What does being Presbyterian mean?
We’re not just any old church – our name sums us up. Not only are we from our local community, and part of it, we’re a Presbyterian Church. This means a few things for us….… it means we’re part of something bigger – we’re not just part of the whole number of children of God who have ever lived, we’re joined with a bunch of other Christians around the world, around Australia, around New South Wales, and around the Hunter region who share a similar understanding of what it means to follow Jesus, and how we should structure our church community. We don’t really make a big deal about being Presbyterian – we want people who’ve come from all sorts of other church traditions to feel comfortable being followers of Jesus with us, and there are hundreds of other ways to do church, but here’s why we like being Presbyterian.
Accountability: As Presbyterians we not only need to sign up to what our core beliefs are, we have a governance system that makes sure we stick to it. This starts with our elders – who work within our church to make sure the things we do are stacking up with what we believe, and what we’re on about, but it spreads to our relationship with other churches in our area, NSW, and Australia.
Majors on the right things: The Presbyterian Church is really solid on the important stuff, like who God is, who Jesus is, what the Bible is about, how people become followers of Jesus, and what that means. It has a long history of fighting for and holding on to those truths, and traces its roots back to the Reformation, where the “reformers” (the people who launched the Reformation) were really big on making it clear that faith in Jesus, not stuff we do, is what counts for everything.
The Presbyterian Church also gives different churches in different places freedom in how we do church so we can reach different people in different ways with these same truths. We have a statement of faith called the Westminster Confession of Faith (link required) which details our core beliefs.