“Congregational” is an rare word to find on a Presbyterian website. We refer not to matters of church governance, of course, but to our presbytery’s commitment to the success of each of our member churches. The Presbytery’s role is to assist and strengthen all of our churches by assisting those congregations’ leaders.
Additionally, this reflects our value of being bottom up instead of top down. We endeavor to put the good of our congregations before that of the Presbytery, even if that’s hard.
Our bottom up values are also reflected in how we structure our committees and commissions. Our new model depends on each presbyter taking on more responsibility. Previous staff-driven models created a dependency on staff, and an easily identifiable blaming mechanism for the ills of the Presbytery, while discouraging competent, qualified leaders from assuming more responsibility in presbytery life.
Those days are over. The Presbytery has drastically reduced its staff and more than doubled the number of Ruling and Teaching Elders in volunteer leadership positions. We’re now lead by our presbyters and coached by our executive leadership team, Coach and Coordinator Patrice Hatley, the head coach, and Stated Clerk Dave Baker.
Additionally, the Presbytery formed a new commission focused on bringing life and light to our Presbytery’s congregations: the Commission on Church Vitality. This commission receives over $50,000 a year of the Presbytery mission budget and offers a variety of grants and training programs to strengthen leaders and help churches grow, spiritually and numerically.