We’ve prepared an updated webpage about our new church constitution to help you know what’s coming in the new year and give you a picture of the process we’ve walked through to date. We invite you to browse the information we’ve put together; we’ll keep updating it over the next few months to help you stay informed as we move into the final steps leading to ratification.
Two things are coming up next month that we’d like to highlight here: First, on February 1, we plan to make a new draft of the constitution available to the congregation. This draft will reflect changes made since the first public draft was distributed at the June 28 members meeting. Many of the changes have come in response to helpful feedback from members via e-mail, last summer’s Coffee and Conversation meetings, and dialogue at the “Constitution 101” Sunday classes last September. Thank you to everyone for your invaluable help!
Second, on February 10 at 6 p.m. we will be holding a Coffee and Conversation session to discuss the latest draft and receive your input. We invite every member to attend and engage with the thought, prayer and hard work that’s going into this important document.
If you would like to submit notes or feedback in advance of the meeting, please use the form below, or contact us directly. Your prayers, ideas and feedback are making a wonderful difference.
May God be glorified as we complete the constitution process!
The Pastoral Team
March 3 2012 at 4:46 pm 1 Comments
Thursday and Friday, most of our pastoral team, joined by pastors from the Arlington and Fairfax Sovereign Grace churches, participated in a hands-on preaching workshop led by David Helm and others from The Simeon Trust. Named after 18th century British evangelical preacher, Charles Simeon, the Trust has served for over a decade, equipping preachers through a series of workshops across the country.
David describes the mission of The Simeon Trust: “We are a one-trick pony. We do one thing. We try to help people increase their confidence and ability in handling God’s word. So that’s why we exist—to increase someone’s confidence in the word of God and their ability to handle it well.”
In addition to receiving instruction for interpreting and preaching Scripture effectively, the pastors worked in small groups for practical application. Each presented a prepared text and received feedback from his peers on how to hone his preaching skills. They also had an opportunity to hear expositions from Joshua Harris and Matt Maka and provide feedback.
Kenneth Maresco, who helped organize the event, said, “We were very excited to have The Simeon Trust in because the work of pastors is primarily Word work, and these men are committed to training pastors to handle Scripture rightly. The members of our pastoral team and brothers from Arlington and Fairfax are being inspired to work hard in the Word. It’s refreshing once in a while to pull away and have this kind of training as a staff so that we can continually improve in our ability to serve the people of God.”
Thankful for God’s hand on the ministry, David states, “We used to do one of these [workshops] a year with about 30-40 people. Now we do 19. This year we expect over 800 pastors will go through it. So, a lot of churches are being positively influenced at a grass roots level.”
February 13 2012 at 5:46 pm 3 Comments
Jesus According to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, by Darrell L. Bock
This is a study of the life and teaching of Jesus using the actual material of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is not a gospel harmony, however. From his introduction, Bock states that his purpose is to present “a coherent portrait of Jesus … from the canonical Gospels that is both rooted in history and yet has produced its own historical, cultural impact because of the portrait these four Gospels give of Him.” Instead of focusing on the dissimilarities among the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and their differences from John, Bock seeks to appreciate how these dissimilarities support a unified portrait of Jesus. As detectives know, absolute agreement among witnesses suggests collusion, while slightly different reports demonstrate authenticity.
What an edifying experience it was, reading through this book with an open Bible! Bock states as a premise in his introduction … “too few people, much less students of the Gospels, are familiar enough with the Gospel accounts as they stand.” I would have to agree. Having read the Gospels countless times in my forty years as a believer, I benefited much from reading this book, seeing things I had not seen before. Bock is an excellent scholar, able to communicate on a popular level. He presents the helpful perspective that these documents stand tall as historically reliable. They are the eyewitness accounts of the apostles. They are the reason why Christianity spread so rapidly in the 1st Century and why it continues to spread in a mission that will result in God’s glory filling the earth as the waters cover the sea.
Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels, by Craig A. Evans
For most of the church’s history, her views of Jesus Christ have been shaped by those documents known as the canonical gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But over the last century or so modern (and post-modern) critical scholarship has amazed us with so-called facts and theories about Jesus much at odds with the portrait given in those documents. For example, the idea that Jesus was functionally illiterate, was married to Mary Magdalene or that Judas Iscariot, far from betraying Jesus, was really the greatest of his disciples. These and other ideas have found their way into the popular mind through books, TV documentaries and movies such as The Da Vinci Code. Evans explodes the shoddy scholarship that undergirds such contentions. In doing so he supports the historical reliability of the source documents of the Christian faith—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This book is easy to follow and has an engaging style. It will be helpful for those who have faced questions like, “Why does Christianity only accept four gospels when many others were written?”
November 20 2011 at 10:52 am 1 Comments
The pastors have planned three “Coffee and Questions” evenings in December where members of the pastoral team will be on hand to provide any update they can on current events and respond to questions. It’s a busy time of year, but we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.
Use the form on the Church Family Blog to sign up for one of the nights. Signup is first come, first served, and to maximize the number of members who can participate, the form limits you to signing up for one evening only. We are hoping to serve about 100 people each evening. Thanks for your love for the church and for wanting to be a part of these gatherings.
July 3 2011 at 3:45 pm 0 Comments
Today in church Joshua mentioned the controversy surrounding Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins, and the conversation on hell that has unfolded online and in other books. Below are links to a number of resources where bloggers and authors have responded to Rob Bell’s ideas. (Rob Bell is the Founding Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, Grandville, Mich.)
The first resource is a video of a panel discussion in response to Love Wins recorded at The Gospel Coalition 2011 National Conference. The panel consists of Kevin DeYoung (moderator), Don Carson, Tim Keller, Crawford Loritts and Stephen Um.
• Audio of the panel discussion referenced above
• Justin Taylor gives a synopsis of Kevin DeYoung’s review of Love Wins
• Kevin DeYoung’s review of Love Wins
• Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up (at Amazon)
• Post by author Mark Galli about his book, God Wins (includes a link to download the book’s first chapter)
• Randy Alcorn writes about Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell.
• Randy Alcorn writes about Mark Galli’s God Wins.
November 17 2010 at 1:50 pm 0 Comments
As a follow-up to last Sunday’s Members Meeting and a question or two about baptism, here are some great resources on the topic that you should find helpful:
• Three-part sermon series on the Sacraments - August, 2007
• The Sacraments: Questions and Answers for Parents (PDF) – This document was originally developed by the staff at Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax, Va., and subsequently included as an appendix in our church’s Starting Point manual.
• Audio of Panel Discussion on the Practice of the Sacraments at Covenant Life Church - September 21, 2007