Friday, October 06, 2006

PNS: Way ahead for ‘hard-to-call’ churches outlined

Way ahead for ‘hard-to-call’ churches outlined:

"LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has launched an effort to help provide pastoral leadership for small churches who may not have any pastoral leader, may have been seeking a pastor for a long time, and may even have lost any expectation of being able to call a pastor.

The effort, called the Hard-to-Call Churches Project, calls upon the energies of presbyteries and synods, Committees on Ministry, Committees on Preparation for Ministry, Presbyterian colleges and seminaries, and the General Assembly Council (GAC) to seek to alleviate the situation. ..."

As a Presbyterian in a largely rural presbytery, I can understand what is at stake here. Upwards of 40% of our smaller congregations do not have a full time called pastor. This is not to say that they are being failed by the presbytery; between supply pastors, and a thriving Commissioned Lay Pastor program in our presbytery, no congregation lacks for pastoral services, and many of these smaller congregations set the example of how a community of faith should function.

The link above to the Hard-to-Call Churches Project actually takes you to the front page of the Committee on Ministry page of the PC(USA), and it leads off with a quote from Carl Dudley:

"Small congregations," writes Carl Dudley, "are not organizational errors to be corrected, but intentional choices of members who put a priority on human relationship." (Effective Small Churches in the Twenty-First Century, Abingdon, 2002, p.11
Just below that quote is a link to a PDF document of the full report of the Hard-to-Call Churches Project, which will give more detail of what is happening in Louisville regarding how the PC(USA) can best minister to the 48% of its congregations that are below 100 members in size.

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