Why does it matter if we change the funding model or not?
The current funding model does not serve the whole church. The current funding model is unevenly distributed and that is putting real pressure on mid-councils and parts of the national church.
Our recommendation seeks first to address the underlying issues, work to create a unified denomination, build relationships between the agencies and mid-councils, and then fund the whole church’s mission in a unified structure.
Why can't the Per Capita funding stream be more flexible so that we aren't paying on members who left us two years ago?
We believe it should be possible and it's a change we'd like to see.
Who will make decisions about vision and mission if the two are unified?
General Assembly will continue to be the body that makes decisions about mission and vision. The Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency exist to implement the work of the church and serve the mid councils. Currently, the collaboration that does happen between agencies is based on personalities and relationships. There is nothing in the current structure that requires the two agencies to work collaboratively.
A future unified body would also exist to implement the vision, mission, and work of the church.
Will unification of the two agencies lower the per capita cost?
Possibly but that is not the priority. A national church with multiple visions and mission priorities, which are unevenly funded will not last in the long term. The focus of our recommendation is to provide a way to create a structure that is sustainable into the future. A more sustainable structure will still require funding but specific agencies would be less likely to be dependent on a single funding source.
Why does PMA automatically get all of the undesignated money from the Foundation?
We also have questions about that.
Who is it that's making decisions so I know where to cut my funding?
Decisions are made at all levels of the church so it depends upon what decision you are referring to, but in general withholding funds has little power to affect change in this system since there are multiple agencies, with multiple funding streams.
My church (or presbytery) has been withholding per capita for reason X, though we continue to send money to PMA. Will we continue to be able to designate our giving if OGA and PMA are combined?
Yes. You can designate your giving.
Withholding per capita does not typically impact the national church. It is more likely to harm your region because the vast majority of per capita dollars stay locally and many presbyteries make up the difference between what is paid and what is owed which effectively decreases the available resources for the region.
This process sounds as if it will be labor intensive and disruptive to agency functioning. In a time of church decline, is this worth the effort? How will this transition support the PC(USA)?
Any major structural change will be disruptive and labor intensive. These changes will not be easy and, in the short term, may be quite disruptive. Our hope is that creating a unified, funded national structure will serve the PC(USA) long into the future.
Why are we just rearranging the national offices again?
The last major reorganization of the denominational offices was in the early 1990s. Since then there have been shifts and tweaks and significant layoffs. The committee believes we've tweaked as much as it can be tweaked and, in fact, are overdue for significant change. We are not the first body to recommend this. This is not the first time this has been recommended. As you may have read in the introduction to the recommendations, we are concurring with the All Agency Review (2010, 2016), the Way Forward Commission (2018), and the Moving Forward Implementation Commission (2020), all of whom suggested that we need a unified national church.
How will this change serve my local congregation?
We hope that a unified structure will lead to a unified vision and mission that can be clearly communicated across the church. We hope it would sharpen the focus of who we are as PC(USA) and what we’re about. It might mean that we focus more deeply on a few programs and initiatives rather than more broadly on many programs and initiatives and those programs could be better communicated across the church, better resourced and could create a more connected denomination.
Will this affect my presbytery?
Yes. A unified structure would relieve some of the real financial pressure facing mid-councils. It has the potential to create better relationships between mid-councils and PC(USA)’s agencies.
How do Synod's fit into your recommendation?
In our recommendation, synods remain as mid-councils. A unified structure would relieve some of the real financial pressure facing mid-councils. It has the potential to create better relationships between mid-councils and PC(USA)’s agencies.