Graduation or Commencement?
“Why is graduation called commencement?” I remember learning that graduation sounds like a finish line, while commencement is a starting line. And while school is ending, your life and calling are just getting started.
So Sunday afternoon, March 3, at 4:30p, our daughter church in the Parker Street neighborhood, Strong Tower will be graduating. And commencing. In technical church jargon we call it particularization. (Add that one to your vocab list…) After years of gathering, growing, training and even hiring, our brothers and sisters at Strong Tower have elected their own elder candidates. With the ordination of their own elders, they will no longer be a mission church. They will be a particular church.
Much like parenting, until now our daughter church has been under the oversight of our elders at Trinity. But just like a child that grows to maturity and gains the ability to self-govern, now Strong Tower will have their own elders.
The process is similar to what we do everywhere, throughout all our ministries. As your influence grows, so does your accountability. With increased responsibility is increased scrutiny. Attend our church and you get almost no scrutiny. If you want to go on record publicly as a member, you have to share your testimony and talk through the gospel with our leaders. If you want to volunteer, you need to be trained. And the more people you lead, the greater the sense of accountability.
So if you want to help lead an entire church – that’s what our elders do – then you have about a year’s worth of training. And at the end of that training elder candidates (just like those at Strong Tower) are examined evaluating their character, integrity, calling, knowledge of Scripture, theology and church government. This doesn’t mean they’re sinless (no one is). But it does mean that lots of church leaders around our network believe they’re ready.
Now we believe that the leaders at Strong Tower are ready, and it’s a day to celebrate. Please join us March 3rd, at 4:30p at Strong Tower Church for their particularization service followed by a reception afterward across the street at Haus 820.
Things to pray for:
- Gratitude. Give thanks to the LORD for how He has worked to raise up people to form, lead and grow Strong Tower Church.
- Praise. Read Joshua 4:1-9. As we see how far God has brought us, praise Him and give thanks for how He has worked beyond all that we could ask or even imagine.
- Faithfulness. Ask Spirit to bear in us and our brothers and sisters at Strong Tower the fruit of faithfulness. Pray that He would sustain us in all we do with a heart of being faithful to Jesus.
- More workers. Read Matthew 9:35-38 and ask the Lord to raise up more workers for the harvest that is Lakeland and Polk County. Pray for God to help us reach those in our own community who do not yet know Jesus.