Looking for Your Thoughts

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At our Presbytery gathered meeting this past Tuesday in Ewing, we offered a report that detailed some of the Milwaukee model that we’ve been talking about, a new way of doing our meetings. You can find our full report here: ttf report march 2016

There are two questions we asked you?

What concerns or thoughts do you have about the Milwaukee model? Here’s what you said last night with quick answers (in italics)  if the TTF has one readily available already. If not, we promise to get right on it!

  • We already do a similar meeting with equipping the saints. Many of us enjoy that day and this model seems to be like it.Good point! 
  • Have we talked to other people in Milwaukee about how the model is working and how it was received? No, we haven’t. But we’re on it. Great suggestion! 
  • Number of Meetings? Will they all be the same model? We imagine the same number and we’re not sure. If we move to some Tuesday evenings and some Saturdays, the Tuesdays would need to be condensed in some way. Although, we’re not sold out on the four full hours. We are trying to adapt the concept to our context. 
  • We, through our Committee on Preparation, have a lot of people under care due to the seminaries within our bounds. The Milwaukee Presbytery probably does not have the same business regarding people seeking ordination. True. We asked about this very question. We’ve also been in conversation with CPM about how we could change some of how we accomplish the business of the CPM. 
  • Can other people come to see the speakers if they’re not part of the business meetings? And would people skip the business to come to hear the speakers? Yes? Interesting question. Let us think about it. 
  • How will we fund this? We have so many resources in our area. We really believe we can figure out the funding if we think it’s the right thing to do. 
  • We want to make sure we focus the material to engage Ruling Elders. ABSOLUTELY!

What else? What other concerns or thoughts do you have regarding us moving toward  Milwaukee model? 

And our second question that we didn’t get to last night was – What type of learning topics or themes would you like to see during the “equip and encouragement” segment of our gathered meetings? 

We’d really appreciate your feedback on these questions. Comment below or send an email to Miriam Diephouse McMillan at miriam.diephouse@gmail.com – She’ll get it to us! Thanks.

 

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. peter gregory says:

    I think it must be remembered what the “Milwaukee” model is and what it is not. It is not a panacea for all things Presbytery. Nor is it a conflict resolution device for Presbytery or the church. It is a business-process model that incorporates much in best practices and learning modalities, to facilitate the process and business of “presbytery” in a better. more creative way for all. What is not coming back I feel is the concept of Presbytery as either a judication/management or regulatory body. I do not think churches or people want or desire that, nor will they pay for such. If they did we would not be having such a conversation, and per capita would be at 100% collection.

    What folks needs and want, TE/REs, is a construct, or place for learning, community and skill, ministry set enhancement. Much like the Equipping the Saints type of events. Changing the times from a Tues PM to Sat AM or another time/day is inconsequential if the content or what is offered does not encourage people to carve out time in their hyper-busy lives and drive to a Presbytery meeting. If the Milwaukee model lends itself to more by-in and support from those whom it seeks to serve, so much the better. If not, is the equivalent of rearranging the deck-chairs.

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  2. bethscib says:

    Our thoughts is that the Milwaukee model does exactly what you’re suggesting TE/RE (particularly RE) want… a place for learning community and skill, ministry set enhancement. In fact at the Presbytery gathered meeting, one RE noted that this model is very much like Equipping the Saints. In what way is it not that in your understanding?

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    1. peter gregory says:

      The currency of transaction in any human institution is trust. Where trust exists in any institution, difference and shades of opinion can be processed and worked out. Where trust does not exist, folks suspect one other and their motivations, bad stuff usually follows. This is true in the local church, the local presbytery, national politics, the local Rotary or School Board.

      As to the Milwaukee model. if the model or process is able to get more people together in situations and places and activities where they get to know one another, spend time with one another, talk, then trust will develop and flow out of that. And in that is it ‘s long term value. As it stands now, outside of the 50-60 hard core PNB folks who show up at almost every meeting, a solid majority of the current TE/RE of the Presbytery could pass one other in the street and have no idea who the other one was. Not a very trusting situation or place currently.

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      1. bethscib says:

        I’m grateful for your honest about the current level of trust, a problem that as long as I’ve been in any leadership has existed. I think we agree then on the model but I don’t want to put words in your mouth. The hope is that by having an educational piece, that looks to bring in keynote speakers for workshops, would increase the participation of our TE/RE. And then if we’re offering something worth coming to (not just a business meeting where trust seems low), then we will have more opportunity during the fellowship time and worship to develop relationships and trust.

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  3. peggyredman says:

    Our Tuesday night meeting already is 4 hours long. Dinner starts at 5:45, and the stated meeting begins at 6:45. That means that for years we have table fellowship for an hour. We have a worship service that takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Portions of our business meeting are actually educational (e.g., reports on mission trips or delegations to and from regional, national, or international meetings). Although slated to end at 9:30, our meetings often end at 9:45, 4 hours after 5:45. Occasionally we have a pre-dinner sharing of mission projects or speakers. The Milwaukee model is not very different from what we already do, if we were to be more mindful of naming the segments of the gathering.
    I would be cautious about changing the way COM and CPM bring their business before the presbytery’s stated meetings. Think of the energy we all drew from the examinations of our 3 inquirers at our most recent meeting. Folks from our far-flung churches can feel more in community after hearing the statements of faith and descriptions of faith journeys of candidates for positions and students seeking to be inquirers or candidates.
    The Milwaukee model can be a step in solving the problem of low attendance at presbytery meetings, but it shouldn’t be seen as a tool for getting more churches to pay their per capita. Often churches fail to pay the per capita because they disagree with positions our presbytery has taken or because they are struggling to pay their other bills and feel unable to pay the per capita out of their reserves, not because they can’t spare time for a meeting. We need to demonstrate that our presbytery is much more than our stated meetings.

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    1. bethscib says:

      Hi Peggy, I don’t think anyone sees it as getting churches to pay per capita. I was grateful for Dave mentioning that the Equipping the Saints event is similar to this model. And you’re right our Tuesday evening meetings are almost 4 hours already. But since they’re on a week night, not everyone can get there as early for dinner. And our current meeting has two hours of business. The new model would force us to use our time wisely for the intent to offer quality education/encouragement with themes or topics or speakers that would increase participation. Perhaps if we offer something more folks were interested in, then the other portion of the meetings, maybe even making time for dinner would become a priority.

      We don’t think this solves all of our problems for sure. This is only one area the task force is working on.

      And thanks for your word of caution about changing the way we interface with COM and CPM. Know that we are working with them and following their lead on how business would work better for them as much as for us.

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  4. peter gregory says:

    The presupposition of the proposed model is that the vast, vast majority of the business process work, COM.CPM for example, is done at those committee levels, and the committee acts many time as the “presbytery” for action execution. If not, then the actual Presbytery meetings become 4,5+ hour affairs and nothing is gained in any changes. The whole point is to spend less time in business process meetings, not more.

    The blessings and maybe curse of the PNB is that it is very clergy/TE ‘rich’ in terms of actual numbers of folks in the bounds relative to the actual number of viable or functional churches. If you count those at the Seminaries, specialized institutional work, sort of between jobs or callings, hanging around, you likely get to around 50-60, just guessing, retired still on the rolls maybe over 100. Again just guessing. The point is you have many different vocational, call, placement setting with different agenda’s and drivers. What they want, expect, desire out of Presbytery or Presbytery meetings or outcomes may be very different and hard to achieve consensus. The take-aways from reality in 2016 is time compression, how people live their lives now do not lend themselves to long winded meetings always at night. Our vocational settings are very diverse. The local church as the main employment center or clergy/TE is becoming a thing of the past. In the age of social media, on line, blogs, other forms of communication people may no longer attach the same meaning or purpose to Presbytery participation or engagement. PNB can either adapt to that, or not. But I am only one opinion. Plenty of others I am sure.

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