This past Tuesday evening we went to a meeting for people that are interested in starting a PCA church plant in the Sylva, NC area. We knew nearly everyone there, so that was encouraging. The meeting itself was encouraging as well, but as I look back I noted a few things that make the road look very long and bumpy. This is likely very truthful, so that's a good thing.
Rev. Jonathan Inman came from our presbytery. He is gathering information about us to take back to presbytery and share who our group is. Someting I appreciate is that he's very up front. He started with why a group wanting to start a church would want to be in the PCA - and it wasn't a sales pitch. It was a discussion of submission to our church authorities. Perhaps an odd place to start, but one major distinctive of the PCA is the governing structure - and if you're not willing to submit to a group of elders, this is not the place for you. I think he's going to deal with issues head on, and that is a very, very good thing.
He asked us to describe our ideal church in full detail and e-mail that to him. To my fellow Christians: try it sometime, it will tell you a lot about yourself. My own list covered the trivial to rather controversial and was probably longer than it needed to be.
Maybe we'll have a big ruckus over worship style, maybe over nursery duty, maybe over roles of women. But, I'm guessing we'll have a few.
At any rate, the process is beginning - I'm looking forward (though with some trepidation) to see where God takes this. I just hope we learn to do that in love and charity.
Apparently the next step is for the appropriate committee in Western Carolina Presbytery to talk about us and plans for the future. One likely scenario is that the presbytery would appoint someone who's ordained to shepherd our group from...whatever we are now to being particularlized as a church (getting an operating session and a membership roll, more or less).