Friday, November 7, 2014

Ministering in Raleigh: "Full of Life, Yet Spiritually Dark"

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles featuring GPTS alumni and their current ministries. In this one, Rev. Gabriel Fluhrer, describes his work as pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Raleigh, N.C., one of the seminary's supporting churches.

By Rev. Gabriel Fluhrer

Raleigh, N.C. is an area known for the intersection of technology and education. The Research Triangle Park, the largest conglomeration of its kind in the U.S., supports thousands of high-level tech jobs, while Duke University, The University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University are all about 30 miles from each other. Raleigh is therefore an affluent and intellectual place, at once full of life and yet spiritually dark.

Gabe Fluhrer
In May of 2012, I became the organizing pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church (OPC), which was then meeting at a school in Cary, N.C. Cary is about ten miles west of Raleigh, the state capital. Prior to coming to Raleigh, I finished the coursework phase of my Ph.D. at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, concentrating on apologetics. I was ordained to the gospel ministry at Second Presbyterian Church (PCA), Greenville, S.C. in 2008, where I had the privilege of serving with Dr. Richard Phillips. My wife, Callie, and I have two little girls and, by God’s amazing grace, are expecting our third in February 2015.

Irfon Hughes
Beginning as a mission work, Shiloh was officially organized as a church (particularized) in February of 2013, after extensive officer training. In April of 2014, we held our first worship service in our newly purchased and renovated building, about a mile from downtown Raleigh in the historic Five Points district. The Lord has provided many new families from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds for Shiloh and, by God’s grace, we have experienced fairly rapid growth. Our members love to reach out to neighbors, co-workers, and fellow students. To keep pace with this growth, we hired an additional pastor to assist me in my labors. In May of 2014, we welcomed the Rev. Irfon Hughes, a long-time PCA minister who many of you will know through the Banner of Truth, to our pastoral staff. Rev. Hughes’s extensive knowledge of the Puritans, his deep piety, and his outstanding preaching have been a true benefit not only to my own soul (and those of my dear family), but to the entire congregation as well. Rev. Hughes is also a prodigious visitor, regularly checking on members at their homes, in the hospital, and at nursing homes.

Particularization Service
From the outset, we have been committed to the principles of ministry so clearly articulated by GPTS. I preach expository sermons on the Lord’s Day, both morning and evening, expounding the New Testament in the morning and the Old Testament in the evening. We hold a weekly prayer meeting as well as mid-week fellowship groups, where members discuss the sermons and pray together. Our elders take the responsibility of shepherding very seriously, with the result that every family at Shiloh receives a pastoral visit in their homes at least once a year by me, and regular pastoral consultation from their shepherding elder.

GPTS equipped me not only to study at the highest level academically, but more importantly, in the greatest calling on earth, gospel ministry. Regularly I have benefited from my church history, systematic theology, and apologetics training at GPTS in the ministry here in Raleigh. Moreover, as the years go by, I am more appreciative than ever for the warm and exemplary piety of the faculty at GPTS. I bless the Lord for my training at Greenville and pray God’s richest blessings on her!

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Shiloh's Invitation to Fellowship:

“Shiloh is a place you can come and find welcome in the name of Christ. If you’ve got questions, you’ll find a safe place to ask them. If you’re brand new to Christianity, we hope you learn and grow with us. If you’re convinced, we hope you’ll join us in serving Jesus together. Simply put, we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most amazing thing in the world. We’re excited about it and we want others to know the same joy, peace, and love we have found in Christ.”