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Church Government

Being Presbyterian

Mifflin is a congregation within the Presbyterian Church (USA). We have a presbyterian system of government, which means that:

Local decisions are made at the congregational level to include the election of officers for the Session, Deacons, and Trustees, setting budgets, establishing programs for Christian education and fellowship. Decisions about the selection and retention of the pastoral staff are made by the congregation, under the guidance of the presbytery.

Individual congregations belong to a regional governing body called a presbytery. This group meets regularly to work together on joint mission and resourcing of local churches. There are 113 churches in our presbytery - the Presbytery of Scioto Valley; it is composed of equal numbers of ministers and elders.

The 173 presbyteries in the United States meet together annually in a General Assembly of 8 days and decide matters of concern to the whole church, including the sending of missionaries abroad. The denomination is governed by a constitution consisting of two parts: a Book of Confessions, with statements of essential beliefs of the Reformed Christian faith, and a Book of Order, which has the rules of government.

Being Mifflin Church

Session is the governing board at Mifflin which has responsibility for guiding the life and ministry of the congregation. The Session has 12 members elected by the congregation and ordained to serve a 3-year term. The pastor is the moderator of the board, having a voice at meetings, but not a vote except in case of a tie. The Session makes decisions about programs, policies, staff, and budgets.

Deacons are members ordained to minister to those in need within the congregation and the community. Mifflin has 18 deacons.

Trustees take care of the physical property of the church and its legal concerns as a corporation under the laws of Ohio. Twelve members serve on the board.

What We Believe at Mifflin - Our Theology

We believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as revealed to us and all the world in the Bible. In the Scriptures, God tells us that he created the world and us, that he loves us and sent his son 2000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ to redeem us from our sins, that he has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us when we accept God's salvation through faith in Jesus, and that Jesus will come again to judge and rule the world. In common with all Christians, we affirm the Nicene Creed and Apostles Creed as basic statements of our belief.

As Reformed Christians, we trace our understanding about God, ourselves, and the Church to the Protestant Reformation in Europe , with particular appreciation of the 16th Century contributions of John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, John Knox, Martin Bucer, Theodore Beza, Heinrich Bullinger and the Westminster Assembly in the 17th Century. Our confessions for instruction in the faith include the classic Heidelberg and Westminster Catechisms; and the Scots, Westminster, and Second Helvetic Confessions. (These can be found in our Book of Confessions, the first part of our constitution.)

We have two sacraments, or outward signs of the work of God:

Baptism, which is administered once in a lifetime, for infant or adult. In it, we participate in Jesus' death and resurrection, dying to what separates us from God and raising us to newness of life in Christ.

Communion, which is administered as often through the year as the session determines. In it we share the bread and cup from Jesus' last meal with his disciples before his death as a remembrance and a showing forth of his death until he comes again.

What it Means to be a Member

When you become a Christian you "join the Church." That is, you become a part of that universal Body of Christ which is made up of all believers everywhere. But the fulfillment of belonging to Christ is intended to take place within a local church. Christians need each other for support and fellowship, for instruction and accountability.

Baptism is the first step in the life in Christ, and all members of the Church must be baptized. If you wish to know more about what this means, the pastors are happy to talk with you. If you wish to become a member at Mifflin and have already been baptized, you may find out what it means to be a member by attending our Inquirer's Class, which is usually given once a month. In brief, being a member at Mifflin means:
  • You are committed to Jesus Christ as Lord;
  • You come to worship each Sunday;
  • You pray for the needs of the body of believers;
  • You serve Christ according to the gift he has equipped you with;
  • You make yourself part of the fellowship with other members;
  • You support the work of Christ through giving money to Mifflin for its ministry;
  • You make disciples by sharing the good news of Jesus as God gives you opportunity.
For more information, call the Church office at (614) 471-4491.