My name is Curt Parton. My wife, Kelley, and I live in the Sacramento area, and I serve as pastor for teaching and leadership development of The Orchard, a church that meets in Rancho Cordova, CA and also online. I also host the new Exploring the Faith podcast. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com.
23 thoughts on “About/Contact”
Dear Brother Curt,
Indeed a joy to find your blog here. I’m a missionary with The Moody Church in Chicago serving in Brazil working with pastors here offering a graduate level course on church leadership. Really enjoy your blog and found some helpful information in your reviews. Thank you, continued blessings in Christ Jesus, and may the Lord guide and grant you wisdom in Puerto Rico as you serve.
Thanks for the encouragement, brother! I pray that God richly blesses your work in Brazil and in Chicago.
Thank you for sharing, and God bless you.
Thanks, Scott. God bless you too.
Hey Curt Happy to find your site. I like your writing style and how your blog flows. I have already been recomending it to others. WOuld you mind if I e-mailed you some private questions regarding ministry?
Thanks, LAR. I’m glad the blog’s a blessing to you. I’d be glad to help any way I can. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy reading your blog. Could you put up some of your observations about church in Puerto Rico? I am married to a Puerto Rican who originally comes from cabo rojo and we live in New Zealand (I am a kiwi). Cheers and blessings.
Hi Catherine, thanks for your comment. Cabo Rojo is not far from us. And I’ve heard New Zealand is incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, I’m not really qualified to observe much about churches in Puerto Rico. There are many churches in each community, but our church is here specifically for the English-speaking population. We’re the only English-speaking church in the area, and we see ourselves as missionaries to the expat community. Also, I’m the only one on staff for our church, so I typically have little time left over for additional ministry involvement outside our congregation (and why I can’t always post to this blog as regularly as I’d like). So my observations of the Puerto Rican churches would be somewhat superficial, and probably not appropriate for a public forum. Cheers and blessings to you too!
I was happy to read some of your posts. Your perspective seems to match with thoughts I wrote here on ‘my dream church’ https://sites.google.com/site/mydreamchurch/
Anil – I like your site. The vast majority of churches exist under the OT model. I call it the Roman model. During the past 2 years I have met many people who have left the modern church, or want to, and yearn to belong to a “dream church”. It is the next reformation. Keep the Faith. You are not alone.
Thanks, Anil. I like your site very much. You touch on many of the same issues that we emphasize, and you present them in an appealing, eye-catching way. I hope a lot of people find your site. I encourage you to keep writing! My prayer is that we will all become hungry to live out the biblical truth of what it means to truly be the church. God bless you in your ministry. (BTW, we have banyan trees here in Puerto Rico also. 🙂 )
LAR, Curt, Thank you. It is highly unusual for a pastor to lower his ‘elevation’ (status), and power. It takes a lot of courage and integrity. So I was surprised to see quite a bit of that in the posts I read. “It is the next reformation” is the exact phrase I heard from a leader of the Vineyard Aurora church.
Anil, it is hard for many pastors to take what they see as a lesser role in the church. I think most of these pastors would actually find such a change to be liberating. Instead of the pressure to be all things to all people, they could be freed to focus on the ministry role that God has truly given them. It might be hard to let go of the status of being the Senior Pastor, but it would be much healthier for the church and for them.
Hi Curt, I like your blog. Or what I guess I really like is your clarity of writing. You present your topics in a clear, easy-to-understand way. Maybe you should think about writing a book! I’d like to sit down and chat with you sometime–writer to writer. When are you most relaxed, and relatively free from responsibilities? Have a great day.
Thank you, Susan! I appreciate the encouragement. I’m enjoying your book as well. I’ll contact you via email.
Hi Curt! It’s your old pal Ada from Ridgecrest! You are looking fantastic and it’s great to see you doing what you love. Would be fantastic to hear from you!!!
Hey, Ada! How are you? Where are you at now? What’s going on in your life? How’s Greg doing? It’s great to hear from you! I hope you’re well.
I have been seeking out biblical understanding of some of the subjects that I have read about on your site. I am 28 and for some time have felt a desire to lead in our small church. Our church is studying out the scriptures on plural eldership and wants to organize itself as scripturally as possible. Some in our church are very literal in interpretation and because the word elder means older, they are under the impression that a younger man is not qualified to lead. I don’t look at the word as literally. When I look at any scripture I try to understand the principles, or spirit, of the word verses the literal letter of the word. I tend to see elder as mature, instead of old. Is this wrong, in your opinion. I understand that you don’t have authority to tell me I am qualified or not, but I have a good respect for the way you have approached many issues on your site, and expect that you could give me a good biblical answer. I’m fine with not being an elder/overseer if God says I can’t, but I’m not OK with ceasing my pursuit for God’s will in my life simply because someone else says I can’t. I just want to find some clear scriptural advice that clears this issue up for me.
Our church members mostly agree that we should pursue plurality of elders as our structure. The only problem is that, if elder is taken litteraly to mean old man we only have one man who meets the qualifications of an elder and also has a desire. I have the desire, but I am very young. I would liked to have sent this in an email to you instead of as a comment, feel free to email me instead of replying to this comment. I would love to speak to you much more on this.
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your question. It’s a very good question. I’m glad you posted this here because I’m sure others are dealing with the same issue. I’ll answer your question here as best I can and email you as well so that we can discuss this further if you want.
First, I think it’s wonderful that your church wants to structure their leadership in an intentionally biblical manner. That’s very encouraging! And it’s also commendable that you have a desire to serve as an elder. You’re right that I have no way of remotely determining your qualifications for eldership but, according to 1 Timothy 3, the desire to serve as an elder is a good one.
The word translated “elder” was used in two different ways in biblical times. It’s true it could be used for an older man, but it could also be used for a recognized leader of the people. These two meanings often overlapped, with leaders tending to be older men, but this wasn’t necessarily definitive. This would be similar to our English word “mature,” which can mean older in age or simply wise. This is especially true of elders in the church. Scripture never specifies that elders must be the older men in the congregation. (And the word by itself doesn’t constitute such a distinction because of the differently nuanced ways the word was used.) So we need to be careful to not set a normative standard for everyone when the Bible does not.
I would agree with you that the primary focus here should be spiritual maturity. The elders should be the more spiritually mature men in the church—the ‘spiritually older brothers’ in the church family. Now this will likely correspond somewhat to one’s chronological age, but it will be relative to the context of each church and each prospective elder as well. A seminary professor once commented that many of his students had gone straight from high school to college and then on to seminary, never having worked a regular job to support themselves or a family, nor yet dealing with the stresses that are part of most people’s everyday lives. He said they graduate this 24-year-old and designate him a “Master of Divinity” when he hasn’t really mastered anything! Then he’s often expected to go to a church and shepherd people whose lives and trials he doesn’t yet really comprehend.
So, I would say it’s wise for elders to have some life experience and a few “scars.” They should understand the pressures and stresses of struggling to pay the bills month after month, of seeking to be a good employee and a good neighbor, etc. But I don’t think there’s any one age when someone has attained this maturity; it’s going to differ from case to case.
I personally believe that elder councils should be multi-generational (just as churches should be intentionally multi-generational). I question the wisdom of new church plants where all the leaders are fairly young. I think there should be young leaders, but they also need older hands who can regularly share their wisdom and experience. On the other hand, I think there can be similar problems if the elders are all elderly. Whatever the appropriate age range that’s determined by the elders of a church, they should be working on proactively bringing in younger elders. This can help the eldership be more balanced. The younger elders will tend to advocate innovation in ministry, and the older guys will have valuable experience in actually implementing innovation and will keep the church from rushing too quickly into changes. The young guys help the church change when necessary, and the older guys help keep the church stable while changing.
So what age is a good minimum for elders? It’s going to vary. Timothy didn’t serve as an elder (that we know of) but he worked with church elders as Paul’s apostolic delegate. When he first joined Paul’s team he was likely around 20 years of age, and when Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy in Ephesus, Timothy was probably around 35. Some churches use the age of 30 as a loose guide. For what it’s worth, I was 29 when I first served as an elder/pastor. But, as I said, this is going to differ depending on the context of your church family.
I would encourage your church’s elders to read the relevant books on elder church leadership. I don’t know of any that push for a strictly literal understanding of “elder.” This just doesn’t seem to fit the nuanced way the word was used for leaders in the first century. I hope this helps! Feel free to either comment further or to email me.
Hello, I have enjoyed reading your blog. I have been studying on homosexuality and wonder if you could do a blog on that? Is is right or wrong?
Thanks, Tameka. I haven’t had time for new blog posts lately, but I’m hoping to get back to it in the future. Homosexuality is an important subject and worth investing some time to adequately address. An extremely brief answer is that the Bible consistently shows homosexuality to be contrary to the design of God and a sin (no more, no less sinful than any other sin). In our natural lives, we all are bound in sin; this is manifested in different ways in each of our lives. Some struggle with addictions, some with violent anger, some with heterosexual sin, some with homosexuality, etc. I know this will probably just prompt more questions, but this is as far as I can go in one short comment. I’ll try to write on this issue sometime soon.
Clearly the Bible teaches that some sins ARE worse than other sins. Some sins, like homosexuality, are called detestable, an abomination, and unnatural, while many other sins are not. The punishment in this life for some sins is the death penalty, while other sins have much less serious penalties. Granted, homosexuality is not the worst sin imaginable, but it is much more grave in the eyes of God than many other sins. Let’s not sugarcoat homosexuality because it is culturally cool these days.
D. Lynch, your comment is inappropriate for two reasons:
1. This is a comment thread for a one-sentence post under the heading: “About.” This is not the appropriate place for a continuing discussion about something that is entirely off-topic. Please find an online discussion on this topic if you’d like to discuss it. Any more comments in this thread delving into other subjects will be deleted. Fair warning. (Not that I have any problem with discussions about homosexuality. This particular comment thread just isn’t the right place.)
2. What I said is that homosexuality is “no more, no less sinful than any other sin.” This is biblical. That is not at all the same thing as saying no sin is any worse than any other sin in any way. You’re conflating two very different ideas. We could say that running a red light light is no less against the law than murder; both are explicitly contrary to the law. That is not the same thing as saying they are equivalent in every way. To murder someone is much more consequential than to have hate in one’s heart, even though they both make us guilty before God. Neither one could be categorized as any more or less sinful. So your comment about sugarcoating because it’s culturally cool these days not only comes across as judgmental, it’s inaccurate and misapplied.
This is a huge topic and one worthy of a blog post (or posts). When that times comes, you are very welcome to express your thoughts in that comment thread. Until then, please don’t debate anything that’s beyond the scope of the original post. Thank you.
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