From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 07:32:51


                    by Alexa Smith 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Eight mission objectives to guide the 
denomination's future program and budget were proposed by the 
General Assembly Council Executive Committee (GACEC) -- and its 
members left Dallas Jan. 7 with homework aimed at development of 
the 1996 General Assembly mission budget. 
       Led by consultant Mary Ann Woodruff, members left with the 
tasks of identifying mission programs that are a "good, solid fit" 
with the objectives and those that are of "lower priority." 
       The General Assembly Council (GAC) has two months to put 
together a budget based on reduced unified (unrestricted) dollars 
from congregations and presbyteries and that reallocates restricted 
monies to fund more flexible programming -- with staff increasingly 
deployed across divisional lines to achieve specific objectives. 
       "I would like to see a list of what we're going to do, 
thankfully or regretfully," said Corporate and Administrative 
Services (CAS) chair Fern Crane of Woodstock, Ill., who reiterated 
the need for measurable objectives to guide planning.  "We just 
can't keep spreading the butter thinner. ..." 
       Chief financial officer G.A. "Pat" Goff backed that rationale, 
saying the 1996 budget -- due at the March 8-12 GAC meeting -- is 
both "do-able" and "manageable," using accumulated income from 
1994-95 and increased restricted revenues from Presbyterian 
Foundation endowments. 
       The 1996 budget assumes a 5 percent reduction in unrestricted 
giving from congregations and presbyteries, Goff said. 
       Crane pointed out that unified dollars will be shifted around 
to offset potential imbalances created by the influx of more 
restricted monies. "(It's not that) somebody gets a windfall and 
somebody has to make terrible cuts," she said. 
       After lengthy small group and full committee discussions, 
executive committee members approved eight objectives within the 
denomination's four existing mission goals and began initial 
conversation on finding ways to measure results. 
       "I would say we've come a long way in terms of our process," 
said GACEC vice chair Cayetano Santiago of Barrington, Ill. 
       That process yielded proposed objectives to: 
                                        SPIRITUAL FORMATION 
       1.  Strengthen the spiritual vitality of the members of the 
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) so that 
       * the disciplines of Bible study, prayer, theological and 
ethical reflection, worship, community life and service would 
become more central to the life of the church. 
       2.  Engage the whole church in ministry with youth and young 
adults and their families that will lead to lives molded more and 
more in the likeness of Jesus Christ so that 
       * more youth and young adults will experience the transforming 
power of God's Spirit, and 
       * more will grow in their commitment to Jesus Christ and life 
in the church, and 
       * more will live out the good news of God at work in this 
       1.  Equip Presbyterians to share effectively the gift of faith 
in Jesus Christ so that 
       * more people will respond to Christ's invitation to be 
faithful disciples within the church and the world. 
       2.  Increase the number and visibility of congregations by 
working in partnership with middle governing bodies and partner 
churches so that 
       * there is an increase in the number of new church 
developments, and 
       * there is significant redevelopment of urban and rural 
congregations, and 
       * there is increasing Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 
participation in the growth of the church worldwide. 
       1.  Expand opportunities for compassionate ministries with 
those who have critical human needs and address the root causes of 
those needs so that 
       * more people of faith take initiative in restoring wholeness 
in community and creation. 
       2.  Support, in partnership with congregations, middle 
governing bodies, and ecumenical and global partners, justice for 
women, racial ethnic persons, and others who suffer injustice so 
       * there is a decrease in violence toward them and clear 
movement toward their full participation in church and society. 
       1.  Increase direct mission involvement and ecumenical 
participation by Presbyterians within the church universal so that 
       * there is an increase in the number of congregations and 
presbyteries directly involved in mission, and 
       * there are increased numbers of Presbyterians involved as 
both mission volunteers and mission personnel, and 
       * there is an increased commitment in the Presbyterian Church 
(U.S.A.) to the unity of Christ's church worldwide. 
       2.  Covenant with governing bodies, related organizations, and 
ecumenical and interfaith partners so that 
       * mutually supportive approaches to funding and implementing 
the mission of the church are continued and enhanced. 
       Preliminary indicators of success were discussed for each 
objective, seeking ways to measure -- or to gather -- data:  for 
example, how to secure figures on the number of adults under 35 
attending church or to achieve a 10 percent increase in the use of 
PC(USA)-produced study resources. 
       "What is written is good, but not adequate," said the Rev. 
John "Pete" Hendrick of Austin, who summarized the group's 
reluctance to adopt indicators of success after the meeting's 
preliminary conversation.  By common consent, the group adopted 
Hendrick's suggestion to invite feedback from others on how to 
establish outcomes for the objectives. 
       Executive director the Rev. James D. Brown said achieving the 
mission objectives means redeployment of both dollars and people, 
phasing out some programs and redirecting resources into others to 
meet emerging priorities, which, he said, is not the same as 
       He described the budget process as one of "hard choices," but 
said Shape and Form envisioned "a body like this" using its 
judgment. " ... And (we) shouldn't spend more than 60 days," he 
said, adding that delaying only increases anxieties. 
       Division and CAS committees are to send proposals for work 
plans and for the budget to the staff leadership team by Feb. 10 
and that information will be shared among divisions the week of 
Feb. 20.  The staff leadership team will complete a proposed 1996 
budget during the week of Feb. 27, which will go out to GAC members 
March 1. 
       Division committees will convene on the evening of March 8 to 
discuss and revise the proposed budget, which will then go to the 
executive committee March 9, the division committees, March 10, and 
then to the full council. 
                          # # # 

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