Connecting Council accepts bishop’s recommendation on process

6/14/2014

A resolution to reduce the conference to 14 districts in order to provide greater funding for campus ministries was brought to the floor on Thursday, officially considered on Friday, and referred to the Connecting Council on Saturday.

The Connecting Council met at a special meeting at 8 a.m. in the Lied Center Johnny Carson Theatre on Saturday to hear Bishop Scott Jones’ recommendation on how to manage the referral.

His recommendation read:
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For Considering the Reduction of Districts and Funding for Campus Ministry

On June 13, the Great Plains Conference referred a resolution and two amendments to the Connecting Council. The Council has been asked to study the matter and bring recommendations to the 2015 session of the GPC. The following is one possibility for how we might handle the referral.

The Connecting Council establishes a District Study Group of no more than 15 persons to be appointed by Bishop Jones. It should study other conferences and the unique history and characteristics of our conference and bring a report to the October meeting of the Connecting Council for discussion. At the very least, the report should consider the following questions:

  1. Given our geography, our mission and our priorities, what is the most fruitful way for our conference to organize its districts?
  2. What is the best way for district superintendents to serve our mission in the 21st century?
  3. How many districts should there be?
  4. If we change the number of districts, what are the financial implications?
Regarding the funding of campus ministry, the Campus Ministry Team is charged with completing a draft of their strategic implementation plan for campus ministry in the Great Plains Conference. Their work relates, at least, to the priority of developing spiritual leaders. They should consider what changes are needed to do that well, and what resources are required to accomplish the goals they envision.
 
Regarding the funding of campus ministry, the Campus Ministry Team is charged with completing a draft of their strategic implementation plan for campus ministry in the Great Plains Conference. Their work relates, at least, to the priority of developing spiritual leaders. They should consider what changes are needed to do that well, and what resources are required to accomplish the goals they envision.

(End of recommendation)

The Connecting Council accepted Bishop Jones’ recommendation.

Strategic Implementation Plan to play role

His recommendation was handed out on a sheet a paper to Council members and then discussed. The group agreed that there are two items for consideration and that they should not be yoked.

The Strategic Implementation process calls for all teams and related groups of the conference to provide a strategic implementation plan for their ministry, by October 2014, and finalized by March 15, 2015. This will enable the conference to see what revenue and expenses each ministry anticipates for 2016 and includes what accountability measures will be employed in order to present the best budget plan possible for 2016. “Caren Loper and team will be looking at what the goals are for campus ministry and consider the places where we do not have currently have campus ministries,” he said.
 
The Council believes that accountability is important because the resources put towards campus ministry in the past did not result in fruitfulness. It was also noted that every ministry of the conference could make a resolution calling for more resources to improve their ministries.

Additionally, members of the Council who have served on previous redistricting efforts noted that reducing districts does not always translate into cost savings. The bishop and others talked about other conferences and the work of consultants that call for an entirely different district approach. Bishop Jones said we would do well to look at what our brothers and sisters in other conferences are doing and learn from that. Connecting Council approved the formation of the District Study Group with members selected by the bishop. He was encouraged to be inclusive in his selection.

Bishop Jones noted that when he was with the young clergy at dinner earlier this week, he appreciated their desire for greater inclusion, their desire for more transparency and engagement in the conference processes. He also made a commitment to communicate the Study Group’s activities as widely as possible.

During the Saturday morning plenary Bishop Jones announced the acceptance of his recommendation. He also reminded the body of the Strategic Alignment Team and the strategic implementation planning of the conference, that campus ministries will bring a plan with goals and budgetary needs by March 2015, just like all the other groups in the conference.

He will appoint the 15-member group in the next two weeks.


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