Saturday, May 29, 2010

PCA Strategic Plan: Post 13

The Funding Plan

Read the Funding Plan Model at:

Read the Executive Summary at:

I don’t really have any objections to the funding plan. As the plan notes, only 45% of the churches give anything to the Administrative Committee, and only 16% give the full Partnership Share. The plan as stated would require an annual registration fee for churches and for teaching elders. The fee for TEs would be $100 per annum, while that for churches would be 1/3 of 1% of the church budget (though it must be admitted that this is not explicitly stated in the Plan). What the Plan says is:

The groupings of ranges above were done by setting a mean (average) for each Tithes and Offerings Range and multiplying by 0.334% (or 1/3 of 1%). Ranges were also set in consideration of some existing realities within the PCA such as number of churches in a particular range and consideration of what the ranges could reasonably and fairly bear. Per capita was abandoned for this chart, as it created some considerable unfairness relative to size of church budget vs. number of members.

Once the plan is implemented, the following would take place:

Those not paying in a timely manner would receive second notices and encouragement to pay.

Any churches not paying before General Assembly would be ineligible for sending ruling elder commissioners.

Any teaching elders not paying before General Assembly would be ineligible for voting at General Assembly.

Any churches, teaching elders, or presbyteries not paying by the end of the year would be listed and reported to the Administrative Committee and subsequently to the General Assembly.

After two years of delinquency in payment, a report would be given to the AC and then to the General Assembly for consideration of appropriate action.

According to the chart provided, this would mean that 448 churches in the PCA would pay an annual registration fee of between $1,200 and $25,000 per year (Categories A-M in the chart on page 2. The other 1,283 churches in the PCA (categories N-R) would pay between $100 and $800 per year.

That would be fine if it works. But given the history of non-giving, is there any reasonable expectation that it will work? Further, this provides for the funding only of the Administrative Committee. It does not provide for the funding of the other committees and agencies, and those committees and agencies have also suffered chronic budgetary shortfalls under the current system. Is there a plan to provide for those as well? Notice also that while churches and TEs that do not pay may not vote at GA, it is already the case that many churches are not represented at GA because of the costs. So will this plan change things? In addition, notice that there is no mention of eliminating churches for non-payment, only “consideration of appropriate action.” The PCA leadership does not want to lose churches and members. But that would be the reasonable action for chronic non-payment of the fees. So we are back to a voluntary system not too dissimilar from that which has been ineffectively in place for the last 38 years.

I’m not hopeful about the results even if this plan is adopted. In any case, Dr. Taylor’s final statement in the Executive Summary is certainly true, “The ethos of the PCA will need to change.”


Andrew B. said...

Should churches be 'required' to pay? Are church members required to tithe? If they don't, do they lose their congregational vote, which is their right? Isn't it a right/privilege for an elder to vote on the Session, Presbytery, and GA levels (when they are a commissioner)? Is the required fee now constitutional? Does it break liberty of conscience?

Instead of requiring 'people' and 'churches' to pay. Why not just have the other committees fund the Admin Committee? Each gives 5% from their budget to Admin. Hopefully that would fund Admin, and if we crunched the numbers maybe it would be enough to support the cost of GA (with all its commissioners).

K. Hugh Acton said...

Currently in the plan a pastor who pays but his congregation does not is still denied a vote but an assistant pastor, committee man, et al. does not have his vote tied to congregational support. This may move the GA further away from the real world of the churches. Of course, if they remove the restriction on pastors it just takes away another incentive for the congregation to pay. All this to say that the plan is simply unworkable without a transfer of all power to those unaccountable to the churches.