• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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General Assembly and Southwood

Three Southwood elders – Ron Clegg, Ray Sheppard, and I – had the privilege of participating in this year’s PCA General Assembly, the annual meeting of our denomination. While lengthy church meetings may not sound enjoyable, it is a great opportunity to see how God is at work not only at Southwood but also throughout the country and the world as our Church serves to advance God’s kingdom on college campuses, in impoverished areas, and with unreached people groups. I want to highlight a couple of areas where issues being addressed at a national level directly relate to ways God is working here locally.

Relationships Across Racial Lines
In the past few years, the PCA has been focusing much effort on engaging well with our minority brothers and sisters and learning from them how we can bring the gospel to bear in ethnically diverse communities across our country. A big part of this involves engaging African-American, Asian, and Hispanic leaders in visible and influential roles in our denomination, and this dynamic is growing steadily. This year the General Assembly elected our first non-white moderator, an Asian-American ruling elder from California. We worshipped with songs in multiple languages and from different cultural backgrounds. The preachers in the three worship services were from three different ethnic groups.

Yet we still have a long way to go. We are still working on listening and understanding each other better, confessing and repenting of past sins that have damaged relationships across racial lines, and seeking to see the unity of the gospel bring transformation in diverse cities and congregations. These discussions are helping us here at Southwood, where we too are talking about what it looks like for a predominantly white congregation to love our neighbors well regardless of the color of their skin. We know that begins with developing genuine relationships, and one of our Sunday School classes this fall is designed to assist us in navigating challenging dynamics in these relationships.

Women in the Church
A committee of men and women who spent the last year preparing a report on the best and most biblical ways to engage women in the ministry of the church offered really helpful suggestions to the denomination. The full (lengthy) report is available at http://www.pcaac.org/ad-interim-committee-women-in-ministry/ and is well worth reading. While the committee affirmed our understanding of the biblical teaching of ordained church officers being male-only, much of their work is focused on helping churches utilize the significant gifts of our women in the life of the church.

Once again, this connects in well at Southwood, where we are starting a Women’s Ministry this fall with the heart to care for our women and to engage them more fully in the mission of the church. We are actively seeking the best ways to have our women serve alongside our deacons and our elders in fulfilling their callings as leaders of Christ’s church.

Word of God
One final encouragement is something you may overlook or take for granted. Unfortunately, it is increasingly rare in our country these days to find denominations committed to the authority of God’s Word, who actually have meaningful conversations like the ones above where even those who disagree are appealing to the Scriptures and seeking to follow biblical teaching. Praise God that that remains the commitment of the PCA and the nature of her General Assembly from beginning to end!

That same commitment is one we hold passionately here at Southwood as we desire all of our decisions and practices to be directed by God’s Word for the glory of Jesus Christ. Pray that God would keep this particular local church as well as our international denomination firmly grounded in the mission of his Church given to us in the pages of his Word.