From the General Presbyter
Connectional vs. Relational
The Presbyterian Church USA boasts of being a “connectional church.” From a practical perspective, it means each “council” of the church supports each other. The congregation supports the Presbytery who supports the Synod and General Assembly. On a good day, we then practice a kind of trickle down system where the local church ultimately benefits from the work of the General Assembly in the name of the mission of the PC(USA), in service to Jesus Christ.
This system works pretty well, as I write this Midweek as a member of the General Assembly Funding Model Team, meeting in Chicago. We are connectional. Check. What we are finding, however, is that model is no longer sustainable. People are looking for the relational.
In our Cabinet meeting, someone asked, “Are we an organization or a community?” Good question.
What am I giving my money to and how does all this connectionalism benefit my church, community and quite frankly, me? Why give to the church, presbytery, synod or GA when I can respond to a crowd source request for Sudan? How does the new Strategic Plan help me?
How and why indeed? Today, I am literally sitting around a table with other Presbyterians across the country trying to figure this out. I will say this, however. The fact that we all said “Yes” to this committee means that at some level, we love God and our church and believe in the calling we have. When you ask these questions in your church, and these are great questions, maybe start there.