Jesus told his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
The Great Commission outlines our calling as a church. The nature of our ministry and mission is to make disciples of all nations through baptism and teaching. We embrace this calling with confidence because Jesus has promised to be with us to the end of the age.
His promise to be present in this mission reminds us that Christ had already said, “I Will Build My Church…” He will do the work. He was not talking about a constructing a physical building. He was not talking about a corporation. He was talking about people– building the lives of individuals and families under His leadership.
The Chief Cornerstone of the Church is Jesus Christ Himself. The full history of the Church therefore originates with Him – even before time began. The history of the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis is a testimony to the kind of building Jesus has been doing all through history in the lives of men, women, children, and families.
The Lord began preparing the way for His work in our midst long before any of us were born…
Persecution in Scotland from 1660 to 1690 caused many believers to take their faith more seriously than earlier generations had. They gathered secretly to study the Scriptures. They noticed that God’s Word contains many promises (covenants) from God to His people. They also noticed that God’s people should respond to His covenant promises by making covenants back to Him.
These Christians came to be known as “Covenanters.” They made it a practice to study the Bible, claim God’s Word for their individual lives, and then respond by making commitments back to God.
Today, at Second Reformed Presbyterian, we continue this discipline. We use the term “ABC Study” to help us remember to apply each of these steps to our study of Scripture:
- Analyze the passage: what is God saying through His Word to me?
- Best Verse – claim the verse that summarizes what God is saying to me.
- Commit – what am I going to do in response to what God is telling me.
When our pastor emeritus, Dr. Roy Blackwood and his wife Margie moved to Indianapolis in 1963, they did not know what all God would do. Roy and Margie had just returned from Scotland where Roy received his doctorate in church history at the University of Edinburgh.
They simply focused on the responsibilities delegated to them by Christ. In Matthew 6:33 they saw their first priority: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” They sought the kingdom of God, resting on Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16:18: “I will build my church.”
Roy and others working with him began reaching out to students, parents, professionals, families, and individuals. Leaving the building of God’s Church in His hands, Roy spoke with young people on college campuses and conducted evangelistic Bible studies from his home.
These evangelistic Bible studies looked through the Gospel of John chapter-by-chapter, asking the questions: “Who is Jesus?” “What is faith?” “What kind of life is it that the Christian has?” Many came to Christ through this introduction. Second RP continues today this ministry of reaching out to everyone around us with the glorious message of the kingdom of God that has come. However, God wants us to do more than reaching.
2 Timothy 2:2 says: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
Paul was not done working with Timothy until he saw that Timothy was able to reach others. In fact, Paul was not done with Timothy until he saw that those Timothy had reached were also equipped to reach others. Following this principle, those who came to Christ received further training in the Christian life and ministry through one-on-one Bible study. These relationships also emphasized the development of other disciplines, such as prayer, Scripture memory, witnessing, and fellowship. The congregation today continues to encourage everyone to participate in these kinds of one-to-one discipleship relationships for the training of God’s people.
In late 1963 and early 1964, Sabbath evening Bible studies began. The purpose of these times was to search Scripture for direction on family relationships, our personal walk with Christ, and how to communicate our faith through the home. Going beyond the one-on-one training, the goal of these building times was to learn how our lives and families could be “tools” useful to Christ for His kingdom work. Our goal as a congregation continues to be that those the Lord brings us would be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).
After several more years of reaching, training, and building, we began to experience another phase of ministry. Many of those in whom much had been invested began to be called to other works and other places. We soon discovered that God’s purpose for building His church is not to “keep it all to ourselves,” but to send with open hands.
God is always faithful to bring people to us so long as we are willing to send on those He calls away. And it is a great joy to see God continuing to build His church in our midst, and in the midst of those He has led to other locations.
Because God is a reaching, training, building, sending God, we are committed to being a reaching, training, building, sending church.
Second Reformed Presbyterian Church seeks to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in every aspect of her ministries and missions. We find avenues within the local body for this ministry to be carried out, as well as in the greater Indianapolis community, in the Great Lakes-Gulf Presbytery of the RPCNA, and in the world.
Take a look around the Ministries and Missions pages to learn more of what God is doing in our midst. If you are in the Indianapolis area, please come and see with your own eyes what Jesus is doing in this place.