to North America
the Presbyterian Church in America to Plant, Grow, and
Orchard Presbyterian, Ridgeland, MS is one
of several who lead in church planting.
Presbyterian Church in America:
A Quarter Century of Serving the Kingdom
When the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in
America was called to order on
St. Louis, MO
December 4, 1973, it was the outgrowth of nearly three
decades of diligence by Presbyterians who sought a greater focus
on the Gospel and missions. On that day, commissioners from 260
churches with a combined membership of 40,000 gathered at
Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, Alabama, for this historic
Leading up to that moment, many pastors, elders, and other
lay leaders had struggled for years within the Presbyterian
Church in the United States to reverse liberal trends and return
to the denomination’s founding principles. Space does not
permit naming all those who labored in this effort or to detail
their progress; yet we are most indebted to them for their
relentless pursuit which laid the foundation for the PCA.
Today, the PCA comprises 1,366 churches and missions in 48
states and Canada. Reformed University Ministries is represented
on 37 campuses in 16 states. This is only the beginning. The
dynamic vision that launched our denomination a quarter century
ago guides us still. With the growing focus on reaching the
world for Christ, by the power of His Spirit, we will continue
to see the increase of His Kingdom in the years ahead.
Following are some regional highlights showing how the Lord
has led PCA church planting in the past 25 years. For further
details, turn to "The Regional Report," an insert in
this issue of Multiply. In the fall issue, watch for highlights
of the PCA’s work in planting churches to serve people of
Our Southern Roots
Cross (left), pastor of Sandhills Presbyterian in Southern
Pines, NC, leads a congregation committed to evangelizing.
The church’s original core group was gathered by Bill
Bivans who now leads Christ Community in nearby Sanford.
The PCA was born in the South. From the outset, many
Presbyterian churches in that region joined the PCA; many others
have been added since. Consequently, our denomination has the
greatest numbers in the South. Sandhills Presbyterian in
Southern Pines, North Carolina, is a good example of a young
southern church. In 1991, Bill Bivans gathered its first core
group and started worship services while still pastoring
Countryside Presbyterian, which he planted in Harnett County. In
1993, Ken Cross was called to lead the Sandhills church. Today,
with an average attendance of 130, Sandhills is searching for
property on which to build. "We’re reaching a lot of
church-damaged people and new believers," says Ken.
The summer of 1996, he challenged members to pray for at
least ten people to come to the Lord. By summer’s end, 13 had
done so. In the fall, he re-issued the challenge, but asked
members to pick their own numbers. That year, 50 people came to
know Christ through Sandhills’ ministry. Since then, the trend
has continued. Ken’s philosophy: "A healthy church will
always have people coming to the Lord…we’re committed to
making a significant impact on the Sandhills region."
Covenant Presbyterian, in the Midwest, has an especially rich
history. Although part of the PCA for only 16 years, Covenant
was founded in 1939 and for many years was a leading church in
the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES).
Previous pastors include Francis Schaeffer and Don MacNair.
Under Don’s leadership, the church was instrumental in
founding Covenant College in 1955 and Covenant Theological
Seminary the following year. The church joined the PCA when the
RPCES joined the PCA in 1982.
1990, because of community restrictions on expanding their
building with a Christian school, Pastor Rodney Stortz and
two-thirds of the Covenant congregation planted Twin Oaks Church
and school. The church now has 1,200 worshippers with 280 in the
school. Even with this change, Covenant, with George Robertson
as pastor, has about 500 in attendance, and today, community
codes will permit a building program now underway to expand
facilities. "Our goal," says George, "is to
support church plants around the nation, with special emphasis
on the Midwest." The church has a tradition of daughtering
churches and is currently working with Kirk of the Hills
Presbyterian in St. Louis to plant a new work in neighboring St.
California churches were among the first to join the PCA,
and there have been many new churches planted here in recent
years. One of the newest is led by Fred Harrell in San
Francisco. There is still much to accomplish in reaching
this state — one of the most unchurched in the nation —
a native Californian, Phil Clark naturally has a heart for the
West, particularly when it comes to evangelism. Pastor of a
Presbyterian church in Glendale, California, at the time of the
PCA’s first General Assembly, he joined immediately — his
church a few years later. In 1974, Phil organized the area’s
first presbytery (Pacific Presbytery); he later became chairman
of the Mission to North America Committee and was named MNA
Coordinator in 1980, a post he held for eight years. Now retired
and living back west in Laguna Niguel, Phil is a member of the
Inter-Presbytery Committee for MNA West.
Reflecting on the progress of the PCA, he says, "From
the start, we were determined the PCA would be national. Before
then, the Presbyterian Church U.S. (Southern) had never reached
west of El Paso or north of the Mason-Dixon line. God has been
very gracious, and growth for the PCA has been more rapid than
we expected. Yet we can’t rest on our laurels — we must be
constantly strategizing to reach more people for Christ."
Today, there are 132 churches and missions in the West; 30 were
begun in the last three years.
Vision for Metro New York
total of 170 different languages are spoken in Toronto,
one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Grace
Toronto, where Stephen Beck is pastor, has a number of
nationalities in the congregation and translates services
into four languages.
At Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, Sunday services began
in September, 1989, and so did innovative concepts in church
organization. Today, the church’s 29-member full-time staff
works in rented space in a Madison Avenue high-rise; services
are held on the Hunter College campus.
Pastor Tim Keller preaches at both Sunday services, which have a
combined attendance of about 2,100. An estimated 25 to 30
percent of this total are not believers. During the week, 1,300
take part in small groups. As for Redeemer’s numerous other
activities, a great deal is accomplished, since the church
operates with a decentralized mode of empowered teams whose
leaders have the right to make decisions.
Redeemer is growing rapidly, but is determined to be a
movement, not a mega institution. Consequently, the church has
decided to develop multiple worship sites in Manhattan as well
as an urban church development center which will equip pastors
and lay people for leadership.
Last fall, churches from the New Jersey and Northeast
presbyteries formed the Metropolitan New York Presbytery.
Redeemer has been involved with planting 11 of the 19 churches
and missions that make up this new organization. "This is
probably the first truly multicultural presbytery — certainly
in the PCA, maybe in the world," comments Tim Keller.
"Ten of the congregations worship in languages other than
Ministries in Canada
In Canada, the PCA, called the Presbyterian Church in North
America (PCNA), is making similar progress in another major
urban center with a multicultural character — namely, Toronto.
Some 170 languages are spoken in this city. At Grace Toronto,
the largest PCNA church in Canada, 22 nationalities are
are tremendous opportunities for multicultural ministry
here," says Grace’s Senior Pastor Stephen Beck. "In
our 11:30 Sunday service, we provide translation in four
languages through electronic equipment. We’ve also developed
several outreach programs."
Kaufmann (center, with other pastors and church planters
from the Metropolitan New York Presbytery) is executive
pastor of Redeemer in NYC which has led in planting 11
churches. Redeemer established Hope for New York, that helps
fund and provide volunteers for 26 agencies and mercy
ministries in the city.
One example: Grace offers four ESL/Bible study groups that
use Scripture to teach English to non-English speaking people.
Because Toronto has an extremely high number of immigrants, the
concept is quite popular. Another successful effort is the
church’s School of Discovery, which holds candlelight dinners
and small groups on Thursday nights. The purpose is to create an
inviting, non-threatening atmosphere in which people can freely
explore Christianity — whether they are agnostics or seekers.
There are plans to take a similar concept to the University of
Toronto campus, to Queens Park (center of Ontario government),
as well as to City Hall, the local jail, and the police
The Vital Church
Church Growth to Church Vitality" was the theme of the
fourth annual "From Embers to a Flame" conference at
Christ Covenant Presbyterian in Matthews, NC, last February.
Eighty-seven first-timers and 18 alumni heard Pastor Harry
Reeder present biblical principles that produce the paradigm for
healthy, effective congregations.
Three years ago, Dan Kiehl, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian
in Glen Mills, PA, attended his first Embers Conference. At this
recent conference, he talked about the significant new health
now evident in his congregation as he and other church leaders
have implemented the principles learned at the conference.
"We’re going back to our church with a bold, unified
commitment to revitalize our congregation," was the typical
reaction of those attending. God willing, within the next two
years, satellite conferences will be held in churches that have
been revitalized through learning and applying the principles
taught. Pastors and elders who wish to attend the Fifth Annual
Embers Conference, February 6 - 9, 1999, should apply as soon as
Christ Covenant Presbyterian
800 Fullwood Lane
Matthews, NC 29105
Church Plant Highlights
Each year, PCA Women in the Church (WIC) sponsor
the Love Gift offering. This year’s Love Gift will help
support leadership development for those who minister to ethnic
minorities. One example: funds will go toward training and
mentoring Haitian church planters under the direction of Haitian
pastor Dony St. Germain. Dony is pastor of El Shaddai PCA
Mission in Miami, the base for a multiplying movement of Haitian
PCA churches. He has planted three churches and is dedicated to
developing future church planters. The Haitian population in
south Florida is more than 300,000 and growing; the majority are
Germain (second from left), shown with his wife and church
planter aprrentices, has planted three Haitian PCA
churches. His ministry is one of several that will be
supported by the Women in the Church Love Gift.
The 1998 WIC Love Gift will also assist African-American
works in Atlanta, New Orleans, and on a predominantly
African-American university campus. In past years, the Love Gift
provided major funding to begin Redeemer Presbyterian in
Manhattan and Grace Toronto Church in Canada.
PCA West Asilomar Conference: Asilomar, located at the tip of
the Monterey Peninsular, is the annual site of this regional
conference. According to Coordinator, Lewis Ruff, "There
are few more beautiful places in God’s creation."
Attendance in February was 110, the highest yet. The meeting,
focused on church planting, promotes unity and prayer and
recharges the pastors and other leaders who participate.
MNA Announces New Movement Leaders: Randy Nabors, pastor of
New City Fellowship in Chattanooga, TN, has been named Urban and
Mercy Movement Leader. Louis Wilson, pastor of Redemption
Fellowship in Fayetteville, GA, has been named African-American
Movement Leader. Both are new positions. While continuing to
lead their congregations, Randy and Louis are available to coach
and mentor church planters and provide consultation for church
planting in any area of North America.
Walter Moura, pastor of Christian Community PC in Danbury,
CT, was named Brazilian Movement Leader. This post was
previously filled by Nelio DaSilva, who is now involved with
church planting in Brazil. MNA is deeply grateful for Nelio’s
years of faithful work with Brazilian church planting in the
University Ministries: Influencing Future Leaders
In 1971, two years before the PCA was established, Mark
Lowrey was asked by three Presbyterian churches in Hattiesburg
to serve as a campus representative at the University of
Southern Mississippi, also in Hattiesburg. Mark was not yet a
seminary graduate or an ordained minister. Four years earlier,
he had graduated from Southern Mississippi with a degree in
marketing and later attended one year at Reformed Theological
Seminary as a special student.
Nonetheless, the three Presbyterian churches who asked him to
serve obviously saw in Mark other capabilities important for the
position. He accepted, and for the next three years developed a
campus ministry that became Reformed University Ministries. In
1973, when the PCA was founded, two of the churches who were
sponsoring Mark’s campus ministry joined the PCA. That same
year, Reformed University Ministries became affiliated with the
the next few years, ministries were implemented at three other
campuses in the state. In 1973, Mark was called by Mississippi’s
three presbyteries as Coordinator of Campus Ministries for
Reformed University Ministries. Over the next several years, the
organization expanded and ministries were initiated on campuses
in several other states.
Today, there are Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) groups
on 37 campuses in 16 states. This fall, ministries are scheduled
to begin at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, East
Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennesse, and at the
University of Washington in Seattle. To serve international
students, Reformed University Ministries formed International
Students Christian Fellowship (ISCF) and has launched ministries
on five US campuses. Often led by missionaries who have worked
overseas, ISCF seeks to cater to the cultures represented on the
campuses it serves.
RUF is established through the joint efforts of presbyteries,
local churches, and individuals. It is a distinctive ministry in
that the focus is on expository Bible teaching led by
seminary-trained, ordained ministers. The dominant purpose is to
evangelize unbelievers and to teach believers a Christian
world-and-life view. The work of Reformed University Ministries
produces remarkable long-range results by reaching young men and
women — many of them future leaders — at an age when their
values are being formed for a lifetime.
Thanksgiving Offering: The MNA
Thanksgiving Offering serves and spiritually nourishes people of
minority cultures. Gifts benefit Urban & Mercy Ministries
with its work in developing minority leaders, a crucial need.
The fact is, whether they immigrate to America or are born here,
minorities are best led by people of their own culture. Yet,
potential leaders of these groups often lack funds for training.
MNA Thanksgiving Offering helps support ministry internships
at New City Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN. Located near
the inner city, New City serves the poor by meeting physical
and spiritual needs.
For the sake of Christ and for North America, we must build up
minority leadership in the PCA. Your gifts to the Thanksgiving
Offering not only help develop leaders, but also influence
countless lives for years to come as these leaders start
ministries and plant churches. The bulletin insert for the 1998
Thanksgiving Offering is coming soon. Your response can help us
strengthen and expand PCA multicultural ministries.
General Assembly/Urban & Mercy Dinner: For an inspiring and
informative gathering, don't miss this dinner, Wednesday, July 1,
5:30 PM at the Regal Riverfront Hotel. A dynamic program will be
presented by leaders of New City Fellowship in St. Louis.
CCDA: The 1998 Christian Community Development Association
(CCDA) conference on urban and mercy ministries - will be held
October 28 - November 1 in St. Louis. A special gathering for PCA
people is scheduled. For details, contact MNA Coordinator of
Church Relations Fred Marsh: 404-320-3330; e-mail;
PCA chaplains are currently stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, and
at neighboring Pope AFB. Among them are (left to
right) Lt. Col. James Griffith, Cpt. Chip Huey, Cpt. Daniel
Oh, Cpt. Robert Owen, adn Cpt. Thomas Eddy. Not
pictured is Cpt. Shannon Philio (Pope AFB). A seventh, Cp[t.
Peter Sniffin, is scheduled to report in at Ft. Bragg in
PCA Chaplain Graduates Jump School. PCA Chaplain (Cpt) Shannon
Philio made history in February as the first Air Force chaplain to
graduate from the US Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, GA -
the first to take advantage of a recent policy change that
permitted chaplain service personnel to jump. "I especially
wanted to take the training," said Shannon, "because I
knew that being jump qualified would better equip me to identify
with the troops I minister to."
Six PCA chaplains are currently stationed at Ft.
Bragg, NC, and at neighboring Pope AFB. Among them are (left to
right) Lt. Col. James Griffith, Cpt. Chip Huey, Cpt. Daniel Oh,
Cpt. Robert Owen, adn Cpt. Thomas Eddy. Not pictured is Cpt.
Shannon Philio (Pope AFB). A seventh, Cp[t. Peter Sniffin, is
scheduled to report in at Ft. Bragg in June.
A chief advantage chaplains have over pastors in civilian
churches is their close day-to-day relationships with the people
they shepherd. By gaining jump qualification, Shannon will expand
his opportunities to minister. The three-week program was
demanding. The daily schedule started at 5 AM with rigorous
physical training which helped prepare the jumpers for carrying
the nearly 100-pound pack of parachute equipment necessary for
each jump. In the second week, jumps were made off the first floor
of a building. The true test came in the third week with the first
'real jump" from an airplane, one of five required to
complete the course successfully. Shannon graduated from the
course with honors.
Have you remembered God's work in your will or estate design?
Many people who faithfully support the advancement of God''
Kingdom while they are alive, give little thought to
specifying funds toward that purpose in a will or in their
estate design. While potential survivors may give a portion of
your estate to the Lord'' work after you die, the best way to
be sure the gift is made is to incorporate it into your will.
After all, if we believe in being good stewards of the money
God has entrusted to us in life, we should also be good
stewards of the distribution of our estate after death.
When it comes to giving through your estate, there is a
choice of options. Some options even begin before you die,
such as a charitable remainder trust. A charitable remainder
trust can provide funds to a ministry or other organization,
save taxes for you, and still benefit your survivors at your
death. Another option: you may create a trust in your will for
a loved one and commit the balance to a charity upon the death
of that person.
When you give to evangelistic ministries such as Mission to
North America through your will, through charitable trusts,
etc., you have the assurance of knowing your gift will
reproduce results for many years to come. By supporting those
who are taking the gospel to a spiritually hungry world, you
can make a difference in many lives for all eternity.
If you have questions about giving to the work of Mission
to North America or about including charitable gifts in your
will, the PCA Foundation can provide professional counsel,
including preparing a personal estate design at no chare.
Contact: Randy Stair, President PCA Foundation
1852 Century Place, Suite 180
Atlanta GA 30345
|Address comments to Fred
Marsh, Managing Editor / Photographer.
Design: Studio Supplee.
Copy Editor/Writer: Joan Quillen. Material in Multiply may be
reproduced with permission.
Mission to North America serves
the churches and presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church in
America by enabling the PCA to plant, grow, and multiply
churches. Church Vitality, Urban and Mercy Ministries,
Chaplain Ministries, and Campus Ministries all contribute to
that greater goal.