Letter from Pastor Jon
A Wonderful Season | Christ Church
Christ Church Presbyterian is in a wonderful season of growth, transition, and change. Change and growth aren’t always easy, however. We can sometimes doubt God’s promises when things don’t go the way we were expecting or hoping them to. Thankfully, our heavenly Father is patient with us, pointing us continuously to His crucified and resurrected Son, and reminding us that his sovereign purposes are always best for his redeemed children (c.f. Rom. 8:28). We can trust our blessed triune God — always! God is faithful and good. He loves us with an everlasting love. His promises are true, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
While change and transition can be difficult, they are often the impetus to new and exciting initiatives. This is certainly true for Christ Church. As you will see below, things have been especially busy these past few weeks. I hope that you will be encouraged by these new initiatives at CCP, and seek out ways to serve. In addition, I hope that you will pray earnestly for the Lord’s blessing and provision. Apart from Him we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). Indeed, unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain (Ps. 127:1).
A New Church Home
We are closer than ever to having our own church home. We are presently under contract and in a 60 day due-diligence period for a 21,000 sq. ft. property at 486 Wando Park Blvd, Mt Pleasant. We negotiated the price down from $3.4 to $3.143 million dollars. The aggressive fundraising effort is now under way, and members of Christ Church should have received a packet in the mail. The packet includes a letter from me, architectural renderings of the renovated space, and a pledge card. Please pray about what you will sacrificially give to help Christ Church move into this new home and new season of ministry. It’s important that every member take part, even if it’s a modest amount. It’s important that we all contribute. Also as I shared in my fundraising letter, it will take a few very large contributions to help us reach our fundraising goal, which is to purchase the property outright (If not, then a secondary goal is to raise $1.2 million dollars and mortgage the rest). Let me also urge you to think creatively about how you will contribute to the fundraising effort. For instance, in addition to giving out of savings, you may consider the sale of stocks, land, or property. Spreading the word to friends and family may also yield surprising and unexpected contributions towards securing this property. Ask people to pray, and let them know our needs. You never know who might want to help get us into this property.
Christ Church is a beacon of light in a dark and broken world. By God’s grace, we are a church devoted to ministry on God’s terms; that is, to the bold proclamation of the gospel and the making of disciples through the Word, sacraments, and prayer (Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:42). We are a church that wants to go deeper than the superficial hype and doctrinal reductionism of broad evangelicalism. Our goal is to establish a ministry that is built to last and can weather the storms— a ministry that makes a multi-generational impact. Therefore, let’s secure this property through earnest prayers and sacrificial giving.
New CCP Welcome & Assimilation Team
New CCP members Carl and Ruth Peterson are heading-up a new welcome and assimilation team for Christ Church. Are you looking for a practical way to serve? The Petersons are eager for CCP members to join the team. Members of the welcome and assimilation team will serve on a monthly rotation for the purpose of greeting visitors, collecting contact information, and helping to assimilate visitors into the life of the congregation. If you are interested in joining the team and / or would like more information please contact Carl and Ruth Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farewell Sunday | New Assistant Pastor Search Underway
The announcement of Pastor Ross’s decision to take a new call as an associate pastor at Eastwood PCA in Montgomery, AL (Ross’s home church) was difficult to receive. It will indeed be hard to say goodbye to the beloved Hodges family. Their final Sunday will be April 28th. On that day Pastor Ross will preach his farewell sermon in the morning service, and there will be a short reception afterwards. Please make plans to attend, and to express gratitude for Pastor Ross’s faithful six-year ministry at Christ Church.
With Pastor Ross’s departure comes the need for a new assistant pastor. I am pleased to report that the search is well under way and there are already several outstanding candidates in view. A new advisory search committee has been appointed by the session, and the committee is already hard at work interviewing candidates, checking references, etc. Those faithfully serving on the committee are Keith Hester (Chairman), Aly Biles, Wen Bumgardner, Jake Earle, Jon Payne, Helen Royal, Tobe Hester, and Max Kendall. Please pray for grace and wisdom as we look for our next assistant pastor.
New Part-Time Director of Shepherding Care
We are pleased to announce that our own Rev. Robert Berry (honorably retired OPC minster / 2017) will serve as Christ Church’s part-time Director of Shepherding Care. This temporary, part-time position will last for a six-month period during this extraordinary time of busyness and transition at Christ Church. Over the last thirty years Pastor Berry has faithfully served both PCA and OPC congregations, most recently at Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church (OPC) for sixteen years in Fort Pierce, FL. His part-time duties at CCP will include visitation, assimilation, administration, and other aspects of shepherding care at Christ Church. His position will run from April thru September. I thank God for Pastor Berry’s willingness to serve our congregation during this time of transition.
New Part-Time Administrator
We are also pleased to announce that Mrs. Madeleine Herron, in addition to her role as part-time nursery coordinator, will serve as Christ Church’s new part-time office administrator. Her responsibilities will include bulletin production, communications, coordination of weekly ministries, pastoral staff support, and general administration. Madeleine has been doing a fantastic job as our nursery coordinator, and we are profoundly grateful that she will use her administrative gifts to further serve our church body.
New CCP Small Groups Ministry | Whit Jacobs: Small Groups Coordinator
Do you want to grow deeper in your relationships at Christ Church? Join a Christ Church small group. Our new small groups ministry begins this month, and will be coordinated by Mr. Whit Jacobs. There will be seven small groups strategically located in different parts of Charleston. The hosts are Tobe and Jenni Hester (North Mt Pleasant), Whit and Katie Jacobs (West Ashley), Brian and Melissa Brindis de Salas (Ladson/Summerville), Jeff and Kristin Gee (Pastor Jon leading | South Mt Pleasant), Steve and Cindy Wilkins (50’s+ group | Different locations), Mike and Helen Royal (MUSC & Young Professionals | Tuesday nights), and Keith and Kelly Hester (South Mt Pleasant). Members may choose which group to join.
The small groups will meet on a monthly basis. Dates and times are forthcoming. Each group will study Sinclair Ferguson’s new Banner of Truth title: Maturity: Growing up and Getting On in the Christian Life. The book is neatly broken up into twelve accessible chapters. Rather than being an intense time of Bible study, Christ Church small groups will focus on a brief time of devotion, a season of prayer, and a time of growing deeper in our relationships through sincere fellowship. Some groups may want to have dinner together. To join a CCP small group and/ or to learn more please contact Mr Whit Jacobs at email@example.com.
New Women’s Committee
We are delighted to announce that the session has appointed Mrs. Amy Clark to chair our new CCP Women’s Ministry Committee. Under the session’s guidance, Amy will take the lead in forming a new committee, and work with the committee to plan future women’s ministry and activities at Christ Church. Amy is extremely gifted, and has led numerous committees and ministries over the years at the Citadel and in various locations during Tom’s tenure in the military. Stay tuned for more details. Feel free to contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are presently training seven men to potentially serve as elder or deacon at Christ Church. There are three elder candidates: Tobe Hester, Mike Royal, and Brian Brindis de Salas; and four deacon candidates: Jake Earle, Whit Jacobs, Ralph Charles, and Matt Cope. I have been training these dear brothers since January, and each of them demonstrates a strong devotion to Christ, their wife, the church, and the lost. The candidates will take their written and oral exams in April. The session will make recommendations to the congregation in April, and the congregation will vote on recommended candidates at the beginning of May. Please continue to pray for the officer candidates, and for the future leadership of Christ Church.
The Gospel Reformation Network & the PCA
The Presbyterian Church in America has been a faithful Biblical and Reformed denomination since 1973. But like all large and aging denominations, progressive and cultural trends eventually begin to surface. The Gospel Reformation Network is a growing network of PCA ministers committed to cultivating healthy Biblical and Reformed churches in the PCA, and fighting against those progressive and cultural trends that could eventually lead to full scale theological liberalism. In 2015 I was charged with leading the GRN. I presently serve as the Executive Coordinator. Please pray that the Lord would supply me — a weak vessel — with abundant measures of wisdom and grace. Pray also for the eight member GRN Council. We do not want to lose the PCA to full-scale cultural accommodation. The winds of compromise are blowing, and we need to respond with grace and truth.
This summer, at the 47th annual PCA General Assembly in Dallas, TX, the GRN will host a day conference called “A Time to Stand: Conviction, Courage, and Compassion in an Age of Compromise.” Our speakers are Kevin DeYoung, Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, David Garner, and Tim Geiger. I’ve asked them to deliver addresses on Christian sexual ethics, personal holiness in a hedonistic culture, the mission of the church, and holding fast to the scriptures in a rapidly changing culture. It’s going to be electric! Hopefully it will serve our denomination well, and encourage us all to stand firmly upon the Word of God amidst the satanic onslaught. There are close to 400,000 members in the PCA, and we do not want to see our denomination go the way of so many mainline denominations before us (e.g. PCUSA, UMC, Episcopalians). In addition to the day conference, the GRN will host its regular General Assembly luncheon. Over the past three years our luncheon has been sold out with over 300 teaching and ruling elders in attendance! This year’s speaker is Al Mohler. Please pray for the PCA, and for the work of the Gospel Reformation Network. You can learn more about the GRN and our wonderful Biblical resources at gospelreformation.net.
There has been widespread gospel impact over the last six years in and through the ministry of Christ Church, and we are only getting started! Please take time this week to pray about all of the new ministry initiatives that I’ve outlined above. Pray about your role in these new initiatives, and how you will serve Christ, His church, and His mission in the future.
It’s been a profound honor and privilege to serve as your pastor since 2013, and I am joyfully anticipating the coming months and years ahead at Christ Church. Indeed, I can’t wait to see how the Lord is going to work through every one of you at Christ Church for the health and furtherance of his kingdom— each doing his or her part (Eph. 4:16). Let us abide in Christ, and go forth with the good news! He is worthy, and the gospel is astonishing.
Your Pastor, Servant, & Friend,