Comprehensive Digest of Social Witness at the 220th PC(USA) General Assembly


Church Growth

Item 16-07: Report of the Special Committee on the Nature of the Church in the 21st Century

Approved with amendment by the Assembly. This report made recommendations in ten areas to strengthen the church to face changing cultural, financial, and institutional contexts, including measures for new ministries (particularly among new immigrant communities and communities of color); support of underrepresented leadership; the supportive closing of church buildings, distributing the assets for new church development; bi-vocational ministry; seminary curriculum development; resource translations into Spanish, Korean, and other needed languages; articulating a Reformed understanding of compensation; the establishment of maximum compensation levels, which when exceeded, would match dollar for dollar a fund subsidizing the salaries and benefits of teaching elders compensated below the minimum standard; understanding privilege; and living out faith publicly. The Assembly amended language that might seem to alienate existing ministries and majorities. While affirming bi-vocational ministry, the Assembly eliminated the mandate for a taskforce to study and make recommendations on the subject. The Assembly replaced the call to “offer all” PC(USA) communications and resources in Korean, Spanish, and other languages, with the less clear injunction to “provide basic accessibility of essential” information.

ACSWP Advice and Counsel recognized the linkage between equitable compensation and mission strategy for smaller congregations. Readers interested in compensation levels may find the salaries of all General Assembly, synod, and presbytery staff listed in the Manual of the General Assembly, Part II, as a form of public accountability.


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