The Ministry of the

Providence-Reformed Presbyterian Church

 

The Church's Purpose

 

'The purpose of a particular congregation is to place corporate worship within the reach of all, to bring the lost to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, to build them up in the Christian faith and to prepare them for Christian service.' - Form of Government - Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

From this very general statement we identify three general purposes for our existence as a church: worship, nurture, and outreach.

Worship

First and foremost the church exists to worship the one true God. John Piper brings this out in the following:

'Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.

Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It's the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God's glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. 'The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!' (Ps 97:1). 'Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!' (Ps 67:3-4).

But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can't commend what you don't cherish. Missionaries will never call out, 'Let the nations be glad!' who cannot say from the heart, 'I rejoice in the Lord - I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High' (Ps 104:34, 9:2). Missions begins and ends in worship.'

John Piper Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993/2003)

We are committed to providing opportunities for the people of God to engage in worship that exalts Christ and at the same time lifts our spirits.

Nurture

Secondly, the church exists to nurture the people of God. We choose the term 'nurture' because it is broad, pointing to the wholistic nature of the needs the church is called upon to meet. These include,

Material needs - met through the diacional ministry of the church (Acts 2; 4; 6)

Physical needs - when members suffering illness call for the elders to pray over them (James 5)

Social and emotional needs - met through various opportunities for fellowship and support (eg. meals, support groups, Men's and Women's fellowships, etc. Acts 2:46 Gal. 6:2)

Spiritual needs-met through Christian education, Bible studies, times of prayer, etc.

Our philosophy of Christian Education

In an effort to build our members up in their faith (specifically adults), our program of instruction is designed to systematically address five areas:1.

1) Bible (including general surveys as well as individual book studies)

2) Doctrine and theology

3) Apologetics and Worldview

4) Church History

5) 'practical' concerns (eg. marriage and family, how to share your faith, how to manage your money, etc.)

1. Course offerings over the past several years include: Old and New Testament Survey, numerous (Bible) book studies (eg. course in the minor prophets, I & II Thessalonians, Revelation), Kingdom of the Cults, Personal Finances (Dave Ramsey's FPU), American Church History, Bringing up Boys (Dobson video series), How to Give away your Faith (personal evangelism), Thy Kingdom Come: The Unfolding Drama of the Bible, Apologetics (How to Defend the Faith), 'The Worldly Christian' (combo of church history / biblical theology re. history of Christian involvement in culture), Eschatology (doctrine of last things), Providence of God (R. C. Sproul video series), Church and State (combo of history & biblical studies), Christian Marriage, Christian Worship, The Truth Project, as well as others.

Outreach

Our philosophy of outreach is spelled out here. Some of the specific ways we attempt to implement that philosophy are as follows.

Foreign Missions - Through the work of World Witness, the ARP Church reaches people in Mexico, Wales, Russia, Germany, and a number of other fields.

Short Term Missions - Providence has been represented in recent years through its members participating in 'short term' mission trips to Wales, Appalachia, and Dearborn, Michigan.

Evangelistic Bible Studies - with a variety of Bible studies being conducted in homes of members, or at the church, where the claims of Christ are presented through direct study of God's Word.

Grief Share - support group for those grieving the death of a loved one

Neighborhood canvassing - with systematic attempts to go to our immediate neighbors with the Good News in the fall and spring of the year

MVP Summer Camp - Conducted each summer, this ministry has been instrumental in making disciples of young people throughout the Mid-South for over 40 years, the Providence church regularly providing volunteers for its staff

Food Pantry-for people needing short-term assistance with groceries

Bibles for China Thrift Store - with a number of our members volunteering their services from the store's very beginning

Operation Christmas Child - the ministry of Samaritan's Purse that reaches out at the Christmas season with their famous 'shoe boxes', an annual project taken on by the WOC

ARP Connect - our church has been actively involved in missions to Muslims through this ARP mission.

World Relief - through this organization, our church has worked to help refugees. In addition to helping with physical needs, this ministry opens the door for witness to people from other faiths (particularly Muslims).

Sidewalk Counseling - several members are involved in this effort to protect human life. By gentle interaction and fervent prayer, they work to defend the most helpless (unborn) members of our community, as well as showing Christ to those who need Him.

Fire Station Bible Study - we have a couple of members involved in this small but important ministry. Through teaching and discussing God's word to firemen, they help provide fellowship for fellow believers as well as interest from curious non-believers.

Bartlett Festival - for the last several years, Providence has had a booth at the Bartlett Festival. This allows us to be involved in our community as well as show who we are and what we believe.

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