True Citizenship

by Doug Rehberg

On a bitterly cold day in 1961, January 20th to be exact, newly elected President, John F. Kennedy, stood on the eastern portico of the U.S. Capitol Building before hundreds of thousands of his countrymen and spoke for 13 minutes and 55 seconds. It was one of the shortest inaugural speeches in American history. Some cite the extremely frigid temperature as the reason for his brevity. Others, who knew better, understood that he and Ted Sorensen had intentionally tried to keep the first inaugural address broadcast to a television audience in color, short and pithy.
At the 12 minute and 36 second mark, he uttered perhaps the most famous words he ever spoke publically. They are enshrined in marble near his grave in Arlington. He said:
“And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
I’m not sure who originated this chiasm (words repeated in reverse order), the second one of the speech. Maybe it was Sorenson. Or, maybe it was Kennedy himself. Either way those words express an enduring challenge not just to Americans, but to every citizen of the Kingdom of God—and every member of a local church.
Recently I came across some new data that was released to help a church determine its health and vitality. Whereas twenty years ago a “healthy” church was considered one in which at least 50 percent of its members attended worship at least 50 percent of the time, today the metric has changed dramatically. The new numbers are sobering. No longer is 50 percent the mark of vitality, it’s now 30 percent! And the average number of times that an “active” member attends worship has fallen from 2 to 3 times a month, to once a month! Think of it. An ACTIVE participant in the life of a local church is someone who shows up, on average, 20 to 25 percent of the time. What do you think James would say about that?
One of the clearest and most effective ways to demonstrate to yourself and others that you’re not asking what the church can do for you is by attending worship. For many, the decision to attend is predicated on their schedule, fatigue, or competing commitments. What is lost in all of this is the effect we have on others. Merely showing up for worship signals that the needs of others are more important than your own. Have you ever thought of the fact that your presence alone at worship says that the vitality of the church is a priority to you? I can’t tell you the number of times someone’s attendance has eventuated in real and tangible ministry to others.
Why am I telling you all this? Is it an effort to manipulate you? Is it a desire to scold or cajole? No. It’s no different than John Kennedy’s call to the citizenry of the country he was elected to serve. His message was simple—get your eyes off yourself and your self-desires and realize the significance of your citizenship to positively affect the lives of others. James would understand that. How about you?
30%? Really?

Co-Pastor Search: The Pulpit Nominating Committee

At the February 25 Congregational meeting, Hebron’s membership voted unanimously to approve Session’s recommendations for the Pulpit Nominating Committee (PNC). These dedicated individuals have committed to work tirelessly on our behalf to find the Co-Pastor the Lord has prepared to serve alongside Doug Rehberg.

Following submission of our MIF (Ministry Initiative Form) for distribution throughout the nation in mid-March, many PIFs (Personal Information Forms) will be received from interested candidates. The PNC will review every one of them to discern which candidates should be given further consideration.

Meet Hebron’s PNC:

Geoff Gehring, Chair. Geoff is currently serving on Session as Personnel Chair. He and his wife, Lisa, have been Hebron members since 2012. Professionally, he is Vice-President at Redstone@Home (with Redstone Presbyterian SeniorCare). In his mid-thirties with young children, Eva 5 and Gavin 4, Geoff represents the demographic that our new Co-Pastor will serve. Geoff says he is “honored to be named as Chair of this committee and am open to direct communication from anyone with concerns or feedback at 412-855-7600 or”

Rod Herrmann, Co-Chair. Rod is currently serving as Clerk of Session and is Co-Chair of the Personnel Team. Rod is President of Herrmann Unlimited, a local printing firm. Rod & his wife, Adina, have two teenage daughters, Allison 15 and Sydney 13. When asked why he agreed to serve on the PNC Rod said, “Having served 3 full terms as an Elder at Hebron and currently serving a 4th term, a Hebron member for over 14 years with a strong Christ-centered commitment, I feel called to use this experience and knowledge to help identify and vet an excellent Co-Pastor and ultimate Sr. Pastor to Hebron Church. No matter the cultural winds that blow, we have all been blessed with a solid Christ-centered and Bible-believing pastor and leaders. It is eternally important for the future members and attenders that Jesus, and His work on the cross, continues to be lifted up.”

Dan Brown. Dan has spent the past 51 years of his life at Hebron. Dan is the son of our former Senior Pastor, W. Malcolm Brown. He and his wife, Diane, were married at Hebron and raised their two sons, Josh and Adam, in Penn Hills where he was a teacher. Dan is a former elder and current Grove leader. Committed to ministries of compassion, Dan serves at The Blessing Board, Penn Hills Service Association, and Meals on Wheels. Dan says he agreed to serve on the PNC, "because I am concerned with the direction the PCUSA has been taking in recent years, and I want to help ensure that Hebron stays biblically-based and Scripturally-grounded.”

Janie Mason. Janie serves on Session as Mobilization Chair. Janie grew up at Hebron and has seen Hebron through many seasons of change. Janie says she is looking for “a spiritual leader who is in love with Jesus Christ and who reflects that relationship in his ministry and his life. The Co-Pastor should also be a visionary who will continue to mature and engage us in the faith (particularly young adults and families) and enables us to engage and mature others. Further, the Co-Pastor should be an experienced preacher who will guide us deeply into Scripture and lead us to see how to live out the Gospel. The Co-Pastor should be a servant of Jesus with a heart to move Hebron out into our neighboring communities and along-side mission partners sharing love and resources to provide what is needed by the least, the last, and the lost.” 

Laura Ivanov. Laura serves on the Discipleship Team and is a Grove and Course of Your Life leader. She has been a Hebron member since 2008. Laura and her husband, Vova, have two teenage children, Josiah 16 and Anna 15. Laura says, “Being on staff at a church in the past as well as a para-church organization, and years of ministry and recruiting experience, I hope and pray to be an asset in this search. My prayer is to discern the one God has called to co-pastor our congregation. I am looking for a commitment to raising up disciples who grow closer in knowing God and His Word, reaching out to share Christ with the lost, and training us to pour ourselves into other believers to help challenge one another, grow, and multiply.

Bill Martin. Bill and his wife, Sherrill, have been a part of the Hebron family since 2007. Bill teaches the Dominical Grove each week, a Grove on the Book of Revelation, and Confirmation. He is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and for many years taught Church History, Old and New Testament courses at the University of Pittsburgh Greensburg Campus. Bill says, “I’m excited to be named to the PNC because I believe Hebron’s ministry, members and friends have been blessed by God’s faithfulness over many years. I want very much for that to continue and expand. I’m looking for someone who loves the Lord and His people and finds great joy in ministry; someone with a substantial history of faithful service using the gifts of preaching, teaching, and counseling, together with a vision for ministry.” Bill will serve as a non-voting advisor to the PNC.

Dolly Patterson. Dolly is a 24-year member at Hebron. She and her late-husband, Jim, have two adult children, Daria and Aaron. Dolly was very active in Hebron U.P. Women, serving on the Board for many years. Currently she is very active with Young Lives and serves on the Mobilization Team. Dolly says, “I would like my Co-Pastor to be a person of humility, integrity, and ready to lead Hebron by assisting the congregation in bridging all gaps as together we are one body in Christ!” Dolly is an alternate member of the PNC.   

Please keep our PNC in prayer as they search for the person the Lord has prepared for us.

Giving Our Best, or Giving What's Left?

by Richard Bishop

I don’t know about you, but I love a fresh bag of potato chips.  Ripping it open and grabbing that first chip off the top, the one that looks like it was cut from a football-sized potato, is a great feeling.  After working through all of other whole chips at the top of the bag, you get into the middle part where things start to change; the chips get a little smaller, many of them broken, but they still satisfy your craving.  The worst part, however, is at the bottom of the bag, with the little slivers and crumbs; these are what my mom used to call “the dringles”, the pieces she wouldn’t waste time digging out and would just dump out for the birds and squirrels.

For many Christians, this is how they treat their financial gifts.  They use the majority of their income to take care of their needs (and satisfy their wants, lots and lots of wants), and God gets what’s left over at the end of the month.  There’s always a reason people give for this, like bills to pay, mouths to feed, saving for retirement, piano lessons and braces for the kids, a new car for Dad, a bigger house for Mom, and that family vacation every summer.  These all cost money, and God just needs to understand that we’re doing the best we can.

The problem is that we’re really not doing “the best we can”.  As Doug referenced in a recent sermon, American Evangelical Christians give approximately 2.5% of their income, with 80% of those giving 2% or less.  30% of all those Christians give based on net, not gross, income, and even more concerning is that 37% of regular church attendees don’t give any money at all to the church, being only consumers of what the church has to offer but not supporters of it.* 

With all this talk about percentages, some of you are probably thinking I’m going to write about tithing, but that is a topic for another month, or two, or three.  Instead, I’m going to start with a much more basic concept, that of “firstfruits”, which is a word that our leaders use sometimes when calling for the offering on Sundays.

“Firstfruits” are initially mentioned in Exodus 23:16 and later expanded upon in Leviticus 23:9-20. They were to be a portion of what the Israelites brought to the Lord as an offering at several of their feasts.  The firstfruits were  the best of their crops and livestock. By selecting the best of the tree or vine at the start of the harvest, the Israelites were not giving their leftovers, the pieces of fruit that had grown overripe while still hanging on the vine or had even fallen to the ground. The sheaves of wheat were to be freshly-picked, not the grains that were swept up from the threshing floor along with the dirt and chaff after they had made their flour. It meant bringing the young unblemished calves, goats, and lambs for sacrifice, not the old and sickly animals that were no longer good for milk or meat.

The idea was that believers were to give the best of what they had to God first. They were then to live off of what remained, rather than taking the choice pieces for themselves and letting God have what they did not need or want. It was meant to be a sacrifice. It was to be given out of gratitude for the blessings that God had bestowed on them; honoring the One to whom all of creation belongs (as David describes in Psalm 24:1). It was to give to Him from what He had given to them. This was a foreshadowing of how God would send Jesus. He would be His first and only Son, the perfect, unblemished Lamb. And how would Jesus give His life for us? As the only begotten, firstfruit, for the underserving and broken, who were dead in sin. 

As Christians, we need to remember that God is the greatest Giver of all. All that we have came from Him. We give, not out of obligation, not because God needs anything from us, but rather out of gratitude for His providing abundant provision; even our wants. As you consider your financial gifts to God, ask yourself: “Am I giving my best, or am I giving what’s left over?”

*statistics courtesy of

Children's Ministry

by Ellen Dillard

Rising 6th Graders and their parents are invited to 
learn about serving opportunities in Kidz Ministry:

Date:      Sunday, May 20
Time:     12:15 to 1:15 pm
Where:  Room 304
RSVP:   Miss Ellen  - or 724-875-2243
Snacks will be served.

Save the DATE!
 We are AMPED about our VBS Kidz Camp and look forward to kidz coming to learn what it means to live fully alive through Jesus!
                                              Dates:  June 24-28
                                              For:      Kidz - 4 year olds (as of 9/1/18 and diaper free) through 5th Grade
                                                           K-5th Grade Special Needs

We kick off the week on Sunday night with a Family Cook Out and Worship, games and more!
Kidz come Monday – Thursday morning. 

 “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

How is God calling YOU to serve at VBS Kidz Camp?   

Þ Prep work…which includes cutting and organizing supplies for Small Group Leaders
Þ Crafts
Þ Set up the week of VBS Kidz Camp
Þ Tear down on Thursday afternoon
Þ Small Group Leader
Þ Games
Þ Breakfast Club – this takes place in the morning and is for kidz of parents who are leading
Þ Provide breakfast for the Breakfast Club

Thank you for Saying “YES” to Jesus and Kidz. 

Connect with Nicole, Melanie or Ellen and let them know how you want to serve this summer!
Nicole Janvier –
Melanie Mills –
Ellen Dillard –

5 Things All First Graders Have in Common…

Enter a room full of six- and seven-year-olds and you’re bound to spot one thing right away: the cute little gaps in the mouths of kids who whistle while they talk. Forget calling it first grade. This is the Missing Teeth Club.

And the similarities don’t stop there. Here are five things all first graders have in common and what you can do to leverage this phase of life.

First Graders Talk Nonstop… 


The weekly curriculum for our K-5th Graders is based on one of three basic, but powerful truths, modeled by Jesus in Luke 2:52: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

1) I need to make the wise choice.
2) I can trust God no matter what.
3) I should treat others the way I want to be treated. 

Women's Ministry

Spring Retreat

Friday, April 20, 7pm
 Saturday, April 21, 9am
Barclay Building
Cost includes Friday night snacks, Saturday breakfast and lunch!!

Register online,, or pick up a registration form in the literature rack and leave in church office. R.S.V.P. by Sunday, April 15.
Questions: Contact Jen Balkey 412-551-4688

This year’s women’s retreat will be a local IF:Gathering– IF:HebronWomen!

What is IF:Gathering?

IF:Gathering exists to gather, equip, and unleash this generation of women to live out their calling and to wrestle with the essential question: IF God is real, THEN what?

IF:Gathering was founded by Jennie Allen four years ago in response to God’s call on her life many years ago. His call? Disciple a generation. We gather because IF God is real, then we want more than anything to live out His calling to make disciples in our generation. We do this by creating tools and resources and putting them in your hands to gather, equip, and unleash women to make disciples. Not only that, but we also offer you like-hearted community here in your local context and to a global community of women who desire to live for God’s glory and for the good of others. We are about the old orthodox things you read about in the Bible, and we do them with each other in this modern day context. The gathering is an opportunity where we hope that you enjoy the opportunity to connect with God and with one another.

At IF:Gathering 2018—IF:HebronWomen we will look at one of Paul’s letters to Timothy as he reminded him of the power and responsibility of sharing the gospel. We want to give God away in the very places He’s put us, so we’re going to gather for the purpose of remembering why following God and making disciples matters. We all get tired, we all wonder if what we’re doing matters, so IF:Gathering 2018 will be the reminder—it will be the celebration. The work we’re doing to share the gospel on the earth is worth it and God DOES move through the little things that nobody sees.

I hope to see you there! If you have questions, please call Jen Balkey at 412-551-4688


Mobilization: LIVING Ministry

by Bill Kear

On Tuesday evening, February 27th, a contingent of Hebron folks drove into the city to serve meals at two homeless shelters. At the Men’s Shelter, located on Smithfield St., over 80 men were served a meal by a collection of guys from the Tuesday Night and Wednesday Morning Men’s Groves at Hebron; while at the Women’s Shelter on Watson Ave., a group comprised of folks from the Sara Wally team and a few Hebron women served approximately 10 women.

The delicious meals consisted of chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice, chips, salsa, and cookies & brownies, lovingly prepared the evening prior by a group of 5-6 Hebron women. But most importantly, the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was shared in the smiles, handshakes, and prayers experienced while serving.  At times, we all can be guilty of over-complicating evangelizing; it can be as simple as a smile, a touch, or a look in the eye, that lets another soul know that Jesus loves them, has never forgotten them, and they have value in His eyes.

The opportunity to serve was initiated by one of our Hebron Ministry partners, LIVING Ministry. The Hebron Mobilization Team recognized this as a chance to engage outside the walls at Hebron, and to carry the love of Jesus and the message of the Gospel to the least, the last, and the lost. LIVING Ministry’s primary focus is providing comfort and guidance to Pittsburgh’s homeless; all while sharing the Gospel and Jesus. It’s frankly a challenging mission that can use all of the support (financial, materials, participation, and prayers) that can be provided.

If you would like to discover more about LIVING Ministry, you can go to their website at

The link for sharing any financial gifts would be:

And lastly, a group of Hebron folks will once again be attending LIVING Ministry’s annual banquet on Friday, May 18th. It is held at The Grand Room at The Holy Trinity Center, and begins at 6:00 pm. It’s a wonderful evening of learning, sharing, and fellowship. If you’d have an interest in attending, please contact Bill Kear (Hebron Mobilization team liaison to LIVING Ministry) at for additional details.

Mobilization: P.R.I.S.M.

by Janie Mason

Imagine you are a student or scholar studying abroad— in a strange culture with a language you persevere to learn and use effectively. Stimulating, and at the same time, intimidating. You want to experience everything. But, you can use help – a place to make friends, a place that offers ways to experience the culture and the people.

P.R.I.S.M. offers that kind of support to internationals in Pittsburgh. In fact, P.R.I.S.M. – Pittsburgh Region International Student Ministry – exists to welcome international students and visiting scholars to Pittsburgh. Operating out of Bellefield Presbyterian Church in Oakland, P.R.I.S.M. comes alongside these “visitors” to our city in many meaningful ways. Of all the ways P.R.I.S.M. touches lives, most important is helping them experience our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Each August through The Garage Giveaway, Pittsburghers give furniture and household items to new international students as a way of saying “welcome to Pittsburgh”. In 2017 over 500 students from 26 countries came.

On March 30, many will attend P.R.I.S.M.’s, Experience the Passover, to learn about the history and significance of Passover and how it connects to the Christian holiday of Easter. P.R.I.S.M. sponsors Easter Hosting. Imagine the joy of guest and host as internationals join American families at home for their Easter holiday traditions, including a visit to church and a meal. Long-term cross-cultural relationships develop. Others will take the weekend trip to Washington, D.C. April 6-8 to visit U.S. museums and monuments, with church on Sunday. They will stay with host families and get to know them. Year round, there is Sunday Bible Study at a local American home with dinner and transportation provided.

P.R.I.S.M. is one of Hebron’s ministry partners through the Mobilization Team. From P.R.I.S.M.’s Ken Wagoner we hear stories of his work reaching lives for Christ. There are many ways we all can be involved in these ministries. Be a holiday host, give furniture, be a friendship partner, share food and family and friendship. And most important, share Jesus. Impact an international student’s life for Christ and be blessed to be a blessing.

Visit the website at Contact Director, Scott Boyd, with your interest and questions at