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Getting Our ACT Together

January 12, 2017




Do you ever wonder where your pastor is when she is not in her office? If she is a Presbyterian pastor, then 7 out of10 times, if she is not in her office, she is in a meeting.


She could be meeting with the sick, the homebound, or those going through difficult life transitions. She could be meeting with an insurance agent, a preschool teacher, or one of the saints taking down the Christmas tree. Or she could be serving on a commission to the Presbytery, like I was this week.


But what is a commission of the presbytery? Presbyterian ministers are not members of local congregations, but members of the presbytery their congregation belongs to. In Mt. Nebo's case, we are members of Pittsburgh Presbytery. The "work" of Pittsburgh Presbytery is done by commissions, or groups of ruling elders (Session members) and teaching elders (ministers) who get together to discern what God is up to in our Presbytery. I've been asked to serve on the Administrative Commission for Transformation (ACT).


According to its mission statement, ACTs exists to assist churches of the Pittsburgh Presbytery in reaching people for Christ, to provide hands-on training and mentorship for future pastors, to encourage congregational partnerships, and to be involved in the mission of Jesus Christ. ACTs lives out its mission through prayer, education, and monetary support of under-resourced worshipping communities.


Practically speaking, the commissions job is to allocate grants, and provide leadership (seminary interns, Crestfield young adults, etc) for churches that need these resources to do the ministry God has called them too. We get together every couple of months to pray, discuss, and vote on various grant proposals.


I was asked to serve on this commission because I pastor an under-resourced worshipping community of the Pittsburgh Presbytery. "Under-resourced" is the Presbyterian way of saying that I am a solo pastor of a small congregation. In my last post I talked about solo pastors being responsible for everything happening in the life of our church. And that no one person can be good at every aspect of church life. This commission exists to provide support for established churches that are trying to re-think ministry for the 21st century.


What I enjoy most about serving on this commission is that I get a behind-the-scenes look at how God is at work in our presbytery. Some of my seminary buddies discovered their call to ministry while serving an under-resourced worshipping community as an Urban Intern. Session members are learning how to weather a pastoral leadership transition with the help of a Small Church Leadership Grant. Hundreds of kids get to participate in Vacation Bible School thanks to a Daycamp program sponsored by Crestfield. Small churches are able to breathe new life into their worship services with Enhancement Grants that provide them with a laptop, projector, and basic sound board.


God is at work in Pittsburgh Presbytery. It feels good to begin the new year by getting our ACT together.


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