Let’s admit it. We’ve got one of the least cool denominational names in Christendom. In fact, I’ll bet that half of you can’t even spell it. Go ahead, close your eyes and try spelling the “P” word.
Presbyterian. There was a day when it carried weight…clout…gravitas. It was a badge of honor to be the “First Presbyterian Church” in a particular town. And talk about creativity, if you travel around the country, you will find a “Second Presbyterian Church,” “Third Presbyterian Church, “Fourth Presbyterian Church,” “Fifth Presbyterian Church,” “Sixth Presbyterian Church,” a “Seventh Presbyterian Church,” and …drumroll please…a “Tenth Presbyterian Church.” I’m not kidding; Google it.
There was a time when “Presbyterian” packed such a wallop, that some visionary church-planters decided the best choice they could imagine for a new church name was “Seventh Presbyterian Church”…because there were already six others in the town.
But now…not so much. Many churches have dumped that part of their name altogether. In part, because it makes the church sign too dang long!
We KNOW that we are known as “Chapel Hill” in town. That’s what everyone calls us. It’s good shorthand. But our official name is STILL “Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church.” We considered changing it when we changed denominations…and decided against it.
Why? Why keep such a bumpy, unspellable appellation? Because of what it stands for. Do you know what the Greek word “presbuteros” means? “Elder.” A “presbyterian” church is a church that is led by and ruled by presbuteroi…elders.
And THAT…matters to us. An elder-led church (we call the gathering of elders “the Session”…another weird word I’ll define for you on Sunday) is not necessarily the most efficient system. Dictatorships are WAY more efficient. But we believe it is the Biblical model…and inefficiencies aside, we believe it is the best system out there.
Why? Because we believe in accountability. We believe that a group of men and women gathered together, under the authority of Christ, listening to the Spirit and seeking to discern the mind of Christ, is ALWAYS going to be the safest way to ensure that no one person…including a Senior Pastor…runs away with a church.
In an era when church leaders are falling like flies, we believe there is stability and integrity to be found in a presbyterian form of governance. This Sunday, you will discover that St. Peter agrees with us. Bet you didn’t know Peter was a Presbyterian. Yep! In fact, a Presbyterian elder. Come, and I’ll prove it.
And when I say come, I mean it! Please…join us…in person. Last Sunday we had a wonderful surge of 100 people in our first service! I told you I had 500 sheep that I wanted to come back home. That was a good start. How about you?
P.S.— By the way, we’ve had RAVE reviews about our new Listen Everywhere Bluetooth hearing aid system. It’s an easy app to download and we have folks at the wood wall who’d be happy to assist. Maybe you’ll have a testimony like the man who came back and, a little teary-eyed, said, “That’s the first time I’ve heard the whole sermon in years.”