Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Are We Ready to Try Something New?

I missed another Covenant Annual Meeting because of France. I have attended Covenant Annual Meetings since I was a child and we stayed at my grandparents' home in Chicago where Grandpa was a carpenter for North Park. It was a grand family reunion. I attended Covenant Annual Meetings as a seminary student and always as a pastor.
But there are some really important trend lines that need looking at, and asking questions about.In 1988 the Annual Meeting was in Chicago and there were 758 delegates from 399 churches. The next year, 1989 the delegate number dropped to 692 from 341 churches (not a big deal). This summer in Wisconsin there were 493 delegates from only 203 churches. That's a big drop.
The denomination did not meet the budget. We are behind by about $1 million dollars. Annual Meetings are very expensive things. We budget at least $1,000 per/person to attend. It take enormous preparation energy from everyone in every department.
Isn't it time, as an act of responsible stewardship to suspend next year's Annual Meeting and shift to an every-other year gathering. How much would that save us all? How would that impact the coordinated budget? What sort of new and bold step would that be for Gary to lead? Aren't there other and better ways to meet and communicate? What about teleconferencing?


At 7:33 AM , Blogger Liz said...

Good thoughts. As a 501(c)3, the Covenant is bound by it's constitution and bylaws which currently state that the Annual Meeting will have one regular session each year. But, bylaws can be changed/amended to allow for one meeting every two years or teleconferencing, etc. However, it has to be proposed and then voted on.

I also think that the other side to this argument is a good one to look at. Yes, there may be a better way to 'do' Annual Meeting, I won't argue with you on that, but by changing the format, will we see more churches putting it as a priority? Along with a format change needs to come and attitude adjustment from each church. Yes, the denomination is here to serve the churches, but each church, by being a member in the denomination, is a part of something larger than themselves and has responsibilities that come with that. Sending representatives to the Annual Meeting to learn what other churches are doing, hear about the great things that are happening, vote for the leadership of the denomination, ask questions, demand answers and propose changes, is one of those responsibilities.

I agree that things need to change, I just don't think it's as simple as just getting rid of the Annual Meeting.

At 6:32 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Good point. Is there a realistic possibility of a delegate discussion about this? What would happen if this very issue was put on the agenda?

At 8:15 AM , Blogger Liz said...

I don't see a reason why this couldn't be discussed, especially if proposed early on so that it can be integrated into the agenda. I'm not the person to propose it though as I have a Covenant background but do not currently attend a Covenant church.
It can't hurt for someone to try though!


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