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THE MISSION IS THE MESSAGE

[Adopted as policy of the Olympia Presbytery January 20, 2011]

I.THE MISSION

A.  Olympia Presbytery exists to glorify God through Christ Jesus by fostering missional congregations and a common mission that embodies the kingdom of God.  We seek to do this by being...

1. Relational      

2. Spirit led

3. Intentional

B. WHAT IS MISSIONAL?

Every era has new challenges and ways of making an impact for the Kingdom of God in the world. One defining word for our era is ‘missional.’ Even though missional is defined and used in many ways, our focus is on those things which bind us together. By using the term ‘missional’, we are not negating the terminology used or the ministry done in past generations, but we are seeking a better understanding of our generation and a more effective way to move us forward into a rapidly changing future.

Missional is an imitation of the life of Jesus.  One of Jesus' first acts of ministry was to call a few fisherman to 'follow him' on his mission.  After three years on the Jesus mission, he once again gathered these disciples on a hill and sent them to "Go and make disciples of all nations."  From the beginning the church was the gathering of Jesus' followers who were called and sent to carry on God's mission.  The congregations that seek to continue that mission are missional.

Missional is an identity.  To be missional is to affirm the following:  I am a missionary.  We are a mission organization.  We live in the midst of our mission field. Our mission field begins right at our own doorstep.  

Missional is a way.  To be missional is to embrace the way of Jesus in the midst of the ways of the world in such a manner that the Kingdom of God is reflected in the kingdoms of the world.

Missional is a connection. To be missional is to be connected to other communities of faith to advance the Kingdom of God.

Missional is transformational.  Hearts that are transformed by Christ impact others by engaging the local community and the culture for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

2. For the purposes of our presbytery we will operate with the following definition.  Missional congregations and presbyteries are communities that follow Jesus by primarily directing our ministry focus outward into the community and the world. 

C. WAYS OF BEING MISSIONAL

1. Be Relational.

When asked for the greatest commandment, Jesus answered with two.  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...and the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself."  (Mat. 22:37, 39)  If the entire law and prophets hang upon these two commands, then it seems vital that any community that claims to follow Jesus will embody these commands.  God's mission through our congregations is fulfilled to the degree that we love one another. 

When asked what people would miss if Olympia Presbytery were to cease to exist, by far the most common response pertained to the word relationship or connection.  While the depth of our relationship with one another may have suffered from a reduction in trust, respect and commitment, the desire for “relationship” and “connection” has not.   

Therefore, we seek to embody the mission and kingdom of God by creating space for loving relationships to form among congregations and among clergy. 

2 Be Spirit led

In every one of Jesus' post resurrection encounters with the disciples, he follows the call to go with the gift of the Holy Spirit.  In Matthew, Jesus closes the great commission with these words, "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  At the end of Luke, Jesus sends them back to Jerusalem to be clothed with 'power from on high.'  And in the gospel of John, Jesus tells the disciples that 'as the Father sent me, so I am sending you,' he then breathes on them and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit."    

Therefore, we seek to embody the mission and Kingdom of God by creating space for God's Spirit to indwell and bear fruit in every member congregation and clergy.

3.  Be Intentional.

Every community formed in response to God's mission soon found it necessary to create structures and systems that would sustain their mission.  While in the wilderness, the Israelites built a tabernacle and appointed leaders.  When they entered the Promised Land they built a temple and followed God's plan for offering their gifts.  When Jesus arrived, he began to fulfill his mission by first calling others to follow him and learn his 'way' of fishing for humanity.  And after Jesus' resurrection and ascension, the first believers followed a simple pattern of learning from the apostles, breaking bread and praying.  Yet, as the church grew, they experienced the need to create another system and appointed deacons to care for the widows.  Our Book of Order continues the church's pattern of creating order in community when it states that one way our faith is expressed is through a 'covenant life marked by a disciplined concern for order in the church according to the Word of God.' 

Therefore, we seek to embody the mission of Jesus and the Kingdom of God by intentionally creating flexible and adaptive order that will sustain God's mission.  We seek to do this in the following areas:

Gatherings

Structure

Staff

Funds

Facilities 

II. RE-FORMATION FOR MISSION

A. STRUCTURING FOR MISSION

For a visual representation of our recommendations for structural change, please see Chart 1, "Structure of the Olympia Presbytery"

1. Boards

a. Council

    Divide the current council into two groups.  The “Strategic Board” will tend to larger matters of visioning and planning in ways that keep the presbytery on the right trajectory.  The “Administrative Board” will tend to detailed matters that support the overall mission of the presbytery.  A more detailed delineation of said responsibilities can be found in the chart.

b. Moderator

The General Presbyter shall be the Moderator of the Strategic Board; the Stated Clerk shall be the Moderator of the Administrative Board; and the position of Moderatorial Intern shall be eliminated.

B. STAFFING FOR MISSION

As much as this proposal has suggested, these are times of a shifting tide within the church and God is leading us in many new directions.  While change is afoot, we believe it will take time (2-10 years) for many of the changes to flesh themselves out in the life of the Presbytery.  After interviewing many other leaders from other Presbyteries and listening to input from visionary leaders and authors, we propose that the changes in staff will be a process that takes a few years. 

1.     Short-Term Recommendations.

We are deeply grateful for the years of ministry and continuity our current staff have given to the Olympia Presbytery.  Given the longevity of our staff and given that the implementation of new funding models and structural models will take a couple of years for full implementation, the collective wisdom of the task force is to propose to the Olympia Presbytery, that for the short-term, we maintain staff in their current positions with some changes in their responsibilities as needed to parallel the structural changes of the Strategic Board and the Administrative Board.  Specific job descriptions that need changing and implementing within the next 18 months to align with these proposals will be implemented by the Strategic Board with the help of Personnel and Finance Committees.  It is recommended that any position within the Presbytery staff that becomes vacated during the next few years is discussed and redesigned through the input of the Strategic Board. 

2.     Long-term recommendations.

It is the recommendation of the Futures Task Force that over the course of the next two to four years we move towards a minimalist approach and model of staffing with the Olympia Presbytery.  While the design and positions will need to be envisioned with the Strategic Board, the primary functions that the Futures Task Force recommends need to be implemented in the future minimalist model include:  Communications, Stated Clerk functions, Bookkeeping, Visionary Leader with convening, technological and organizational skills and administrative support.  The Visionary Leader role may be, for example, fulfilled through a “Missional” Presbyter (part-time or full-time) or through an elected Moderator (for one to three year terms) or through a combination of both. 

C. FUNDING THE MISSION

1.     Staffing costs:

Given that a large portion of our budget funds staffing costs; given that changes to staff are expected in the next two to four years through attrition and retirement; and, given the length of service by our current staff, presbytery will have the opportunity to adjust staffing costs in stages over the four years of 2012-2015.

2.     Strategy and Interpretation:

The Administrative Board will construct the budget in collaboration with the Strategic Board.  The Strategic Board will be responsible for proposing and interpreting the budget to the Presbytery, while the Administrative Board will continue to manage the finances.  

D. FACILITIES AND THE MISSION

As we examined the two major properties of the Presbytery, we continued to ask the question, "How can these facilities help foster missional congregations that embody the Kingdom of God."  Here are some of our recommendations.

1.Sound View Camp and Conference Center

The Task Force sees the value of the work that Camp Sound View does and would like to see that work continue as an independent self sustaining member or affiliate of the Olympia Presbytery. After meeting with representatives of the Camp Sound View Team, it is the opinion of the Task Force that the operation of Sound View Camp should not be a core ministry focus of the Olympia Presbytery nor is it a financially sustainable ministry within the budget of Olympia Presbytery.

Sound View will substantially reduce their financial dependence on the budget of Olympia Presbytery over the next 5 years until it reaches a level that is agreed upon by the Strategic Board in consultation with the Sound View Ministry Team.

Below are several possible scenarios that we recommend are explored by the Strategic Board:

Sound View becomes an independent “validated ministry”.

It is our opinion that there is a strong community of folks at Sound View and/or connected with Sound View and the potential for even more creative ministry opportunities and usage of the facility are present. What if we saw Sound View as a “congregation” of sorts? Probably a small congregation/intentional community who lives and worships together at Sound View but also provides as their purpose and ministry, camping, spiritual direction services, leadership development, conferences, etc., for the Olympia Presbytery and the larger regional community. Again, a few churches in the Presbytery would need to assist with the development of this initially but then Sound View is treated like any member church but must find a self sustaining model. In some ways it would be like planting a church and re-development work as it relates to expanding the scope and vision of the ministry as a whole.

Sound View becomes its own separate non-profit organization and is a ministry project of particular churches in the Olympia Presbytery.

Those churches work together with the Sound View staff to create a board, development team, and base of support for the development of the ministry. The Presbytery as a whole will not drive this work. Rather, the churches that are a part of the Presbytery and have a passion for this work will drive and manage the work and be a primary base of support.

c.   Sound View becomes a completely separate non-profit with no official ties to the Olympia Presbytery other than land and facility ownership.

d.  Or any other possibilities explored by the Strategic Board in consultation with Sound View Ministry Team. This would include the possibility of the sale of the camp.

2.     Tillicum Center

Given the current realities of ministry potential, building value, market conditions, location near I-5 between Tacoma and Olympia, the Tillicum Presbyterian Center be retained and that the Strategic Board be directed to create a task force to develop Tillicum Center ministry to the immediate community; and for the Strategic Council to re-evaluate in five years whether the effort has been successful and the Center should still be retained.      

IV. INITIAL STEPS & TIMELINE

September 16, 2010

            -Presentation of the Futures Task Force Report for the first reading and discussion.    -Vote to dissolve the Futures Task Force.

November 18, 2010

            -Second reading and voting on amendments.

January 20, 2011       

            -Vote on final version of the plan.

-If recommendations are approved, the current Council will oversee the approved recommendations until the Strategic Board assumes control.

-If approved recommendations are in conflict with the current standing rules of Olympia Presbytery, then the recommendations supersede the Standing Rules of the Olympia Presbytery.  The Stated Clerk will recommend the appropriate changes to harmonize the Standing Rules with the new structure. These will be brought to the presbytery as soon as possible for a first reading and then approval.

September 1, 2011

-If recommendations are approved, the new structure will go into effect September 1, 2011. The Council of presbytery will become the Strategic Board. 

-The Finance Committee and Trustees will become the Administrative Board. The PJC, Nominating Team, COR and Church Records will be supported by the Administrative Board.

-Provisions of the Manual of Administrative Operations Section VIII C, related to the responsibilities and duties of the Presbytery Commission on Ministry and the Regional Commissions, shall take effect on adoption of this manual.  Provisions of this section C related to the number of members and creation of the regional commissions shall take effect April 1, 2012.  Until the creation of the regional commissions, the Presbytery Commission on Ministry shall include all the duties and responsibilities of the regional commissions.

Winter/Spring 2011 – 2012

            -Host conference/workshops on what it means to be the missional church. The council will create a team of passionate and dedicated leaders to plan a conference, series of workshops or some other creative format focusing on helping the congregations and leaders of Olympia Presbytery answer the question, “What does it mean for my congregation to be missional?” The names of the members of this team will be presented at the 2011 January Presbytery gathering.