10/11/2009

PHC #6: Consolidation & Centralization (1930)

The Pilgrim Holiness Church of 1930 -- consolidation and centralization.

So, what do you think?

keith drury

10 comments:

sumpteretc said...

The church in which I grew up refuses the title of "denomination." Historically, they have been an association of churches who bond together to form missions boards, a publishing house, a Bible college, etc. For most of my lifespan, they have acted a bit more like a denomination. There is a fair amount of unity and an unwritten set of rules. There is a general conference that meets once a year, but its decisions are non-binding. They can, however, give instructions to the credentials committee, so some authority is exercised over ministers.

In my opinion, the lack of organizational structure has put many of the ministries of this "association" on the brink of disaster. The Bible college is in dire straits as are some of the other ministries. The people are good, spiritual people, and there have been some moves to greater unity in recent years, but I think it may be too little, too late.

The move to greater organization may not be inevitable, but the alternative may be unacceptable.

On the missionary question... I wouldn't mind having a little more help from the general budget instead of relying on my personal ability to raise funds.

kerry said...

Prior to 1993, Wesleyan World Missions used a "pot" system of fund raising: all missionary support and other gifts were put into a central pot (except designated projects) and we sent out as many missionaries as we could afford, which was about half of the number we have now. Many missionaries tired of waiting for a "slot" and left to go with independent "faith" agencies. When we shifted to a system of every missionary raising a specific support target, we eventually doubled the number of missionaries and missions giving has gone way up. Wesleyan missionaries raise their support, on average, quicker than missionaries in independent agencies. A return to a pot system where even part of the missionary support is somehow "guaranteed" is ironically not a "pro-missions" move. However, using some General Church funds for some home office operations is a different matter.

vanilla said...

So many good questions, each food for thought. My response will touch on questions 3 and 5. Ideally, every participant in the local church would tithe, then I think these receipts in turn should be tithed to the general church for administration and other appropriate kingdom-building activities. But the ideal doesn't always function ideally, so to speak. Even if it did, I think the "tub on its own bottom" concept is a good one, to the degree that holiness people seem to like being begged and cajoled into giving to a "cause." The general church should be supportive of educational and missional outreaches, but clearly those ministries need financial resources beyond that. So fund-raising for special interests is appropriate. But the tithes should still be submitted to the local church. (btw, on average, what portion of their "budget" to district and general church do local congregations actually pay?)

pastorfloyd said...

I like the early Pilgrims way for following the Holy Spirit's leading without worrying too much about protocal.
As a movement progresses it seems that centralizaton and organization must come into play.
However our Nazarene missionary "tax' and district "tax" and pension "tax" is about to sink our local church ship in this time of recession.
I like the Wesleyan Church's way of Missionary's raising their own support through churches they nurture and recruit from.

Anonymous said...

I know it's dated (1999) but I've started reading "Paradign Shift in the Church" by Christian A Schwarz. I believe the little of it that I've read so far speaks to your first 2 questions. I consider those questions somewhat foundational to a balance and respcet for both organic and organizational elements of the Church.

Daniel Jones said...

Just read this week's and last week's. Seems a lot more condensed and interesting than in Wesleyan History and Polity class. ;)

Carol Shallenburg said...

There are always pros and cons to situations but a little organization is usually a good thing. It keeps everyone on the same page, hopefully.

kerry said...

Keith, I'm teaching Wesleyan Church History and Polity in January at Asbury, and I trust I can use this series as a class resource.

I'll respond to David "Vanilla" Lacy's question. In FY08, Wesleyan churches as a whole paid 93% of assigned District and General funds. In FY09 (which ended August 31), the collection percentage was 91.6%. Compared with many other churches, this could be considered a vote of confidence. Of course, the allotted percentages are not paid on all offerings. They are paid on a "base" from which many things are excluded, including Wesleyan missionary offerings, capital campaign funds, and about a dozen other important exclusions, fortunately.

vanilla said...

Thanks, Kerry, for the response. I think that that percentage speaks well for the church as a whole. I do understand that not all monies raised in the local church are subject to the "denominational tax."

JJ said...

I wonder if Kerry would support a similar plan for our colleges--raising their own support like missionaries do instead of taxing churches? Would they get more money just like the missionaries did?