A Report from General Assembly, Part 9

This is the final report from General Assembly.  I hope you have enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about our denomination over the summer.  Sometimes we can be a part of a Church and not realize how we interact with different Reformed Churches, and even the mission work that is taking place at home and abroad.  By looking outside of the walls of the local Church we see that this family of Churches to which we belong, while still a small denomination in the world’s eyes, is involved in a whole lot of ministry.  I encourage you to keep reading our monthly magazine New Horizons, when it comes to your home so that you can remember to pray for all the different things that God is doing around the world.  

This year at General Assembly there was a new committee that began, the Committee on Ministerial Care (CMC).  It is a blessing for me to serve in a denomination that strives to care so well for Pastors.  This new committee will replace the Committee on Pensions.  The CMC is mandated with the following:

To maintain, manage, and provide oversight of the OPC Pension Fund.

To provide or recommend counsel and assistance in financial risk management (Health, Life, Disability, Counseling, and such other types of insurance as may be advisable.)

To provide or recommend counsel and assistance in financial planning, including retirement planning and investment portfolio management.

To maintain, manage, and provide oversight of the OPC Obadiah Fund (The Obadiah Fund was established with a donation from a generous, anonymous OPC member who wanted to serve the church in a fashion modeled after the prophet Obadiah who took one hundred prophets and hid them in caves, providing them with bread and water. Thankfully, today’s circumstances are not as bleak as in Obadiah’s day, but the spirit of giving particular love and attention to God’s ministers and their widows is a worthy precedent to follow.—from the OPC website); and provide for the diaconal needs of all OPC ministers and their widows.

To inform presbyteries and local sessions of tools available for the care of their ministers.

To consult with North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council churches and other churches of like faith and practice regarding their experience and best practices in the care of their ministers.

To provide resources to congregations and presbyteries to improve the terms of calls.

To maintain denominational salary scale guidelines.

To maintain a voluntary and confidential database of OPC ministerial compensation.

To provide advice to the General Assembly regarding the Book of Church Order on retirement-related matters.

To provide financial instruction and counsel in educational venues; for example, the Ministerial Training Institute of the OPC.

To assist presbyteries and sessions in considering other means of strengthening the care of ministers; for example, ministerial mentoring, counseling, retreats, and sabbaticals.

One other item that can take a lot of time at General Assembly is that of Appeals.

As the General Assembly sits in a judicial capacity, it is very weighty.  I think that is the appropriate word to describe it.  It is not a perfect process by any means, but it is a Biblical one.  Many of the specifications that we voted on this year were very close votes.  That means that brothers are not always in agreement, but in the process we pray that we are striving to deal with issues honestly and Biblically and that we always seek to give glory to God.  I often pray for Presbyteries and congregations where I know there is  or has been conflict and struggle.  Satan always works to try and cause division in the midst of the body of Christ.  People sin.  Hopefully people repent.  Pray for each other.  Pray for Faith Bible Church.  Pray for the Presbytery of New Jersey.  Pray for the OPC.