Monday, July 06, 2009



Well, we’re back to blogging. I agree with your comments. The Biennial was very, very good. I heard much positive response and almost nothing negative. Congratulations to all who worked on it.

In terms of the failure of the proposed restructuring of the denomination, I begin with your conclusion . . . from the bus stop outside the hotel . . . Don’t give up! I agree with General Secretary Roy Medley that this must not be the only thing we do for the next two years. I agree with Associate General Secretary Jeff Woods who wrote, “I caution us, however, to think that we only need to “sway” 18 people to get an affirmative vote next time; for this particular group of delegates will never assemble again. As we present a revised proposal, we will need to think of this as a newly assembled group and communicate with them accordingly.”

The General Secretary reports “the proposed amendments to the bylaws failed by a small margin to gain the 2/3 approval required for adoption (377-for; 217-against; 20-abstentions = 63.4%).”

A group of us sat down in a hotel lobby that Saturday night in Pasadena and tried to unpack what happened. I value these kinds of “de-briefings” because they are often progressive. As we talked, new thoughts emerged. Our original thoughts began to be informed by further thought and – by the end – I felt we all had a deeper understanding. . . and certainly a different perspective on what should come next. You, Dwight, might say we just had more informed confusion! At any rate, I value group-think at a time like that.

I believe there were many reasons the proposal failed.

  • Delegates needed a summary in their packets. You are right, Dwight, the internet is not enough. And we probably should have done better with the presentation and process of discussion.
  • There was confusion – and plenty of it to go around. At one point I thought you were going to try to “table” the motion so I asked a question that I hoped would satisfy you and help the proposal go through. The answer helped me but it was a question that only made sense for those of us that had been waist deep in this process for several years. It only confused others.
  • The use of “uncoupling” language raised huge red flags for some. There is still fear of the program boards moving away from the ABC. I believe the program boards have been working hard to make the adjustments necessary. This has to be frustrating to them (as well as to the rest of us).
  • We wanted this to be mission driven but at some time we needed to make it much more clear that WE CAN'T AFFORD THE CURRENT STRUCTURE.
  • UNEXPECTED reaction. Some folks are confused/concerned/angry about the shift in philosophy of mission in International Ministries and somehow connected the change in IM with the proposed ABC structure. I had to contend with this in my region prior to the Biennial and I heard it from others while at the Biennial.
    [The IM philosophy of mission and the ABC Structure proposal are not related.]

    We have some work to do and we’ll get it done. Don’t give up!