Tulsa, Oklahoma - Providence OPC in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is one of our newer mission works. A group of seven households began to gather in 2011. Pastor Joe Auksela, ruling elder Jerold Barnett, and Westminster OPC in Bartlesville took the group under their wing. Regular Bible studies were held for over a year. Then worship services began. In the meantime, Jim Stevenson was completing his studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He was born in the Bronx, New York City, and was a child of the church. He grew up at Westchester OPC in Mount Vernon, New York, just outside the Bronx. He graduated from Geneva College and taught math for fifteen years. When Jim was teaching near Hatboro, Pennsylvania, his family became part of
Even a brief search of the local Christian bookstore shelves reveals an epidemic of disregard, even downright disdain, for the church among leading theologians. In particular, they despise the local, visible church. Some go so far as to claim that the organized church, far from offering positive help, actually poses a threat to healthy Christian living. Some argue that if we could eliminate organized religion altogether, winning our neighbors to Christ would be simpler. Of course, these arguments fly in the face of our theological commitments. The Westminster Confession of Faith says, “The visible church … is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation”
There is a place you can go in the world to learn about evangelism. It is a place unlike any other I have found, where the beauty of God’s creation and the darkness of humanity’s sinfulness stand in such stark contrast to each other. It is a place where evangelism is the focus of the conversation three hundred and sixty five days a year, and where Christians can talk about, observe, and practice sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. The place is Key West, Florida. The venue is Keys Presbyterian Church, a small and always struggling little congregation of the OPC. Let me set the scene for this venture into evangelism. While it could be in New York’s Central Park, or in the park in your own town, tonight it is at a boat dock called Mallory
The Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension is pleased to announce the call of their new general secretary, the Rev. John S. Shaw. He is the founding pastor of Mission Orthodox Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has served since 2006. He has also served as a member of the denominational Committee on Home Missions since 2008, where he is chairman of the Church Planting Subcommittee, which interviews and approves new church planters and reviews church-planting operations. He will replace the Committee’s retiring general secretary, the Rev. Ross W. Graham, who has served in that position since 1990. John Shaw, age 40, is a 1995 graduate of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He received his M.Div.
It was in the fall of 2003, more than nine years ago, when presbytary home missions representatives and the staff of the denominational Committee on Home Missions decided on a bold course of action. Ten cities in North America were chosen where the OPC had no presence. And it was determined to lay those places before God and the church in prayer with the hope that he would raise up new churches there. While most of our new churches have been started by helping mature congregations begin daughter churches or assisting interested groups who approach us, it was felt that it was time to have a second, more intentional approach to our church-planting efforts. For five of those chosen cities—Chicago, Detroit, Miami, New York, and