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Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

ga220 reflection 3 - stuck: the mid-council report

AKA "Change is Hard"

In the previous post, I wrote:

Particularly around the dividing issues, I experienced the parliamentary maneuvering often as an effort by many to “guard what we’ve already won.”

Neither conservatives nor liberals had exclusive rights to guarding their territory.  Another significant example came with the response to the Mid-Council Commission’s report.  With diverse members and wide-ranging information-gathering and visioning, this two-year study was nearly shut down in committee.  Further, the commission’s chair (Tod Bolsinger) told me he probably only had 15 min. with the committee, and with the disapproval of that committee, had none slated before the Assembly.  And this was one of the great refer and study groups from 2010.

I helped put several of the mid-council commission recommendations back up before the Assembly, but the proposal for non-geographic presbyteries was soundly defeated.  And here’s the part I want to note: both in committee and on the floor of the Assembly, the rationale given against non-geographic presbyteries seemed to primarily be about “not letting the conservatives get away with our property.”

But wait… the mid-council proposal guarded against that very thing!  It was to be a temporary experiment for missional purposes, requiring ongoing relationship with the presbytery of origin, and specifically leaving responsibility for property with the presbytery of origin.

What I’m saying is that out of fear of losing people, congregations, or assets, the Assembly missed the truly missional and forward-thinking gift of much the Mid-Council report had to offer.

Could it be that changing the way we do things might disadvantage us politically against the other?  That’s the sense I got, though I hope I’m wrong.  And at any rate, we did not adequately discuss, much less digest, the hard work of the mid-council commission.

John Vest, a member of the mid council commission, wrote an in-depth report and reflection on these same things.  I commend it for your reading: "Mid Councils Reform: Failure to Launch" (July 6, 2012).  I also commend a reflective article on the clash of cultures, the resistance to change, and the sovereignty of God, by Jake Horner: "...Adaptive Leadership" (July 12, 2012)

Addendum: over on the MGB forum on Facebook, Ed Brenegar made a valuable observation that ideas don't fall (or rise) by parliamentary vote, but by the will of those believing in them.  Even if the mid-council report had been approved and celebrated at GA, we'd still need to live out that vision and change locally, and there is nothing stopping us from doing so.  Sure, that approval would have added some momentum and exposure of the ideas, but I join those with a vision for healthy, local congregations reaching beyond their walls in continuing this work in practice! I blog about our missional experiment regularly at lighthouse/searchlight church, and would welcome your comments and interaction there.  

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