Thursday, May 27, 2010

PCA Strategic Plan: Post 11

Again, I have put my comments in brackets.

VI. Questions to Address in Making Strategic Plans for the PCA

The questions below identify issues that should be addressed by a Strategic Plan for the PCA in light of the preceding analysis. Most questions were suggested by the 2008 Cooperative Ministries Committee after reviewing the analysis. Additional questions were added by 2008 General Assembly commissioners who attended its Strategic Planning Seminar and also reviewed the preceding analysis. The questions are not arranged in any priority order.

1. How to Provide Safe Places to Talk about New Ideas to Advance the PCA’s Faithfulness to Biblical Belief, Ministry and Mission [Such places are already available. There is the official place-presbytery; and there are unofficial gatherings and meetings. There are also the seminars at GA (mentioned by someone else in a critique). Some might say that presbytery is not safe, but that is simply untrue. It is more the case that many do not seem to want to use presbytery in this fashion. As far as I know, but that might just be limited knowledge, no one has ever been brought up on charges for something they have said in presbytery, unless it simply added to charges that were already being investigated.]

2. How to Provide “More Seats at the Table” (especially younger leaders, women, and ethnic leaders) for PCA Ministry Direction and Development [What does this mean? Frankly, it sounds to me like the kind of thing the UPCUSA (the old “Northern” Presbyterian church before the 1983 merger of the UPCUSA and the PCUS (the old “Southern” Presbyterian Church) produced the PC(USA). It resulted in such things as “youth elders” being elected to sessions. The church is a kingdom, not a democracy, and the role of elders is a spiritual, pastoring, role, not an “elected representative” role. It would certainly help most churches if the both the TEs and the REs were more consistent about pastoring their flocks, but the situation will not be improved by trying to create a kind of democracy in the church with representatives selected from various constituent groups.]

3. How to Identify and Support Agencies/Institutions Most Critical to Our Calling

4. How to Do Mission Corporately and Globally (this includes learning from the Global Church, as well unifying ourselves to minister to and with the Global church)

5. How to Understand, Appreciate and Utilize Our Differences/Gifts

6. How to Work and Worship with Gospel Co-laborers outside the PCA (i.e., working out what Reformed Catholicity means; esp. defining “field” and “fences” of cooperation) in Order to Fulfill the Highest Kingdom Purposes

7. How to Ensure a Common Commitment among PCA Leaders Regarding Theological Approaches to Ministry and Mission [Without trying to be “snarky,” it might help if the denomination’s seminary were more diligent in teaching its students how presbyterianism works. Graduates of that institution consistently do poorly in their examinations on such topics.]

8. How to Inspire Involvement in Corporate Church Structures and Efforts (i.e., Acting in Consistency with Our Connectional Theology) [I agree. This is an important issue. Again, many of the founding PCA churches came from a context in which there was distrust of the denomination bred into the local churches. In my estimation, this problem was never adequately dealt with in the early years of the denomination, so churches coming in came in to a denomination in which distrust of structures was more the case than not. The PCA at its founding was prfoundly congregational in its functioning, and that has never really changed. A further problem is that many pastors who have come into the PCA in the last forty years have come from either congregational or parachurch backgrounds, and never learned presbyterianism.]

9. How to Encourage Mutual Love and Respect among Committees and Agencies [Openness, honesty, and transparency never hurt. It is also the case that many see the attitudes of those laboring in the committees and agencies as having a “we know what we’re doing, we’re the professionals, you’re not” attitude. Probably some self-examination and repentance on both sides would go a long way toward fixing this issue.]

10. How to Inspire and Engage Churches and Presbyteries in a Global Strategy

11. How to Prepare Ordained Leadership for Immigrant and Ethnic Communities not Traditionally PCA

12. How to Provide Unity within Variety regarding Worship Principles [Maybe putting to work the theology we claim to hold to?]

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