The Presbytery of Lake Michigan voted in December to join 73 Presbyteries who have formally enrolled in the Matthew 23 Initiative.

The initiative – based on Matthew 25:31-46 (NRSV) — encourages groups and individuals to embrace three missional focus areas:

  • Building congregational vitality,
  • Dismantling structural racism, and
  • Eradicating systemic poverty.

Presbytery members at the December 7, 2021 Stated Meeting unanimously voted to become a Matthew 25 mid-council and to encourage 20% or more of its congregations to become Matthew 25 churches.

Before voting, presbytery members learned how some congregations already are doing mission work that supports the Matthew 25 initiative. The video reports were made by:

  • Rev. Katie Hartwell about how First Presbyterian Church of Decatur is working to build congregational vitality.
  • Rev. Stan Jenkins about how First Presbyterian Church of Lansing is helping dismantle structural racism.
  • Elder Brian Rhinesmith about how North Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo is working to eradicate systemic poverty.

Discussion before the vote also included a presentation by the Rev. Chris Roseland, lead mission engagement advisor with the Presbyterian Mission Agency, that highlighted how the presbytery’s congregations and related groups have donated more than $3 million during the past 10 years to support Presbyterian Mission work Click below to see that presentation.

Roseland also reported that, as of November 30, 2021, there were 921 congregations, 73 presbyteries, 10 synods and 51 other groups formally enrolled in the Matthew 25 initiative. This includes First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, First Presbyterian Church of Lansing and UKirk @ MSU.

As the presbytery and its congregations begin their Matthew 25 journeys, information about the Matthew 25 initiative and a host of resources may be found at Resources on that page include: