The Cooperative Ministries Committees (CMC) approved a proposal for funding the Administrative Committee (AC) at its annual meeting last Wednesday, January 18. A sub-committee of the CMC, chaired by Harry Reeder, a past moderator of the General Assembly (GA) and the senior pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Ala., authored the plan. The CMC is comprised of the presidents and coordinators of the PCA’s permanent agencies and committees and the chairmen of their respective committees or boards. In addition, the past six GA moderators serve as advisory members; they have the right to speak at the meeting but do not vote.
An earlier AC funding plan, part of the 2010 PCA Strategic Plan, was overwhelmingly passed by the 38th General Assembly; the enabling Book of Church Order (BCO) amendment necessary to implement that plan, however, failed to gain support from two-thirds of the PCA’s presbyteries. The new plan requires changes to the Rules of Assembly Operation but, unlike the previous proposal, involves no revisions to the BCO and therefore no action by presbyteries.
There are six components to the proposed plan: (1) that the AC increase development work, (2) charge fees for specified services and publications, (3) receive contributions from other PCA committees and agencies, (4) charge a General Assembly registration fee that “accurately reflects the cost of the Assembly and the general functions of the AC” including, for example, the Standing Judicial Committee and the Nominating Committee, (5) request contributions from churches based on a percentage of the congregation’s operating budget rather than the number of communing members, and (6) request an “administrative fee for PCA ministers.”
The new proposal further instructs the AC to prepare educational materials and form a team to present them to every Presbytery. Such presentations, the proposal states, “would broaden denominational loyalty and support,” as well as “renew a commitment to biblical Presbyterianism.”
The plan also acknowledged recent overtures to defund byFaith magazine. The new proposal recognized the value of a publication that educates, equips, informs, and connects PCA members and churches, while underscoring the responsibility of the AC, the AC staff, and the byFaith Oversight Committee to protect the AC’s fiscal viability. Therefore, the plan says, it is incumbent upon them “to monitor the costs of byFaith, and to take appropriate actions as necessary, which could include discontinuing the magazine.”
With respect to [PCA] funding, the committee stated that, “One of the most important tasks before our denominational leadership is to aggressively set forth afresh to this generation the biblical, theological, and historical rationale for a robust commitment to our branch of the visible church….”