Session Update — Summer 20231
Last September we shared with you that the Westminster Session divided into several working teams to focus on particular aspects of the Safe Home-Effective Mission model for our church wherein we focus on caring for our congregation while also thinking outwardly for Kingdom mission. Over the last several months, the Session met in teams to work through their assigned tasks and discuss what’s next for Westminster. We wanted to share an update with you on some of the highlights of these working teams.
The Shepherding Team presented a model for effectively shepherding our congregation to the Session at the May meeting which was approved unanimously in June. Under this model, each family unit in our church will be assigned to an elder who will be responsible for their spiritual care. Elders will be reaching out to their assigned families throughout the year. You can expect to hear more details about this shepherding model at our Vision Meeting on August 27.
Through the work of the Discipleship Team, the Session is currently reading Gospel Eldership by Robert Thune. This book focuses on the biblical call to the office of elder and the development of a discipleship culture within the Session. Our elders meet in small groups each month to discuss the book and continue to learn with and from one another.
The Safeguarding Our Membership Team was tasked with reviewing current policies and enhancing our procedures to ensure the protection and safety of the children and youth in our congregation. A first draft was presented to the Session in June and should be finalized in the next couple of months.
The Outward Facing Culture Team focused on ways to encourage our congregation to engage in gospel neighboring and an outward posture toward our community. They plan to implement annual training for small group leaders on missional living. Through this training for our leaders, we hope to ignite a passion in our church that leads us to reach the people in our lives with the Gospel. In addition, Jonathan Garrett, JT Hoover, and Kurt Witters are developing a missional training curriculum for WPC parents whose children participate in ROAR. This training will take place in the fall of 2023.
The Community Mercy Ministry Team has chosen three areas on which to focus our mercy funding and member engagement – homelessness, food/clothing, and our neighbors in Catawba Terrace. The Mercy Team will continue to meet several times a year to assess the ministries we are supporting and our efforts in educating and engaging our congregation in mercy opportunities within our community.
The Pro-Life Team continues to meet on a monthly basis to discuss ways to educate our congregation on all facets of pro-life work in the church and community. Several elders have made educational visits to the largest abortion clinic in our area to observe first-hand and pray for the abortion crisis in our region. Through the work of our Pro-Life ministry, we have trained and placed 11 advocates with The Life House Women’s Shelter. This training is available to anyone who is interested in walking alongside a woman in crisis. For more information, contact Courtney Denton at email@example.com.
As part of our strategic plan in 2019, we adopted a vision in which we want to grow Westminster into a place that is welcoming to more of our community in Rock Hill. Towards that end, the Session has embarked on a journey of learning where we are at currently. They began by reading and discussing Irwin Ince’s The Beautiful Community: Unity, Diversity, and the Church at Its Best to learn the biblical value of unity in our differences. This summer, the Session and other key leaders will be participating in an Intercultural Development Inventory which is a highly researched and widely used self-evaluation tool. This inventory will assess where we are in the journey of becoming a more culturally aware and welcoming church. It is our hope that, through this assessment, we will be able to better see our blind spots and have a fuller vision of what it looks like to be a church that represents “all tribes and peoples and languages” (Revelation 7:9).
As you can see, many of these teams are continuing to work together on what’s next for Westminster. Please continue to be in prayer for our Session on how to effectively lead our congregation toward our mission of helping people find hope, freedom, and purpose in Jesus.
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