Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The PCA Strategic Plan - What If????

Since July our denomination has been in turmoil over the Strategic Plan it adopted at last summer's General Assembly.  Front and center were the proposed amendments to our Book of Church Order imposing a fee structure (tax) upon all ministers and congregations to fund the Administrative Committee.  Much has been written on this matter as it has been debated throughout the denomination. 

Last fall, when the amendments were being defeated by a 2 to 1 margin the Administrative Committee engaged in a 'full court press' to counter what it perceived to be misinformation.  By December the votes in favor of the amendments were running slightly ahead of those against.  Lost in this entire debate was something greater than merely funding the Administrative Committee -- negative votes might actually be a protest against the entire Strategic Plan.

A few days ago an 'unofficial' report began circulating that proposed amendments had failed when 1/3 of our presbyteries voted against them.  Earlier today this was confirmed  by our denomination's official publication. 

From my perspective this brings up an interesting question.  In our most recent statistics our denomination has 1442 churches and 298 mission churches for a grand total of 1740 churches.  By my count, somewhere around 600 churches or about 34% of the denomination's congregations were represented at last year's General Assembly, when the Strategic Plan was adopted.  As is well known many of the items were hotly contested and passed by slim margins including the proposed amendments.   

If only 34% of our churches voted on the Strategic Plan last summer and those votes were split by very close margins, then the presbytery votes on the BCO Chapter 14 amendments could be interpreted as a backlash against the entire Strategic Plan

At present this is an unprovable point, but I know that my vote against the BCO 14 amendments was my way of making known my displeasure with the entire Strategic Plan.  Perhaps others did the same.  In any event this a question that the Cooperative Ministries Committee ought to consider as it convenes tomorrow.  Perhaps in its attempt to fix what it perceives to be wrong with the denomination the Cooperative Ministries Committee has awakened a sleeping giant.


Anonymous said...

This is my take exactly: the funding vote is a repudiation of the Strat Plan which is hopefully now somewhat defanged by the failure of the funding measure. The strat plan would need a top-down, centralized power structure to be most effectively and widely implemented. Maybe defeat of the funding measures will slow it down.

Wes said...

My take too, Dave. I think you're right, this is backlash against the whole strategic plan. And looking at what's going on over at JW right now with the Ohio overture to defund byFaith Magazine by removing the print and online versions from the AC budget ... the backlash hasn't stopped.