From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Call System Testing, Refinement Continues

Date 04 May 1996 16:06:07


96124       Call System Testing, Refinement Continues 
                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Following their March 11-13 meeting here, members of the 
Advisory Group for the Call System expressed optimism that testing and 
refinement of the proposed new system will lead to "maximum use" of the 
system by church professionals seeking jobs and employing organizations 
seeking staff. 
     The seven-member group has been gathering input from around the church 
since last July, when the 1995 General Assembly postponed implementation of 
the new system until further testing and refinement are done. 
     The Rev. Dan Holloway, an advisory group member from Fort Mill, S.C., 
said after the meeting: "The advisory group is engaged in a fruitful 
dialogue about the best ways to test and refine the proposed system.  By 
listening carefully to voices from throughout the church, we are making 
exciting progress." 
     The group approved plans for field-testing the entire proposal at an 
event in the Synod of Lincoln Trails next November.  The whole-system 
testing is a departure from previous testing practices, where various 
elements -- but not the whole system -- were tested in a number of 
sessions, presbyteries and synods.  The Lincoln Trails field test will be 
evaluated by the Research Services office in Louisville. 
     Plans are also being made to test the entire system in the Synod of 
     "The Advisory Group is receiving excellent support from several middle 
governing bodies," commented the Rev. Ken Grant, associate director for 
churchwide partnerships in Louisville.  "When the Advisory Group's final 
report is submitted to the General Assembly in Syracuse [in 1997], it will 
be a partnership document." 
     In its purpose statement, the Advisory Group identified four 
components of the new system as needing careful scrutiny: 
     * the shorter Personal Information Form and Church Information Form 
     * the Leadership Effectiveness Analysis (LEA) assessment tool to 
identify leadership gifts for church professionals 
     * the Strategic Directions Questionnaire (SDQ) assessment tool to help 
congregations identify leadership needs 
     * the requirement that a presbytery representative sign off on all 
     "The presbytery sign-off is still the largest concern out in the 
church," said Jinny Miller of Mishawaka, Ind., the chair of the Advisory 
Group.  She insisted that accountability and presbytery's responsibility 
for its minister members are the primary reasons the presbytery sign-off is 
needed in the system. 
     Margie Brown, coordinator for churchwide personnel services, said the 
research office has been assisting the Advisory Group in assessing the 
sign-off issue.  To date, 159 surveys on the matter have been returned by 
presbytery stated clerks, executive presbyters and members of Committees on 
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry. 
     The LEA and SDQ instruments, both recommended by not required elements 
of the new system, contine to be assessed and refined.  The research office 
has received 341 surveys from persons who have taken the LEA and agreed to 
assess its value to them. 
     Advisory Group members seem pleased with the steps that are being 
taken to perfect the call system.  "We accomplished a great deal," said the 
Rev. Tom Fisher, an Advisory Group member from Athens, Ohio.  "We listened 
carefully to one another -- to the variety of concerns we brought as very 
different people coming from very different places to the table." 
     Fisher said all the input the Advisory Group is receiving is "factored 
into our ongoing desire to devise and shape a process which is of maximum 
use and which may even help effect healing in a denomination which seems to 
be fracturing in so many different ways."  

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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