Update from Your Elders: late February 2016

In the interest of trying to keep everyone in the church on top of the kinds of things the Elders are discussing and acting on, here are three things we talked about at our meeting on February 22nd:

1. Gospel Renewal – You have probably noticed a buzz about a renewed focus on the gospel and on seeking to become more ‘missional’ as a church. Some have wondered if this signals an intention to become less deep in our discipleship and more compromising of truth in an attempt to impact our community. This is precisely the opposite of our intent – if anything, we need to go deeper in our own walk in order to be sure what we offer to our culture is exactly what Scripture lays out for us. Perhaps the sense that personal/church renewal in the gos­pel itself is the best way to achieve this may be a new idea for some, or perhaps many, of us.

Christians in the West at least have tended to see the gospel as simply the message that leads people to come to Christ, after which it is up to believers to take on the challenge themselves of growing in the Christian life. As Tim Keller has described it, this has taken the form of seeing the gospel as the ABC of becoming a Christian, rather than understanding that the deep truths of the gospel are the A to Z of God’s salvation plan which extends from our first believing all the way to our being presented faultless before Him at the last day. The deep truths of the gospel are something we need to go deeper in for all of our Christian life, since they are the source of power for our faith, our walk, our behavior, our fellowship, our unity, our hope, and our witness (Romans 1:16-17). You will notice from the beginning that this is a focus of Bobby’s preaching, and is a key step in preparing us to better bring the gospel to bear meaningfully to the North Shore. It is also a reason we feel a need to bring help to Bobby in the person of an associate pastor who will focus on spiritual formation and discipleship. This is the path we are seeking to take.

2. New Documents – As part of our recent restructuring of church government, there entered a new emphasis on developing policies to help guide us as we move ahead. The Elders primarily are charged with developing these things, and to date there are a number of them in place. Some of them are policies regarding how the pastor and board are to operate and relate to each other. Others are better described as position papers which help us to set down as a church what we feel are the biblical stances to be taken on a number of theological and Christian practice issues beyond the basic set of beliefs outlined in our official statement of faith. These documents are not widely published, but they are available for anyone in the church to read. The board encourages all who may have an interest in these things to contact the church office (office@nscbc.org) where they are kept and are available to be read. They are also being added to the membership process as things people joining the church need to know about.

3. Discipleship Training – Plans are being made to start a discipleship training program that it is hoped will grow in the months ahead. Topics like theological vision and discipleship are envisioned, starting with a small group of people initially and then expanding over time so that people going through the program begin to step in and perpetuate the sessions. This is an area that we were urged to move into by the Church Resource Ministries (CRM) study conduct­ed on our church several years ago. The goal is to provide a growing cadre of people who are familiar with the church and its needs and equipped to provide more trained leadership in the various ministries of the church.

—Dave Sweet, Interim Elder Chair