James L. Bosgraf
I have had the privilege of serving the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for approximately forty-five years, and I have been an active member a few more years than that. I have served three congregations as pastor. These were very different churches—one located in the suburbs, one in the inner city, and one in a small country town—and my family enjoyed living and ministering in each one.
We especially enjoyed the regular ministries of preaching, teaching, and pastoring, and our friendships within the presbyteries were rich. We enjoyed serving within the presbyteries on various committees, but we consider our work with young people some of the highlights of our lives. Our summer camp experiences in Wisconsin and Colorado stand out as times of special fun. Our experiences with camping and special family conferences with our friends in the OPC often provide us with recollections of enjoyment and laughter.
When we were conducting Bible classes, getting lost on long hikes, participating in athletic activities, and sitting around campfires, we were developing relationships that will always make us appreciate the fellowship that we have with special Christian friends.
It was enjoyable watching young people develop in their spiritual commitments, but also in their educational and family commitments. Many of these young people served God in jobs in which they had to face challenges that could only be overcome through commitment to Christ as their Savior and Lord. We still keep in touch with some of these people and consider those relationships some of the treasures of our lives.
Each of these churches had a strong evangelistic and mission emphasis. Those programs have continued, and many of the churches that they have helped all over the world have gone on to assist in the development of other churches. Some of the young people have grown up to serve God in local churches with distinction, and some have gone on to serve on foreign mission fields. We do wish that more of them had remained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
I have also had the opportunity to serve on many denominational committees and have been in attendance at more than thirty meetings of the General Assembly. Many of those meetings dealt with topics of great importance, and I have always been impressed by the careful manner in which the Assembly deals with these matters in order to be faithful to Scripture. On more than one occasion I disagreed with the conclusions reached by the Assembly, but I always appreciated the manner in which issues were decided. A number of times I have seen the wisdom of the decisions only after years of looking back on them. I particularly remember times when we were considering joining with other denominations. Those were times of heated debate and great difficulty for me. I acknowledge the wisdom of some of those decisions, but I wish that we could work more closely with other churches of like faith.
During my years in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, I have seen great growth and development. I believe that the obvious blessing of God has come from faithfulness to the authority of Scripture in all of the churches and ministries. While some might think that we are not spectacular enough, I have appreciated the orientation to doctrinal soundness and biblical worship as a means to bring glory to God. Our growth has not only been in numbers. Because of the wise decisions of our founding fathers, we have seen steady growth in many areas.