Lesson 5 Parish Ministry: Moving Forward
Two lessons ago I presented a history of the parish system, including its two goals of: 1) providing shepherding care to all members and 2) enhancing community. Then last week I diagnosed the problems that have hindered the parish structure from achieving these two goals.
Let’s review the kinks in the system:
1. PEs overly stretched
2. PEs and all elders not receiving necessary training and support
3. Failure to activate the inactive officers
4. Inability to keep up regular contact with all church members
5. Inability to develop a widespread network of small groups
6. Struggle to develop strong, consistent parish council teams
I then noted four necessary elements to address these problems.
2. Activating all elders
3. Development of the TCA network
4. Putting the database into parish hands
Let’s start with training.
How to use the online training sessions.
– discuss them: fellow elders, wives, deacons, me
– email questions and comments that include other elders
– let me know of needed topics
Good materials to read and study.
– develop well-rounded library
Teaching one another.
– in parish councils
– informal elder gatherings
– sharing good books, materials (through email)
Local and online courses
– WTS and CCEF
– Download courses from Covenant
– WTS provides a list of educational links
– invite you to send links of helpful sites
– already you have learned and been shaped; that’s the reason you selected elder
– learn from both strengths and weaknesses; successes and failures
– write down the lessons you have learned in life
– (construction lessons: pace self; look back)
Suggestions for a Ruling Elder’s Library
J I Packer, Concise Theology;
Packer, Knowing God
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, by J. I. Packer
R C Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith;
Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine;
A A Hodge, The Confession of Faith;
Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied;
Westminster Standards – Confession, Larger and Shorter Catechisms Foundations of the Christian Faith, by James Boice
The Doctrines of Grace, by James Boice and Philip Ryken
Howard Vos, Exploring Church History
Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, ed. by Philip Ryken
Baker has a quick Scripture reference guide for counseling;
Ryken’s Bible Handbook;
the Reformation Study Bible;
Book of Church Order
The Elder and His Work, by David Dickson
Pastoral Visitation: A Pocket Manual, by David Short and David Searle
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