By: Jeremiah Thomas, Prosperity ARP Church (TN)
Hey, Y’all! I wanted to shoot out a pastoral note as a follow-up to some of the administrative duties we as ministers and elders take up at the beginning of the year. Of course, I am referring to statistical reporting, etc. Our Principal Clerk of Synod, Kyle Sims, recently reminded us via email that this is not just busy work. That statement stands. I also wanted to point y’all to a strongly pastoral part of this process that we should not neglect.
E.1. Non-Communicant Members lost by death
As each of you are well aware in your own pastoral care contexts, even with medical advances, the loss of children (especially through miscarriage) is a tragedy that strikes so many of our young families. We believe God addresses this issue in several parts and places of his Holy Word, summed up in our Confession of Faith in chapter 10.3:
Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how He pleaseth…
We walk in faith and hope when we record our non-communicant member deaths. We confess God’s goodness to work where and how he pleases. We are afforded incredibly powerful opportunities to approach grieving families with this same faith and hope, sharing the Good News of a God who is at work in the trials, tribulations, and corruption of this world. Even more, we can help remind our people that those children in the womb are just that—children.
If I could be so bold to ask, would y’all put a note of reminder about this for the coming year where you can see it? When I ask ministers and elders about E.1, often the answer is zero without even asking, telling, and teaching the congregation beforehand. Plainly, we aren’t recording information that I believe is there. Pastorally, we are missing an opportunity to extend the beautiful hope we have in a generational God.
Fathers and brothers, consider it, and be blessed today.
A Note From Central Services
Thank you for the time and effort you put into the Statistical Reports. We have received 161 reports. Virginia Presbytery was the first presbytery to receive all of its reports. A special thank you for your patience as we worked through a new online format. If you have not turned your report in, please do so as soon as possible. We rely on accurate numbers for denominational ministry funding and for tracking the status of our churches.