October note from Dri: Fall Presbytery

This past weekend, I (Dri) had the privilege to attend the quarterly meeting of the Great Plains Presbytery. This is the coming together of Teaching Elders (aka pastors) and Ruling Elders (aka Session members) of churches all across our region from North Dakota to Oklahoma, as well as our little corner of Arkansas. It’s a Friday night and Saturday morning full of worship, great speakers, and reports and updates on what our denomination and our presbytery, specifically, are doing. It was exciting to hear about the missional alignment between the two and how we can participate at the local level. The summary statement for the weekend was this: EPC is called to be a multiplication movement of healthy congregations who make disciples, who are sent into the world to make disciples.

But the real reason I came, besides the food, was to meet with the Next Gen Council leaders from our Presbytery. At the General Assembly this summer (which is the yearly gathering of all the Elders from all the churches across the US who belong to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination) these leaders were urged to start Next Gen Councils at the Presbytery level to encourage and equip those who work with children, youth and young adults in our region. 

I got to meet people from Eastminster in Wichita, KS, Cornerstone in Kansas City, KS, Faith United in Brandon, SD, and even our next door neighbors at Kirk of the Hills and Kirk Crossing in Tulsa, OK. We exchanged ideas and phone numbers. We were encouraged by speakers on topics from asking better questions and sabbath, to leading leaders and trauma informed ministry. How cool it was to rub shoulders with not only people doing the same ministry I am, but people who are part of our same denomination and region!

I had two major takeaways from this weekend:

First, I was encouraged by this comradery and partnership between all of these churches. We are even looking at doing some joint activities with Kirk Crossing this coming spring. But we are part of something much bigger than our local body. We are part of THE body. The body of our denomination and the body of Christ. We’re all working for the same goal, which is to go and make disciples of all nations, including our very own. The renewed emphasis at the denominational level and the presbytery level is catching and exciting for us at the local level!

Second, I was challenged to think about the kinds of questions that not only I’m asking, but the next generation too. The Baby Boomers asked “what is true?” while Gen X ask “what is real?” As a millennial, the default question is “what is good?” but Gen Z is not asking those questions. They are asking “what is beautiful?” The answer, of course, to all of these questions, is the Gospel of Jesus. But how we get there and stimulate that drive inside of each of us is different. I was challenged to think about how I present the Gospel, not only as the “good news” for millennials, but the truest truth for the Boomers, and the realest reality for the Gen X’ers, and the most beautiful story ever told for Gen Z.

As we look forward to deepening the connections with our fellow EPC churches and contemplate these generational questions, I leave you with this: