u jim smith
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Dear First Pres Family, What an incredible Easter and Lent season we had. It feels like March has flown by. It was incredible to close our series on Justice and Mercy with a message from Wess Stafford. Equally as moving was the generosity this congregation showed on Palm Sunday during our One Great Hour of Sharing offering. Finally, what an incredible celebration Easter turned out to be. A big thanks to all the volunteers who made it possible. I hope that you really felt the power of Jesus’ resurrection during our services. This month we will change gears a bit. It begins with celebrating some transitions among our staff. First, we will bid farewell to Rev. Jim Smith this month as he heads into retirement after 36 years of faithful service at First Pres. In this month’s issue we have a special article about Jim and his legacy with the church. He will be sorely missed, but I hope you’ll join me in celebrating him on Sunday, April 21. Second, we want to welcome Matt Holtzman as he steps into a new role as minister for young families and pastoral care. I hope you will come alongside me in praying for Matt. We’ve begun the search for a new worship leader and hope to have someone in place soon. As you can see, it is an exciting time of transitions for First Pres. In keeping with that, I want to encourage all lay leaders to be part of our special conference — True North: Engaging Our Vision. Our session, trustees and key staff leaders have been praying about where God is calling us as a church. After a special time of discernment dedicated to this task in March, we feel we have outlined the direction God is calling First Pres — something we have called True North. This special two-day gathering — April 26 and April 27 at First Pres — will be a time for us to commit to True North and see how we can live into that vision in all our ministries. I hope all of you will make it a point to be a part of this time together. Finally, I am excited that, as we pivot from Lent and Easter, we are beginning a new series called “Go.” This series will look at the ways the word Go is used in the Bible and use those stories as encouragement for us to go out and make a difference in our world. I hope you will consider the ways that God is calling you to Go in your own life! In Christ,
Graham Baird Senior Pastor First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs
FIRST PRES M
APRIL 2013 contents Why Worship is Dangerous . . . . . . . . 4 Eunice McGarrahan A Ministry Remembered: Jim Smith . . . . 6 Paul J. Batura Zeroing in on True North . . . . . . . . 10 Matthew Fox 4
Grilled Cheese Mondays . . . . . . . . 12 Sue Gubser Stephen Ministry . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Arlene Bosma
Contributing Writers: Paul J. Batura, Arlene Bosma, Matthew Fox, Sue Gubser, Eunice McGarrahan Contributing Editors: Matthew Fox, Alison Murray
Contributing Photographers: Beryl Glass, Mattea Norman Graphic Design: Beryl Glass Proofreading Team: Mary Bauman, Christine Dellacroce, Betty Haney, Daisy Jackson, Marty Kelley, Karen Kunstle, Linda Pung All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, © 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. First Pres Magazine April 2013, Volume Five, © First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs, CO. Published by First Presbyterian Church, a non-profit organization. To contact First Pres Magazine: 719-884-6175 or 219 E. Bijou Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903-1392 or email@example.com. Printed in the U.S.A.
By Eunice McGarrahan
As part of the focus on 2013 being “The Year We Are to Worship,” Eunice McGarrahan, director of Parish Associates for First Pres, will be offering a six-part series focusing on lessons learned from The Dangerous Act of Worship by Mark Labberton. ife has rules. Some are humorously true: Eat right, stay fit and still you die. Some are proverbial truths: First you make your habits and then your habits make you. Some are cynical: Do unto others before they do unto you. The way we look at life determines how we act. But from where do those rules, those habits of heart and mind come? As followers of Jesus, we hope that our attitudes and behaviors come from a desire to “live a life worthy of our calling.” (Ephesians 4:1) If we are honest with ourselves; however, we know that our motives are frequently less than worthy. We have desires
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that are not of God, and those desires cause us to live by rules that will help us to get what we want. The church’s traditional language about this human tendency is concupiscence — disordered desires. Those disordered desires lead to idolatry, which is the worship of anything other than the one true God. We could list innumerable contemporary idols. John Calvin once said that the human heart creates idols like factories roll out products. And in Romans 1, Paul describes the energy we spend on finding someone or something other than God to worship when he says that we exchange the glory of God for images of
created things, finally resting on ourselves as the thing most worthy of our attention. This condition has been called the autonomous imperial self. Really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? This technical phrase describes those who have come to think of themselves as independent beings who seek to determine their own destinies and who think they are complete within themselves. The sociologist Robert Nisbet says that this attitude weakens community life because relationships become disconnected: without a doubt there are a great many loose individuals in American society at the present time…they are loose from church because they do not really think they need God; they are loose from marriage and family because they do not really think they need other people. They are loose from moral responsibility because they do not want to think that others need them.1 At its most atrocious, this looks like the chaos we read of in the last pages of the Book of Judges, where “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Thus it is important that God be the center of our worship. In the Preface to The Dangerous Act of Worship by Mark Labberton, John Ortberg says, “…the general sense that occurs in the writings of Scripture is that when God shows up, people get blown away. They fall to the ground, they hide their faces, they get radiant like light bulbs, they beg for mercy…It is this sense of worship as…response to the disruptive Presence that Mark Labberton calls us to. He wants us to think about worship not as a service we attend occasionally but as the life-altering recognition that Someone has shown up and changed the rules that our society tells us govern human existence.”
Worship in spirit and in truth poses a real danger. It threatens to unmask our idolatries and displace us from the center of our own self-constructed universes. According to Labberton2 we might think that the dangers in worship have to do with not being relevant, of losing control of what is going on, of being uncomfortable or of not being “safe.” But those are “false dangers.” The real danger is that we worship the wrong thing, and in doing so abandon God altogether, sadly unaware that we have done so. So, if worship is dangerous, it might be helpful for us to ask ourselves some questions: When I am in worship, what do I see of God? How does what I see of God in Jesus Christ affect how I see others? Because I have been in worship, how have the desires of my life been re-ordered? We are all seeking the good life and try to order our lives to that end, but right worship enables us “to taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” (Psalm 34:8)
Eunice McGarrahan is the Lead Parish Assistant for First Pres. She frequently leads worship during the 5 p.m. service Sunday nights. Q uoted by Joyce Little in The Church and the Culture War 2 C hapter 3, the Dangerous Act of Worship, Mark Labberton 1
Next Time: Waking Up?
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A MINISTRY REMEMBERED
JimSmith By Paul Batura
ike and Susan Albright’s marriage began like something straight from the script of Hollywood screenwriters. Awash in wonder, the couple exited the sun-splashed sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Colorado Springs into the warm afternoon light of August 2, 1996. They were excited. After all, it’s always fun to be young and walking arm in arm with the love of your life. But as the weeks turned to months and the half-year mark passed, the strain of adjusting together as a newly married couple began to take its toll. They were struggling as young couples often do and not exactly sure what to do about it. Growing increasingly anxious they decided to call on the minister with whom they had gone through premarital counseling and who had officiated at their wedding. Sitting across from the Reverend Jim Smith that April day in 1997, the Albrights were fidgeting nervously in their chairs. After an exchange of pleasantries, Jim began with a simple question: “How long has it been since your wedding?” he asked them. “Eight months,” they replied. “Well!” Jim replied with a sigh
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and wry smile. “You’re right on time!” “In an instant,” Mike recalls, “Jim put us at ease, giving us the perspective we sorely and surely needed, reminding us that what we were experiencing was normal. His counsel was comforting and reassuring. He offered us the right words at the right time.” A Steady Shepherd’s Hand Jim Smith, who will be retiring in June after 36 years of dedicated service at First Pres, is a man whose ministry will be marked and remembered by a great many things but especially this one: his steady, thoughtful, compassionate and even-keeled temperament that for so
many for so long has been akin to a balm on a burn. Jim DeJarnette, who has labored alongside Jim for 31 years of those 36 years, has seen up close and personal the impact his colleague has had on both the congregation — and on himself. “Jim has been my dear brother in the faith over these many years,” DeJarnette shared. “It would be impossible to know how many lives he has touched, but he has deeply touched mine. His gentle wisdom has, time and again, brought comfort, direction, healing and a sense of ‘home’ to our community. He is a true servant of our Lord who has shown us the power of a kind heart.” An Unlikely Assignment As a youngster growing up in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, Jim never felt called to the pastorate. The middle child in an Air Force family with two sisters, Jim decided during a high school bookkeeping class that he would become an accountant. He graduated four years later from the University of West Florida and accepted a position with a firm in Palm Beach, Florida. “But then came the call,” Jim reflected. “Not from the Lord but from my father, who told me I had received a letter from President Nixon. I had been drafted.”
Following basic and advanced training, Jim was assigned to Fort Carson, and soon came the day that changed every day since. “It was a Friday,” he recalled. “I was visiting the Baptist Student Union here in town for the purpose of finding a Baptist church. I had never been there before and wound up running into woman who had never been there either. Her name was Pat Alexander.” Jim would come to learn that Pat was there at the request of Dr. John Stevens, First Pres’ newly minted senior pastor, to share insights from a paper she had written on single adult life in Colorado Springs.
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“Pat invited me to come to First Pres. I wasn’t so sure. What would my parents think? Their Baptist son attending a Presbyterian church?!” Jim attempted to politely defer, suggesting he would consider coming some future Sunday. But Pat would have nothing of it. She was insistent that he come to an event that very night. He relented. And so began his 42-year association with the church. While still stationed at Fort Carson, Jim began volunteering with the youth. Jim found himself falling in love with the tone and tenor of the congregation and especially its intellectual and charismatic senior pastor, Dr. John Stevens. “What I was hearing in John’s preaching,” he said, “was a fresh version of the Gospel. There was a note of grace woven through all of it.” With his draft commitment at Fort Carson ending, he began praying a simple but profound prayer. “Lord,” he would say, “show me what you want me to do when I get out of the Army.”
Soon thereafter, Reverend Jim Edwards approached him and asked if he’d consider staying on as an intern for the next 15 months. He considered the invitation an answer to his prayer. He accepted. Living in a congregant’s basement and working with the junior and senior high school students was an adventure, but he still was telling people he planned to return to Florida. While sweeping out the youth bus one afternoon after a trip, Edwards gently confronted him.
Somebody wi take his position, but nobody wi take his place.
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“Smith, you’re never going to go back to be a CPA,” he told him. Edwards’ words proved prescient. Jim decided to apply to seminary. He was accepted at both Princeton and Fuller and after praying about the choice, ultimately chose Fuller. Another Surprise When a staff transition presented a vacancy for the “Minister of Evangelism” position in the spring of 1977, Dr. Stevens visited with Jim about it. Jim accepted the call and began his second
stint at the church, this time as a member of the pastoral staff, on July 3, 1977. By early 1981 the church was growing so rapidly that Jim was invited to assume the role as “Executive Pastor” to assist Dr. Stevens. The 32-year-old Smith became his right-hand man until Dr. Stevens’ retirement in July of 2005. Now pastor emeritus, the long-time senior pastor reflected on Jim’s contribution to the church: “It was my privilege to have for over three decades an associate in Jim Smith, who was as dedicated and as loyal as any pastor could hope to have. Many of the programs and ministries that have come to be associated with the church were cultivated under his skillful and organizational leadership and his strong commitment to the church and the world.” Summing up their service together, Dr. Stevens concluded, “What a gift Jim has been to this church and to me personally.” Most recently, under both Dr. Jim Singleton and the Reverend Graham Baird, Jim has assumed a pastoral care role, visiting with the sick and elderly. To sit and pray with the saints of First Pres has been a shining capstone on his tenure at the church. For Graham, Jim has been like an anchor, a stabilizing and steady hand helping the congregation navigate through the storm of a difficult year that included the Waldo Canyon fire and the death of Dr. Cliff Anderson. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with Jim Smith,” Graham recently shared. “Somebody will take his position, but nobody will take his place.”
Jim and beloved wife, Jean, plan to remain at First Pres following retirement. Jim will be doing what he does best — helping people — by devoting his newly found free time to Christian coaching and spiritual direction. “Pastors are made by the congregation,” Jim shared, summing up his ministry, “and I can’t thank you all enough for being my spiritual mentor and allowing me to be shaped in your midst by the Holy Spirit for the past 36 years!” Paul J. Batura is a member of First Pres and serves as Vice President of Communications at Focus on the Family.
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By Matthew Fox
zeroing in on
n 2011, First Pres began a partnership with TAG—The Armstrong Group. The goal was to identify our core strengths, community challenges and form strategies to move us forward as a church family. Using results gathered from the Transforming Church Index (TCI) survey administered in January of 2011, and discerning work done in several weekend retreats, our First Pres Session is ready to engage you in our vision for the future! Last month, the First Pres Session and Senior Staff spent a Friday and Saturday to continue to form a vision statement and an initial set of strategic initiatives. The group began by affirming the following First Pres Core Values.
First Pres values: Christ-centered community Excellence with warmth of hospitality Honoring our past while taking risk for the sake of our future Outward looking in generosity and mission A gifted, caring community Worship Our Core Values indicate those things that make us First Pres. Those things so dear to us as a faith community that they inform everything we do and everything we are. With these Core Values firmly set before it, Session began the discerning work of developing a vision statement and a set of strategic initiatives. On April 26 and 27, we present True North: Engaging our Vision. This conference will begin the process of communicating the Session’s work to the ministry lead teams in our congregation. If you are involved in leading teams in Sunday School communities, women’s, men’s, MOPS, children’s, youth, local or global mission, caring ministries, Big Blue, Prime Time, put this conference on your calendar. If you have served as a Deacon or Elder or simply want to be a fully-engaged partner in our future, you need to be at this conference.
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Led by Tod Bolsinger
Friday, April 26 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 27 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Optional lunch available for $7 Childcare available Friday night and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to noon by reservation Weber Street Center To register visit https://firstpres.smartevents.com/public/events/true-north-workshop or call congregational support at 884-6144 Tod Bolsinger has been the Senior Pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church in San Clemente, California since 1997. He earned a Ph.D. in Theology and Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. He teaches seminary classes, consults, coaches, writes and speaks on leadership issues, is the author of two books, including the awardwinning, It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian, blogs and is an executive coach and consultant for TAG Consulting.
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“Good morning to you. Good morning to you, we’re all in our places with bright shiny faces! Oh, this is the way we start a new day!” This old song popped into my mind when I walked into the Weber Street Center to help set up for Grilled Cheese Mondays. High school students from Palmer High School have been walking down to the Weber Street Center for the free sandwiches for the past nine years. John Marsden came up with the idea, and with the help of Melissa Irwin, Sharon Robinson, Sharon Comiskey and Cliff Anderson, the dream began to take hold. Melissa said when they first began, they brought griddles from home, making 10 sandwiches. Today, 600 sandwiches are made each Monday. Two volunteers deliver the bread and cheese every Sunday so it is ready to go on Mondays. Several volunteers were there already when I arrived — Dave Patton, a six year veteran, Ted Decker, in his second year, Rick and Sue Yates, who’ve been helping for four years, and Charlie Upton, who’s been helping for almost two years and has two granddaughters who attend Palmer. They are set up in the entry/ping-pong and
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MONDAYS: A f irst person account By Sue Gubser pool room of the Weber Street Center. They spice up their grilled cheese sandwiches with jalapenos! In the Aspen Room, with fast-paced music playing, more tables are set up with Dana Pollitt, a first year volunteer whose granddaughter attends Palmer; Kim Lee, a second year volunteer; Melissa, who has volunteered for nine years; Curtis Layne, who has volunteered for four years; Gloria Neuder, a first year volunteer whose son attends Palmer; Pete Eisele, who has volunteered for five years; and Cheri Swann, another first year volunteer. They are starting to make their sandwiches with a large container of Red Licorice Whips as their special incentive. When asked what they
enjoy most about volunteering, the majority say they like watching the kids come into a place they really enjoy, being able to visit with and serve them as well as witness their politeness; fellowshipping with the other volunteers; the diversity of the students; watching them mature over the years; and presenting the face and hands of Jesus to all of them, some of whom might be stepping into a church for the first time. Many hands make light work of assembling the 600 sandwiches. At 10:45 a.m. on the dot, the electric griddles are pre-heated and cooking begins. Sharon, who has two sons who attend Palmer, sets up the drinks station that helps to fund Grilled Cheese. The young people begin to stream in between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Several young men begin to play ping-pong and pool after consuming their sandwiches. In addition to assisting with sandwich production, Pete checks the pool sticks every week, taking any damaged ones home to repair. Two young ladies stake out the chair lift as their “table” and the rest cluster at tables in both rooms. Many requests for seconds are fulfilled. Young Life staffers also attend each Monday and circulate amongst the tables, along with First Pres’ Nate Stratman, Director of Family Ministries, and Scott Boss, Associate for High School Ministries, high fiving each student as they enter. From this close association with Young Life, 90 students, primarily from Grilled Cheese, attend Young Life meetings on Monday nights at Café 225, located at 225 N. Weber near the campus. Additionally, more than 50 students from Palmer attended the fall Young Life camps due to Grilled Cheese. It has been a wonderfully successful missional outreach, as well as a volunteer ministry. And it is a chance for members of First Pres to volunteer and meet these teenagers in a different venue, something I experienced first hand. Sue Gubser is a deacon at First Pres and has proudly volunteered with the Grilled Cheese ministry for three weeks!
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stephen ministry Christ Caring For People Through People By Arlene Bosma
cripture abounds with instructions about Christians caring for one another. John 15:12b says, “Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” In Galatians 6:2, Paul says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Elsewhere in Romans 12:15 it says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” One way that First Pres responds to these mandates is through the Stephen Ministry program. Dr. Kenneth Haugk, a pastor with a Ph.D. in psychology, designed Stephen Ministry in 1975 in order to train laypeople to be skilled Christian caregivers. The program was named 14 | www.first-pres.org | 4/13
after Stephen who was chosen to be a caregiver in the early church (Acts 6). More than 11,000 congregations representing 165 denominations are currently participating in Stephen Ministry. In 2012 our 57 caregivers provided 1,310 visits and 1,293 contacts by phone or cards. In addition to their caring relationships, you will see Stephen Ministers active in the prayer ministry, healing services and support groups, as well as the Pastoral Care Team. What kind of people are Stephen Ministers? They are people trained to walk alongside you as you struggle with crises in life that come to all of us at one time or another. The Caregiver’s Compass shows the character of Stephen Ministers to be compassionate, full of faith, skilled and trustworthy, with Christ always at the center of their person and ministry. Foundational to the caring relationship is grace-based acceptance, listening, empathy and confidentiality. We understand that it is not our role to fix, advise or condemn. We are to care, while God is the One who
changes situations, Who fixes broken hearts and Who cures problems. We know that God works through His people and we are honored to have a front row seat as He works in painful and difficult times of life! We are free to care and share encouragement during this process. “We met regularly for almost two years,” said one congregant. “For one hour every week, I was the focus. My Stephen Minister listened, cried, laughed and encouraged. It was the personal, incarnational care that I needed.” What kind of person would receive the care of a Stephen Minister? A woman like Naomi who had lost her loved ones and needed someone to hear her sorrow and pain. A woman like Esther who was faced with a major decision and needed someone who could listen to her concerns and offer encouragement. A man like Job who lost everything and needed someone to silently endure his pain with him. A man like Paul who knew the unending distress of a thorn in the flesh and needed someone to rejoice when he rejoiced and to weep when he wept. A person like you who is going through a difficult time of life and could benefit from a caring, trustworthy, faithful listener. What do Stephen Ministers do? They meet one-on-one, man to man, woman to woman once a week for approximately one hour with an assigned care receiver. Active Stephen Ministers are
required to meet twice monthly for continuing education and supervision. In addition to their “basic training,” our 11 Stephen Leaders have attended a one-week Leader’s Training Course to learn how to implement and direct the Stephen Series in our church. We offer care to the church and community as part of Caring Ministries, under the oversight of Dr. John Goodale. What is the training about? We offered our first training class to the congregation in 1997 and since then have had a total of 246 graduates. Completing the training program is a commitment to 50 hours of class time over a six-month period. The Stephen Ministry materials are excellent, deeply spiritual and include such topics as: feelings, listening, crisis intervention, boundaries, confidentiality, divorce, grief and aging. The classes are interactional and full of deeply caring people. If you feel called to take this training, our next class will begin in September. Even if you do not wish to be an active Stephen Minister, this training will benefit your life and other ministries in which you participate. You may feel called to receive care because of difficulties you are experiencing right now. It is hard to ask for help but we are waiting to provide you with a wonderful relationship that is strictly confidential and “all about you.” Please call Caring Ministries at 884-6145 for further information. Arlene Bosma has been involved with Stephen Ministry for 16 years. 4/13 | www.first-pres.org | 15
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