Gathering 2012 delegates communicated a number of issues requiring the Executive Board’s attention. The majority of our October board meetings were spent discussing those issues – establishing priorities and developing next steps to address them. We identified five key areas needing our attention: the National Office Review, budget sustainability, Stewardship Fund review, CCMBC program monitoring and measuring, and better communication.
1. National Office Review. Known popularly as the “Mochar Report,” the review was commissioned by the Executive Board (EB) in fall 2011 in order to better understand the relationships and systems related to the national office. The review focused on what the national office was doing (or not doing) well in its relationships with provincial conferences and churches, also highlighting internal challenges and obstacles (i.e., office systems and relationship structures, etc.). The following actions, based on Gathering 2012 requests, have been taken:
a) Gathering 2012 delegates made a request from the floor “to have the Board of Faith and Life (BFL) take the lead to discern the Prophetic Word from the Mochar Report.” The BFL and EB held a joint meeting to receive the BFL’s response and to dialogue together. (See “BFL Discernment Report” on page 10, or www.mbconf.ca.)
b) Gathering 2012 delegates voiced an interest in making the Review available to churches. A summary of the Review was sent to churches in October. Plans are underway for townhall-style meetings to foster understanding.
c) The EB is making further plans to address the recommendations provided in the report, and will continue to work on these in the coming months.
2. Budget Sustainability. Two items of clarity were requested: further information on budget sustainability – including the weight of allocation to ministries such as C2C, Leadership Development, and Communications – and a better understanding of the significant increase in the 2012–13 budget. The EB will review these issues in our upcoming January meetings and determine if adjustments are needed. Tied to this are new planning and budgeting processes, which will be put in place for 2013 and will enable us to present the 2014 budget at the 2013 study conference.
3. Stewardship Fund Review. Gathering 2012 delegates voiced a desire for a review of the Stewardship Fund particular to risk management, compliance, and governance. At the October board meeting, the EB commissioned a third-party accounting firm (KPMG)to perform a financial review, and the process is now underway. The EB will be monitoring progress at our next meeting in January.
4. CCMBC Program Monitoring and Measuring. Gathering 2012 delegates also expressed a need for better ways to monitor and measure major conference initiatives, such as leadership development, outreach initiatives, and provincial partnerships. The EB is committed to ensuring that all CCMBC initiatives are conducted in accordance with our Confession of Faith, denominational values, and ministry priorities. The EB has established a Measurements Committee to work with CCMBC staff to develop qualitative and quantitative indicators by which each ministry can be evaluated.
5. Better Communication. A communication plan is being developed and specific steps, including hiring an interim communications director and regularly providing board meeting updates to members via the Herald, are already being taken. Provincial moderators are also cooperating in this communication initiative by asking for provincial/regional meetings, where such information can be delivered and received in a more contextual and relational manner. By Dec. 1, three provinces will have had the opportunity to dialogue more fully on matters related to provincial-national partnerships and initiatives.
Between now and Gathering 2014, the EB will regularly report on how we are doing regarding these five issues. Some reports will simply provide a percentage of completion, while others will include significant information on specific items.
While we have developed initial next steps, much of our January board meetings will be spent drilling down further to produce a critical planning and decision path that we will complete for Gathering 2014. Your ongoing input will be invaluable in the development of this path.
The following represents some of the broader key learnings by the EB in this process:
• Provide more timely and wider communication from the Executive Board.
• Conduct proactive reviews of potential issues by the EB and BFL.
• Include BFL in meetings, such as the Moderators’ Summit.
• Collaborate with BFL members at EB table to identify issues requiring review by full BFL.
• Foster better understanding of how the constituency expects to process matters of this nature.
Bearing in mind that we’re early in the process and some dates have yet to be determined, this is what you will see in the Herald to keep you up to date. If we missed anything critical to our conversations at Gathering 2012, you are encouraged to forward those items to the board by January 10, 2013.
—Paul J. Loewen