Chapter 8: Appraisal of a Planning Process - Glasgow Presbytery


Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted(Henshaw, 2006, p. 55).[1] 


Introduction

In this chapter, consideration will be given to the use of statistical data gathered both locally and nationally, for the purpose of regional church planning.  In particular, the case of how Glasgow Presbytery utilised quantitative data during the years 2012 and 2013 for the creation of a Presbytery Plan, will be examined.  This example provides an excellent illustration of both the strengths and weaknesses of choosing this method and approach to church planning, which is based largely on quantitative data and, to a lesser extent, qualitative data, transformed or translated for quantitative analysis and use.


The process used and the decisions eventually taken by Glasgow Presbytery were directly shaped by a set of guidelines, both legislative and advisory, which were established by the national Church of Scotland prior to Glasgow Presbytery beginning its work.  In particular, Act iv 1984 of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, provided a regulatory framework for filling vacancies where, as part of those regulations, there is a key role played by the central church administration in permission giving for presbyteries to enact their decision to fill a particular vacancy or post. 


An overview of the nature of the permission giving and how presbytery planning has over the years changed will be helpful as a context and backdrop to the discussion.  Set out below is a synopsis of the recent historical developments indicating how the courts and administration of the Church of Scotland have been involved in guiding and directing the planning process for presbyteries.


Modern History of Presbytery Planning in the Church of Scotland

In the report to the General Assembly of 1983, the Committee on Union and Readjustments highlighted what it considered good practice by presbyteries in preparing ten-year plans, which took seriously the limited national resources available to it in terms of available ministers.  The context was that of a shrinking church with the need to rationalise church plant and to create parishes which have the potential to be both sustainable and effective.


The object of Presbytery Plans was then to ‘create charges with sufficient potential in people, money and buildings to maintain the witness of the Church throughout the country.’[2]  The number of ministries available to each presbytery was advised by the central committee.  There had been discussion and debate, as early as the 1978 General Assembly, about whether this kind of interference by an assembly committee on the judgement of presbyteries was justifiable.  The issue was finally settled in 1981 when an Act of the General Assembly came into effect to give the committee power to raise the question of readjustment with presbyteries.


By 1984, the projected number of available ministers over the next decade prompted a significant revision of the quota given to presbyteries.  The report states that


In light of the continuing trend of declining ministerial manpower it would be necessary to base their calculation on a 10% reduction in the number of charges throughout the church by 1993; the 1982 figure being 1480 and the figure to be achieved by 1993-1327.  Figures were submitted to presbyteries reflecting this kind of proportional reduction[3]


The process of rationalisation, although notionally set within a context of resource sustainability, was always framed within the over-arching vision of the Church of Scotland’s self-imposed obligation to provide a parish ministry throughout Scotland, as detailed in Article III of the Articles Declaratory in the Church of Scotland’s constitution (Cox, 1976).  In the 1980s the aim of the committee was to


encourage readjustment in an orderly way so that there can be created parish units which follow logical and natural bounds and which are within the compass of a minister to perform his duties.[4]


The tenor of General Assembly reports of this period indicated the desirability of presbyteries towards making plans and of the willingness of the central committee to aid and assist presbyteries in the formulation of such plans.  However, it is evident in follow up reports that, whilst some presbyteries were actively working on producing detailed future plans, others were not so forthcoming. 


At the beginning of 1990, there was a major reorganisation of the Church of Scotland committee structure.  One result of the change was that the Union and Readjustments Committee was placed within the new Board of National Mission; this new location for its work meant that a priority of mission was clear and to help create a more positive tone for the work of the committee it was renamed as the Parish Re-Appraisal Committee.


In 1990 the newly formed General Assembly Board of National Mission sent out an instruction to presbyteries that they should conduct a review and directed presbyteries to give careful consideration to population and other changes locally which might affect how mission was to be carried out in the presbytery area.[5]


The Board of National Mission, setting out its aims, included,


A belief in the need for reappraisal that in our generation we might marshal our God-given resources for the mission of the Church.[6]


However, it was obvious that to assuage fears of how this work might be undertaken; there was a clear statement given in 1992 that reappraisal would not be carried out as a statistical exercise.  This was to negate the expressed fear that a population based numerical exercise would concentrate ministers in the more populated areas of Scotland.  Indeed, the Board, for its part, saw the need to facilitate the continued aspiration of the national church whereby there would be


a fair distribution (of ministers) throughout the land.[7]  


This statement was being made as it was also becoming clear that there was a likely shortfall in the number of available ministers in the years ahead.  Indeed, throughout the 1980s ministerial shortage was a recurrent theme. However, things were to change focus as the General Assembly was alerted to another looming crisis, this time financial.  The question now facing the Church of Scotland - could it afford to pay for the ministers it already had?


The report of 1993 contains the assessment that,


The crisis of the Church in the 1980s was an insufficient number of ministers; the crisis of the church in the 1990s is insufficient money to pay the number of ministers required.[8] 


This new landscape prompted a new and tougher approach by the committee – now instruction was given that presbytery plans should be examined, the concern being that where they already existed these may be outdated and not suitable for the new challenges being faced.  It was now proposed that another set of statistics should be considered in the planning process, that of financial stability and related to that the issue of necessary buildings (too many buildings presumably would mean further financial drains on congregations).[9]


As might have been anticipated, the 1995 General Assembly report provided a new set of guidelines and principles upon which presbyteries were obliged to base their plans.  It might be noted at this stage that presbyteries had not yet been issued with a direct instruction to produce a Presbytery Plan, given that it was not yet a legal requirement. However, the committee was obviously committed to pushing presbyteries towards that end.


In 1998 it was reported to the General Assembly that presbytery planning, as a tool, had been ‘highly successful’.[10]   The ongoing work of the Committee on Parish Reappraisal was now strengthened by an Act of the 1998 General Assembly which made it mandatory that presbyteries prepare a Presbytery Plan.[11]


The use of governmental census data as part of the presbytery planning process took a step forward when, in 2001, the General Assembly approved the creation of a ‘Statistics for Mission’ group.  This group was tasked with providing accurate population statistics for presbyteries so that parish reappraisal decisions might be based on information which would become available from the 2001 census.


At this time, the Board of National Mission also produced a report entitled ‘Responding to Change’.  Societal changes were affecting the Church of Scotland in a number of ways, not least in declining membership.[12]  In this context, it became more obvious that numerical data would play a key role in the further determination of how decline would be managed.  However, there was caution in the assembly reports around concerns about decisions being primarily data driven.  For example, a remit was given to the Board of National Mission by the 2001 General Assembly to draw up guidelines which would take into consideration the size of a charge; however, in 2002, the response in the report indicated that it regarded this as unworkable, preferring to remain with the present system.  They stated that,


The committee believes that the way in which it currently works using Presbytery Planning, Reappraisal Congregational Survey forms, visits where required, with a sensitivity to local issuesleads to the fairest possible distribution of ministers.[13]


However factual, numerical data cannot be ignored; in the General Assembly of 2003, there was a report presented by the Board of National Mission ‘Towards a National Plan’ which was in response to the strategic deployment of ministers arising out of ministerial shortage.  It was noted in the report that the number of vacancies had risen from 71 in 1991 to 163 in 2002.[14]   The solution proposed was to balance the number of charges with the number of ministers available.[15]


The totality of ministry was only one component of the calculation required since the Church of Scotland also sought to have ministry distributed in a fair manner across the country; a formula was devised to achieve this particular aim.   Presbyteries were given an allocation of ministers based on factors such as congregational figures for church membership and adherents.  The calculation also factored in overall parish population, using figures provided by the Statistics for Mission project, making adjustments for geography and poverty.[16]


Whilst global numbers were submitted to presbyteries by the central committee; it still lay with each presbytery to decide, using their own local calculations and information, where that ministry should be deployed.


To this point in time, the main focus for presbytery planning was in deciding where and how to engage full-time ministers of the Church of Scotland.  A major change to this pattern came in the wake of the General Assembly of 2010 where the Ministries Council formally reported to the Church of Scotland a financial crisis whereby the Ministries Council faced a £5.7 million deficit in its budget which could not be sustained.  The solution is very simply stated,


The only way a serious difference can be made to the deficit is by reducing the amount of money spent on paid ministries.[17]


The solution proposed was set out in a document entitled ‘20:20 Vision – Building for Sustainable Future Patterns and Ministries, Finance and Presbytery Planning’.  A number of key strands run through the document. First of all, there is a clear priority to be given to ‘the poor’.


In giving priority to the poorest in our country, the Priority Areas Action Plan (1.3)[18] represents the Council’s vision towards a more just and equitable society in the decade ahead.[19]  


The rhetoric of the document was that the intended cuts in ministry would give opportunity for growth.  This appeared to be growth in the type and variety of ministry positions and perhaps also growth in areas of partnership between and with other churches.  In seeking to reshape patterns of ministry, the Council also sought to put a Mission gloss on the presentation, pointing towards the potential for new emerging ministries as one possible alternative way forward.


Given the financial nature at the genesis of this particular process of presbytery planning, the Ministries Council noted that what can be afforded by the church was one thousand full-time equivalent posts (FTE).[20]  The obvious stated route towards achieving this scale of reduction was the presbytery planning process.[21]


The 1000 FTE ministries were allocated across presbyteries on an equitable basis according to the National Guideline for the Deployment of Ministries approved by the General Assembly in 2005.  Each presbytery was allocated a percentage of the total ministries available to the Church, taking into account population, poverty and geography (albeit with a small adjustment to include provision for the Presbytery of England as well as a contingency figure which could be used where a special case was made for additional resources).[22]


‘Planning with purpose’ was a key theme and it was envisaged that presbyteries would approach the task of planning by considering each charge under the headings of Vision, Audit and Objectives.  It was consideration of these elements which were to guide presbytery.[23]  Whilst it was noted that the results of the 2011 census, when published, may potentially have changed the initial calculation for ministry distribution, in the meantime Presbyteries’ plans were drawn up, using earlier census and population figures.[24]


In the 2010 reports to the General Assembly, Glasgow Presbytery was allocated 12.24% of ministries which translated to 122.6 posts with 9 locums giving a total of 131.6 FTE posts, a reduction of 28 posts from the previous plan.[25]


When the 2011 Assembly considered the report ‘20:20 Vision’ it is of interest to note that the subtitle had now changed to ‘refocusing the Ministries of the Church on Mission’,[26] presumably indicating a desire to redirect focus from a financial to a missional imperative or possibly an attempt to ‘repackage’ the endeavour to be more palatable.  It is of interest to note that the 2011 report sought to provide a theological justification and rationale for the proposals being made.[27],[28],[29]   There was also an attempt to spiritualise the process by linking the human endeavour of statistical analysis with the sought guidance of the Holy Spirit, an association normally implicit in church process but felt necessary to be made explicit at this point.[30]


The methodology of the statistical calculation of ministries to Presbyteries is set out in the Assembly reports of 2011 page 4.27.  In general, ministries were allocated proportionally according to Church of Scotland population figures.[31]  Information derived from the 2001 census was used for this derivation of ministerial numbers assigned to Presbyteries.  The calculations initially made were further enhanced by using 2009 population estimates, with these mapped as near as possible to presbyteries.[32] 


‘Geography, after population, is the most significant factor in determining what percentage (of the ministries available to the church) each presbytery should be allocated,’[33]  though as we shall see in the exercise undertaken by Glasgow Presbytery, population was not taken to be the key factor in the local determination of ministry allocation.  What is significant for Glasgow Presbytery is that defined areas of concentrated urban poverty were ring-fenced and given a double weighting for ministry allocation by the Ministries Council.


In 2011 the population figures were recalculated with information from the latest (2009) population estimates.  This revision saw the weighted population for Glasgow Presbytery rise by 8,835 over the 2005 weighted population which resulted in a higher percentage of ministry allocation, and so a new allocation figure of 133.7 was calculated.[34]


Presbytery Planning in Glasgow Presbytery

The historical backdrop given above helps provide us with context and understanding as we turn to consider the particulars of the planning process undertaken by Glasgow Presbytery in the wake of the various decisions and calculations taken by General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.


In order to fulfil the requirements of producing an appropriate plan for ministerial deployment in the Glasgow Presbytery area, the presbytery decided, on the 14th September 2010, that the existing Strategy Advisory Group (STAG) should be tasked with reviewing the former presbytery plan with a view towards the implementation of the new guidelines and revised numbers set out by the General Assembly of 2010.  The STAG group was a committee of ministers and elders[35] which comprised, initially, key presbytery leaders; this was later widened to better represent viewpoints and knowledge from across the presbytery area.  It would also better reflect a balance between male and female members, minister and elder members, and give representation to key groups such as those within the priority areas.


 Given the size and complexity of Glasgow Presbytery, and the potential impact on the long-term life and witness of the Church of Scotland over such a highly populated area, it is perhaps surprising that the assigned group was made up of non-specialists in the area of organisational planning. Neither did they co-opt nor employ an experienced consultant to lead or advise on the processes chosen.[36]  What specialisms did exist within the group were either more general in nature or in a few cases related to profit organisations.  It is also of interest to note that at the outset there was a determination that meetings would be held during the working day which therefore effectively excluded elders and others in employment outwith the Church of Scotland.


The given framework for the STAG group was the set of guidelines presented by the Ministries Council along with the number of allocated FTE staff[37] for the presbytery. In October 2010 Glasgow Presbytery had 144 FTEs in post, comprising 109 ministers of Word and Sacrament, 1 interim minister, 1 New Charge Development minister and 33 Presbytery and Parish workers (PPWs). There were also 23 vacancies which meant a starting point of 167 FTE posts.  This number was to be reduced to a base number of 131.6 FTE posts.[38]  The total allocation of FTE posts was further subdivided into posts which could only be allocated to particular areas of poverty or Priority Areas (PAs) and Non Priority Areas (NPAs).[39]


The STAG group gave consideration to a number of methodological options in fulfilment of their task.  In order that the work would be as fair and as objective as possible, it was decided that use would be made of data coming from 4 distinct sources.

1.      Statistics coming from returns which are submitted annually by congregations to presbytery

2.      Statistics from congregations on church attendance and other local activities

3.      Statistics available or deduced from governmental bodies to provide parish population, measures of deprivation etc.

4.      Qualitative information arising from visitations made to each congregation


The Five Factors

The information gathered was constituted into five broad assessment factors. The factors were then given a weighting based on the felt preferences of members of presbytery via a crude scoring exercise where presbytery members were given 10 ‘points’ and asked to distribute these between the 5 factors as they saw to be appropriate, the aggregated total scores produced the eventual weighting.[40]  The objective was to use the factor score and weighting to produce an overall index score which would then be used by the group to ‘objectively’ compare congregations and to determine ministry allocation.

 

 

Graph 3: Weightings given to 5 Factors


It could be argued that any ideal of ‘objectivity’ had been lost at this first stage of working and instead replaced by a form of ‘democracy’.  Given that the weighting exercise happened at the outset of the process, then those who participated would not be aware of the overall effect of the decisions they took; nor was there any opportunity later in the process to correct any imbalance or unintended consequence.  The basis on which the weightings were given were, of course, personal to each participant and may have involved a number of presuppositions.  Clearly ‘Outward looking Focus’ was the primary concern being expressed and whilst it may have been noble to assign resources of personnel to congregations who already took seriously their missional role and were busy about that task in a number of ways, it did not necessarily give resources to these who were fruitful in that area of work or those who would have been fruitful given appropriate resources.  This will be examined later as Factor 5 is considered in detail. 


‘Parish Need’ was also weighted strongly by presbyters which, when taken together with the ‘Outward Looking Focus’ factor, accounted for almost half of the available score.  The large number of presbyters who ministered within urban priority areas or who have areas of concentrated poverty within their parish might have accounted for this emphasis.


Turning now to consider each of the five factors in more detail, presents an opportunity to highlight the strengths and difficulties associated with both the methodology and execution in concept and in detail.


Factor 1 – Parish Population


At the outset of the national process and discussion on presbytery planning, it was proposed that population would be the primary factor in the determination of placing ministry personnel.  As is evident from the graph above, within the Glasgow system of 5 weighted factors Population now accounts for only 15.5% of the final index scoring for the presbytery plan.


For the purposes of the planning process, the STAG group further decided to subdivide the population of each parish to represent various faith positions.  The main group of interest for scoring purposes was the ‘Church of Scotland’ population, by which is meant that proportion of the population which, according to the 2001 census, self-identified as having a belonging to the Church of Scotland.  In addition to those who positively identified as ‘Church of Scotland’ that section of the population which didn’t identify with either another Christian denomination or another faith group was counted to form a ‘Church of Scotland population’.  The Church of Scotland based its calculations, for ministry resource allocation, on this construct of the population figures.


However, Glasgow Presbytery decided to take a slightly different line from the national church, who based their resource allocation only on ‘Church of Scotland populations’ in that they also decided to take into consideration the populations belong to other denominations and other faiths since it was suggested that they too may access services and facilities of a local church and therefore generate a resource implication.  For the purposes of calculation weightings, presbyters gave a weighting of 1 to the Church of Scotland population figure, a weighting of 0.509 to the population of other Christian denominations and of 0.544 to those of other faith groups.  The method by which an eventual index score is calculated for each parish involves multiplying various weightings and components and creating a standardised index between 1 and 20.  The end figures are eventually used, along with other scores from other factors, to create a total score. 


The calculations carried out are comprehensive but are they necessary or equitable?  Congregations gaining from the original calculation are those which have a relatively high proportion of mainly Roman Catholic population or of other faith groups, which, in the context of Glasgow as a presbytery, often are in areas of greater parish need.  Conversely, parishes which lose out in this methodology are in the more affluent sections of the presbytery area. The graph below indicates the relationship between the Glasgow population figures and the eventual FTE ministry allocation score.  The correlation between population and FTE allocation is very weak with computed scores of r = 0.40 for non-priority area and r = 0.33 for priority areas.  The result, therefore, indicates a weak association between parish population and ministry allocation.


 

Graph 4: FTE allocation scores and population


There is, however, a more significant question and that is, should population be used to determine the allocation of ministry resources?  As previously encountered in the national strategy, population size is the main determinant of FTE post allocation to a presbytery area.  There is an assumption in the process, which is that a larger population requires more ministry.  Interestingly, in the case of this presbytery, when the total population for each parish is plotted against the total attendance gathered for each congregation then as Graph 5 highlights, there is no obvious relationship between the two factors.  Indeed, when correlation is computed, that is confirmed (r=0.07).  If an adjustment is made to only include the proportion of ‘Church of Scotland’ respondents the correlation is still negligible (r=0.11).  The actual computed ‘Glasgow Presbytery Population’ figures used in the production of the final index scores was once more not found to correlate with the congregation attendance figure (r=0.09).  

 


Graph 5: Total Parish Population plotted against Total Congregational Attendance 


Factor 2 – Parish Need


Within the vision of the Strategy Advisory group, there was a clear statement of the centrality of supporting congregations ministering within areas of deprivation in that it,


Affirms that the gospel imperative is giving priority to the poor and actively supports marginal communities where churches are perhaps fragile and small.[41]


The Church of Scotland, nationally, had previously decided that areas of particular poverty as defined by the priority areas list, which it revised and published periodically within the reports of the General Assembly, should be given special attention; in the case of Glasgow Presbytery, 59.6 FTE posts had been ring-fenced for such areas.  The planning process weighted ‘Parish Need’ as 21.4% of the eventual index scoring; this was deemed to be the second most important factor overall in the determination of ministry deployment and people resource allocation. 


 Parish Need, for the purposes of this process, was seen to be directly linked to the issues of deprivation as determined by governmental bodies; so, in order to determine the level of poverty of a parish area, information derived from the 2009 Scottish Index of multiple deprivation (SIMD) was utilised.   Since the SIMD data did not conform to parish boundaries, an exercise was carried out to map SIMD data zones as closely as possible to parish areas.  Where a data zone encompassed two or more parish areas, then an estimate was made of the population in each sub-area. 


The index figure for this factor came from a calculation which summed the population of the individual datazones and used that figure to divide the sum of datazone population multiplied by the SIMD rank.  The result of this calculation was a derived ‘parish SIMD rank 2009’.  This computed figure was standardised using a scoring system similar to Population to give an outcome of 1 to 20, which was then multiplied by the presbytery weighting to give a weighted score, which was used in the final calculation for ministry allocation.


It is of interest to note that the correlation between Parish Need as defined by the SIMD (2009) rank score and FTE allocation is very weak with computed scores of r = -0.15 for non-priority area and r = -0.05 for priority areas.  In the scattergram below the effect of the ring fenced, enhanced FTE allocation figure for priority areas is clearly seen but although the presbytery wanted poverty issues to relate strongly to the allocation of ministerial resources there is, in fact, no discernible direct relationship.

 


 

Graph 6: SIMD rank and ministry allocation

 

Factor 3 – Congregational Size and Strength

 

In any strategic planning exercise, it is crucial to identify the present situation.  In the case of Glasgow Presbytery, an assessment of the current strength or weakness of existing local congregations was considered important.  The data to calculate this factor was collected from a number of different sources: self-reported annual statistics submitted to central church administrators; official financial statistics also held centrally; and to gain additional insight, a special church attendance census was organised for two specific Sundays.[42]     


The data gathered from all sources was used to construct a set of six sub factors, each given a weighting, decided upon by an aggregation of votes cast by presbyters.  The resultant weighted index score was used towards the final calculation for FTE deployment.


The six sub factors used were:

1.      Number attending principle service(s) of worship (weighting 0.19)

2.      Average age of the number attending principle service(s) of worship (weighting 0.208)

3.      % of those who attend a secondary service of worship (weighting 0.161)

4.      Average giving (£) (weighting 0.155)

5.      Rate of Growth in income (%) (weighting 0.095)

6.      Rate of Growth in membership (%) (weighting 0.19)


 

Graph 7: Pie chart of factors with Congregational size and strength

 

Sub Factor 1 - Number Attending Principle Service(s) of Worship


Clearly vibrant and fruitful congregations are evidenced, in part, by the number of people who attend one or more worship services.  This is often a key statistic which might reasonably drive the placement of ministers of Word and Sacrament and other congregation facing employees.  Other workload considerations for a post of this type might be related to statistics detailing other weekday opportunities for worship or bible study.[43]  On its own, the item, ‘number attending principle service(s) of worship’ accounts only for only 3.4% of the final score in this planning process.[44]


In the presbytery census exercise, congregations were asked to indicate demographic details of the congregation by listing numbers of individuals within age categories.  The actual process of data collection was left to the discretion of the local congregation.  In some cases, this would mean local church representatives effectively guessing the age of those present.  Since the attendance census took place over only two Sundays, there existed the possibility that those services may have been atypical (for example a baptism or communion service taking place giving an unusually high or low number). To account for this possibility, congregations were invited to indicate any unusual circumstances.    A number of congregations did specify where a service with abnormal numbers took place; however, it was suspected by the advisory group that some congregations did not make this clear.  The extent of any misreporting was not investigated, leaving a serious question concerning not only this single item but other calculations within the factor where the attendance figure was also used.  The extent to which a potentially unreliable figure was used, is a significant concern.


As is noted in the statistical auditor’s report,[45] the distribution of data for this item was highly skewed.



Graph 8: Frequency table of Congregation attendance numbers


We can see in the graph above two outliers, the data for these reference two nonstandard parish church situations.  The most significant outlier is known to be a gathered congregation, drawn from a much wider area than the local parish, which comes together to hear a prominent preacher of a particular style.  Since this ‘preaching station’ church is not of the same type as other congregations, it might be asked whether it was correct to include it in the data, since its inclusion in the dataset significantly distorted the range and therefore the eventual index figures.  The second noted outlier is where the attendance figure relates to a church which had multiple congregations operating under a single leadership structure.  This multiple figure refers to services in two distinct locations.  There were other congregations which operate under a linkage model where the attendance figures (and all other figures) were separated, so it might, therefore, be asked whether there would have been some value in separating out the two congregational numbers.


Sub Factor 2 - Average Age of the Number Attending Principle Service(s) of Worship


Data was collected on numbers within specific age groupings, i.e. under 16, 16-25, 26-40, 41-65, 66-80, 81-100 and 100+.  No reason was given why these particular age bands were chosen.  It may be that the age groups correspond to the category of ‘children’, ‘young adult’, ‘young adult (of child rearing age?’), ‘middle age’, ‘retired’, ‘elderly’ and ‘centenarian’ (although why data would be specifically collected on people over 100 years of age attending worship is difficult to imagine (only 5 people of that age group was recorded across the presbytery).[46]


The number within each age category was used to determine the average age of the congregation.  The average age statistic does, however, suffer from some significant issues; it must be noted that the average is calculated from taking the midpoint of the age categories since specific discrete data relative to individuals was not collected by congregations.  Had this been the case, then it would have given a more detailed picture.  However, even with more detailed information, the mean is not likely to produce the most useful information since the main groupings of people attending church are those within the child or elderly categories; instead, the median would have been the most appropriate measure.  A population median still does not take into account the fact that for many, if not most churches, the majority of children and youth are unlikely to transition to adult attendance and so it would be better to treat child and adult data separately.


There is also the larger question of the relationship between a healthy church and average age.  Since it is unlikely that any congregation is near saturation point with any particular age group and therefore has the potential for further growth, in that age category and others, then from a mission point of view the scoring system employed by STAG appears to be simply discriminating against those congregations who naturally attract a greater proportion of older people.  This is emphasised by the fact that this item is given a larger weighting than the number attending the principle service of worship.


Additionally, there is an argument that the older the congregation the more likely the need for a pastoral member of staff, since age generates a particular pastoral workload including hospital visits, care home visits, members ill at home, support for those with dementia and other age-related diseases and of course higher average age would indicate a higher rate of funerals.


Sub Factor 3 - % of Those Who Attend a Secondary Service of Worship


The reference in this factor to a second service of worship covers a number of different types of gathering including a Sunday evening service, a midweek service, a bible study or house groups, among others.  The data for this item shows significant divergence between congregations with some having no opportunities for such gatherings and hence being assessed as 0% and those with multiple groups, with percentages being assessed as greater than 100%.  The percentage is derived against the number of adults who attended the principle service of worship.  There is no mechanism to discern where the same people attended a variety of different groups and therefore the final number is simply a reflection of the total number of attendances rather than attenders.


This item highlights activity levels in a congregation both perhaps, as a reflection of the number of groups which are available, as well as the totality of participation.  The purpose of expressing the relationship with the primary service of worship is simply to provide a reference of scale which can be used as a comparison with other congregations.  In many cases, this kind of comparison is unlikely to be appropriate, for example when comparing very small and very large congregations.


A question may be posed about whether this item gives a clear indication of resource allocation since it may be that in certain churches the level of present activity is simply a reflection of current resourcing, including present staffing numbers, and does not necessarily indicate whether this could be maintained under a different resource allocation or staffing regime.


Sub Factor 4 - Average Giving (£)


In this section of congregational size and strength, one item of financial data is now considered.  It should be noted that under Factor 4, considered later, finance is further assessed following the guideline of the Ministries Council to give consideration to financial sustainability.  The question might, therefore, be asked why part of the data is included in this section.  One answer might be related to the Strategy Advisory Group’s decision to give consideration to relative, as well as absolute giving and the decision to incorporate per capita giving figures into their calculation scheme.


Average giving was calculated using total offerings from 2009 and dividing that figure by the adult attendance figure obtained two years later.  An assumption being made in this calculation was that the 2009 offerings were representative of, and normal for, the present congregation.  Had any major changes taken place during the intervening time then the link would not be valid.   Validity may also be considered in relation to the adult attendance and the total offerings, since in congregations with large housebound numbers, a significant proportion of the offering may, in fact, come from those not present at Sunday worship.


Sub Factor 5 - Rate of Growth in Income (%)


In deciding to determine a rate of growth in income, the strategy group did not use, as its yardstick, the actual income of a congregation, but a derived income base figure from ministry and stewardship, which was used to calculate ministry and mission allocations.  The year 2005 is used as a comparison year against which the next 5 following years were compared.  The resultant comparison gave the committee their rate of growth figure.


There are some difficulties in using this analysis; not least is having a single year as a reference point.  If there was recorded an exceptionally poor figure for 2005, then the % increase might be substantial even though that year was an outlier.  The chart below illustrates this point from the dataset.


 

Graph 9: Percentage increase in income for Congregation A


Secondly, using percentage as the determinant of score magnifies the effect of changes, whether positive or negative, in congregations with small income base figures. 


Sub Factor 6 - Rate of Growth in Membership (%)


Although given the title ‘Rate of Growth in Membership’, this item did not directly reference the membership information of congregations except in as much as it relates to one sub item of membership change which is ‘profession of faith.[47]  The calculation carried out here saw the adult attendance figure, given for the principle service of worship, being used as a proxy for the official membership figure.   Against the attendance figure is set the number of professions of faith, recorded over a five-year period to give a percentage for growth.  


The strategy committee did have access to the annual statistics submitted by congregations and therefore would know current and historic church membership along with information relating to profession of faith as well as the other modes by which membership can increase.  This would include transference certificates (from another congregation), resolution of the Kirk Session (often used when transfer is from another denomination) and restoration from the supplementary roll.  The official statistics also give information where membership increase was from union with another congregation.


The usefulness of official church membership statistics as truly representing the strength of a particular congregation has been questioned by many within the Church of Scotland.  This concern undoubtedly led the committee to disregard that particular statistic.[48]  However, even if attendance was used as a form of membership proxy, it is not clear why the other pathways into church membership were not added to the number of professions of faith to gain a clearer overall view of the recent increase in the number of people joining.  It may have been helpful also to gain an insight into the retention rates, or at least attendance rates of those who join congregations by profession of faith, to avoid the problem of people joining but not actively participating in the worship and mission of the congregation.


As previously cautioned, using a percentage figure when some of the numbers involved were very small, gave the potential for large percentage figures which, when then used as a comparison with other congregations, can be wholly misleading.  For example, church A with 6 professions of faith with an attendance of 26, registers a 25% rate of growth. Church B has 62 professions, but with an attendance recorded at 256, is given a rate of growth of 26%.  In terms of ministerial resources Church B has many more people to look after than church A, whilst the scoring system employed would, on this factor, make virtually no distinction between them.

 

In addition, the indexing system is prone to distortion due to the outliers in the data which varies between 0% and 100%.  The indexing is therefore heavily skewed (Graph 10);

 


Graph 10: Frequency table for index score and % rate of growth


Factor 4 – Ministries and Mission Contributions

One of the primary drivers behind presbytery planning in the 21st century was that of finance.  It was estimated that the national budget deficit for ministries in 2010 would be £5.7 million.[49]   This deficit, along with other national financial constraints, was highlighted to representatives of the Strategy Advisory Group at a consultation day with Ministries Council.[50]   It is therefore not surprising to discover that financial sustainability should be a major factor when determination of future ministries was considered.  In the model used by Glasgow Presbytery, Finance was given the second lowest weighting and therefore was not as significant a factor as might be imagined. 

 

The Presbytery Strategy Advisory Group decided not to take a simplistic view of financial sustainability where congregations who could presently financially support one or more FTE ministries were given preferential treatment in the planning process.  Instead, it was agreed that a range of financial indicators would be part of the scoring exercise.  As previously discussed, Factor 3 contains within its calculations various financial data - why all the financial information is not contained within a single factor is unknown.

 

A particular issue faced by Glasgow Presbytery in taking Finance into consideration was that, as a group, priority area churches were guaranteed 59.6 FTE posts, although they were financially unable to fully fund these positions, which meant that the remaining 71.1 FTE posts required to be spread among all the remaining non-priority area congregations.  It was reported that if 1FTE post were to be allocated to congregations who could fully meet the cost of a FTE worker, this would mean that 53 congregations would benefit leaving 18 FTE posts to be distributed between the remaining 45 non-priority area congregations.[51]  The Strategy Advisory Group made no special exceptions or preferences for congregations giving over any threshold, self-supporting or otherwise and treated all congregations in the same way.

 

The calculation for Factor 4 was centred around one measure of financial strength - the Ministries and Mission Contribution (M&M) made to the Church of Scotland.  The M&M figure is an amount requested from congregations, which is arrived at taking into consideration the level of income of the congregation, against which is set allowable deductions.  There is some complexity to the actual figure arrived at since it is subject to national scales and local moving average calculations.

 

For the purposes of the planning exercise, calculations were based on the average M&M contribution of a congregation over the period 2007 to 2009.  The resultant figure was then placed in a range and given a weighting (rounding up).  When the presbytery multiplier was then added a weighted score was produced.

 

The committee noted difficulties in collecting the necessary information due to the fact that whilst requested amounts of M&M figures were available, actual payments did not necessarily match for all congregations; indeed, a number of congregations defaulted in full or in part of the payments due.

 

This particular Factor, in contrast to the others in the presbytery scheme, has a general simplicity since it considers only one item, albeit averaged over a three-year period.  This approach attempts to circumvent the complexity of congregational finances and whilst it might be argued the M&M calculations take many local factors into consideration, it is none the less only a computed figure requested of a congregation and gives no indication of any additional financial power which congregations might have (for example where finance is exempted from M&M contributions because of ongoing special projects or ministry support payments).

 

Factor 5 – Outward Looking Focus

In guidance documents transmitted to the presbytery committee, it was made clear that ‘mission should be a first priority’ in the process of presbytery planning.[52]  This was also reflected in the substantial weighting which was given by the presbytery via the presbytery scoring exercise.  Mission is, however, a concept with wide divergence of practical meaning within the Church of Scotland and difficult to define in practical terms with any unanimity.

 

On engagement with the Church of Scotland, Mission and Discipleship Council (some members of STAG were members of the council), a variety of approaches and concepts were explored and collated in an ‘Outward Looking Focus paper.’[53]  The paper appears to draw its content from both church and secular approaches in assessment.  There also appear to be echoes of the seminal report Church without Walls (Church of Scotland Special Commission anent Review and Reform in the Church, 2001) behind some of the areas chosen to be assessed.

 

What was eventually produced was a set of qualitative statements covering eight ‘Aspects’ of mission which were scored and summed for insertion into the indexing spreadsheet.

 

The eight ‘Aspects’ drawn up for this factor were given the titles[54]

1.      The impact made on the local community through the Christian witness of organisations run by the Church

2.      The impact made on the community through the Christian witness of the individual Church members/ attendees

3.      The vision for, planning and delivery of outreach events and programmes

4.      The provision for welcoming newcomers

5.      The willingness of the congregation to change for the sake of others

6.      The sharing of the workload between paid staff and volunteers

7.      The priority given by the congregation to the most vulnerable in their communities

8.      The involvement and engagement with World Mission

 

To assess and to score these ‘aspects’ of outward looking focus, a congregational audit form was issued to each congregation for completion.  A team of trained facilitators visited the congregation to discuss with congregation representatives and to give scores for each of the ‘Aspects’ based on the submissions made and information presented.

 

The scoring system used was different from those used in previous factors since the data being assessed was qualitative in nature.  A scale was constructed which gave a list of statements indicative of increasing missional effectiveness.   For each aspect there were either four or five categories, each mission category being assigned a score between one and ten.  In aspects which had five subdivisions, there were, therefore, two possible points for each, when only four categories then the top category could be scored as an eight, nine or ten.  It is important to note at the outset of this discussion that scoring of this type produces an ordinal scale - that is a scale which gives an indication of rank.

 

Aspect 1: The impact made on the local community through the Christian witness of organisations run by the Church

There were four distinct points to be addressed:

1.       Who was being involved in church organisation and groups, whether congregational and/or community?

2.      The level of deliberate Christian witness aimed for in the groups or organisations

3.      The level and complexity of any church marketing strategy

4.      Whether and how feedback from the community is pursued in respect of future planning.

 

The visiting group was asked to score between 1 and 10 dependant on the answers given (Appendix 8: Presbytery Planning Forms and Questions).

 

Whilst the questions asked related to coverage, availability, advertising and community engagement with regards to church organisations; there is little evidence of trying to assess the ‘impact’ of the organisations themselves.  Evidence of impact might have come from data such as the raw number of attendees, proportion of the target group from the available population, numbers who attend multiple groups and correlation with Christian discipleship or engagement with Christian worship activities. 

 

The scoring on this aspect rewards church missional activity whether fruitful or not.  Scoring which looks to reward churches which are busy runs counter to the findings of the missional work of Robert Warren whose marks of a healthy church include ‘does a few things and does them well’ (Robert Warren, 2004).  Warren makes the point that healthy churches were ‘focused rather than frantic’ (Robert Warren, 2004, p. 44).

 

Aspect 2: The impact made on the community through the Christian witness of the individual Church members/ attendees

Here the assessment focuses on two areas

1.       The level of non-Christian contact by members and attendees of the congregation in the local community and local involvement

2.      The level or intensity of member and attenders in wider charity work or involvement in other Christian organisations

 

This second aspect is, like the first activity, based on looking at the activity levels of congregational members with reference to engagement with non-Christians in the community or through activity with more general charity, mission work or activity with organisations.  Alongside this is the question of how much of an encouragement for the task the church leadership is found to be.

 

The same general question relating to the concept of ‘impact’ would again be asked of this item.  There are other concerns which might be raised with this assessment, once again linked to the idea of ‘focused rather than frantic’, i.e. is it necessarily better to have a greater quantity of activity or indeed to have a smaller quantity but of higher quality?  In congregations with a higher proportion of elderly people or a congregation drawn largely from outside the local community (i.e. a gathered congregation), this aspect of assessment has the potential to unfairly penalise them.

 

Aspect 3: The vision for, planning and delivery of outreach events and programmes

This aspect seeks to assess

1.      The regularity of outreach events and/or programmes

2.      Intentionality of mission endeavour in the congregation

3.      The level of missional spirit or engagement in the congregation

 

In the ‘Outward looking Focus Paper’ presented to the Strategy Advisory Group the merits of having multiple entry points, through which the church could engage with the community, was highlighted.  Aspect 3, like aspect 1 and 2 before this has sought to characterise the busyness of the congregation as a predictor of how missional the church is – high score being awarded to congregations who already had the resources and the energy to engage in a multiplicity of activities. 

 

Once again there was no attempt to link the activities themselves with actual results.  The evaluations themselves fail to establish activity relevance, community impact and effectiveness, nor have they reported on any aspect of community satisfaction (albeit in Aspect 2 the activity of monitoring is included, but the results from such exercises are not reviewed).  There is no attempt to assess how the activities themselves have aided or furthered the vision or strategy of the local church.

 

Aspect 4: The provision for welcoming newcomers

The outward focus aspect of mission was concerned with the internal operation of welcome to church services.  The scoring for this Aspect sought to reflect the availability and complexity of the systems, both formal and informal, which operate to make people feel welcome.

 

Clearly having good and efficient systems is a benefit particularly to larger congregations; one must ask whether they would be as necessary in a smaller congregation or indeed in a close knit community where personal relationships already existed between regulars and visitors.

 

Aspect 5: The willingness of the congregation to change for the sake of others.

Questions in this area of evaluation relate to a willingness to accept a philosophy of change in church, along with evidence that change is an activity actively pursued in the congregation.

 

This aspect carries with it the implicit value that change, for the sake of others, is good and therefore beneficial.  Warren’s ‘Marks of a Healthy Church’ include ‘faces the cost of change and growth’(Robert Warren, 2004, p. 31), although he is clear that the kind of change under discussion is not organisational in nature (a change of church times, order of service or hymnbook) but a change of ‘norms, habits, skills, beliefs’.  

 

Aspects 4 and 5 deal with activities and issues within the church itself and one wonders whether they should be grouped together with the community focused activities of mission.

 

Aspect 6: Sharing of the workload between paid staff and volunteers

This section relates to the level of volunteering in the congregation and the level of responsibility (and autonomy) which volunteers have been given by the church leadership.  High levels of active participation can be an indicator of a healthy church (Robert Warren, 2004, p. 39).  However, Schwarz and others would argue that it is when volunteers are engaged in their particular area of spiritual giftedness, the church benefits most greatly (C. A. Schwarz, 1996, 2005, 2006).

 

There is also a particular danger, in the context of church decline, that in order to keep previous high levels of church activity going, more people are being engaged in activities to which they are not well suited or likely to sustain over a long period.  In this context, churches with the highest scores may, in fact, be those facing the greatest danger of volunteer burnout.

 

Aspect 7: The priority given by the congregation to the most vulnerable in their communities

In each subcategory for scoring, three areas of activity are identified; local, presbytery-wide and worldwide.  This question, therefore, is, in reality, three different questions, since there is no essential link between the three areas of activity mentioned.  The scoring moves from understanding (low score) to awareness, having some focus to evidence of engagement (high score).  Congregations with obvious and pressing needs around them might find this aspect, at the local level, fits more naturally with their circumstance and therefore ministry to the community.  Likewise, those congregations who have some individuals actively engaged in the work of presbytery or in national groups or charities will undoubtedly be able to relate to those areas and gain a benefit for their congregation.

 

Loving our neighbours, particularly those in need, near or far away, is a biblical prerogative and therefore a clear issue of Christian discipleship.  The question of whether this engagement fits with strategic planning for the presbytery in the allocation of resources is not necessarily clear.

 

Aspect 8: The involvement and engagement with World Mission

The final aspect within Outward Looking Focus is related to how congregations interact with overseas mission or world mission.   The interaction would range from receiving and disseminating information to personal engagement and support of missionaries. 

 

At a time when the Church of Scotland is less engaged in sending and supporting missionaries and also less active in the creation and support of church partnerships with missionaries, it seems a little out of place that this aspect should be given the same level of importance as some others within the Outward Looking Focus factor.  Indeed, to have such a wide ranging and divergent set of aspects in this factor given equal weight for the purpose of the calculations is surprising – especially in light of the decision to have weightings both between and within other factors.

 

Issues with Factor 5

The transition from qualitative information into quantitative data carries with it a number of dangers.  Ordinal data, such as the scoring system devised by the strategy group, does not naturally lend itself to normal arithmetical calculation since the score indicates rank and not a true number.  It has, however, been treated here, in that manner.

 

There is also a significant issue relating to variability between visiting groups.  A statistical analysis of the scoring by different groups indicated ‘very significant differences between the groups’.[55]  The lack of uniformity in the scoring process calls into question both the reliability and suitability of using this data without further investigation.

 

Discussion

Good and worthwhile planning processes in any organisation is vital for the well-being and goal fulfilment of that organisation.  The church is no different in this regard.  Indeed, some would go further to suggest that, given the eternal significance of its mission, it has a particular responsibility to carry out its missional task with great care and clarity of vision.

 

The process adopted by Glasgow Presbytery during the period 2011/12 was one which was heavily criticised by the local stakeholders to the extent that it did not find final approval from them and was ultimately rejected.  A later report reflecting on the negative outcome states,

 

There was general acceptance that there was disappointment that the planning process had come to an abrupt halt but it was recognised that this was largely due to the confusion over the use of percentages in the 1st Draft which had caused anxiety, discouragement and in some cases demoralisation for some within the presbytery.[56]

 

This evaluation clearly sees blame in the use of a detailed numerical approach to evaluation.  However, the roots of dissatisfaction go much deeper.  Given the widespread angst amongst ministers and congregations from other presbyteries using quite different approaches, it is likely that the attack on the novel and complicated system adopted by Glasgow Presbytery was as much a general hostility to planning itself, and the cuts in FTE, than simply the process employed.  This is not to say that there are no significant issues with the process; clearly, there are, and many of these have been highlighted in the discussion above.

 

There are questions which might be posed about this example of presbytery planning among them:

 

1.      Was there a clear understanding of the objective?

2.      Was a suitable methodology employed to reach the objective?

3.      Did the process have a firm theological foundation?

4.      Did it achieve what it set out to do?

 

Understanding the objective

 

The primary objective, which was given to the presbytery, was one which they could not alter -  they were to produce a plan for fewer paid ministries within the presbytery area.  The key driver for this objective was to maintain a particular understanding of the integrity of the 3rd article declaratory of the Church of Scotland which puts forward a vision to provide a parish system, throughout Scotland.  The reality of the declining number of ministers meant that, in order for the 3rd article declaratory to be effected, restrictions would need to be put in place via the presbytery planning system to distribute the available ministers throughout the country.  This over-riding national missional objective to have presence ministry throughout the nation was foundational to the whole enterprise. 

 

Once the numerical parameters were worked out and given to presbyteries,[57] other sub-objectives were introduced. Of particular significance for Glasgow Presbytery was that a fixed proportion of their ministry allocation required to be directed towards designated areas of priority.  Areas of priority were agreed by the General Assembly based on indicators for multiple deprivation.[58]  In addition to this fixed allocation, the Presbytery Strategy Committee, plus the presbytery as whole, decided to give advantageous weighting to other areas of relative poverty within the presbytery area.  This specific ‘bias to the poor’ focus was to be held in tension with another focus, that of financial sustainability.  The title of the original report, ‘20:20 Vision – Building for Sustainable Future Patterns and Ministries, Finance and Presbytery Planning’ suggested that this might be a major focus but the process adopted by Glasgow Presbytery did not put finance as an over-arching principle for ministry deployment. Indeed, the computed correlation coefficient (r) between the average Mission and Ministry contribution made by the congregations in non-priority areas and the eventual FTE revised ministry allocation is 0.58 (see graph below).  The relationship in priority areas is much weaker (correlation coefficient r = 0.19).  As the graph indicates, even congregations with six times more M&M contributions, were only likely to receive, at most, an additional 0.5 FTE worker.

 

Graph 11: Scattergram of M&M contribution and ministry allocation

 

As policy evolved nationally, so the objective of mission was raised together with the heading, ‘we need to prune in order to grow’.[59]  It might, therefore, be a reasonable assumption that church growth was to be a sub objective; however, there is little attempt to assess how much growth potential existed within congregations.  Neither is there any evidence of an attempt to quantify the impact of changing the ministry resources across the presbytery.

 

Like many organisations, the Church of Scotland has become adept at presentation and many aspects of the factors chosen highlight the importance of appearance.  What seems to be lacking overall, is any significant evaluation of performance as a key driver towards resource deployment. 

 

Was a suitable methodology employed to reach the objective(s)?

With regard to the primary objective to provide a roadmap towards restricting the number of FTE ministries in the presbytery, the report which was produced certainly meets that criteria, but it did so employing a system of calculations which was deeply flawed.   The issues of methodology are many and a number have been raised in relation to each factor within the general discussion.

 

A number of recurrent themes have been observed.  Firstly, there is a question about the particular data items gathered (and the data items which were ignored or rejected). Secondly, there is a question about how data was handled (particularly the repeated use of scaling and indexing), thirdly there are problems related to the deductions made from the results presented.

 

The data used

Sometimes less is more.  That statement points us towards the sheer volume of the data gathered.  While it might be tempting to suggest that the committee gathered every piece of information it could.  In reality, that was certainly not the case.  Statistics, regularly submitted by local congregations to the national church, were largely discarded in favour of alternative data which was hoped to be more diagnostic of the situation within individual congregations.  However, given that actual measures of ministerial workload (along with trends in workload) were available by looking at the actual numbers of weddings, funerals and baptisms over a period of time, then it is difficult to understand why those were neglected in an exercise of FTE ministerial resource allocation.  It was expressed in discussion with committee members that such figures were not used because there were concerns over reliability of the data. Reliability is, of course, a justifiable concern but, as has been noted above, the alternative data gathered also suffered at points from reliability issues.

 

The theology of the planning process

A number of theological issues arise in how the planning process was both conceived and executed. It is outside the scope of this chapter to attempt an analysis of theological justifications or rationale for what was done.  However, it should be noted that the strategy group did provide some theological background to how it was going about its task.  It did this by providing a set of reflections under three headings.

 

A.    New Testament Thoughts

B.     The Mission of the Church of Scotland Today

C.     The Five Factors

 

Section A highlights eight short texts which highlight the ministry of Jesus which is seen to have a particular ‘focus on reaching the sinful, marginalised and excluded.’  The primary principle for deployment of ministry is ‘a participation in the ministry of Jesus Christ’.[60]

 

The second aspect highlighted in this section is the role of God’s people in ministry, some of whom are financially supported by the Christian community for the tasks of mission.

 

Section B offers a statement by the General Assembly of 2010 affirming the missional understanding of the 3rd Article declaratory.[61]  This section is noted for its brevity and a few questions on mission and ministry to which no answers are offered.

 

Section C lists each of the 5 factors to be used in the planning process and in one or two sentences gives a statement of ‘strength’ and one of ‘weakness’ relating to the use of each.

 

The paper highlights for presbytery that the group had engaged in some form of theological reflection and offers this to members for their benefit.  Clearly, the offering is minimal in scope and has the appearance of attempting to give some general justification to a process which had already been decided and whose areas of focus had already been delineated at the national level.  Indeed, it had been stipulated that an acceptable presbytery plan was one which could demonstrably be aligned to the principles set out by the national committee in the 20:20 document and other guidance material provided to presbyteries.

 

The outcome of the process

At the presbytery meeting in early 2012, the STAG group convenor offered his resignation and the presbytery plan, as had been outlined and worked on over many months, came to a halt.  The presbytery was, however, still under an obligation from an instruction of the General Assembly, to draw up a suitable plan and within a short period of time another group was tasked to complete the process of planning but without recourse to the detailed computations of the exercise previously undertaken.  Clearly, the new group would require to draw on the knowledge gained from the previous exercise to make its recommendations and it did this in formulating another plan, which took cognisance of the previous data collected, but which did not use it in the complex number centred manner as previously attempted.

 

The decision, taken early on, to use an objective pseudo-scientific approach to the planning process of Glasgow Presbytery was a bold and radical step.  As highlighted, it was a task of complexity which was attempted with genuine motives but which ultimately was deficient in having the complete confidence of presbyters.  There are also many areas of concern which call into question the validity of the process as a whole, given the many defects in how data was handled and in particular, how the data was understood to relate to the task of resource deployment within a forward planning process.

 

In chapter eleven, dealing with conclusions and recommendations, a number of proposals relating to presbytery planning have been outlined, having come from the situation presented by Glasgow Presbytery.


Chapter 9



[1] From a sign that hung in the study of Albert Einstein

[2] 1983 Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland p190

[3] 1984 Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland p291

[4] 1989 Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland p272

[5] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1990 p267

[6] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1991 p330

[7] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1992 p261 2.7

[8] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1993 p367

[9] Ibid 1993 p367 2.7, 2.9

[10] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1998 17/20 3.11

[11] The presbytery plan was for the deployment of ministers spanning originally over a ten-year period.  In 2002 there is a change to have rolling five year plans.

[12]  Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2002 20/5 1.1.2

[13]  Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2002 20/31 3.1.8.2

[14] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2003 20/5 4.2.2

[15] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2003 20/5 4.2.2

[16] A statistical approach taken by the Church of England used to place clergy called ‘The Sheffield Formula’ was also highlighted as a tool for consideration. See Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2010 3/7

[17] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2010 3/7

[18] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2010 3/18 1.3

[19] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2010 3/3

[20]  Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 20103/8

[21]  Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 20103/24 1.4.2.3

[22]  Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 20103/25 1.4.3

[23] Vision – what does God want for this area?

Audit – a wholesale consideration of the church and its environment.  Strengths, opportunities as well as weaknesses and threats.  Church health is to be part of the assessment – particularly as it relates to mission

Objective Setting is key, congregations needing to have 5 or 6 SMART goals.  (Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2010 3/25 1.4.3)

[24] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 3/31 1.4.8

[25] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2010 3/26 Appendix 1

[26] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 20114/2 0.1

[27] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2011 4/3 0.2

[28] The report claims to come out of the thinking of Barth and the writings of Bosch on the church as part of the Missio Dei and also being a natural follow on to the ‘Church without Walls’ report of 2001

[29]  ‘Mission is not something that happens at the periphery of the church rather mission is the life of the church.  Mission is not something to which a few specialists are called, rather it is the core calling of every follower of Jesus’ (Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2011 4/4 0.3.4)

[30]  Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2011 4/26 1.3

[31] This figure is the population which the Church of Scotland has decided it is responsible for and therefore excludes those who claim allegiance to another faith or denomination.

[32] ‘Population is the primary factor in determining the number of ministries to which each Presbytery is entitled’ (Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2011 4/26 1.3.1.1.1)

[33]  Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2011 4/29 1.3.2.1.2

[34] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2011 4/34 Appendix 1

[35] The initial group comprised 12 ministers and 2 elders.  I elder being employed full time by Glasgow Presbytery and the other engaged widely in presbytery training.  Shortly afterwards additional elders and a deacon was added to the group.

[36] One elder in the process did have knowledge and experience of change management gained from working within financial institutions.

[37] FTE was now the preferred terminology since it included all paid ministries and was not restricted to ordained ministers of Word and Sacrament

[38] Unpublished committee minutes October 2010

[39] The eventual figure agreed with Ministries Council was 71.7 Non-Priority area FTE posts and 59.6 FTE posts for Priority areas.

[40] See Appendix 8: Presbytery Planning Forms and Questions

[41] Glasgow Presbytery Plan Project Briefing v1.1, February 22nd 2001. P13

[42] The dates for the census were the 3th of October 2011 and the 6th of November 2011.

[43] Where additional service existed, there is no note whether those in attendance were the same or a different group from the primary Sunday service. 

[44] It is 19% of the score for factor 3 which is worth a total of 18%.

[45] Presbytery of Glasgow: STAG spreadsheet, auditors report. Dr Fiona J Tweedie p5

[46] The Scottish Church census of 1994 (and following census) used the following age categories, ‘Children aged 14 and under’, ‘Teenagers aged 15-19’, ‘Young adults 20-29’, ‘Adults 30-44’,’Adults 45-65’, ‘Older people aged 65 and over’ (P. W. Brierley & Macdonald, 1995, p. 111).

[47] Profession of faith refers to the particular mechanism in the Church of Scotland where an individual makes a public statement of Christian Faith on the basis of which is then admitted to the membership roll of the congregation.

[48] Information from interview with STAG members which reflects official comments for example Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2002, 13/19 ‘Membership’.

[49] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2010 3/7 1.4

[50] Information contained in unpublished minutes of the Strategy Advisory Group, October 2010

[51] Unpublished Strategy Advisory Group minutes, May 2012

[52] Quoted in Glasgow Presbytery Plan Project Briefing v1.1, Feb 22, 2011 as taken from ‘Clarifications and Guidance Notes, Section 1 from Ministries Council, undated

[53] Dated March 3rd 2011

[54] In version 1.1 of the Presbytery briefing document circulated to Presbytery an initial list of 6 items was given.  The 6 were a) impact made on the local community through church organisations and the use of church premises; b) involvement in the local community by church members as Christian witnesses; c) the vision for planning and delivery of outreach events and programmes; d) the willingness of the congregation to adapt to welcome newcomers; e) the sharing of the workload between paid staff and volunteers; f) the intention of the congregation to give priority to the most vulnerable in their communities.

[55] Unpublished report – ‘Presbytery of Glasgow: STAG spreadsheet, auditors report’, Dr Fiona J. Tweedie  31st January 2014

[56] Summary of the report on the outcomes of the presbytery plan consultations, April 2012

[57] This was on the basis of raw population with an additional weighting given for island areas and areas which were substantially rural. Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2006

[58] Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2008, Appendix XI 3/99 – 3/100

[59]  Reports to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2010 3/3

[60] Glasgow Presbytery Advisory Group – Presbytery weightings exercise paper. 13/09/2011 page 2

[61] Expressing that the Church of Scotland has: continuing responsibility to engage the people of Scotland, wherever they might be, with the gospel of Jesus Christ and a commitment to maintain worshipping, witnessing and serving Christian congregations through Scotland.