You’ve probably heard the old one about how many Presbyterians it takes to change a light-bulb – ‘Change! we don’t change anything.’ Well I’m about to put that theory to the test. I and a couple of other guys have been asked to look at the time and the format of our PCQ state assembly and bring any recommendations for how it could be improved.
I have two immediate goals which I’m keen to pursue. The first is to change the time so that more lay elders are able to be involved. Currently, because the assembly meets during the day on Monday-Thursday, it pretty much rules out younger working elders and means all the lay members are older and retired. It’s fine to have the wisdom of grey hair, but it would be fantastic to have the gifts and enthusiasm of the new generation of younger elders that is springing up around the denomination. My initial thought is that a Thursday night-Saturday night might work. That would require only one day off work, or people could miss the Friday daytime session. Obviously this will also require some streamlining of the current program, but I think that is possible.
The second goal I have is for the assembly to actually enthuse people and promote a vision for ministry around the state. This is difficult in the Presbyterian system. There’s no archbishop to make a stirring speech and lead the agenda. We do however have a body called the commission of assembly that has a limited leadership and supervision role l between the annual general assembly, and might be able to foster a sense of direction and vision.
Anyway, the task will not only be to come up with concrete workable ideas, but to sell them. Believe it or not, I have a sense that the denomination is ready for some well thought through changes.