Category Archives: Global Movement

Changing the funding recommendation: an explanation

 
JeffJeremiah

Jeff Jeremiah

by Jeff Jeremiah
EPC Stated Clerk

On April 24, the National Leadership Team (NLT) reported to you the following recommendation:

The administration and strategic initiatives of the General Assembly ought to be supported by the giving of EPC churches. The expected giving amount from each church should be either $23 per member or one percent of that church’s annual budget. Following fiscal year 2020, the expectation is that all giving should be at the 1 percent level.

On May 23, the NLT announced this change to the recommendation:

The administration and strategic initiatives of the General Assembly ought to be supported by the giving of EPC churches.

Since May 23, many people have asked members of the NLT and me, “What happened?” The short answer is that the NLT asked, listened, and responded to you.

The feedback we received focused on two elements of the April 24 recommendation. The first was reaction to the word “Expected.” There was resistance by too many who took the word “expected” to mean “requirement” or “mandatory requirement.” We also heard, “By doing this, the NLT is moving the EPC to become a ‘top-down, bureaucratic denomination no different from the PC(USA).” The NLT was stunned. Their knee-jerk reaction was to delete “expected.”

There also was resistance to “one percent.” This came from our historically high-supporting Per Member Asking churches.

Per Member Asking (PMA) is the primary way our churches fund the budget of the national level of the EPC. For some of these churches, moving from PMA to one percent meant they would have to increase their giving. Those churches know how much they give, and they are aware of churches who are every bit as capable of giving but do not. They are justifiably frustrated with this situation. They have no interest in increasing their financial support until under-supporting churches step up. The NLT had no interest in antagonizing the churches who have faithfully invested in the EPC for years.

A secondary concern was this: A number of churches expressed support for the move to one percent of their budget because it would decrease their giving to the EPC. For the NLT, this was not the motivation we were looking for as we seek to fund a mission- and vision-driven denomination!

Based on these responses we received, the NLT pulled “expected” and “one percent” from the recommendation, leaving only the strategic initiatives portion of the original recommendation in the proposal. This begs the question, “Where did ‘expected’ and ‘one percent’ come from?” The short answer is that the NLT asked, listened, and responded.

At the end of 2015, support for Per Member Asking was at 61 percent of the goal. Two groups were mostly responsible for this shortfall. The first was a number of recent arrivals to the EPC who had to pay large ransoms in order to come to us. They were not yet in a position to support the EPC. The second group was comprised of some churches who have been in the EPC for a long time. They simply choose not to give, or give very little.

In January 2016, the NLT directed me to engage in what we called a “Listening Tour.” I’d talk with EPC church leaders about how they felt about their relationship with the EPC, let them know that the EPC is becoming a mission- and vision-driven denomination, and asked about their level of financial support to EPC. In April, the NLT received my partial report, and decided they needed more feedback than what I can glean from my one-on-one meetings. They decided to hold focus group meetings at our 2016 General Assembly, which were led by a communications consultant.

As a result of those focus group meetings, we found out there was strong support for funding the strategic initiatives—church planting, church revitalization, effective biblical leadership, and global movement—in the EPC budget. And there were two surprises.

First, we were told that “voluntary” giving to PMA is problematic. The word offered to replace it was “expected”—giving to the EPC should be “expected.”

Second, “PMA” itself is problematic. It’s not a good way to measure a church’s capacity to give. In its place was proposed one percent of a church’s budget.

The NLT received these results in August and asked, “Is this accurate?” We decided to survey the lead pastors of our 600 churches, as we wanted feedback from each church. The results of the survey:

  • Put the strategic initiatives in the EPC budget
  • “Voluntary” giving to the EPC is “problematic,” and “expected” was offered in its place.
  • “PMA” is “problematic,” and “one percent” was offered in its place.

The NLT asked, listened to what you said, and was confident that the original recommendation is what you wanted. We found out differently between April 24 and May 23.

Upon reflection, I realized this mistake. We did not serve you well in that we should have reported to you the results of the focus groups and survey in late October or early November. We could have done this and we didn’t.

In keeping with our “Generation to Generation” General Assembly theme, and paraphrasing Scott Griffin’s sermon in the Moderator’s Service of Communion and Prayer on June 23: I’m a Boomer. Reaching out to Builders: I apologize for that mistake. The buck stops here. Reaching out to the GenXers: I am not the “savvy guy” in this. Reaching out to the Millenials: The National Leadership TEAM will do better in the future.

Let me finish with good news.

Earlier, I reported that 2015 PMA was 61 percent of the goal. Simply by asking what you think about a mission- and vision-driven denomination and listening to what you’ve said, look at what has happened: 2016 Per Member Asking came in at 68 percent of the goal.

We still have work to do. I believe that an acceptable minimum level of support is 80 percent. We’ll keep working on this until you tell us otherwise.

Thank you, and God bless you!

#epc2017ga

Strategic Initiatives inclusion in EPC budget, special projects approved

 

Commissioners to the 37th General Assembly approved funding the strategic initiatives of church planting, church revitalization, effective biblical leadership, and global movement into the fiscal year 2018 budget for the EPC Office of the General Assembly. This marks the first year in which the strategic initiatives will be funded through the EPC operating budget. Since their inception in 2014, the initiatives have been funded through undesignated cash reserves.

The total approved July 2017–June 2018 (fiscal year, or FY18) budget for EPC operating expenses is $2,310,583. This amount includes $268,000 in direct funding of the four strategic initiatives, with $135,000 allocated for Church Revitalization; $120,000 for Church Planting; $8,000 for Effective Biblical Leadership; and $5,000 for Global Movement. In addition, 20 percent of Per Member Asking (PMA) contributions to the EPC support Global Movement in the form of funding the overall ministry of World Outreach.

The FY18 budget also includes $1,412,580 for personnel, including staff salaries and benefits, travel, and expenses; and $630,003 for general administration.

The 2017-18 budget represents an increase of $246,350 over the 2016 budget, made possible by some lower costs of operating in Orlando plus projected 5% growth in PMA contributions. Due to a migration from a calendar-year budget to a fiscal-year budget in January 2017, the 2016 budget was the most recent 12-month reporting period.

In addition, the Assembly approved Special Projects requests from the various ministries of the EPC totaling $771,500. These projects are funded from designated giving and are separate from the operating budget.

#epc2017ga

Meet World Outreach global workers at the 37th General Assembly

 

2017GAbannerRegOnlineMore than 50 World Outreach global workers and staff are registered to attend the 37th General Assembly, June 20-23 at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, Calif. Attendees have numerous opportunities to get to know them and their ministries.

WOlogoTuesday Evening World Outreach Banquet
This ticketed-only event on Tuesday, June 20, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. will feature “field reports” from WO global workers in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. The guest speaker for the evening is Emily Foreman, author of We Died Before We Came Here.

Wednesday Networking Lunch: Global Worker Meet-and-Greet
Grab a boxed lunch on Wednesday, June 21, in the Nelson Family Life Center Rec Hall and head to Conference Room C/D for the WO Global Worker Meet-And-Greet Networking Lunch from 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Wednesday Breakout Dinner: Global Worker Presentations
For those who purchased tickets for Wednesday dinner at Fair Oaks, join us in Conference Room B/C for a breakout dinner and hear ministry updates from Brian and Keri (East Asia), Asaph and Lynn (South Asia), Robert and Joyce (Middle East), David and Meg (Central Asia), and Chris and Kirsten (Europe).

Thursday Networking Lunch: International Theological Education Network
ITEN is World Outreach’s ministry to train global leaders so that they can train and send their own missionaries to unreached peoples. Join Bruce Anderson and Stephen Woodworth on Thursday, June 22, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. in the Family Life Center, Conference Room B, and hear inspiring stories, get information about ITEN sites developing around the world, share your ideas and experience, learn from specialists working in the field, and find out how you can be involved.

Thursday Networking Lunch: International Business as Mission
Grab a boxed lunch and come to Room 12 on the first floor of the Kids and Youth (KAY) Center on Thursday, June 22, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. and hear Randy H., an entrepreneur who has worked in Southeast Asia for 17 years; Harry T., an entrepreneur actively seeking God’s direction on how to be involved; and John M., World Outreach stateside IBAM global worker. This panel will explain how to use your business talents and experiences in mission; how to coach and mentor entrepreneurs and businesses; how to financially support business as mission; and how to do vocational workplace ministry in your own neighborhood.

Thursday Evening Worship
The featured speaker for the Thursday evening worship service, 7:30 p.m. in the Fair Oaks Worship Center, is World Outreach’s own Mike Kuhn. Kuhn serves as Lecturer in Discipleship and Biblical Theology for the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon. In addition, new World Outreach global workers will be commissioned. Please note that due to potential security concerns, the commissioning portion of this service will not be streamed.

Friday Networking Lunch: Sending our EPC Sons and Daughters
Historically, the pioneers from America to Korea, the Arab Middle East, Turkey, and Iran were Bible-soaked Presbyterians. World Outreach has embraced that challenge once again—sending long-term teams of 6-8 individuals to people groups without biblical churches and where very few nationals are able and willing to go. Who will you prepare and send from your church? Join Shawn Stewart and Greg Livingstone on Friday, June 23, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. in the Fair Oaks Family Life Center, Conference Room B.

World Outreach exhibit area
Many of our global workers will have displays about their ministries at the World Outreach exhibit area in the Nelson Family Life Center Rec Hall at Fair Oaks. Stop by any time between Tuesday and Friday afternoon and get acquainted!

  • Bruce Anderson, ITEN
  • Rob, Mobilization
  • John and Allison, Central Asia
  • Brian and Keri, East Asia
  • Asaph and Lynn, South Asia
  • David and Mindy Fenska, Mobilization
  • Chris and Debbie Gibson, Member Care
  • Alison, South Asia
  • Randy and Martha, Southeast Asia
  • Robert and Joyce, Middle East
  • Stephen Kelley, Muslim World
  • Jacqy, New Appointee
  • Greg and Karen, Muslim World
  • Mike, Middle East
  • Greg and Sally Livingstone, Mobilization
  • John and Jan, IBAM
  • Ed and Nan McCallum, ITEN
  • Mike and Tammy, Southeast Asia
  • Greg, Middle East
  • David and Meg, Central Asia
  • Elizabeth, Middle East
  • Shawn and Lisa Stewart, Mobilization
  • Phil Thrash, Mobilization
  • Dan Tidwell, Communications
  • Mark and MJ, Mobilization
  • David and Debbie Walker, Southeast Asia
  • Stephen Woodworth, ITEN
  • The Youngs, South Asia

Note: Some last names have been omitted for security reasons.

#epc2017ga

National Leadership Team revises EPC funding proposal

 

2017GAbannerRegOnline

In response to feedback from across the EPC received in the denomination’s 13 spring presbytery meetings, the National Leadership Team (NLT) is revising its recommendation to the 37th General Assembly. The updated recommendation is “The administration and strategic initiatives of the General Assembly ought to be supported by the per-member giving of EPC churches.”

The recommendation followed a nearly two-year study by the NLT on a fundamental question, “What is the best way to fund what God is calling the EPC to be and to do?”

As described in the April 2017 edition of “The Jeremiah Journal,” Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah’s monthly video blog, the earlier recommendation included two components:

  1. Including the four strategic initiatives (church planting, church revitalization, global movement, and effective biblical leadership) into the EPC overall operating budget. The initiatives have been funded from undesignated reserves since their launch in 2015.
  2. Changing the funding model from Per Member Asking (PMA) to 1 percent of a local church’s operating and outreach budget, and that those contributions be “expected.”

Jeremiah noted that the “vast majority” of feedback on the first component was positive.

“We are a connectional denomination,” he said, “and we want to support all EPC congregations (large and small, new and old, resource-rich and resource-challenged) as they seek to carry out the Great Commission.”

However, Jeremiah acknowledged that the response to the second component was mixed.

“While many were enthusiastic about simplifying our contribution model, there was a significant amount of feedback about the word ‘expected,’” he said. “So the NLT met with leadership at the Office of General Assembly on May 23rd to review all the feedback.”

Following that review, the NLT removed the second component of its recommendation to the Assembly.

“We will continue to promote the EPC as a mission- and vision-driven church, and to encourage financial participation by all our churches,” Jeremiah said. “In addition, anyone is welcome to contact me at jeff.jeremiah@epc.org if they have any questions or comments.”

General Assembly Networking Lunches offer more than mid-day meal

 

2017GAbannerRegOnlineNetworking Lunches at the EPC 37th General Assembly provide opportunity for connecting with others with similar ministry interests on June 21-23 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento. For more information, including descriptions and meeting locations, see www.epc.org/ga2017networkinglunches

Wednesday, June 21

  • Church Planting (hosted by the EPC Church Planting Team)
  • For the Church, For the Generations (hosted by Reformed Youth Ministries)
  • How to Build a Contagious Church Culture (hosted by Vanderbloemen Search Group)
  • How to Make Progress on Leadership Challenges (hosted by PastorServe)
  • Joy Together in Ministry and Mission (hosted by Serge)
  • Jump-Starting Church Revitalization (hosted by the EPC GO Center)
  • Presbyterians Pro-Life (hosted by Presbyterians Pro-Life)
  • What Is the Westminster Confession? (hosted by the Westminster Society)
  • Who Is My Neighbor? (hosted by the EPC Women’s Resource Council)
  • World Outreach Global Worker Meet-and-Greet (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • Young Ministers in the EPC (hosted by the EPC Young Ministers Network)

Thursday, June 22

  • Building a Culture of Generosity (hosted by the EPC Foundation)
  • Conflict Management: What Seminary Never Taught You (hosted by Pastor-In-Residence Ministries)
  • EPC Benefits “Lunch and Learn: Retirement Plan Changes” (hosted by EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.)
  • International Theological Education Network (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • Reaching Millennials (hosted by the EPC GO Center)
  • Reaching the Next Generation of College Students for Christ (hosted by the Coalition for Christian Outreach)
  • Understanding Gender Dysphoria and the Transgender Experience (hosted by OnebyOne)
  • Who Will Lead After You? A Guide to Effective Succession Planning (hosted by Vanderbloemen Search Group)
  • Women Teaching Elders and Candidates (hosted by the EPC Office of the General Assembly)
  • World Outreach Needs Business Professionals (hosted by EPC World Outreach)

Friday, June 23

  • Clerks of Session (hosted by the EPC Presbytery of the Pacific)
  • Coaching Church Revitalization (hosted by the EPC GO Center)
  • Come to The Well: Women’s Ministries Resources (hosted by the EPC Women’s Resource Council)
  • Engaging Muslim Communities for Christ Through Literacy (hosted by Literacy and Evangelism International)
  • EPC Benefits “Lunch and Learn: Retirement Plan Changes” (hosted by EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.)
  • Growing Your Church Through Small Groups (hosted by Hope Church, Richmond, Va.)
  • How to Lead Your Team to Fulfill Your Church’s Vision (hosted by Vanderbloemen Search Group)
  • Leaders of Small Churches (hosted by the EPC Z–4:10 Network)
  • Sending Our EPC Sons and Daughters (hosted by EPC World Outreach)

GA World Outreach Dinner features missionary widowed by al Qaeda

 

WeDiedBeforeWeGotHereEmily Foreman, author of We Died Before We Came Here, is the featured guest speaker at this year’s World Outreach Dinner in conjunction with the 37th General Assembly. The dinner and program will be held on Tuesday, June 20, at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, Calif.

Foreman—which is a pseudonym due to security concerns—is a YWAM missionary in a Muslim country in North Africa where Christianity is illegal. Her husband was assassinated by Al Qaeda there, leaving her widowed with four children. She has since remarried and returned to North Africa with her family to reach Muslims for Christ, in addition to inspiring Christians across North America to see the Muslim world through a lens of faith.

Click here to listen to a 2016 interview with Foreman conducted by American Family Radio.

For more information about the 37th General Assembly, see www.epc.org/ga2017. For details about the World Outreach Dinner, contact Erin Rhoden, World Outreach Assistant, at erin.rhoden@epc.org or 407-930-4313.

EPC Home Missionary John Bueno releases Spring 2017 newsletter

 

LatinsUnitedSpring2017John Bueno, EPC Home Missionary serving with Latins United Christian Ministries (LUCM), invites you to read his Spring 2017 newsletter, in which he discusses the overwhelming need in Uganda. The Moyo district of northern Uganda has seen an influx of more than 150,000 refugees from the Kajo Keji region of South Sudan, and refugees now outnumber the native population.

Bueno also highlights recent ministry efforts in Mexico and Columbia, as well as a church plant in the Hispanic community of Bellevue, Neb., in partnership with Avery Presbyterian Church.

Click here to download the Spring 2017 edition in pdf format.

For more information about LUCM, contact Bueno at john.bueno@epc.org or 402-350-3815.

April Jeremiah Journal introduces proposed EPC funding change

 

In the April edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah introduces a proposal from the National Leadership Team to change the funding model for the Office of the General Assembly.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPConnection and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here.

March Jeremiah Journal highlights upcoming 37th General Assembly

 

In the March edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah discusses some highlights of the upcoming 37th General Assembly in June, including the Leadership Institute, worship service speakers, church business items, and more.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPNews and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here.

Andrew Brunson the subject of February Jeremiah Journal

 

In the February edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah talks about Andrew Brunson, EPC teaching elder detained in Turkey since last October, and efforts undertaken to gain his release.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPNews and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

January Jeremiah Journal discusses 2016 EPC budget allocation

 

In the January edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah discusses how the 2016 EPC budget was allocated between the four Strategic Initiatives (Global Movement, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, and Effective Biblical Leadership) and a fifth category, “protecting the EPC.”

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPNews and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

November Jeremiah Journal explains Strategic Initiatives funding

 

In the November edition of The Jeremiah Journal, Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah discusses how the four Strategic Initiatives (Global Movement, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, and Effective Biblical Leadership) have been funded since 2014.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPNews and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Three INPM presbyteries seek church planting partners

 

mexicopresbyterymap

The EPC and National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INPM) ratified a fraternal relationship on September 8 that focuses on church planting in both countries. In October, the EPC was notified that three INPM presbyteries are ready to initiate a relationship with EPC presbyteries:

  • The Presbytery of de la Chontalpa, located in the state of Tabasco in southeast Mexico. This presbytery was organized in March 2016.
  • The Presbytery of de la Riviera Maya in the state of Quintana Roo. It is centered in Cancun, in southeast Mexico.
  • The Presbytery of the State of Morelos, located in south-central Mexico.

Adolfo Arias Job, INPM Executive Secretary, said the three presbyteries present unique church planting opportunities.

“The presbyteries of Chontalpa and Morelos are located in rural zones that are very needy,” he said, “and the Riviera Maya presbytery is in a tourist zone. For these reasons, we have given them all the freedom to evaluate and choose with which presbytery they would like to work in the EPC.”

EPC presbyteries and churches interested in pursuing a relationship with one of these INPM presbyteries should contact EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah at jeff.jeremiah@epc.org.

October Jeremiah Journal explains OGA budget

 

In the October edition of The Jeremiah Journal, Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah explains how the budget for the Office of the General Assembly is funded and describes the leadership approach to some items in the budget.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPNews and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

EPC ministry committees discuss potential of Next Generation Council

 

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The EPC Student and College Ministries Committee and the Christian Education and Communications Committee are holding joint meetings October 28-29 in Orlando to begin discussions about a future Next Generation Ministry Council. The 2016 General Assembly approved a proposal from the National Leadership Team that the two permanent committees combine to form the new council to take effect July 1, 2017.

Discussion centered on developing appropriate Next Generation Ministry vision, mission, strategy, and structures aligned with the strategic initiatives of the General Assembly. The strategic initiatives are global movement, church planting, church revitalization, and effective biblical leadership.

EPC seeking applicants for Assistant Stated Clerk

 

Applications are now being received for Assistant Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). The Assistant Stated Clerk is a staff position appointed by the National Leadership Team. This servant leader reports to the EPC Stated Clerk, and serves a three-year term with the possibility of renewal.

The successful execution of this job will depend on initiating and maintaining relationships with the Stated Clerk, National Leadership Team, Office of the General Assembly staff, presbytery leadership, and EPC churches. The Assistant Stated Clerk is the Secretary of the EPC Corporation and will work out of the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando, Florida. EPC ordination is preferred but not required.

The person filling this position will succeed Ed McCallum, who has served in this capacity for 18 years. McCallum and his wife, Nan, were commissioned as World Outreach global workers through the International Theological Education Network (ITEN) at the 2016 General Assembly, and start their new ministry in July 2017.

An executive summary position description is available here. The Assistant Stated Clerk Search Team is taking applications through November 23, 2016. Applications and questions may be directed to Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk, at jeff.jeremiah@epc.org.