leadership Institute plenary sessions are available via live stream online at www.epc.org/ga2022livestream and in the GA mobile app.

The Assembly is at Ward Church in Northville, Mich., June 21-24.

Note that the global worker commissioning portion of the Thursday evening worship service will not be broadcast due to security concerns.

Following the Assembly, recordings of the Leadership Institute plenary sessions, worship services, and select networking lunches and other Leadership Institute seminars will be available.

#epc2022ga

2022 Leadership Institute: Evangelism in Colonial Presbyterianism

 

In the Westminster Society’s series of lectures at the 2022 Leadership Institute, Don Fortson provided an overview of Presbyterianism in colonial America in the 1600-1700s.

Fortson discussed Francis Makemie, known as “the Father of American Presbyterianism.” Makemie was one of seven ministers in the initial Presbytery of Philadelphia meeting in 1706—the first Presbytery in North America.

“We have the minutes from 1706-1746, and they are fascinating to read. Presbyterians haven’t learned a thing in 300 years,” he quipped. “We are still fussing about the same things and concerned about the same things.”

Fortson also traced how waves of Scotch-Irish immigrants in the early 1700s led to the spread of the gospel in the Middle Atlantic region, including colonial Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Among these immigrants was William Tennent, founder of the “Log College” that emphasized personal piety—what Tennent called “Experimental Divinity.” Many of its students later became leaders of the First Great Awakening in the 1730s and 1740.

Fortson serves as Professor of Church History and Pastoral Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary’s Charlotte, N.C., campus. He is the author of Liberty in Non-Essentials: The Story of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and five other books on Christian and Presbyterian history.

The Leadership Institute is part of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

#epc2022ga

2022 Leadership Institute: The Art of Manfishing

 

In the Westminster Society’s series of lectures at the 2022 Leadership Institute, Zach Hopkins discussed gleanings from the Thomas Boston book, The Art of Manfishing. The Scottish Presbyterian Pastor wrote the book in 1699 when he was 22 years old.

“Seeing I am called out to preach this everlasting gospel, it is my duty to endeavor, and it is my desire to be (Lord, Thou knowest) a fisher of men,” Hopkins quoted Boston.

Reflecting on Boston’s life serving two small Kirks in southeast Scotland, Hopkins noted, “It is not where a minister serves, but the quality of service that counts.”

Hopkins serves as Pastor of Edgington Presbyterian Church in Taylor Ridge, Ill.

The Leadership Institute is part of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

#epc2022ga

2022 Leadership Institute: Pursuit of Public Fidelity

 

In the 2022 Leadership Institute plenary session, “Pursuit of Public Fidelity,” Vincent Bacote and Sandy Willson took questions from the audience in a variety of topics related to ministering in the public square.

In response to a question about discussing politics in the church, Willson noted that “we want our nations to have righteous laws, but we also want to be the people of grace.”

“You have to love people, but in doing that you will take some heat sometimes,” Willson said. “It’s always both/and in society as Christians. I think Peter is saying in his first epistle, ‘just behave yourselves.’ If there is injustice, let’s address it in the most humble and generous way we can. There are moments that we are just misbehaving like teenagers who don’t want to be told what to do.”

Addressing a question about political candidates, Bacote said “don’t expect candidates to be Messiah.”

“We act like we are electing a king, and then when they don’t act like we want we say, ‘I thought you were going to act like a monarch and rule by fiat.'”

Bacote reminded the audience that not all Americans are Christians.

“So how are you making some penultimate good in terms of public policy?” he asked. “It can’t just be a single-issue thing because most of politics is not a single issue. What kind of person are they? Do they want to be a public servant, or just someone being skillful in using rhetoric but their desire is for status or power. Are we in the service of their ambition?”

He emphasized that power itself is not necessarily a problem,

“How do you use it? How do you steward it? How do you direct it?” Bacote asked. “How are you going to implement justice if you don’t have power? So power is not the problem. The unique agency and opportunity we have is to be in this thing with sinful people. We recognize that some people will misuse power, but the fact of misuse doesn’t make the power itself the problem. Anything can be misused.”

Bacote is Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author of The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life and The Spirit in Public Theology: Appropriating the Legacy of Abraham Kuyper.

Willson currently serves as Interim Senior Minister of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Birmingham, Alabama. He served as Senior Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1998-2017, when he was named Pastor Emeritus.

The Leadership Institute is part of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

A recording of Bacote and Willson’s session will be available on the EPC website soon.

#epc2022ga

2022 Leadership Institute: Westminster Society session 2

 

In the Westminster Society’s series of lectures at the 2022 Leadership Institute, Aaron White discussed “Evangelism and Mission in the New Testament.”

“Jesus’ in the euangelizomai in the New Testament, and we see three stages of the Greek word in Luke-Acts. With John the Baptist, it was imminently arriving. With Jesus, it arrived. With the disciples, it is extending,” he said.

“John the Baptist straddles the prophecy and arrival, and points to the imminent arrival of God’s Kingdom. In Jesus, it’s here, it’s near, and it’s coming. In Acts 8, we see ‘now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.’”

White serves as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in South Charleston, Ohio.

The Leadership Institute is part of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

#epc2022ga

2022 Leadership Institute: Trafficking in Our Backyards

 

In the 2022 Leadership Institute seminar, “Trafficking In Our Backyards,” Bonnie Gatchell began by reporting some statistics about the sex industry in the United States.

“The average age of entry into the sex industry in the U.S. is 12, and many people think that is actually high,” she said. “Seventy percent are girls who have aged out of the foster system and have nowhere to go. It’s important to see women in strip clubs as the victims they are. No girl wants to be a stripper when she grows up.”

Gatchell said the primary reason women leave the sex industry is “one trusting relationship encouraging them” to live a different life.

“Traffickers are really good at recognizing vulnerable people. The church needs to be better.”

Gatchell is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the East and is the co-founder and Executive Director of Route One Ministry, a Boston-based non-profit organization that serves women who are sexually exploited.

The Leadership Institute is part of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

#epc2022ga

 

2022 Leadership Institute: Westminster Society session 1

 

In the Westminster Society’s series of lectures at the 2022 Leadership Institute, Scott Redd discussed “Evangelism and Mission in the Old Testament.”

“Just as Adam and Eve were not meant to stay in the Garden but to fill the whole earth, with Abraham the goal was that all the families of the earth would be blessed,” he told attendees. “The Psalmist said, ‘All of the earth will be filled His glory.’ It was never about one nation or one family.”

Redd serves as President and Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary’s Washington, D.C., campus.

The Leadership Institute is part of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

#epc2022ga

“In All Things” podcast episode 30 previews 42nd General Assembly with host pastor Scott McKee

 

Episode 30 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Scott McKee, Senior Pastor of Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

This week, host Dean Weaver and McKee discuss preparations for the denomination’s June 21-24 annual meeting including how the worship service speakers will help develop the theme of “Recharge” based on Acts 1:8. The two also discuss several business items coming before the Assembly—including McKee’s involvement in the Giving Culture Study Committee and how that group helped lay the groundwork for Recommendation 42:11 to change the funding model from Per Member Asking (PMA) to Percentage of Income (POI).

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.