Inside this issue:

 

Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian in Lexington, NC, is only one of a number of PCA churches that have experienced spiritual renewal through kingdom-focused prayer.

MNA:  Reaching North America with the Gospel...
to Reach the World

Fall 2000


Church Vitality: Leading a Campaign for Kingdom-Focused Prayer

"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14

Six years ago, Archie Parrish, MNA Church Vitality Coordinator, reached this pivotal conclusion: God releases the fullness of His gracious power only when His Word and prayer proportionately complement each other.

“Through decades of training and ministry,” Archie explains, “I prayed, but had never become a man of prayer. I made the error most Christian leaders make: spending more time in study than prayer.”

Coming to that realization, Archie began making prayer the central focus of his life and ministry. As leader of Church Vitality since 1995, he has concentrated on developing training strategies and preparing resources to support this focus. Over the years, through leading conferences and convocations and more than 60 “schools of prayer,” Archie has been used by the Lord to propel many PCA churches to renewal and many believers to a richer prayer life.

The primary mission of Church Vitality is to prevent loss of vitality in new healthy churches and correct loss of vitality in churches that have reached a plateau or are declining. As a means of accomplishing this mission, Church Vitality promotes two meetings concerned with church revitalization, reformation, and revival directed to pastors and other church leaders. One is the “From Embers to a Flame” conference, led by Harry Reeder, senior pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian, who Archie describes as “the father of church revitalization.” Mike Ross, senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian in Jackson, MS, has developed a complementary meeting, the annual “Revival and Reformation” convocation.

In discussing how churches achieve new vitality, Archie quotes George Barna who has studied churches that turned around after statistical plateau or decline: “Prayer must permeate the ministry,” according to Barna. “…If God is really believed to be the power source and prayer is seen as our means of communication with Him, a church’s faith can be determined by the condition of its prayer life.”

In keeping with this concept, Church Vitality has introduced the Kingdom Campaign, which is intended to build a critical mass of kingdom-focused prayer. The resources and training necessary to implement this campaign are provided through two training events: Kingdom Campaign Leadership Training (KCLT), for pastors and other leaders, and Kingdom Intercessors Training (KIT) for mobilizing local churches.

Among churches who have already benefited is Golden Isles Presbyterian, St. Simons Island, GA, where Archie led a KIT last April. Al Baker, senior pastor, believes KIT is “one of the best things MNA is doing – it’s practical and strategic. We know that kingdom-focused prayer prepares God’s people in this place for revival and for reformation of the church.”

St. Simons is an affluent community with a strong network of committed Christians, but 85 to 90 percent of its residents do not attend church regularly. Golden Isles wants to improve this situation. After sitting in on one of Archie’s training conferences, Al realized that a stronger focus on prayer could lead to a more effective impact on their community.

A key strategy of the Kingdom Campaign is for members to commit to daily prayer for their pastor. “I can sense the congregation praying for me,” Al says. “I’m more aware of God enabling me, and I feel new joy in the ministry.”

First Presbyterian in Stanley, NC, has been the site of two training conferences on prayer in the past four years. “With each event,” comments Dan King, senior pastor, “we had a major turning point in our congregation.”

At the second conference of the 340-member congregation, 180 committed to pray daily for pastors and lay leaders. “Since we implemented kingdom-focused prayer,” Dan says, “our church has become stronger, and we see steady conversion growth.”

Over the next three years, Church Vitality intends to provide leadership training to all 58 PCA presbyteries. To do so, Archie will need assistance. Now apprenticing to help by leading KITs at PCA churches is Gary Cox, senior pastor of Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian in Lexington, NC.

Archie led a prayer conference at Meadowview three years ago which attracted half of the church’s 250 members. The event was highly significant, according to Gary. “Our church was undergoing revitalization then…the renewed focus on prayer brought us to the next level.” Today, with 500 members the church is still growing, even though the area population is dormant. In January, 1999, the church relocated after completing the first phase of a $2 million building project on 17 acres in a highly visible site along I-85.

“Praying paved the way for this move,” says Gary. “Our deacons and elders were all in unity… only the Lord can bring that about.”

Senior pastor of Faith Presbyterian in Cincinnati, OH, Dan Perrin, and Al Baker, Golden Isles Presbyterian, are also working with Archie in preparation for leading KIT events. Archie led a prayer conference at Faith Presbyterian which produced dramatic results. “It transformed our church as well as my whole approach to ministry,” Dan points out. “God has been working in wonderful ways as we have become more prayer driven.”

In a brochure outlining strategies of the Kingdom Campaign, Archie concludes with this quote, which capsules a key premise: “Ask Jehovah Tsabaoth to raise up His army; appeal to God to enable your efforts; expect His holy, gracious presence in your church. … Ask the Lord to make you and your church more vital, prepared for revival, prepared for Christ’s return. … Thy Kingdom come!”

 

 


Harry Reeder (standing) has been a longtime leader in encouraging the revitalization of PCA churches. Every year, he hosts a conference for pastors and other church leaders which focuses on how, through the grace of God, congregations can prepare for renewal.


When Golden Isles Presbyterian, St. Simons Island, GA, participated in the Kingdom Campaign training last April, other evangelical churches were invited to take part. Senior pastor, Al Baker, wants to keep kingdom-focused prayer a joint effort with other congregations. A large majority of the Island’s residents don’t attend church.



Members of Western Carolina Presbytery take part in KCLT, which MNA Church Vitality will offer to all 58 presbyteries over the next three years.


Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian credits answers to prayer for its move from this building to the one pictured on the cover. A strong supporter of kingdom-focused prayer, senior pastor Gary Cox believes it produces greater works of the Spirit.


Gary Cox, in blue, presented KIT to his congregation and is apprenticing with MNA Church Vitality coordinator, Archie Parrish, in preparation for leading programs at other PCA churches. The training is intended to build a critical mass of kingdom-focused prayer, which will bring about more vital churches — alive with the holy, gracious presence of the Lord.

From Embers to a Flame:
A Conference on Church Revitalization

• January 11 - 14, 2001
• “The Presence of God That Rekindles the Flame”
• Briarwood Presbyterian,
Birmingham, AL
• Featured speakers: Harry Reeder, Archie Parrish and Sandy Willson

Convocation on Reformation and Revival

• October 31 - Nov. 2, 2000
• “The Five Pillars of the Ministry”
• Trinity Presbyterian, Jackson, MS
• Keynote speaker: Harry Reeder

 

 

 

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The 28th Annual General Assembly: 
Consecrating the Church … 
Confronting the Culture


At the annual PCA General Assembly held in Tampa, FL this past June, PCA pastors and ruling elders met to do the business of the church, but also to plan, pray, and present reports of church-wide activity. Following the theme: “Consecrating the Church … Confronting the Culture,” seminars and worship services focused on ways the church can more effectively bring the Gospel to people in a culture that appears to be losing its Christian soul.

MNA hosted four events that focused on Church Planting, Church Vitality, Urban & Mercy Ministries, and Chaplain Ministries. Besides occasions for fellowship, each gathering provided the opportunity to share progress and give thanks for God’s blessings.


Wearing aprons to emphasize their commitment to serve, MNA honored church planters at the annual breakfast. MNA coordinator Jim Bland, center, said, “At MNA, our goal is to be servant leaders. While this leadership may take many forms, primarily it is to facilitate churches, presbyteries, ethnic movements, and church planting networks to do their works of ministry — advancing the Gospel into the 21st century.”


Joseph Wheat, senior pastor at Village Seven Presbyterian in Colorado Springs, CO, was among several speakers at the Church Planting breakfast. Since coming to this church in 1998, Joseph has been a key leader in a growing movement in the Rocky Mountain region that has led to the planting of four churches. “It has been amazing,” explained Joseph, “to see how God can work through a small group of people who are unified and dedicated to a vision.”


At the Urban & Mercy Ministries dinner, Mo Leverett, pastor of Desire Street Fellowship in New Orleans, LA, through his music and message, emphasized the necessity of taking the Gospel to the poor. His ministry serves the Desire housing project community, one of the poorest communities in North America. “Our vision,” Mo said, “is to revitalize this neighborhood through spiritual and community development and, with God’s grace, make it a desirable place to live.”

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Gospel in Uniform

NEEDED: 
A Few Good Men

The Chaplain Candidate Program provides an exceptional opportunity for seminary students. While still in school, they can be commissioned as full-status 2nd lieutenants in any branch of the US military and receive pay and other privileges. Each summer, candidates complete 30 days of training at the Chaplain Candidate School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL. After ordination, they’re promoted to first lieutenant and may apply for a three-year commitment on either active or reserve duty.

Currently taking advantage of the program is Richard Rojas, a student at Westminster Theological Seminary. According to Richard, “The program is a great opportunity to serve God and country while pursuing a degree. As a chaplain, I’ll be able to build relationships and minister to people who might never attend a church…I can reach them with the Gospel and influence them in settings that would never be open to civilian pastors.” 

David Peterson, MNA Chaplain Ministries coordinator says, “We need many more PCA chaplains in all branches of the service. I urge seminary students who may be interested to request details and then decide if the Chaplain Candidate Program is suited to them.” For information, contact Bekah Lawing: mnaguardian@pcanet.com

 

 



Converted at 18, Richard entered a Christian college at 21, and is now in seminary. “I know God wants me to be a chaplain,” he says. “It’s a very desirable calling and an open invitation to preach Christ to service personnel.”




Chaplain service support personnel undergo training at the Chaplain Candidate School at Maxwell Air Force Base.

 

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Is this You?

You’d like to make a charitable contribution now, but you want to decide later which Christian organization will receive it. Fortunately, you have that option through a Mission to North America Advise and Consult Fund agreement, which allows you to make your gift of cash, stocks, or other property at a time that suits your circumstances – possibly to eliminate capital gains tax – then specify later who will benefit. You may designate one or several Christian charities. It’s a sensible approach to sound stewardship. Call today for details.

 

MNA ADVISE AND CONSULT FUND
c/o Presbyterian Church in America Foundation, Inc.
404-320-3303 • 888-256-5571 • Email: PCAF@pcanet.org

The MNA Advise and Consult Fund is a component fund of the PCA Foundation 

 

Reformed University Ministries 
A Record Number of New Works

 

Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) started on a dozen additional campuses this fall – which represents a record number of new works and a 27 percent increase over last year. Now with a total of 60 campus ministries in 21 states, RUF is led by 57 campus ministers, with 36 staff members and interns. In addition to new campus ministers, 22 interns began working with RUF this fall.

Why the accelerated growth? According to Rod Mays, coordinator of Reformed University Ministries, “PCA churches and presbyteries are expressing a growing interest in RUF and providing increased support. It seems there’s a greater awareness of the crucial importance of reaching college students with the Gospel.”

The new RUF at Emory University represents an extremely strategic new ministry. Jeremy Jones, campus minister, cites several reasons why: Emory's high academic ranking, international influence, mix of its students (a large percentage are from regions beyond the South), and Atlanta location. “With many thousands of students in this area,” Jeremy explains, “it’s vital that RUF establish a strong presence here.”

Campus Minister Greg Thompson leads the new RUF at University of Virginia. The first in the state, this ministry was initiated by a petition signed by 70 students and presented to the session of Trinity Presbyterian in Charlottesville. “Our key objectives,” says Greg, “are to provide spiritual nurture, intellectual shepherding, and an active welcome by having students in our home.”

RUF premiered this fall at two historically black colleges. Kellie Brown, left, is staff at Spelman College and Eric Thigpen at Morehouse, both in Atlanta. Redemption Fellowship in Fayetteville, GA, was instrumental in launching these works. Partial financial support was provided through the 1998 WIC Love Gift for MNA Multicultural Ministries.

 

New RUF Ministries, 
Fall 2000

Anderson College, Anderson, SC
John Boyt, Campus Staff

Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Jeremy Jones, Campus Minister

Furman University, Greenville, SC
Rob Hamby, Campus Minister

Millersville University, Lancaster, PA
Tom Becker, Campus Minister

Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
Eric Thigpen, Campus Staff

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Ben Inman, Campus Minister

Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
Kellie Brown, Campus Staff

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Dennis Hermerding, Campus Minister

University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Steve Marusich, Campus Minister

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Bart Moseman, Campus Minister

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Greg Thompson, Campus Minister

Yale University, New Haven, CT
Tom Morrison, Campus Minister

 If you know students at these campuses, please submit their names and campus addresses to Reformed University Ministries: 404-929-2160 or ruf@pcanet.org
 They will be passed along to the appropriate campus minister.

 

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Showing God’s Mercy


 “We’re determined to reach the youngsters in our community with the Gospel. We know it can make a life-changing difference for many.” 
Mike Campbell, Pinelands Presbyterian

Children living in the Goulds section of Miami have a tough life. Many who live in this low-income, African-American community are welfare-dependent and face the problems often associated with project housing. About 60 children from Goulds are bussed daily to Cutler Ridge Elementary next door to Pinelands Presbyterian.

Because the people at Pinelands are committed to impacting the multicultural and socio-economically diverse neighborhoods around the church, they started a tutoring program for at-risk kids at the school. “It means a lot to these kids,” says Mike Campbell, pastor, “and it allows us to build relationships.” Last summer, the church held backyard Bible clubs for children from the Goulds section and continued with after-school programs in September. In time, the church will spread the children’s ministry into other nearby neighborhoods.

The Thanksgiving Offering at Work
The situation described above is only one example of how MNA Urban & Mercy Ministries uses the Thanksgiving Offering to change lives. Urban & Mercy Ministries is dedicated to assisting Christian leaders from many ethnic groups, who in turn reach out to those in need. You’ll see other examples in this year’s Thanksgiving brochure. When you see it, and when you’re asked to participate in the Thanksgiving Offering, remember that your gift can make a remarkable difference for God’s Kingdom.

 

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