Recommendations of the Task Force on Identity, Purpose, and Organization (IPO)
The Provincial Synod of 2010 called for the formation of a commission to study the structure of the Northern Province and report back with recommendations to come before the 2014 Provincial Synod. In tasking the commission, the Provincial Elders’ Conference (PEC) interpreted and broadened the original mandate to focus on structure as one piece of the Province’s larger identity, purpose, and organization. This broader focus allowed the commission to think beyond simply reduction to facilitate cost savings. Instead, the recommendations outlined in this report reflect changes the commission believes will help to reshape our structure to more effectively and efficiently support ministry being done by congregations across the province. Additionally, recommendations are made regarding new ministry opportunities that can help us to more firmly claim our identity as people whose love for Christ sends us out in service to the world.
The commission completed its work during the inter-synodal period through six face to face meetings, and ongoing electronic communication and conference calls. The work of the commission began as conversations with stakeholders and a study of our history to facilitate deep reflection on our culture and identity as the Moravian Church Northern Province (MCNP). It became increasingly clear over time that a significant challenge facing the MCNP was the need to undergo a larger cultural shift, to help us take on a structure matching our identity as we claim our unique call to be a part of God’s mission in the world.
To help maintain focus on this larger goal throughout the process, the commission took on the name of the IPO (Identity, Purpose, Organization) task force. While organization and structure are not the only keys to cultivating a change in culture, we understand the important ways in which structure can be best organized to support the ministry of the MCNP. Therefore, the IPO task force is proposing a number of important structural changes in how the Province is organized, governed, and staffed. These include:
- Holding regular non-legislative conferences organized provincially or regionally
- Continuing quadrennial provincial synods with a revised, less costly, process of representation
- Forming a newly constituted and expanded PEC elected by regions, and re-commissioning the PEC president as the Presiding Elder
- Employing a chief operating officer for administrative oversight
- Employing staff persons for key ministry roles who partner with congregations to encourage and empower ministry engagement in their local contexts
- Eliminating district level governance, executive boards, staffing and programmatic structures
- Strengthening the provincial committee on nominations
- Amending the Book of Order as needed to accommodate these recommendations
Just as faith without works is dead, structural change without cultural change is dead. Four particular areas have been identified, which are reported here as “adaptive challenges”. A variety of possible experiments in these areas to cultivate a culture of empowered local and collectively owned Provincial ministry are outlined in the report. These areas are: Identity, Connectivity, Leadership and Call, and Congregations in Context.
May our love for Jesus and the power and presence of his Spirit in our midst guide us as we mutually discern how to live into the future God has for us as the MCNP.
To read the full report: IPO report.
To Review the Fifth and Final Partial Report from the Committee on Identity, Purpose and Organization: NP 2014 synod resolution IPO.