Local Ministry Opportunities
Be a Part of Our Church Family
There are so many opportunities to get involved. Whether you love working with children, youth, adults or behind the scenes there is a place for you. You can host one of the after service Fellowships in the Centre, donate flowers for the sanctuary, or lead a Bible Study/Discussion Group. If you love to sing we could use your voice in the choir. If you love social media share and invite your friends using pictures from our website. If you enjoy facilitating discussion there is always room for another study. And if you enjoy working with Youth we are forming the leadership team now.
We have partnered locally with Project Vida. We believe strongly in the work that Project Vida is doing. In the past we have had the privilege of serving them through Vacation Bible School, special holiday events, and in sending supplies. We are looking forward to working alongside this ministry and the people whom Project Vida serves.
Project Vida offers health care, low cost housing, educational programs, and economic development. To learn more about them and how you to can get involved visit www.projectvidaelpaso.org
Yamashita Martial Arts Class
MCC and First Presbyterian Chruch are excited to provide this unique opportunity of martial arts and spirituality to the community. Classes begin with physical training in martial arts and conclude with spiritual reflection & discussion on how our faith guides our lives. Thursdays, 7:30pm in Room 204. Contact Joshua Hobbie (915) 300-8415 for more information or go to http://www.mccelpaso.com/bushido-christian-martial-arts.html
Kids N Co
El Paso KIDS-N-CO. is El Paso’s only non-profit community theater (with an emphasis on education) for families and young people in the El Paso area. First Presbyterian has provided them with meeting and performance space. Come out and support our local children’s theater!
We sponsor a number of missionaries. Whether sharing Christ’s love in Africa, building communities in Central Asia, or hosting Bible Studies in the 10-40 window our congregation keeps these men and women close to their hearts and always in their prayers.
A Word From Our Pastor, Neal Locke
from the 2017 Annual Congregational Meeting
(ministries have been linked to when available, all you have to do is click on the word to find out the how, where, when, and why)
The mission of First Presbyterian Church is the Great Commission, found in the final chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, the last words of Jesus to his disciples before ascending into heaven: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The whole thing pretty much hinges on the very first word. Go! Jesus understood that you can’t really make disciples or baptize anyone if you don’t actually go anywhere. This is what, in the church, we call Evangelism. Sharing the good news we have found with others.
For many years before seminary, Amy and I belonged to a church that was really good at Evangelism. It was a new church plant in a suburb North of Dallas. We didn’t have a building, so we met at a local elementary school and in people’s homes. In just three years, the church went from a small handful in worship to over 200. That was largely the result of Evangelism–going out into the community and connecting with people over and over again.
But then, about six years into the life of this new church, something happened. We built a building. We breathed a sigh of relief, since now we didn’t have to meet in people’s homes or stack chairs after every service. We finally had a place the church could call home. And…we stopped growing. We thought that once we had a shiny, beautiful, new building, surely people would come see it, and if they did, they would surely want to stay.
But they didn’t come. Because we didn’t invite them. We just sat in our building waiting for them to show up. The four walls we had waited so long to build became our prison, isolating us from the community we once served. Church buildings have a tendency to do this. I suspect that’s why Jesus–although as a carpenter quite capable of building one himself–never had a building.
I confess that for my first few years here as your Pastor, I feared that our building had become more of a liability to our mission than an asset. That we were spending more time serving the needs of the building than the needs of the people out there in our community. But something happened recently that changed my perspective.
The traditional way of measuring this (which sounds a little silly when you think about it) is to measure how many people you can get to sit quietly in a room facing the same direction for one hour, one day each week. That’s worship attendance. Or, measuring how many of those people, after doing this for several weeks, will come stand up at the front of the room and pledge to be loyal and faithful to this practice week after week. That’s membership.
Please don’t misunderstand me — there’s nothing wrong with membership and worship attendance, and we encourage those things. But what Jessica helped the session to understand is that those statistics may not be the best measure of congregational health and vitality. Even if they were, by that measure, almost all churches in our country (even the largest ones) are declining.
Jessica suggested another way to measure the health and success of a church, and this is what made me reconsider my views on the building. She suggested that a better metric to track would be positive interactions with the community. And, as an El Paso minister familiar with our congregation, she suggested that we were doing quite well in this regard.
It’s true that we have not often “gone out” into the community proclaiming the gospel in the past few decades. But somewhere along the way, we have managed to bring a pretty large chunk of the community inside this big, beautiful facility that accommodates 1500 people.
30 years ago, responding to a need in the community, we established the First Presbyterian Preschool, which continues to be one of the most highly regarded preschools in El Paso, and continues to serve hundreds of children each year.
At least 15 years ago, we opened our doors to Boy Scout Troop 2, and have continually expanded our scouting programs to the point where we now host Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scout programs for children of all ages.
Two years ago, Hope Griffin saw a growing need in our community and our church launched a Homeschool Cooperative that now serves sixty families and many, many children each year.
One year ago, having already acknowledged a lack of performing arts opportunities for Children in our community, we welcomed Kids N Co — El Paso’s only children’s theatre organization into our sanctuary for their performances, and I can tell you that (in addition to lots of smiling children) this has brought some of the most prominent citizens of El Paso through our doors in recent months.
We also provide a home for Zumba and fitness classes, a Christian martial arts ministry, a grief ministry, an anger management group, the Audubon society, Daughters of the American Revolution, and a bunch of bagpipe players, too!
In short, rather than asking you to go out into the community…we have brought the community right here to you. But that’s not enough. I often get the question, if we’re providing space for all these groups, how come none of them join the church?
First of all, that’s not entirely true. Several from each of these groups have indeed joined the church. Second, it’s not really the right question, because it takes us right back to those old metrics that don’t really work anymore. But there’s something about the question that is valid.
In closing, when you invite someone into your home, that makes them a guest. Guests are nice to have, they come and go sometimes, but they are not truly part of your family. There are three ways I know of that someone can become part of your family (whether it is your biological family or your church family). They can be born into it (and for many years, that’s exactly how the Presbyterian Church grew and thrived); they can marry into it; or they can be adopted into it. But all of those options require active involvement and engagement, parenting and mentoring and communicating and lots of love.So. I have come to love this building. Not because it’s so beautiful, or so historic (although it is certainly both), or because we worship in it for an hour on Sunday mornings…but because we open its doors to serve the needs of the people of this community throughout the week.
My challenge to you this year is to take things one step further, and adopt some of those people who come here every week.