A Prayer For the PCA General Assembly

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to provide a prayer guide for our upcoming General Assembly.  This is based off of one that was produced by ByFaith magazine in 2017, and updated for this year’s assembly.  Please keep the Church in your prayers.

logoA GUIDE FOR PRAYER
46th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America
June 25-28, 2019
Dallas, TX

General Prayers

Pray that the Commissioners will have an ear only to the Word of Christ, as delivered in the Scriptures, as the rule for settling all substantial matters before the General Assembly (GA); that they will exercise prudence and good sense in all matters merely circumstantial; and that they will have the wisdom to so distinguish among the matters before the GA.

Pray also that the Commissioners will engage in debate with a sense of fair play, integrity and charity, and that they will be so moved by the Spirit of God, as to put aside selfishness, pride or party spirit, in order to glorify Christ in His Church and edify His people; pray that in times of work, worship & fellowship, the bonds of love & unity among our Elders would be strengthened; pray that Pastors who come in discouragement would be heartened & encouraged to be faithful in their labor.

Pray for the Moderator (and his assistants); the Stated Clerk; the Parliamentarians; and the office staff.

Pray that there would be a closer balance of Ruling and Teaching Elder, and for the Elders’ faithful participation in the work of the Assembly.

Through the Week

Tuesday

Pray that all Commissioners would arrive safely, well rested and read for the week to come.

Before the Assembly begins, the Overtures Committee and the Committees of Commissioners meet to frame their recommendations on all the business coming before the Assembly: pray for the wisdom and knowledge of God to guide these men in their deliberations.

Wednesday

Committees of Commissioners continue in the morning.

The Opening worship service begins after lunch. Pray for the Lord’s blessing upon the means of grace, particularly the moderator’s closing address.

Following worship, the first business session convenes. Pray for the election of the new moderator: that he would be a man of godly wisdom, grave, compassionate, patient, and charitable as he leads the Assembly through the week.

Report of Stated Clerk—give thanks for the continued growth of the PCA evidenced in the Clerk’s statistical report; pray that the revised docket arrangement, joining committee & agency information reports with their committee of commissioner reports, will continue to lead to greater efficiency and edification.

Report of Committee on Interchurch Relations—pray for the members of the permanent committee; for delegates from other denominations who will address the Assembly; pray especially for a Reformed & Presbyterian unity throughout the world that does not violate the Church’s calling to be a pillar and support of the truth.

Report of Committee on Presbytery Records—give thanks for the committee members who regularly undertake the challenging task of reviewing all presbytery records for Constitutional conformity; pray that the commissioners will consider with care this very important part of the Assembly’s oversight responsibility.

Pray for the the Nominating Committee as they meet Wednesday evening to prepare the slate of nominees for Assembly permanent committees.

Thursday

Report of Cooperative Ministries Committee—pray for the members of this committee as they seek to foster cooperative ministry among GA Committees and Agencies and provide a forum for resolving issues of inter-agency conflict.

Report of Committee on Constitutional Business—pray for the Committee, that they advise accurately and wisely on any disputed questions during the Assembly.

Report of Theological Examining Committee—pray for care & faithfulness in their work of examining GA-nominated officers.

Report of Committee on PCA Retirements and Benefits, Inc.—pray that they be wise stewards of the various insurance plans they administer, as well as of the investments made on behalf of the PCA; and pray for the prosperity of the retired ministers and widows relief fund.

Report of the Committee on Reformed University Ministries—pray for the RUF leaders and ministers in 145 colleges and universities across the Unites States.

Report of Committee on Covenant Theological Seminary—pray for the Seminary, its President; and for the continued faithfulness of the faculty, the Board of Trustees & the students.

Report of Committee on Covenant College—pray for the College, its President; for the faculty, the Board of Trustees & the students.

Report of Standing Judicial Commission—pray for the members of the SJC, that they would have a love for justice in the administration of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and for the glory of the Lord & the upbuilding of the Body; that the parties involved will receive the decision of the Court with humility & grace, that there will be repentance where there is sin, understanding where there is hardness of heart, and restoration among brothers & sisters who are divided.

Report of Committee on Ridge Haven—pray for the board of directors and the new camping season, especially that the children attending would come to know Christ or be further nourished in their faith.

Report of Committee on Discipleship Ministries—pray for the staff and the permanent committee; for an increase in contributions toward the Committee’s calling; and pray for the work of discipleship across our denomination.

Report of Committee on Mission to the World—give thanks for and pray on behalf of the MTW staff and the permanent committee; and pray for our missionaries throughout the world.

Report of Committee on PCA Foundation—pray for the staff and the Board of Directors; for the fruitfulness of their fine work in the management & distribution of assets for the cause of Christ; and for faithful stewardship across the PCA.

Report of Committee on Mission to North America—pray for the MNA staff, and the members of the permanent committee; for capable men to plant churches; for the work of church planting, particularly among people from other cultures; and for PCA Chaplains.

Report of Administrative Committee—pray for Dr. Roy Taylor (Stated Clerk), the staff, and the permanent committee; pray for good stewardship in the approval of the budgets.

Report of Overtures Committee—Pending are 11 Overtures that address the issues of Human Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, and Sexual Identity (some dealing directly with the Revoice Conference – see here for more information); there are 9 overtures calling for a study committee on Domestic Abuse; 7 overtures calling for a change in our constitution that would allow for non-ordained persons to serve on Boards of the Church; 2 Overtures regarding the Church’s teaching on abortion; and numerous overtures that seek to clarify the constitution, or make subtle changes in the Rules of Assembly Operations.

Pray for the evening worship service, that the unity of the body may be expressed in devotion to the word and the fellowship.

FRIDAY

If necessary, the Assembly will reconvene in the morning for additional business with worship.

When the Assembly is adjourned, pray for a safe journey home for all, and for God’s favor in blessing that work which is according to His Word, and for His leading to see and correct that which is not.


Various Readings this Week
Pastoring and the Art of Balance– an interesting article on the work of Pastoral Ministry.
The Authority of the Deacon– the Deacon and Church Power. This is the third in a series from the Gospel Reformation Network on the role of the Deacon. The entire series is worth reading.

Why Dad Jokes Will Never Go Out of Style (because they were never in it) – This article justifies my sense of humor – or at least tries.

General Assembly Updates

While many of us will be at camp at the end of June, the General Assembly of the PCA will be meeting in Dallas, TX.  Next week I will be putting together a prayer guide for GA, and I encourage you to keep our Denomination in your prayers.  There is a lot of good happening in the PCA, but there are many areas of concern as our Church seeks to be a faithful witness in a fallen world. 

Today I’d like to give an update on the overtures that will come before the Assembly. In all there are 47 Overtures to the General Assembly, coming from the Presbyteries of the PCA.  The business of the overtures can range from making improvements to the Church’s Constitution to calling for Study Committees or making formal resolutions.  

Here is a brief breakdown of the overtures coming before the General Assembly:

There are 11 Overtures that address the issues of Human Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, and Sexual Identity. This has been a continuing conversation within the Church: how do we present the gospel in a day when the world around us has all but completely abandoned Biblical views of humanity and sexual morality?  These overtures call for study committees to address concerns of recent actions in the Church, for the affirmation of previous statements supporting the Biblical teaching on sexuality, or for the acceptance of statements made by other Reformed bodies.

There are 9 overtures calling for a study committee on Domestic Abuse. According to ByFaith magazine, these overtures “call attention to pastoral resources that explore the nature of [domestic abuse and sexual assault] and offer help for victims of them, to propose best practices and policy guidelines to protect against these sins and respond to them, and to consider proposing changes to the Rules of Discipline that might more appropriately protect victims within a biblical process.”  Study Committees, if formed, are tasked by the Assembly to study the particular issue at hand and make recommendations to the following Assembly.  Those recommendations can be received and acted upon, or can simply be noted without taking any action.

7 overtures were presented calling for a change in our constitution that would allow for non-ordained persons to serve on Boards of the Church.  Under the current Constitutional provisions for Governing Boards and Agencies of the PCA (ie. seminaries, colleges, investments) only ordained Elders and Deacons are allowed to serve on behalf of the Assembly.  If approved, these Constitutional changes would allow for non-ordained persons, women, to serve on the boards of Church institutions.

Surprisingly, there are only 2 Overtures regarding the Church’s teaching on abortion.  The Church has held a clear Biblical teaching on abortion, but it is disappointing that such a pressing issue in our nation get such little attention by the Church.

Several other overtures seek to clarify the constitution, or make subtle changes in the Rules of Assembly Operations, what I like to call “rearranging the deck furniture.”

If you’d like more information about the overtures coming before GA, you can visit the PCA Administrative Committee Website here.  You can also read more about GA at the ByFaith magazine online, or at the PCA General Assembly website.

It is important to remember the process of overtures before the GA.  The majority of overtures are sent to the Overtures Committee where they will be debated, refined, or even combined with similar overtures, and recommendations will be made to the Assembly. Some overtures are referred to the permanent committees or agency boards because they relate to their work. These committees or agencies formulate their own recommendations on such overtures and, like the OC, may recommend that the Assembly answer it in the affirmative, propose amendments, or reject it by answering it in the negative. The whole Assembly then votes on the Overtures that come from the committees.  Any Overture that would change the Constitution of the church which passes the Assembly must then be ratified by 2/3rd majority of the Presbyteries before the changes take effect.