I have just been referred to a book on congregational structures by the general presbyter here in Presbytery of Eastern Virginia. The book, Winning on Purpose by John Kaiser already seems to be something rather revolutionary for those in the Presbyterian Church. In the introduction, Tom Bandy writes, “The organizations of the established church today are anything but ‘effective.’ Originally designed to produce mission results, they have gradually become so complicated and cumbersome as to only produce reports, maintain salaries, and preserve properties. Organizations start out as a means to an end; but unless they adapt to the context of mission, they soon become an end in themselves.” Paul Borden writes in the forward, “Structure does not dominate, but rather it enhances and allows ministry to grow and flourish. The structure in our congregations allows leaders to lead, staff to manage, boards to govern, and congregations to be involved in significant outward-focused ministries.” The executive summary supplied to me by our presbytery resonates with much of my experience and observation.
I am embarking on the reading of this book and would relish an opportunity to discuss its ideas with any interested. One of the questions I’m asking is if this structural change is possible within the presbyterian family. Another is how difficult is it to transition to this model for effective ministry? Email me at email@example.com if you’d be interested in engaging in this conversation!