Beyond the Church Walls

When affirming this ordination question, the promise is not only to promote peace, unity, and purity in the local congregation but also in the whole Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and through its mission in the world. The Confession of 1967 says this:

The church disperses to serve God wherever its members are, at work or play, in private or in the life of society. Their prayer and Bible study are part of the church’s worship and theological reflection. Their witness is the church’s evangelism. Their daily action in the world is the church in mission to the world. The quality of their relation with other persons is the measure of the church’s fidelity. (BOC, 9.37)

That last sentence says plainly that our relationships with people in and out of the church is the testimony to how faithful we are to the gospel. The reality is this: when a person has an encounter with a Presbyterian congregation or an individual Presbyterian, this interaction is going to affect how they see all Presbyterians. So, we must work as a whole church to raise the standard for our relationships so that we further the peace, unity, and purity in the lives of all people.

Raising that standard for the whole church will mean you must be willing to serve the PC(USA) beyond your own congregation. You can bring your wisdom and experience to the table and learn from others. Working with people from other congregations and from other areas of the country will help you see the wideness of our PC(USA) mission. In 1910, the Presbyterian church adopted the classic statement we know as The Great Ends of the Church (BOO, F-1.0304). These audacious goals call the church to its mission in this world. This mission cannot happen if church leaders don’t work together to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church. The call to ordained ministry as a ruling elder or deacon is a call to service and leadership from the people who have identified the qualities and gifts necessary to lead them toward these goals.

For Reflection and Discussion:

Read the Great Ends of the Church in the Book of Order (BOO, F-10304).

How does this ordination question relate to achieving those goals?

What partners would you need to further the peace, unity and purity of the larger church?