Over 600 Presbyterians from across Ireland will gather at the Ulster University campus for the fifth Special Assembly to take place since 1990. Unlike June’s General Assembly no formal business will take place. Special assemblies are opportunities for church members to come together in a residential setting for a time of fellowship, worship and prayer, to explore and reflect on a particular aspect of church life, faith or discipleship.
Looking forward to next week Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Noble McNeely, said, “As Christians, Jesus calls us to be His disciples in all aspects of our lives. The title and theme of our Special Assembly is in recognition of the increasing necessity for today’s followers of Jesus to be equipped by the Church to be effective disciple-makers in their various spheres of everyday life.
“Many of us however, recognise that we have perhaps concentrated too much on programmes and activities in our churches and have not been as strong on providing the essentials to facilitate making mature disciples.”
Dr. McNeely continued, “The daily keynote addresses from our two principal speakers and the range of seminars available will help us to consider seriously the need for daily discipleship. It will also help us to understand better how we can be involved in a 21st century reformation of church and society.”
American and local input
The two keynote speakers are both from the United States of America. Pastor Randy Pope (left) of Perimeter Church, Atlanta, will give the morning plenary sessions on ‘How to get discipleship back in the local church’. Rev. Dr. Ray Ortlund Jnr (right) of Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee, will speak at each of the evening celebrations on the theme ‘Gospel Culture’.
Local Presbyterians and other local experts in their field will deliver the seminars with worship led by New Irish Arts. Rev. John Kirkpatrick of Portrush Presbyterian, co-convener of the Special Assembly Task Group that is organising the event, said that it will be an inspiring week, “Through praise, prayer, seminars and the daily keynote addresses we will be able to flesh out this key area of Christian life with a fresh, but strongly biblical perspective to help us adopt a more earnest attitude to discipleship,” he said.
Co-convener Rev. Gordon Best of Newmills Presbyterian Church in County Down added, “I hope that everyone who attends ‘Everyday Disciples’ will be uplifted and encouraged as our denomination faces up to major challenges on many fronts in today’s world. Never before has there been a greater need for all of Jesus’ followers to take seriously the call of the Great Commission to ‘ ‘“Go and make disciples…’”
New Discipleship resource
As part of the Church’s vision to resource whole-life disciples across PCI, a brand new discipleship resource, called 'Essentials', will be unveiled at the Special Assembly. This practical resource aims to help followers of Jesus reflect on and live out the essentials of everyday discipleship.
For updates on Twitter on the Special Assembly, follow @pciassembly #everydaydisciples