A few weeks ago, I quoted New York Times journalist Ruth Graham, from an interview that aired on NPR’s Fresh Air, May 19, 2022. She was speaking of an interview she had done with Rev. Kevin Thompson, former pastor of Community Bible Church, Ft. Smith, Arkansas. At another point in that interview, she related, “And as Kevin told me, you know, he learned in seminary it only takes seven people in a church to get you fired.” While there is likely specific truth to that statement, it also suggests who truly runs the church.
But our church is not run that way, is it? The Book of Order of The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in G-3.0101 states “The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is governed by councils composed of presbyters elected by the people (F-3.0202). These councils are called the session, the presbytery, the synod, and the General Assembly.” The Book of Order in G-3.0103, goes on to say, “The councils of the church shall give full expression to the rich diversity of the church’s membership and shall provide for full participation and access to representation in decision-making…”
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;” Ephesians 4, 2-4, NIV
Do we give full expression to rich diversity, and provide for full participation? Do we bear with one another in love? Or do we have those seven people?