During General Convention I frequently heard people speak about the kind of church that they wanted to help bring into being. My question posed not as a challenge, but to gather information was: What is stopping you?
I am aware that some people feel our governing and administrative structures are too cumbersome and too costly. I don’t necessarily dispute that. But I am not sure that governance can do more that provide a small amount of the venture capital necessary to bring this new church into being.
Reducing the amount of money that the general church requests from dioceses each year from 19 percent to 15 percent, as a number of folks would like to do in 2016, might encourage experimentation at the local level. But only about half of our dioceses contribute more than 15 percent right now, so we shouldn’t labor under the illusion that a church-wide windfall is in the offing.
So, being honest about the limits of structural change and budgetary reform in the great project of re-imagining the church, where do we go from here? What do we need to do, and what is stopping us from doing it?
(If, as a ground rule for this conversation, we could stipulate that I understand that we, alone, can accomplish nothing, that it is God’s church not our church, and that fidelity rather than institutional success is the mark of a Christian, I would appreciate it.)