Setting Up Chairs

07.15.21 | Shepherding | by John Jones

Setting Up Chairs

    Having spent a decade of pastoring a church in a rented building, setting up chairs (in a suit) is an emotional experience that will always be deep in my heart. ... As everyone knows, the chairs must be set up.


    Having spent a decade of pastoring a church in a rented building, setting up chairs (in a suit) is an emotional experience that will always be deep in my heart. These substantially heavy (and substantially violet) objects of decorative art had to be lowered from a height of 15 chairs and strategically placed while children buzzed about and my voice creaked as I tried to maintain some kind of conversation with others. The memory of this energy sapping experience will never leave me, nor will the meandering between row after row to straighten each chair. As everyone knows, the chairs must be set up.

    After a return from General Assembly, a short time of relaxation with family guests from Denver, Colorado, a quick sermon and Sunday school class, and a presbytery meeting, it’s time to set up chairs again. There is so much to do as we anticipate the fall.

    In case you missed it, please take a look at my letter, Sharing General Assembly, for information about the annual meeting of the PCA. This also includes relevant links to additional information.

    As we look forward, be mindful that in the fall we will be launching a church-wide small group ministry: Connect. Over time, CPC Connect groups will be meeting around the city to provide our church family opportunities to get to know one another in smaller settings. Here you will find regular opportunities to pray for, serve one another, and to engage the larger church body with stronger sense of close family friendship. We would like to equip our Connect group leaders in a few specific ways, so please consider signing-up for training on July 21 if you are interested in facilitating a Connect group.

    Also in the fall, we will continue our regular Midweek ministry of meals and various activities together (for all ages, including friends and neighbors). I have my teaching assignment, and I am looking forward to the wonderful meals and conversation.

    We also have a full Sunday school schedule for the fall that is gradually coming together in bits and pieces. We’ll experiment with our new technology to help teachers teach and to distribute our many excellent lessons on the church website.

    The building has felt some pain this summer, just in case you haven’t noticed the concrete runway in the Welcome Center. Before fall arrives, we hope to have the Welcome Center repaired and improved, and far more welcoming.

    Our Little Theologians have prepared and performed during Music Camp. Our students have returned from their summer conferences. We have several Little Theologians gearing-up for their SHINE Camp next week. There are more events to come, even as we continue to enjoy a variety of discipleship and fellowship opportunities through our Men’s and Women’s ministries.

    But fall is coming, and setting up the chairs is upon us. As we move into the fall, we anticipate a season of functioning without key staff. Pastor Bennett and I are receiving a great deal of help from the elders and the Personnel Committee to fill new staff positions for youth, children, and congregational care. Plans are moving forward, but the hiring process will take us into the fall.

    We are in a season of setting up chairs. Our staff and Ministry Teams could use your help. Our immediate needs are in the area of ministry for youth and children, but there are other opportunities to serve. If you would like to know the latest needs, please call or email Pastor Bennett ( ). We want to do more than merely sustain our regular ministries. As I reflect on serving in a smaller church, the memories of everybody chipping-in to help are some of my fondest. Arriving early Sunday morning to set up chairs (and staying late to stack chairs) were opportunities to labor side by side, to mature in the context of life together before Jesus. Even as we anticipate new leaders who will help to guide our youth, children, and congregational care ministries, let’s capitalize on this season of need and take joy in getting involved through service.

    ~ John Jones

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