Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Change, Budgets and the Future!!

Some regular skimmers of my musings may be interested to know:

In our Uniting Church NSW/ACT Synod there have been months of discussion around merging our Boards of Mission and Education due to two factors 1. the need to trim our bidget by some 13% plus and 2. the fact both Boards forecast this over 2 years ago and the decisionmaking bodies who heard, took that as information they could do nothing about rather than facing the questions and plotting a more holistic answer to the question of how we find our missional reinvention through ministry and consultancy which will never generate it's own budget... the final motive is that in this continuing challenge, other ideas have been tried, and if we change [and demonstrate being able to let go of precious stuff] then other thinmgs may change!!
On the coming weekend a Combined Boards Working Group will present the chosen of three canvassed options for the future shape of the new Board and then on Monday 29th we have a meeting to be told of the outcomes!!
My role was reviewed recently and it was a very positive review [much better and more affirming than I expected] but of course the best offer was to the end of 2011 in the wake of the merger [fair enough]!!
I should make it clear I have and will spend months thinking and praying about my future direction and wait for what options emerge and what things wise people invite me to consider... including what creative and suited options might emerge from this weekend [certainly don't want to burn my bridges there]!!
But because I'm sharing out loud and about this topic I have to say I wish we'd had our meeting this week as scheduled so as to be told what was going to be presented and recommended, with a follow up on the ouctomes. I believe we are mature and invested enough to gain from knowing what was put forward and then how that decionmaking body dealt with the suggestions and what emerged... we have been asked and facilitated in sharing our ideas, concerns and suggestions... very much so... but what has been missing is any feedback loop sharing 'here's what we've heard' from your various papers, ideas and discussions... anyhow too late now!!
So if you're of a mind there are tens of people waiting to hear on Monday whether their role changes, disappears or is available for them to reapply given some change of focus, staff numbers or emphasis... all of which are possible and likely in a mix of changes... a few of us plan a quiet lunch and beverage afterwards to commiserate... I say that because any reduction in what these two Boards have been offering, based on funding squeezes, is a huge waste of past work, gifts and team.
It's unhelpful for me to speculate about likley scenarios but on the whole I feel deflated, pessimistic and disempowered about the future for a dedicated Youth Unit!!
Anyhow, hopefully if it simply isn't a good idea the decionmakers 'knock it back' and ask for different work to be done rather than making some noise and a few harmless edits!!
The tricky thing for me is that I believe we need 'change' motivated by our missional imperative but robust up against the funding problem and I have interest in some areas of what could be future work [yet might not be]... and while ministry with young people remains a huge challenge I accept that it needs the co-operation of all ages, needs to engage public spaces and is about experiments and trials which don't seem to be the culture we'll build!!
Partly I want to delete this post and start again BUT essentially I am inviting all comers to take me on over ideas, to pray for my colleagues and to think again about what it would look like to focus on growing people of faith...

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