Mid Councils Commission

After the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), I was appointed to serve on the Middle Governing Bodies Commission, which was renamed the Mid Councils Commission after the new Form of Government went into effect in 2011. You can download our final report here.

What follows is a collection of posts I made leading up to the 220th General Assembly. Please follow this link for posts written while I was in the process of serving on the commission.

Let’s Talk About the Mid Councils Commission
An introduction to this series.

A Denomination in Decline
What should we make of the PC(USA)’s significant membership losses?

Unsustainable Bureaucracies
Are Presbyterian mid councils anachronistic, burdensome, and unsustainable?

The Quest for True Parity
What would true parity between ruling and teaching elders look like?

Differences, Divisions, and Conflicts
What kinds of structures and practices will best serve the goal of maintaining both unity and diversity?

Multiculturalism and Racial Ethnic Representation
What will a truly multicultural PC(USA) look like?

Living in the “Posts”: Post-Christendom
How can the ecclesial structures of the PC(USA) be adapted or re-formed for a post-Christendom context?

Living in the “Posts”: Post-Denominational
What is the future of denominations in our post-denominational era?

A New World
What are the church’s greatest opportunities in our flat, networked, postmodern, post-Christendom world?

Emerging Church Responses to Our Changing World
How might the church, its understanding of the gospel, and its organizational structures be adapted in response to the changing contexts of our flat, networked, postmodern, post-Christendom world?

Geography Isn’t What It Used to Be
How do we answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” in our flat and networked world?

From Changing Contexts to New Models
The conclusion of the “Changing Contexts” section of the report, with a list of questions to serve as guides and evaluative tools.

What Makes Us Presbyterian?

Can Presbyterian Do Any Better?

Stuck

What Do We Have To Lose?

A New Video About the Mid Councils Commission

We Expect Too Much and Too Little From Presbyteries
Non-geographic presbyteries are not a silver bullet that will magically solve the problems of the PC(USA). Neither do they represent, in my view, the full focus or potential of the MCC recommendations. But I do believe that they can contribute to a broader season of experimentation in which we can refocus the purpose and function of our presbyteries and ensure that these are in fact the most important networks we belong to as Presbyterians.

Some Words of Encouragement
As the youngest pastor on the Mid Councils Commission, I was asked to provide some personal words of encouragement as part of our report to Committee 05 of GA220. Here is what I said.

The following posts were made after the Mid Councils Report was rejected at GA220.

Mid Councils Reform: Failure to Launch

What’s a Frustrated and Impatient Presbyterian to Do?

Non-Geographic and Micro-Presbyteries

Presbyterian Reboot

Can the PC(USA) Be Reformed?

Our Preferred Connectionalism

John W. Vest

John W. Vest

John is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Evangelism at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He is co-founder of the Progressive Youth Ministry conference and blogs about his “Adventures in Post-Christendom” at johnvest.com. An enthusiastic pitmaster, he dreams of one day achieving the mystical union of church and BBQ.
John W. Vest

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