The Mission Alignment Coordinating Council (MACC) appointed by the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), met in Fort Worth Nov. 20-22, 2008. In this, the group’s third meeting, the 12-member panel received additional feedback from the September pastors’ conference, Obra Hispana, North American Pacific Asian Disciples (NAPAD), the National Convocation and other key groups, including Disciples Home Missions (DHM), Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM) and Church Extension(CE). Much of the feedback has been supportive of the organizing "mission alignment" principles given to MACC by the General Board in April. Preliminary scenarios for mission alignment have been under discussion since June.
The council spent the majority of its time integrating the feedback into the planning process. It also heard a report from the governance and accountability relationships group about strengthening covenantal relationships between the General Board and ministries of the church and ensuring that racial/ethnic ministries have a strong voice and presence in the life of the church.
The MACC will meet again in January to summarize its work for presentation to the General Board in April for possible action at the General Assembly in July. General Ministry presidents and select staff from DHM, HELM and CE will be present for a portion of the January meeting to help inform the process.
Between the November and January meetings, members of the MACC will be meeting with the National Convocation board, Hispanic Pastoral Commission, and the executive council of NAPAD. They will also continue conversations with MACC response teams that have been named by General Ministries most closely involved in the process (DHM, HELM and CE). Those conversations will include an exchange of written reports and letters.
In 2005, then General Minister and President-elect Sharon Watkins was asked by the Council of General Ministries (made up of the heads of the various Disciples General Ministries, along with racial/ethnic ministers) to lead the church in discerning necessary changes to better fulfill the vision and mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The General Board in 2006 and 2007, asked for a church-wide focus on mission guided by the Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and by the 2001 dream laid out in the book 2020 Vision by former General Minister and President Richard Hamm. Recently, the work of the 21st Century Vision Team is bringing a new awareness of our identity as Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. Part of the MACC’S work is to focus on how we integrate Design, vision, mission and priorities of the church into a coherent mission.
In addition, over the past two decades Disciples have seen shifting numbers that affect the work of the general church. Today we are a smaller church, and we are a more diverse church. Our growing edges are primarily in Asian, Hispanic and Haitian communities. All this leads to re-examination of where our resources, human and financial, should be deployed.
One area where the general church already has streamlined administrative options successfully is the integration of the Church Finance Council into the General Assembly/Office of General Minister and President. The process resulted in lower administrative cost so more resources could be directed into other areas of mission.
In spring of 2008, the General Board authorized Watkins and Moderator Newell Williams to convene a group (MACC) to come up with a plan that would give clarity about the General Board’s responsibility for the mission of the church, make sure congregations are resourced for mission and lead us toward being one church embracing diversity. The General Board further instructed that work toward these outcomes should be based on the principles of being mission-driven and Design-guided, future leaning, promoting true community by embracing diversity, enhancing networks and partnerships and practicing good stewardship.
Members of the Mission Alignment Coordinating Council
- Newell Williams, chair, Moderator of the General Assembly and General Board, President of Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University
- Xose Escamilla, member of Obra Hispana, local church pastor-planter
- Carolyn Ho, governance sub group, former Vice Moderator of the General Assembly, executive search and nonprofit consulant
- Mary Jacobs, former chair of blue ribbon panel for National Benevolent Association, former Vice Moderator of the General Assembly, local church pastor
- Kari Kempf, active in regional youth work, local church administrator
- Bill Lee, former Moderator of the General Assembly, former National Convocation and National Missionary Society board member, local church pastor
- Tim Lee, member of Higher Education and Leadership Ministries Board, member of NAPAD executive committee, professor of history at Brite Divinity School
- Sotello Long, former general church staff, Regional Minister and President of South Carolina
- Darryl Trimiew, former National Convocation and National Missionary Society board member, professor of ethics at City University of New York
- David Vargas, member of Obra Hispana, President, Division of Overseas Ministries and Co-Executive, Global Ministries
- Cherilyn Williams, Moderator of the Northwest Region of the Christian Church, General Board member, public relations professional
- Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
- Staff: Todd Adams, Associate General Minister and Vice President; Beth Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the General Minister and President
Written by: Cherilyn Williams