Click here for General Assembly coverage

Presbyterian Mission Agency Board hopes new structure will bring strategic focus



CHICAGO – Ministerial teams and administrative committees.

The executive committee discussed the new board structure on July 27.
The executive committee discussed the new board structure on July 27.

Those are the new building blocks of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board’s internal structure – and will be the format around which the board’s next meeting Sept. 13-16 in Louisville will be structured. The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board’s executive committee, which is meeting in Chicago July 27-29, spent time on July 27 discussing how the new teams and committees will be used.

The full board approved the new structure and new way of doing business at its meeting last April.

Ministerial teams
These teams are envisioned to be short-term and strategically-focused. The topics the first group of teams are to consider are expected to be:

  • Power & privilege;
  • Coordination of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) with the Office of the General Assembly;
  • Overhead costs;
  • Next steps for the Young Adult Volunteer program;
  • How the competencies of PC(USA) World Mission might be used to assist domestic mission efforts;
  • The role of print in the PMA’s communications strategy;
  • Strategic next steps for the 1001 New Worshipping Communities initiative;
  • How to help mid councils and congregations live in to the idea of a fully inclusive church represented in the Belhar Confession from South Africa.

The ministerial teams, with about five or six board members each, generally will be smaller than the board’s administrative committees. Each team will have a staff resource person, but not dedicated administrative support. Because the teams will not use parliamentary procedure (operating instead by consensus), detailed minutes will not be required. However, the team’s progress and decisions will be recorded and shared with board leadership.

Given the short-term nature of the team model, it is expected that teams will only meet face-to-face during board meetings (in addition to monthly conference calls). Each committee will provide a final written report to the board.

Administrative committees
These committees will be:

  • Mission impact (functioning as two smaller committees);
  • Executive;
  • Personnel/Nominating;
  • Finance;
  • Audit.

These committees will be governed by parliamentary procedure (Robert’s Rules of Order) and will have resource coordinators and support staff (who will assist with keeping formal minutes).

Committees will meet face-to-face during board meetings and determine their own conference call schedules. At each board meeting, each committee will provide a final written report with recommended action items (including rationales) and items for information only.

The Mission Impact committee represents a significant change to the board’s committee work. This entity will function as two separate committees of 10 members each. The two committees will decide how they will work together. They may meet together initially and then divide. Likewise, they will choose whether to report to plenary together or separately.

The Mission Impact committee will work with the PMA executive director and leadership cabinet to:

  • Understand criteria for evaluating effectiveness;
  • Develop theological expressions for the work of the agency that can be communicated to the broader church;
  • Recommend program and mission realignment based on results (recommendations will inform the budget process).

The board’s leadership hopes the new model will improve the board efficiency by eliminating subcommittees. The stated goals for the new model are:

  • Improve productivity and relevancy of the board;
  • Improve satisfaction of members with their service to the board;
  • Involve corresponding members and staff in the work of the board;
  • Instill trust and collaboration.

The change in structure will officially take effect at the board’s September meeting in Louisville.

The executive committee approved two strategic questions to be considered at this meeting: What is mission? What is the purpose of transparency?