Each time I return to the Southeast I have the opportunity to update people on how the work of church planting in Utah is going. They always want to know about Jordan Presbyterian and the larger effort.
Giving these updates is always fun for me, and honestly its sort of clarifying. When I have to think about the ministry here and how to explain what is happening and answer questions it helps me think accurately. I refuse to embellish these reports but just want to be honest. So here is what I told them.
Our church is growing slowly but surely. If you came to church a year ago and if you came to church this past Sunday you might not think so but we are ministering to more people. It just hasn’t translated consistently to Sunday attendance yet. But because of recent new efforts at outreach like VBS and MOPS, Women’s ministry like the Beth Moore seminar as well our other outreaches we have more people today who would call Jordan Presbyterian their church than before. And I told them that our own congregation is beginning to invite friends more than you used to and that you do the best job of any congregation I have ever seen of welcoming guests on a Sunday morning. And our finances are solid.
I told them that the Devil has been active as well. But God has continued to protect us. I also told them how invaluable Pastor Jon has been in leading and coordinating ministries and developing leaders and in pastoring my crusty old soul. (They support the Stoddards financially and with prayer through their missions giving.)
I also told them how Pastor Jon has helped us to see our ministry role more clearly. We offer an alternative to both the legalism of the LDS church on one side and the licentiousness of the un-churched on the other. Between these two we stand offering the Biblical Jesus, which means freedom to live and to enjoy God, not as slaves but as children.
And I told them about our plans for church planting that we hope to grow so that out of a position of greater strength and resources we can then plant healthier churches. That we called Pastor Jon as a co-pastor not because a church our size needs two but because we want to continue to expand this ministry.
And I updated them briefly on the other Utah ministries in the PCA. Some really good things are happening. New Song Presbyterian is calling an assistant pastor, Thomas Warmath, following in some respects our example. And did you know that Bryan Lee (from Gospel Presbyterian Mission) who has been so good to serve us when needed is taking his ordination exam? We plan to host his ordination service on Sunday night, October 19th.
Going back to where I came from always reminds me of why I came. It is gratifying to see and be reminded of all the Lord has provided and accomplished. And in some ways I honestly think that we are just getting started.
Serving with you,