February 2023 Presbytery Meeting

The 11th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery met at First Presbyterian Church, in Jasper, Indiana on Thursday, February 16th, 2023. This is the home of one of Evangel’s four church plants, and is pastored by Joe Helt. Thank you for hosting us!

As always our meeting began with morning worship. Pastor David Abu-Sara from Clearnote Church, Indianapolis, preached from the 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, “Each Man Must Be Careful How He Builds.” Using the apostle’s analogy, Pr. David exhorted us to make sure our people are built on the only sure foundation there is: Christ Jesus. We often want quick fixes to difficult problems, but a good pastor will not give in to such demands. It was a very helpful sermon.

After worship we went into business. We heard an overture from Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC, regarding paedocommunion. Currently Evangel’s BCO (Chapter 60) does not have language that explicitly addresses the practice, so the overture would add language to prohibit it. Sessions will vote on the overture prior to the next stated meeting along with another overture regarding the fencing of the Lord’s Table.

We then held a views exam for Gary Knapp. Gary is the Executive Director of Still Waters Biblical Counseling Ministry in Maumee, OH and is a member of Christ the Word Church in Sylvania, OH. He passed his views exam and was warmly welcomed as a pastor working out of bounds. Later in our meeting we were blessed to hear personally from one of our pastors who has been laboring out of bounds in Milwaukee, Rev. Brian Bunn.

Gary Knapp on the floor for his views exam

Afterwards we broke for lunch: pulled pork sandwiches and mac n’ cheese. Many thanks to those who hosted us!

After lunch we heard updates from our churches. Please pray for all of Evangel’s churches and especially our mission churches. We were excited to hear that Pr. Andy Halsey (Christ Church Columbus, IN) has recently gone full-time. Also, please pray for Pr. Jason Chen (Chinese Reformed Church Bloomington, IN) that God would send a Chinese speaker to assist Pr. Jason with his work in the church. 

We then heard from the Ad interim Committee on Abortion. This committee has been at work for 14 months. The fruit of their work has been Evangel’s Statement on Abortion. A new audio version can be accessed here, with subsequent parts being released as they are recorded. The Committee reported on a “concise summary version” of the Statement which the presbytery will consider adding to the BCO at a future meeting. As to the original, full statement, the funds were approved for Warhorn Media to publish a printed version this year.

Elder Abram Hess was then elected as the new moderator, and John Kluge was approved as treasurer. As always, we closed with prayer.

Evangel’s next stated meeting will be at Christ Church in Cincinnati, OH, on Thursday, June 1, 2023. We look forward to seeing you there!

October 2022 Presbytery Meeting

The 10th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery met at Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana on Friday, October, 7th, 2022. The 2022 NGA Shepherd’s Conference was held at the same location the previous two days. It was a blessed time! We especially enjoyed having Dr. Richard C. Gamble speak to us about John Calvin’s Life, Ministry, and Theology. If you missed it recordings will be available soon.

Presbytery began with morning worship. Pastor Jake Mentzel from Church of the King, Evansville, preached an encouraging message on Paul’s greetings from his letters. We were reminded that every church is full of saints called by God, even the problematic Corinthian church. We are not to be faithless in how we look at the people in our own church. They too are saints.

After communion we began tending to the business of the day. A report from the Ad Interim Committee on Abortion updated us: Evangel’s Statement on Abortion is in the process of being published in book form. In the meantime, elders of Evangel received spiral bound copies. Warhorn Media is also releasing podcasts on the Statement: check out season 3 of The World We Made and new episodes of Sound of Sanity.

Evangel’s Statement on Abortion coming soon in book format

We then held a licensure exam for Eric Beerbower. He is currently helping Pastor David Abu-Sara at Clearnote Church, Indy, and has previously been licensed in the PCA. Eric passed this floor exam and will continue the process of ordination in Evangel. He is a great blessing to us! Please pray for him as he continues the process. 

After a delicious Italian lunch we had three New Geneva Academy students come under care. Daniel Coughlin and Daniel Frohman of Trinity Reformed Church, Bloomington, and Matt Shifflett of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Spartanburg presented their testimonies and sense of call to the ministry. All three were accepted for being taken under care. Please pray for these men and the other NGA students as they continue their studies and work towards ordination.

NGA students coming under care

We then held one more exam, a transfer exam for Jeremy Vander Galien. Jeremy pastors Pine Grove Community Church in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. He passed his exam and was approved to labor out of bounds. Please welcome our brother and pray for him and the elders of Pine Grove!

Pastor Jeremy Vander Galien during his transfer exam

After this we heard from the Shepherding Committee. They have decided from now on to have only two particularized churches give updates each presbytery meeting. This time we heard from Christ Church, Cincinnati and Clearnote Church, Indy. Both churches have many young families and many little ones, praise God! This does make for many needs. Christ Church has especially been getting hit with physical suffering throughout the congregation. Please pray for these churches and their elders!

We then heard from our mission churches. Pastor Jason Chen of Chinese Reformed Church, Bloomington has been busy translating and writing worship songs in Chinese for his congregation. His church is small but there is growth. One of their young men was recently baptized! Both Church of the King, Evansville, and First Presbyterian Church, Jasper are in need of worship leaders. If you know eligible men please send them their way! Please continue to pray for all of our church plants. This is hard work and takes great patience. We trust the Lord’s blessing on it!

After a few amendments shoring up the BCO we concluded with prayer.

Evangel’s next stated meeting will be at First Presbyterian Church, Jasper, IN, on Thursday, February 16, 2023. We look forward to seeing you there!

Day of Fasting and Prayer for the End of Abortion

Tomorrow, July 6th, Evangel Presbytery will be observing a day of fasting and prayer for the end of abortion. We ask all our members to call upon God to end the slaughter of the innocent and grant repentance to the Church and our nation.

This would be a good day to read our recent statement, Abortion and the Church if you have not done so already.

“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16b

Roe v. Wade has been overturned!

We give thanks to God for His kindness that led our Supreme Court to strike down (PDF) Roe v. Wade yesterday. Praise God!

In His providence, God led Sovereign King Church, and pastor Spurgeon specifically, to push our presbytery to produce a statement on abortion. The work began last year, and no one would have guessed at the time that we would be able to release the work to the public the day after Roe v. Wade was overturned. But here we are! God is kind.

Abortion and the Church can be read online here. You’ll find a link at that site to download the document as a printable PDF.

Please share it far and wide.

June Presbytery Meeting

The 9th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery met at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina on Thursday, June 2nd, 2022 at 9 am. We opened with a worship service and communion. Pastor Tim Bayly preached on Acts 20, Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian Elders. This was a timely text as Pr. Bayly will be retiring as senior pastor in Bloomington soon. He will be missed by all.

Our order of business began with a few reports from committees, the one of most anticipation being the Statement on Abortion. This statement has been in the works since October 2021, and quickly turned into something more akin to a book. Elders were given draft copies prior to the meeting to be prepared to discuss the work. It is evident that the research done has been massive and will shed much light on not just the epidemic of surgical abortions, but chemical as well. Since our last stated meeting in February a major Supreme Court opinion drafted by Justice Alito was leaked to the public. This was providential to say the least. The possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned is far higher now than ever and this has fueled the work on the statement all the more. Because of this the committee proposed to release the statement on Warhorn Media in conjunction with the ruling of the Dobbs decision (expected late June or early July). This allows the statement to be completed and released before the next stated presbytery meeting. This passed, so please continue to pray for the committee as they finish their work in the coming weeks!

In relation to this issue, Pr. Joseph Spurgeon of Sovereign King Church moved to have an annual day of fasting and prayer on the issue of abortion. This passed as well. We must not overlook these spiritual works. God does listen to His people, so please pray and fast as we plead for the lives of the unborn.

After a pulled pork and mac n’ cheese lunch we continued our business by hearing from our churches and praying for them. There is much growth happening in many of our churches which means a need for more workers. 

We then heard from two New Geneva Academy students who were offered to come under care. Timothy Deaton of Clearnote Church, Indianapolis, and Sion Han of Trinity Reformed Church, Bloomington both gave their testimonies and feeling of call to ministry. The presbytery unanimously voted for both being taken under care.

After finishing business, we adjourned with prayer. A big thank you to all who made the trip down to South Carolina! It was a blessed time.

Evangel’s next stated meeting will be at Trinity Reformed Church, in Bloomington, IN on Friday October 7th, 2022. The 2022 NGA Shepherds Conference will be held at the same location from October 5-6th. Hope to see you at both!

Februrary 2022 Presbytery Meeting

The 7th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery met at Clearnote Church in Indianapolis, IN on February 18th, 2022. We began with our worship service at 9am with Pr. Paul Belcher preaching from Joshua 14:1-15. His exhortation centered on the life of Caleb and his faithfulness to enter the Promised Land.

After the Lord’s Supper our business portion of the meeting began starting with an exciting report about our statement on abortion. Last presbytery meeting, Sovereign King Church proposed that a committee study abortion with the purpose of adopting a statement. That committee has been working hard, and the current draft could easily be a book! No rock has been unturned and we have great hope that the final statement will be useful to all as a tool for repentance and true, righteous living.

After this, a report was given regarding the status of a handbook for session clerks. This handbook will be a great help to all future session clerks, bringing clarity and efficiency to their roles. The handbook will hopefully be completed by next presbytery.

Next we had updates from our churches and church plants. There is much to pray for, especially for the churches who have had sickness and death in recent weeks. This is always a sweet time full of encouragement despite the hardships that we are facing.

We then broke for a great lunch and warm fellowship. The peanut butter cookies were definitely the highlight.

Following lunch, we continued updates from our church plants and an update from Pr. Andrew Dionne on New Geneva Academy. NGA is doing well financially but is looking for more students. They are currently marketing at smaller conferences in hopes of connecting with eligible men and pastors.

After these reports, requests for approval for pastoral calls were granted. Alex McNeilly and Paul Belcher will serve as assistant pastors at recently particularized Christ Church, Cincinnati. After many years of faithful service Pr. Tim Bayly will resign as senior pastor of Trinity Reformed Church, and Jody Killingsworth will serve as senior pastor in his place.

A few remaining business decisions were handled regarding the BCO before finishing the day.

Our next stated meeting will be on Thursday June 2nd, 2022 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Spartanburg, SC. We hope to see you there!

October 2021 Meeting of Evangel Presbytery

Evangel Presbytery met on Friday, October 8th, 2021 at Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana. Our meeting started at 9 am with worship and prayer, followed by a sermon from Pastor Joseph Bayly. Pastor Bayly preached from 1 Kings 1:1-10 and warned us of the sins of pride and ambition. If we are to be wise, we must not only be able to see these sins in ourselves and others, but we must kill them. This was a needed exhortation as all men are prone to such errors. 

Changes to our BCO were discussed and voted on, followed by two written reports from men laboring out-of-bounds, Brian Bunn and Jürgen von Hagen.

Two overtures (petitions from churches to the presbytery) were then presented, both regarding major issues that all Christians must face: 

  1. Pastor Joseph Spurgeon proposed that a committee be formed to study abortion with the purpose of drafting and adopting a statement about it. 
  2. Pastor Lucas Weeks presented a statement that had been adopted by Trinity Reformed Church on September 19, 2021 titled Conscience and Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates: In Defense of Sphere Authority. The statement was adopted by Evangel Presbytery and can be read here. We encourage you to do so!

Following a budget proposal, we heard updates from our churches and mission churches. Even though these updates often include struggles and disappointments, it is always an encouraging portion of the meeting, for we see God’s kindness and mercy to his people. It is a truly sweet time to hear from our pastors. 

During this time, we had an exciting announcement: Christ Church Cincinnati asked to be particularized! Here is a brief history of Christ Church from Pr. Alex McNeilly: 

The church was planted under the leadership of pastors Joseph Bayly (senior) and Paul Belcher (assistant) in 2015, along with the help of several others. Alex McNeilly joined as an assistant pastor in September 2019. On September 12, 2021, the congregation elected two elders (Ken Patrick and Tom Thistleton) and two deacons (Rob Bedinghaus and Scott Hillger), called Joseph Bayly to serve as their senior pastor, and signed a petition to Evangel Presbytery to be organized as a particular church. The newly elected officers will be ordained and installed at an organization service on Sunday, October 31. For several years, the church met in an elementary school in Milford, Ohio, a suburb on the east side of Cincinnati. The church now meets for worship in the gym at Mars Hill Academy in Mason, Ohio, a suburb northeast of Cincinnati. The congregation has steadily grown over the past six years so that it now comprises roughly sixteen households, including families with (many) children as well as single adults.

We praise God for his kindness to us in this!

Following this announcement, we had a great lunch and time of fellowship at the church before reconvening. 

After lunch, the Candidates and Credentials committee brought some recent exceptions to the Westminster Confession of Faith to the floor of presbytery for discussion.

After hearing from our Sessional Records Committee our meeting ended (earlier than expected, which is always nice as there is more time for fellowship!). 

This meeting was preceded by our annual Shepherd’s Conference. The theme was The Good Soldier. The sessions were full of exhortation and encouragement, with much needed fellowship (and food) in between! 

Our next stated meeting will be on Friday, February 18th, 2022 at Clearnote Church in Indianapolis. We look forward to seeing you there!

Sovereign King Church is Particularized in Evangel Presbytery

Sovereign King Church began in 2016 as a church plant meeting in the basement of a home in Southern Indiana. It was around that time that I had met a few men and their families doing evangelism work at the abortion mill in Louisville, Kentucky. With a mutual love for Christ, reformed theology, preaching the gospel in the open air, and speaking up for the preborn, we saw a need for a reformed church in Southern Indiana. The church initially started with an affiliation with another church in the area, but two problems became apparent. First, there was not much of an appetite for reformed preaching with application to the real sins of the people in the congregation. Second, we realized that the church did not have a good way of dealing with conflict among their elders. We had a sense that churches should be interconnected and have accountability outside of the local congregation, and so we began to consider a presbyterian style of government. We came to the conviction that presbyterianism provides protection for both the sheep and the shepherds of those sheep.

Having already established relationships with some of the men who would eventually make up Evangel Presbytery, we were able to seek shelter and care with accountability as we planted Sovereign King Church. I was accepted as an ordained church planter by Evangel Presbytery in 2019 when it was founded. With the help of a provisional elder board made up of pastors and elders from the Presbytery, the work of planting continued.

The Lord has been kind to us in many ways, small and large. One sweet story is about how we found a new location after outgrowing the basement where we were meeting:

Every year at Christmas, the church goes caroling throughout the nearby neighborhoods. One evening we knocked on the door of a woman whose entire family was sick and feeling pretty miserable. We sang Joy to the World when she opened the door, and tears filled her eyes as she filmed us using her phone. After we left, she shared the video on Facebook saying that she had been very discouraged until we had come. A local hairdresser saw the video on Facebook and recognized one of the women of our church. The next time she went to have her hair done, she and the hairdresser talked about the video, the gospel, and about how the church had outgrown the basement. The hairdresser knew just the right place for our church and put in a good word for us. We were meeting there soon after. There are many of these little stories of God’s provision and blessing on our church as we have worked to take the gospel into the culture.

God has blessed us since with growth in numbers and in fellowship. Being a part of Evangel Presbytery has been invaluable in adding a focus on pastoral care to our heart for abortion ministry and evangelism. Evangel Presbytery is known for its unity on the issue of baptism and its strong adherence to biblical patriarchy, but it is pastoral care that holds it all together. God gave the church shepherds to care for the souls of their sheep. Pastors must speak the things fitting for sound doctrine and do so with authority. They keep sheep out of ditches, pointing sinners to Christ who is the only one who can heal them. They equip the saints for ministry, leading them out into battle against the world, the devil, and the flesh. It is a good work that must be recovered.

In 2020-21, God had us outgrow the community building and provided a larger place. Two capable men in the congregation, Mark Cox and Aaron Sabie, both completed their training to serve as elders. On April 11th, 2021, Sovereign King Church ordained these two men and formally joined Evangel Presbytery as a particularized church. We are thankful for the work of Evangel Presbytery and are looking forward to working together to proclaim the good news of our Sovereign King, Jesus.

February 2021 Meeting of Evangel Presbytery

The 5th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery met at Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana on Friday, February 19th, 2021 at 10 am. After Moderator Andrew Dionne prayed and called us to order, Pastor Jody Killingsworth and the musicians at TRC opened our service of worship with a hymn and a psalm. Then Pastor Dionne preached to us from 1 Peter 5:1-4, and Pastor Philip Moyer led us in communion.

In his sermon, Pastor Dionne exhorted us, among other things, not to be lazy. Good thing he did, as we had a full day of business ahead of us. We took attendance and then Stated Clerk Lucas Week made a personal motion to strike the 10am start-time from our bylaws, so we could start subsequent meetings as convenient. The motion passed!

After that we discussed a variety of proposed changes to our BCO. Some changes had already been considered and were brought before the presbytery for a vote. For others, the moderator appointed committees to review the proposals and return to presbytery with recommendations.

We had a brief report from the administrative nominating committee, and then we broke for lunch.

Lunch was awesome: two lasagnas, salad, and butterscotch-chip cookies. There were many guests, and the time of fellowship with old friends and new was sweet. If you were one of the excused absences, or you just haven’t joined the Presbytery yet, you missed out.

The next part of the meeting after lunch was full of joy, as we heard from the various churches and church plants about how things were going over the last few months. The theme was: COVID was tough, but God is faithful.

Best of all, we voted to particularize Sovereign King Church in Memphis, Indiana. The particularization service which includes the ordination of two elders will take place soon. Praise the Lord, and best wishes to Pastor Joseph Spurgeon and his flock.

Later, we heard from Jake Mentzel, the Chairman of the Board of New Geneva Academy, which has cooked up a great pastors training program for this Autumn, with five men (and counting) already signed up.

We ended the day with the ordination of Jason Chen who will pastor the Chinese Reformed Church of Bloomington, Indiana. Pastor Mentzel preached:

This was a long time coming, and an occasion of happiness for all. Congratulations, Pastor Chen!

Our next stated meeting will be held on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at Holy Trinity Reformed Church in Camby, Indiana.