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« You Know You’re in a Small Town When . . . | Home | My Statement of Faith »

My Statement of Faith: Introduction

By Mark D. Roberts | Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Part 1 of series: My Statement of Faith
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As most of you know, I recently left my position as Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in order to become the Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence of Laity Lodge. My new position, though not in a parish, is still something that “counts” for my Presbyterian ordination. In other words, though I’m not working in a church, I remain a “Reverend.”

In the Presbyterian Church (USA), the question of whether one should be ordained or not is answered by the local presbytery, a group of churches in a given area that acts rather like the bishop in other denominations. When I was pastoring in Irvine, California, I was a member of Los Ranchos Presbytery, a region that included all of Orange County and a small portion of Los Angeles County (something like 900 square miles). When I left Irvine Presbyterian Church, Los Ranchos Presbytery voted to release me to Mission Presbytery in Texas, which includes Boerne, the town where I live, as well as Laity Lodge. In fact, Mission Presbytery is quite large, consisting of 157 churches and more than 55,000 square miles. That makes my new presbytery about the size of the entire state of New York! Things are bigger in Texas! (Photo: The state of Texas with Mission Presbytery highlighted.)

When Presbyterian pastors move, they are almost always received into their new presbyteries with minimal hassle. The receiving presbyteries do, however, examine each potential minister with respect to theology and views of church order. Today I was examined by a committee of pastors and elders from Mission Presbytery. They were interested in my spiritual journey, my sense of call to Laity Lodge, and my basic beliefs.

In order to prepare for my examination, I was asked to write a one-page statement of faith. This is exactly the same thing I was asked to do when I was ordained as a Presbyterian pastor twenty years ago. Statements of faith usually follow a trinitarian pattern, with sections on the church, the sacraments, and mission added in.

Though I could have put together such a statement with relative ease, I didn’t want merely to list out my core beliefs. I was asked to write a statement of faith. So I thought I would try to represent, not just my basic convictions, but my actual faith, my relationship of trust with God. This was not easy to do in just one page, let me tell you. (In the end, I used two pages.) It’s one thing to list one’s core belief. It’s quite another to try and capture a living relationship in a few sentences.

In the end, I did something unusual with my statement of faith. I’ll share this with you in my next post, and then add some explanation. But before I tell you what I did for my statement of faith, I want you to think about how you might write your own statement. If you had no more than 1000 words in which to capture your faith, what would you write? What form would your statement of faith take?

Think about this for a day. Tomorrow I’ll share with you what I wrote.

Topics: Statement of Faith |

4 Responses to “My Statement of Faith: Introduction”

  1. Rev. Michael Brundeen Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Rev. Mark Roberts,

    Let me be one of the first to welcome you to Mission Presbytery. I am the pastor of a church in Corpus Christi and have connected with your blog on several occasions since seminary. May God bless you in your ministries at Laity Lodge and in our Presbytery through the inestimable grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is my pleasure to count you among my peers and I look forward to meeting you at a future retreat or Presbytery Meeting.

    Grace and Peace to you, Michael Brundeen

  2. Jason Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Haha. I’m just picturing a committee reviewing a stack of Statements of Faith.

    Jack: who’s next?

    Frank: Mark D. Roberts, uh oh.

    Jack: What?

    Frank: um, he did something ‘different’

    Ed: Oh no, not another one. Don’t these guys know we just want something in writing that says their orthodox? After all, these things just get filed with the rest….

    Jack: I see a staple. Did he use more than one page?


  3. Jason Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Oh, please ignore the typo in the preceding comment. I do know the difference between their and they’re.

  4. Mark Roberts Says:
    March 27th, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Jason: I did wonder about this, actually. I thought about writing simply: I affirm the Nicene Creed without my fingers crossed. But, in the end, it seemed like the committee actually enjoyed getting something a little more creative than usual. In days gone by I served on a Presbytery committee that read statements of faith. They can get pretty predictable, actually, which is mostly a good thing.


Thanks for your willingness to make a comment. Note: I do not moderate comments before they are posted, though they are automatically screened for profanities, spam, etc., and sometimes the screening program holds comments for moderation even though they're not offensive. I encourage open dialogue and serious disagreement, and am always willing to learn from my mistakes. I will not delete comments unless they are extraordinarily rude or irrelevant to the topic at hand. You do need to login in order to make a comment, because this cuts down on spam. You are free to use a nickname if you wish. Finally, I will eventually read all comments, but I don't have the time to respond to them on a consistent basis because I've got a few other demands on my time, like my "day job," my family, sleep, etc.

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