From your Synod Executive,

As I write this column, I’m preparing to preach at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Springfield, OH (Miami Valley Presbytery) on Pentecost.  My sermon reflects on the stories of the Holy Spirit coming after Jesus’ resurrection in Acts 2 and of Eldad and Medad unexpectedly receiving the Holy Spirit in Numbers 11.

I’ve been thinking about how our Presbyterian love of doing things decently-and-in-order sometimes turns into rigidity and resistance to fresh moves of the Spirit. The importance of order in our tradition ensures that we are not flippant or unthoughtful about change—but at our worst this emphasis turns into what I call the “decently-and-in-order disorder” which handicaps our joining God in doing a new thing.

One of the Synod’s emphases in 2022 is to encourage innovation in ministry. In this season of Pentecost, how is the Holy Spirit stretching you and your church into a vibrant future? What new leaders might the Spirit be lifting up from surprising quarters, as happened to Eldad and Medad back in the book of Numbers? How are you proclaiming the Good News anew, like Peter and his partners in Acts?

Bible scholar Matt Skinner of Luther Theological Seminary in Minneapolis says, “What does Pentecost mean, then?  It means God is here.  The time of God’s salvation has arrived.”  When we open up our churches to innovation in what we do (our ministry) and how we do it (our leadership), we remind ourselves, and we show our neighbors, that God indeed is here.

A quick note:  It would give me joy to preach at your church, too.  Feel free to contact me at the email address below if we could share worship together in this way.

Your partner in ministry,

Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
Executive, The Synod of the Covenant