Two churchwide initiatives would be launched under recommendations adopted Monday by the Committee on Congregational Vitality of the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
In two unanimous votes, the committee recommended the Assembly approve “Living Missionally” and “Educate a Child, Transform the World," two initiatives recommended by the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
“We want to inspire all Presbyterian congregations to reach out to their communities in service in the name of Christ,” said Roger Dermody, PMA deputy executive director.
“Some churches do more work inside the church than outside it— we want all Presbyterians to go beyond the steeple.”
Living Missionally is based on the conviction that doing mission is central to what it means to be church – that all individual members are equipped to be present with the love and grace of God in the world.
The initiative proposes a goal of engaging at least 1,000 congregations a year in "missional living" service, at home and around the world.
The “Educate a Child, Transform the World” initiative aims to improve education for one million children in the United States and around the world over the next four years. Transforming society by addressing “the root causes of poverty particularly as they impact woman and children” is a mission agency priority focus.
Syngman Rhee, moderator of the 212th General Assembly (2000) told the committee he was a product of mission education. “This initiative is critical to our mission partners around the world who want to educate their own, to build a strong foundation for the future for their churches.”
During Sunday's plenary, the Assembly learned that a $1.65 million gift was being given to the proposed efforts for the South Sudan piece of the Educate a Child, Transform the World initiative.
In endorsing “Educate a Child,” the committee recommended the Assembly direct “tangible metrics” be developed to determine success and impact, and to report back to the 222nd General Assembly (2016) —and to identify strategies for deeper engagement 2016-18, particularly on domestic work in this initiative.
Congregational Vitality also heard a progress report on a churchwide initiative to create 1,001 new worshiping communities by 2022, including that the Assembly encourage
- each mid council to sponsor a training or awareness event on 1001 new worshiping communities,
- each church session to pray daily at 10:02 a.m. the scripture passage from Luke 2:10 that asks God to send more workers into the harvest field, and
- each presbytery to start at least one new worshiping community within the next two years—recommending they watch a 1001 video at Presbytery meetings to discuss “How can we engage in ministry outside the walls of the church in our own context?”
“This 1001 movement is something the Holy Spirit is doing throughout the world,” said Teaching Elder Jeff Richie from the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee.
Since the 1001 initiative was launched in 2012, 248 worshiping communities have been created -- nearly half “are racial-ethnic, new immigrant, or multicultural,” said PMA 1001 associate Vera White.