From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Call System Testing, Refinement Continues
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
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
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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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