Church Adult Ministies
The ministries for the adults of the church include:
Jesus describes himself as the “Good Shepherd” in John 10. The Apostle Paul tells the elders of the church in Ephesus to “keep watch over all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God” (Acts 20:28). In the New Testament, the image of the shepherd is the root from which pastoral ministry springs. “Pastor” literally means “shepherd.”
The Holy Spirit gives some the spiritual gift to be pastors to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11). Many “ordinary” church members will have this gift of caring and nurture, and they may exercise it informally through conversations, visits, phone calls, and even notes or email messages. Some of them will take on the formal responsibility to care for an identified group in the church. Pastoral care is one of the main components of the spiritual leadership of the elders. Of course, pastoral care is a main component of the ministry of those called to serve the church as pastors.
Every person who leads a group of people in the life of the church is a pastor to those people. This may be a Sunday school class, a Live Hope group, or a ministry team. Some of these groups are stable for years, some for a year or season at a time, and others change as specific ministry tasks are completed. The common thread is that the leaders of all of these groups are charged with the pastoral care of the people in the group. They are usually the first to know of joys to celebrate or crises that call for compassionate support. These leaders have the closest relationship with those in the group to be able to nurture and guide their spiritual formation. These pastors of small flocks are a decentralized warning system to detect needs in the lives of people in the congregation and communicate that information to the elders or pastors when it is appropriate.
As the spiritual leaders of the church, the elders all have pastoral care ministries. Much of that happens in the ordinary relationships they have with others in the life of the community. A special friendship, or having worked together on a project, often establishes a trust basis for close pastoral care. The elders share the pastoral care ministry of the church in a number of more formal ways as well.
- The climax of each month’s elders’ meeting is a time of praying for people of the church as individuals, by name. Besides those with immediate needs, they pray through the membership roll so every member is prayed for at least annually.
- The elders in coordination with the deacons take communion to those who are ill or homebound.
- Several elders have personal pastoral care ministries of visitation and telephoning, especially to those who are hospitalized, in nursing homes, or homebound.
- The elders are available for the ministry of prayer for the sick (which can be emotional or relational, as well as physical) according to their commission in James 5:13-18.
- The elders are also available for prayerful listening and guidance at their meetings held on the second Tuesday of the months of February, April, June, August, October, and December at 7:00 p.m. Appointments may be arranged by contacting the church’s office, one of the pastors, or the chair of the elders.
The pastors are available for confidential conversation. Contact a pastor to make an appointment. Every effort will be made to accommodate emergencies and crises immediately. The pastors coordinate their schedules so that one of them is almost always working from the church office Monday through Friday. If they happen to be out at the moment, the office assistant can contact them by phone or make an appointment for regular office hours. Call a pastor directly for evening or weekend emergencies. One of the great values of having more than one pastor is the increased opportunity to feel a close, trusting relationship with one of them. They have no jealous or competitive feeling about caring for the people of the congregation. They respect the confidentiality of what is shared with them.
The pastor makes every effort to visit members in local hospitals and nursing homes weekly. The pastor will not arrive unannounced but will call ahead to visit those who are confined at home. Anyone may request a pastoral visit at any time, and the pastor will get to even those who are at some distance as promptly as possible.
Sunday Morning Education
Education for all ages at 9:45 a.m. is an integral part of the complete Sunday morning worship and fellowship experience.
Childcare is provided for pre-school children. Children have a creative, active Sunday school class that engages them with loving adults and each other. The youth meet for Bible study and conversation that addresses their concerns as they mature.
A variety of adult growth groups appeal to different interests:
- Fellowship Class in the Chapel - Engaging Bible study lectures by Frank Howell with humor and insight.
- Lamplighters Class in the Parlor - Lively Bible study discussion group led by Ellamary Clifton with well planned lessons and a thorough knowledge of the Bible.
- Shank Class in the Shank Room - Stimulating Bible study lectures with Bill Wright’s provocative style.
- Sojourners Class in Room 207 - Vigorous group discussions on the intersection of Christian faith and current events and issues, guided by John Cunyus.