Several times during this first year together I’ve mentioned that our church plant is hoping to become “particularized” in the near future. What this means is that we become a fully independent congregation in our denomination (fully separate from our “mother church” – All Saints Presbyterian – out in southwest Austin). In order to do this, we need two things: 1. Our own trained officers (elders, deacons and deaconess’) and, 2. to be fully self supported financially (not dependent upon outside sources of income to pay our bills).
We need these trained officers to help with the day to day operation of the church, but mostly to come alongside our staff to help care for the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of our church family and the people whom we are called to serve in Austin. The Lord has blessed us with so many new, wonderful people in this first year and so we were hoping to have these officers in place as soon as possible so no one “falls through the cracks”. But obviously, taking on the responsibilities of these offices is no small matter and needs to be done very carefully. And so we find ourselves at this unique time in the life of our new church between the tension of pressing congregational needs and the need to move with slow wisdom and prudence in discerning the Lord’s calling on those who will stand for these offices.
And so we’ve decided to form a temporary “vestry” to address this tension. In short, we have invited the nominated candidates to our offices to begin doing the work of elder, deacon and deaconess in an unofficial capacity for a 7-month trial period prior to particularization next spring. This will not only address the need for better care of our church family and better service to Austin, but it will also provide an “on the ground” time of additional training and discernment to see whether each of these candidates is really called to the offices they’ve been asked to consider. This “vestry” will commence in August and run through March with the hopes of particularization in April of 2017. With regards to the financial piece of the particularization puzzle, we still need increased giving in order to be fully self-supporting, so please prayerfully consider regularly giving to the mission of our church family.
If you have any additional questions about the vestry and/or the budget, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are excited for what the Lord has done and looking forward with great anticipation of our life together as we live more fully into our vision to be “a Gospel-formed family for the city.”