OPC or URCNA Ordination

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Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
Brothers,

I've contacted and am waiting for a response from both denominations, but would like to hear of any of you who have personal and/or second hand knowledge of this:

What does ordination of someone outside the denomination look like for either the OPC or URCNA, especially as it relates to church planting (which is my desire)?

I'm in an MDiv program, so that part of the requirement will be met in time for ordination (about 2 years from now).
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
Why not the RPCNA? We have graduates from Puritan Reformed and Westminster.
I've looked into it! I would not be able to sign in adherence to the BCO of the RPCNA. I am not an exclusive A-Capella Psalmist. In terms of theology and ecclesiology, I'm aligned with the OPC, and have great respect for the URCNA. Coming from an Acts 29 background, I greatly appreciate the fervency of church planting, and what to figure out which denomination not only says they like church planting, but actively pursue it. All within the oversight of a Reformed denomination. PCA was close, but there is too much infighting denominationally.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Forgive me if this out of line, but I take it you are not under care? Where is the local church in all of this
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
Forgive me if this out of line, but I take it you are not under care? Where is the local church in all of this
Not "under care" of a presbytery. But I'm an intern at an Acts 29 church in Carlsbad. Hence, why I said seeking ordination from outside the denomination. Being an MDiv student at WSC requires service and internship in a local church. My church knows I'm seeking ordination within a Presbyterian denomination post graduation, and are actively helping me pursue the requirements.
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
The Presbytery here for the OPC where I live is pretty aggressive about church planting from what I can tell. I, too, came from an Acts29 background. I hear as much or more talk about church planting in the OPC. https://pmwopc.org/

You will notice that we are planning on reorganizing the Presbytery's border due to the amount of growth. Jim Bosgraf has been a godly man hard at work for planting churches. He's retiring because he's been at it since before many of us on here were born. It sounds like they really want to pass his fervor on to the next man. You could be a part of that. We need people in Chicago proper, downstate Illinois, Kansas City, and many other spots where the OPC is unknown or is completely lacking a strong Reformed and Presbyterian presence.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
I admire your enthusiasm for church planting. It is an important mission. But very few young men are ready to plant straight out of seminary; it is better, where possible, to serve as an assistant in an established church so that you can learn what that looks like and then go and plant after a few years of seasoning. (There are exceptions to this rule, but not as many as those who think they are exceptional). That advice is doubled in your situation, where it seems you have not yet even been a member of an OPC or URCNA church. How could you lead when you have not first learned to follow? It would be better to fulfill your internship requirements at an OPC or URC church, if possible. If that is not possible, for sound reasons, then you should plan on seeking an internship or assistantship in one of those churches when you graduate. They are unlikely to provide funding for someone they hardly know to plant a church; on the other hand, once they have got to know you well and evaluated your gifts, they may well share your enthusiasm for this sense of calling.
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
I admire your enthusiasm for church planting. It is an important mission. But very few young men are ready to plant straight out of seminary; it is better, where possible, to serve as an assistant in an established church so that you can learn what that looks like and then go and plant after a few years of seasoning. (There are exceptions to this rule, but not as many as those who think they are exceptional). That advice is doubled in your situation, where it seems you have not yet even been a member of an OPC or URCNA church. How could you lead when you have not first learned to follow? It would be better to fulfill your internship requirements at an OPC or URC church, if possible. If that is not possible, for sound reasons, then you should plan on seeking an internship or assistantship in one of those churches when you graduate. They are unlikely to provide funding for someone they hardly know to plant a church; on the other hand, once they have got to know you well and evaluated your gifts, they may well share your enthusiasm for this sense of calling.
Makes perfect sense! I can get ahead of myself, to be sure. Being in the Acts 29 context for a while, and having my Pastor and elders affirm a call to plant churches stoked the fire. This is something to look in to before I graduate. Orange County, CA needs more Reformed churches!
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
The Presbytery here for the OPC where I live is pretty aggressive about church planting from what I can tell. I, too, came from an Acts29 background. I hear as much or more talk about church planting in the OPC. https://pmwopc.org/

You will notice that we are planning on reorganizing the Presbytery's border due to the amount of growth. Jim Bosgraf has been a godly man hard at work for planting churches. He's retiring because he's been at it since before many of us on here were born. It sounds like they really want to pass his fervor on to the next man. You could be a part of that. We need people in Chicago proper, downstate Illinois, Kansas City, and many other spots where the OPC is unknown or is completely lacking a strong Reformed and Presbyterian presence.
What brought you to the OPC from Acts 29? I believe the Lord is calling me to plant in Southern California, Orange County to be exact, which is very similar to the cities you mentioned. I'll look more into that site!
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
What brought you to the OPC from Acts 29? I believe the Lord is calling me to plant in Southern California, Orange County to be exact, which is very similar to the cities you mentioned. I'll look more into that site!
Ironically enough, it was my time at Moody Bible Institute where they critically (in a negative sense) looked at Presbyterianism. That started my journey to reevaluate what I thought was Reformed. it turns out that I or my context of worship wasn't Reformed at all (outside of views of soteriology). After much debate, prayer, reading, and conversations, my wife and I left Acts29 for the OPC. Haven't looked back! :)

There are plenty of OPC and URC locations out there. Granted, it sounds like the church you are at now is less hostile to such a move. That will make a transfer of membership easier.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I believe the Lord is calling me to plant in Southern California, Orange County to be exact
Looks like there are 4 OPC churches in Orange county and a dozen or so PCA. Looks like an RCUS and a URCNA as well. Given the changes in Orange County over the last decade or two, are you planning to plant a Spanish language church? Or planning to target another ethnic group? Because I don't see much opportunity for an Anglophone plant there. Have you discussed with the respective Presbyteries/Classis about their perceptions of strategic need?
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
Looks like there are 4 OPC churches in Orange county and a dozen or so PCA. Looks like an RCUS and a URCNA as well. Given the changes in Orange County over the last decade or two, are you planning to plant a Spanish language church? Or planning to target another ethnic group? Because I don't see much opportunity for an Anglophone plant there. Have you discussed with the respective Presbyteries/Classis about their perceptions of strategic need?
Church planting is necessary in any city. The more confessional churches we can plant, the better.

The 4 OPC churches and a dozen or so PCA churches border Orange County, there is no presence in central Orange County (considered the urban area of OC). Churches tend to go into the affluent areas, and don't penetrate the "inner-city." My call is to the inner-city. There are a few non-denom churches in central Orange County, but those are slowly dying off. Sovereign Grace is planting in Santa Ana this year.

I believe my call is to Santa Ana, which is the heart of Orange County, population of about 350k, without a single confessional church. It's a predominantly Hispanic area (about 69% of the population), very low education (~4% have a bachelor's degree, with a high high-school dropout rate), and very culturally Catholic. There have been a couple churches that "tried" and have failed, because of the economic, demographic, and religious "foundations" of the city. It's the city no one wants to plant in.

Keep in mind, Orange County has a population of a little over 3 million people, so roughly 10 confessional churches will not cut it.
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
I take it you think the OPC is more confessional than Acts 29. I ask because I am a little wary of Reformed Baptist churches in my country joining Acts 29.
Acts 29 "subscribes" to The Gospel Coalition Confession. Though it in no way represents anything of an ecclesiology, but a reformed-centric view of soteriology, with very little understanding of the history of confessionalism. I absolutely love my church, but there can be too much variation church to church, and technically no governance over the practices of the church and doctrine of the pastors besides the "5 points of Acts 29 doctrine."
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
I take it you think the OPC is more confessional than Acts 29. I ask because I am a little wary of Reformed Baptist churches in my country joining Acts 29.
Also, Acts 29 is not a denomination, so it has no oversight of the church. Technically all it does is it requires an active participation in church planting through a monthly "tithe" to their church planting fund. They partner with many other denominations, mostly Reformed or Reformed-leaning.
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
Ironically enough, it was my time at Moody Bible Institute where they critically (in a negative sense) looked at Presbyterianism. That started my journey to reevaluate what I thought was Reformed. it turns out that I or my context of worship wasn't Reformed at all (outside of views of soteriology). After much debate, prayer, reading, and conversations, my wife and I left Acts29 for the OPC. Haven't looked back! :)

There are plenty of OPC and URC locations out there. Granted, it sounds like the church you are at now is less hostile to such a move. That will make a transfer of membership easier.
Thanks for your short story! Mine's effectively the other way around. Learning the beauty of the OPC/URC service and it's reverence to the Word of God in Jesus Christ, saturating the worship. We great incredible preaching in Acts 29, but the rest of the service lacks the same reverence.
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
I take it you think the OPC is more confessional than Acts 29. I ask because I am a little wary of Reformed Baptist churches in my country joining Acts 29.
Not even on the same planet. That's how far removed they are from being confessional in any meaningful sense. Granted, as Peter has stated, they are planting network (and networking otherwise). There is a flavor among Acts29 that is broadly evangelical, TGC, and the like. Young, restless, and "Reformed" is how they very much are.
Thanks for your short story! Mine's effectively the other way around. Learning the beauty of the OPC/URC service and it's reverence to the Word of God in Jesus Christ, saturating the worship. We great incredible preaching in Acts 29, but the rest of the service lacks the same reverence.
How the OPC views and handles worship was certainly a factor for our move. I hadn't said otherwise.

We had good preaching when we were Acts29, but it lacked in reverence; just as you have said.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Junior
I was in Orange County earlier this year on the Lord's Day and was surprised at how many Reformed churches I had to choose between to worship at compared to my area. There are also two RPCNA congregations in addition to others mentioned. That said, there doesn't seem to be anything in Santa Ana and it seems you're familiar with the area and needs there.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Church planting is necessary in any city. The more confessional churches we can plant, the better.
This might be true in general, but not necessarily true in each city. If you have several confessional churches within reasonable travel distance, then adding yet another confessional church doesn't make much sense.

Of course, the spiritual makeup of the community is important. I live in the Deep South, where there are Baptist churches on every corner.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
there is no presence in central Orange County ... I believe my call is to Santa Ana
Looks like there is a PCA about a mile from Santa Ana.

There are a few non-denom churches in central Orange County, but those are slowly dying off.
You probably need to do a deep dive on "Why".

It's a predominantly Hispanic area (about 69% of the population)
And trending up. Thus my question:

are you planning to plant a Spanish language church? Or planning to target another ethnic group?
In any event, the PCA is probably more likely to support an Hispanic or multi-cultural church plant than are the two denominations mentioned by you. They have both a focus and more funding available. Although you'd probably need to bring something special to the table if you are expecting a quarter to half million dollar investment in an inexperienced guy. (Of course, if you are independently wealthy and are planning to self fund, the equations will change.)
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
Looks like there is a PCA about a mile from Santa Ana.



You probably need to do a deep dive on "Why".



And trending up. Thus my question:



In any event, the PCA is probably more likely to support an Hispanic or multi-cultural church plant than are the two denominations mentioned by you. They have both a focus and more funding available. Although you'd probably need to bring something special to the table if you are expecting a quarter to half million dollar investment in an inexperienced guy. (Of course, if you are independently wealthy and are planning to self fund, the equations will change.)
Santa Ana is a very well-known Hispanic/Catholic dominated cultural center. It grows through either immigration from Mexico, or very wealthy young people, with jobs in Irvine, who want to live in an "up-and-coming urban area." The Diocese of Orange County has a massive presence in the city, purchasing the most influential church (Crystal Cathedral) back in the early 2010's. The mega-church influence is very large as well, with 10+ churches in the 2000+ member range, having very little understanding of the biblical gospel, and no confessional understanding.

There is a PCA church in the area, but it isn't well-known. Acts 29 is growing in presence, and KPCA is more well-known amongst Koreans (obviously). But as it relates to an inter-generational, multi-racial church that matches the demographics of the area, there isn't anything. The PCA church in Orange County is known as being "white-dominated." I'm not entirely sure why, but that's the understanding across the board.

I don't know of an effort to self-consciously reach across racial, economic, and demographic boundaries, and plant a church within Santa Ana that is confessionally grounded. I'm bilingual in English and Spanish, so the prayer is to have services in Spanish and in English, with the hope of interaction across linguistic lines.

Acts 29 is the most likely to fund a church plant, as it has a higher percentage of Spanish-speaking ministers than PCA, and a larger fund.

Orange County can be deceiving, with a decent presence of Reformed congregations, but, as I had said, there's nothing within Santa Ana, and it's remarkably close to Mexico in culture and exclusivity (if you're from Santa Ana, you work/live/pray/worship in Santa Ana). It's a bubble within Orange County. It's hard to describe.
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
This might be true in general, but not necessarily true in each city. If you have several confessional churches within reasonable travel distance, then adding yet another confessional church doesn't make much sense.

Of course, the spiritual makeup of the community is important. I live in the Deep South, where there are Baptist churches on every corner.
True. You want to look at saturation point, and "average commutes." The OPC and URCNA have a church planting manual that reaches into to some of the studies that should be done in order to plant in a certain city/demographic.

Christianity is cultural in Orange County, not necessarily equaling church attendance, so much as moralistic. It was a "red" county in the bluest of blue states up until this past election. Mega churches gave outsiders the sense that Orange County was "churched," not realizing most mega churches' understanding of the gospel, sacraments, and church membership is nearly non-existent. The Saddleback/Crystal Cathedral model is very strong here. It's health and wealth all the way.
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
I was in Orange County earlier this year on the Lord's Day and was surprised at how many Reformed churches I had to choose between to worship at compared to my area. There are also two RPCNA congregations in addition to others mentioned. That said, there doesn't seem to be anything in Santa Ana and it seems you're familiar with the area and needs there.
Yup! It's shocking there isn't a church in Santa Ana. Seeing the Catholic influence across the city, and no Reformed church presence is odd. Other cities are "culturally Christian," but Santa Ana is a different environment all together. Most in Southern California call it "Little Mexico."
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
So is your current church paedo or credobaptist?
Our church does not take an official stand, we have 2 on staff who are Paedo, and 3 on staff that are Credo. Most Acts 29 churches leave open the baptistic debate, but they will baptize babies and believers (as any Presbyterian church would do, if someone came to faith outside of the covenant community). However, the understanding of the covenantal nature of the Abrahamic paradigm is weak.

My convictions have developed, from loosely understanding Presbyterian church governance and ecclesiology, to strongly convictional based upon Scripture and the confessions. The church knows I'm a sold-out Reformed Presbyterian, I'm with them to understand how a church plant works. They've planted something north of 15 churches in San Diego and in New Zealand/Australia.

The plan is to become a member at a local URCNA church after my internship at this church is complete end of next year. I'm in constant communication with my current elders, and the field education department at WSC, who are connected with the URCNA's in the area.
 

Peter Bell

Puritan Board Freshman
I respect a man studying for the ministry but I see a huge cart before the horse.
There absolutely is a massive cart before the horse. The ministry is humbling, my background is in business (fitness industry) marketing, so a lot of this stuff makes sense to me. But I am absolutely willing to learn and be under the oversight of trained and godly ministers. Just wanting to see what others think! Ultimately the decision comes down to my local church's elder board and eventual denominational oversight.
 
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