Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Interesting Statistics

These statistics are from the SCP report:

60% of Tenth's current members have been added in the last decade
40% nearly have been added since Dr. Boice's death in 2000
69% of the members added within the past 12 months are under age 30
70% is the membership growth over the past decade
49% is the increase in worship attendance over the same period
66% is the attendance increase in children's Bible school
68% is the increase in adult Bible school

33.5 is the average age of Tenth members
52% members are female
54% are married

Membership percentages by parishes:
P1 - 21% Center City and South Philadelphia
P2 - 32% North of Girard Street, including northern suburbs
P3 - 11% West Philadelphia and connecting western suburbs
P4 - 10% Mainline
P5 - 6% Southwestern suburbs, including Delaware
P6 - 20% New Jersey

SPC Team

Here are the members of the Strategic Planning Committee:

Phil Ryken, Chairman
Marion Clark, Co-Chairman
Pat Canavan, Co-Chairman
Frank Harder, Project Manager
Brian Esterly, George McFarland, Tobias Klauder, Joyce Ostertag, Angie Ferner, Robert Polen, Jane Reimold, Chun Shin, and Aaron Snethen

There are no bench warmers on this team. Everyone has had substantial assignments and have carried them out. Frank and Brian are the drivers. They envisioned the process and have been driving the rest of us to produce! They lead each meeting and will give the presentations. Phil is the Andy Reid of the team. He reads everything and comments on everything. I've never seen anyone work so thoroughly on a massive amount of material. You may not know Robert Polen. He is my intern who I have assigned to help with writing and editing. Much of the material you will read went through his hands.

Strategic Planning Presentation

At the Session meeting last night, the Strategic Planning Committee presented its initial report to the elders. We were given a summary report of 44 pages, plus the "Black Book," a 249 page report containing all the information collected over the last couple of months from research and surveys. A briefer presentation will be given at the congregational meeting December 2. But you will also be given access to all the materials given to the elders. Plans are to make the materials available online through the church website. I think Tobias Klauder and Dot Boersma will be posting the materials, probably within a week. I'll alert you to when they are posted.

You will also be surveyed for your response and insights during December. The results of this report and the upcoming surveys will inform a Session workshop to be held January 13-14. That workship will initiate several months of session dialogue with the goal to "achieve consensus on Tenth's future direction."

Along with your participation in the surveys, the Session exhorts the congregation to keep this process bathed in prayer, for we recognize that it is by the leading of the Holy Spirit alone that this process will be fruitful, and that it is merely a tool to help us in discerning God's will for the church.


It is COLD! This is long underwear weather. The winds whips through trousers and sleeves. And I hear we may get snow on Thanksgiving? This reminds me of the Thanksgiving of '80 or '81. I was still in seminary above Boston (Gordon-Conwell). Ginger and I drove down to Devon. The temperatures then were in the single digits. We had a Duster with vents near the footboard. The vents had doors to open and close, but they were not sealed so that our feet were freezing. We stopped at a Howard Johnson's, where I took off my socks and wrapped them around my cup of tea to warm up! For the trip back we sealed the vents with tape.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Problem Behavior

So, I hear an announcement yesterday afternoon that a tin of Quill Cookies is at the desk. Desirous of a brief break from my heavy labors, I go down only to find Pat Canavan's hands filled with cookies and Phil Ryken not merely holding the tin, but raising it high to keep other hands (such as mine) away. Such behavior will be reported to the Session!

Thanksgiving Service

The Thanksgiving Service will be at 11:00 a.m. Dr. Ryken is preaching "Undersea Thanksgiving" from Jonah 2:1-9. James Hala (trumpet) and Todd Thomas (baritone) will provide the musical offering.

The offering will go towards the work of Desire Street Ministries, a PCA ministry that had been serving in the poverty district of New Orleans and now temporarily located in the Florida panhandle. For info about Desire Street, click here.

The Thanksgiving Day parade will be in full swing during the service. For map and info about the parade, click here.

New PCA Church

Steve Bachman reports that he attended the installation service of Pilgrim Church (into the PCA from the OPC) in Manayunk on Sunday, November 13, representing Tenth Church as well as Christ Liberation Fellowship. (Steve serves on the provisional session for CLF. Bill Krispin officiated at the portion of the service covering the installation, and Rod Rafetto of Crossroads and Steve Lutz of Liberti also participated; Steve prayed for the Session of Pilgrim.

We welcome Pilgrim into our denomination. The church made this move, by the way, to join the efforts of the new city-wide presbytery in reaching the city (and not for any dissatisfaction with the OPC).


At 1:00 today the pastoral staff will gather for prayer as we do every Tuesday. We will do so despite the fact this is a short work week and time will be all the more precious. The Senior Minister calls the shots on this and he always keeps this prayer time even when we cancel our other meetings. Somehow he has the attitude that prayer is as much the business of ministry as anything else.

Last Friday, we had 16 pray-ers at the noon evangelistic prayer meeting. No meeting this Friday as the church offices will be closed. Only 5 showed up for the Missions Prayer meeting Sunday at 5:30. I encourage you to set a Sunday out of each month to attend that meeting. I will make my target Sunday the first Sunday of the month. For Fridays, I'll target the 2nd and 4th Fridays.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Narnia Reviews?

So what's the response to the Narnia presentation last Thursday night? After all my advertising, I could not attend. I heard that 336 attended. I've also seen emails that cds of the evening are going to be available in a few weeks. Will let you know when they are ready.

Report from Linda Boice

I want to report on a very good City Center Academy Open House which took place last Friday. Our development director, Ann Hart, and her new assistant, Chante Smalls (CCA, Class of '98), turned my classroom into a welcoming reception area with snacks, hot cider and cold drinks, flowers and candles. A very inviting atmosphere.

Thirteen families came, including two sets of twins, and besides some faculty and our principal, Ray Withers, seven of our older students were on hand to act as guides. They were splendid --- poised and gracious and busy interacting with the young visitors while parents talked with the staff. Before they left most of the families had registered their teens for pre-admission testing.

The most encouraging part of a very encouraging evening was the answer one father gave when we asked how they learned about CCA. He has been a coach of a neighborhood basketball team, and one of our CCA boys had been on the team. The young man is Andre Hardy, last June's valedictorian. The father stated that they had seen such a change and so much maturing in Andre that he and his wife wanted to check out the high school which Andre had attended.

What an affirmation that what we are doing is truly making a difference for some young lives.

At the Table

Ed Young alerted me to this article in World Magazine that includes Bruce McDowell's and Anees Zakas' book, Muslims and Christians at the Table.

She's Arrived

Christiana Fitzpatrick has begun her first day on the job as Missions Coordinator. Note the title change from Missions Assistant. Her position will carry a bit more responsibility than the previous position, allowing her to carry more of the administrative load. We are excited to have her on board!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Ginger and I are pleased to announce the engagement of our daughter Jean to Lucas Hilliard. The wedding is scheduled for June 3 in Gainesville, Florida. We give thanks to the Lord for his goodness.