A Clear Structure for Presbytery

This past Saturday, the TTF worked diligently on our goal to “present a clear structure for our Presbytery.” This task will include an organizational structure for our work as well as a recommendation for future staffing.One of the things that guided our work on Saturday was remembering our history.

Several years ago, the mission council of NB Presbytery was comprised of the committee chairs of the various committees of our Presbytery. (At the time, that was probably 8-12 committees). There were two concerns that developed overtime: overworking the committee chairs and a lack of representation of the whole.

Centralization-Vs-Decentralization3 (1)In response, we created a mission council that was fully representative of the whole but not connected directly to the work of the committees of our Presbytery. It also decentralized the organization so that communication didn’t work.


As we create a structure to recommend to you, we are committed to creating a centralized organization that also prevents safeguards against burnout. 

adaptive changeThe second thing that guided our work on Saturday was some a conversation about technical vs adaptive change.  Technical change is often marked by creating programs, using experts and expertise, relying on polity as regulation as we create programs. Adaptive change on the other hand, is marked by clarity and vision, group learning, imaginative thinking and long term planning.

As we continue to create a structure to recommend to you, we are committed to creating a structure that allows for adaptive change. 

Centralized and adaptive – we’ve got our work cut out for us. Please pray for us as we continue to envision our future work and the best way organize ourselves to do it.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. ljmcfeaters says:

    I continue to be so grateful for your deep refection and discernment all the while communicating the process.


    1. bethscib says:

      Thanks so much for the encouragement Lauren!


  2. Mike C says:

    A vitally important aspect of adaptive change is the need for long-term efforts in the context of trusting relationships. Adaptive change needs to be nurtured over the long haul so that culture changes along with structure.


    1. bethscib says:

      Thanks for the comment. I shared with the TTF the idea you and I talked about regarding getting teaching elders together annually in groups of three. And then the TTF had some other ideas of getting ruling elders together by sessions annually as well. The relationship piece is crucial.


  3. peter gregory says:

    A basic tenant of leadership philosophy is that responsibility can be delegated. Accountability cannot. And leaders, lead. From a business process perspective yes, COM, CPM will assume more responsibility for the processing of required presbytery business at their meetings. The goal of this transformation remains to spend far less time in business process, more time in doing other stuff. Better stuff I think. Adaptive change will require breaking of old paradigms and traditional centers of power and authority. The end result is that far more people in the adaptive process will have greater accountability, and ownership for the end results, than in prior structures of Presbytery. One thing I have learned in almost 10 years in this Presbytery is that there are folks who liked the old systems and power structures quite well, and will resist any proposed changes to their sense of control. This is why the original concept of a proposed “sabbatical” by the former EP, proposed a few years ago died a rather quiet death. Change is hard for some, welcome for others. But what all can agree on is that the present status quo. cannot continue into the future.


    1. bethscib says:

      Hi again Peter. Listen, you’re speaking to the choir about why the proposed sabbatical died quickly. I was on the team that proposed it. What I love that has happened in the past year and a half is that we were forced to take that sabbatical…. or at least stop doing business as we’ve always done it. The result is that some things have died. Some things have emerged. And many, many processes are being challenged and re-worked.


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s