It’s an exciting time at Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church. We are in the final stages of the church-planting phase and will soon organize to become a new and separate congregation of our presbytery. Practically speaking, how do we get from here to there? There are five basic steps. I’ve added dates to give you a sense of how long each might take.
Step 1: Congregation Votes to Organize (April 21)
At the congregational meeting this Sunday, the congregation will consider three things. First, the Session will seek the congregation’s approval to designate the current membership roll as the charter roll of the new congregation. Second, the Session will request the congregation to petition the presbytery to organize the mission work into a new and separate congregation. Third, the Session will express its desire that I would be called to serve as pastor of the new church, but also inform the congregation that if it wishes, the Session can begin a search for a new pastor.
Step 2: Presbytery Approves to Start the Process (May 3-4)
At its May meeting the presbytery will vote to approve our petition.
Step 3: Process of Organizing is Implemented (May-Early October)
If our petition is approved, the Session will examine and certify men to stand for election as ruling elders and deacons. They will also call and conduct the congregational meeting required to elect elders and deacons, call a pastor, and adopt Bylaws and/or Articles of Incorporation. Additionally, some other presbyters will visit us to help the presbytery consider our readiness to organize.
Step 4: Presbytery Approves our Organizing (October 17-19)
If everyone is satisfied that the mission work is ready to organize, this will be reported to the presbytery, and the presbytery will vote to organize the congregation during its October meeting.
Step 5: The Big Day! (Early Nov.)
We have a grand service right here in Tucson in which the presbytery receives us as a new congregation of the presbytery and our church officers are ordained and installed. Then after the service we have a huge feast!
So there you have it. These are the next five steps we will take as we move from a mission work to an organized church. These are not hoops to jump through, but important actions we must take with great care and prayer. If you would like to learn more about how we plant new churches in our denomination, you can download Planting an Orthodox Presbyterian Church or read it for free online.