This weekend some of my fellow seminarians and church friends had the joy of visiting with Bruce Reyes-Chow, one of the candidates for Moderator of the PC(USA) General Assembly. Both on Saturday afternoon, at a casual meet-and-greet time at The Vault, and last night after worship at The Open Door, Bruce was intentional about listening to all of us – wanting to hear our stories and what our dreams are for the future of the denomination. As someone who favors a grassroots understanding of ministry, he was eager to listen to the church members, seminarians, and friends who visited with him. A good moderator is a good listener. Of course we also got to hear Bruce’s take on everything from the renumbering of G-6.0106b in the FOG report to the uniqueness of this year’s assembly. I’m not going to summarize everything here, but I will say that I wish him the best in his run for Moderator and pray that God will bless and use him for the good of the Church. I don’t agree with Bruce about everything – for instance, this issue of homosexuality – but there are a few reasons why I believe the denomination would fair well to have him as Moderator of the GA.
First, he knows that the PC(USA) needs to wake up to the reality of the cultural changes which are currently taking place in North America. His candidacy has made impressive use of blogs and Facebook to get the word out among younger Presbyterians, and this has changed the way other moderators are approaching the race. Second, in view of those cultural shifts he believes the denomination needs to learn from more creative and missional forms of ministry. As the pastor of a church-plant, Bruce is actively working in the creative, growing edge of the church. For the PC(USA) to experience missional renewal, the voices of people who are working outside of the traditional structures of the denomination need to be heard at all levels of the church. This, more than anything, is why I like Bruce – the church needs to hear the voices of young creative leaders like himself as it looks further into the 21st century. I believe Bruce has the potential to bring people and churches from the fringes of the denomination (like Open Door) into conversation and community with the existing power structures. We need this.
At the end of our time last night, several of us gathered around Bruce and prayed for him. As we prayed that the Spirit would fill him, guide him, and use him for God’s glory in the reshaping of the PC(USA). I pray specifically that the commissioners and advisory delegates will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as they discern which candidate to choose. As we count down the weeks until GA, I wish Bruce the best and look foward to seeing what happens in San Jose!