Thursday, September 28, 2006

Eliminate the General Assembly?

The General Assembly Council under the new leadership of Linda Valentine is currently meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. So far, two presbyteries and a synod have asked for a “consultation” to study the “viability and stability of the synods and presbyteries of this denomination.” Clearly the intent of this request is to strengthen those lower governing bodies. No one is seriously discussing the possibility that presbyteries be eliminated.

However, Rev. Casey Jones in a letter to Presbyweb has suggested that we are putting our attention on the wrong governing body.

While GA cannot and should not be eliminated, it (and not the "faith once and for all delivered to the saints" [Jude 3]) is what must be re-imagined, de-mythologized, de-constructed, humbled, pared down, and radically transformed, limited, and changed. Our present top-heavy, out-of-touch, and often arrogant GA structures are an important part of what is literally killing us. Will we be able to see and act on this? One can only hope.
I am intrigued by the thought. The overwhelming majority of ministry and mission happens at local congregations. The presbyteries are the governing bodies closest to those local congregations providing accountability and support. In a healthy denomination, talent and financial support should be focused where it can make the biggest impact for the kingdom of God--local churches, overseas missions and the governing bodies that support them. We shouldn't have to worry about the “viability and stability” of the presbyteries. Instead our denomination is exactly upside down. The attitude seems to be that the congregations and presbyteries serve the General Assembly. We need to seriously consider why the General Assembly exists in the first place.

No comments: