Thursday, March 08, 2012

New Collegiate Ministries Structure and Network

The Collegiate Ministries Task Force is proposing that collegiate ministries in the PC(USA) have a two-part structure: the Office of Collegiate Ministries within the GAMC and a network in covenant with the GAMC. An Outline of the Strategic Plan the Task Force is recommending can be found in the information packet for the February GAMC meeting.

"Rationale; Many of our regional and local collegiate ministries are struggling to operate on a consistent basis, especially when there is local staff turnover or a change in the organization in which they operate (congregation, middle governing body, ecumenical setting). An organized structure, national network and regional intentionality will help collegiate ministries to function consistently and more effectively through changing times."

This CM Network will be something new. How it will relate to the existing professional networks ( PACHEM and PCCA) has not been made public. Published reports indicate that the Collegiate ministries Network be staffed with  five regional coordinators. These coordinators will serve as an informative and directive resource for students, parents, campus pastors and congregations within their region. This appears to be a model similar to what some other denominations are doing.

These coordinators will be part-time paid positions, funded through the Office of Collegiate Ministries (OCM). I don't know how much time is part-time, but the Proposed Budget and Timeline indicates that two coordinators will be in place by Jan 1, 2013, and the other three by Jan 1, 2014. The Regional Coordinators will initially be paid $10,400 plus travel, admin, and program monies. (I'm guessing approximately 10 hours per week.)

The Coordinators will be working to establish independent regional entities to support collegiate ministries. These entities will have established regional cohorts by the fall of 2013 and will be regionally incorporated with 501(c) 3 status by 2020. This implies that the Regional Coordinators will have raised sufficient funds by then to pay for their positions as well as funds to aid in the development and support of new campus missions as well as, I assume, helping existing ministries to become stronger and more financially secure.

The Coordinators will work with the OCM to "establish an adaptive model to promote and establish local Presbyterian collegiate ministries grounded in local congregations and supported by mid-councils." This will include identifying and  equipping 101 university communities to start new worshiping communities within the next 10 years.

Whew! This is an ambitious plan! The OCM in Louisville - one Associate and a half-time Administrative Assistant- will not get any larger, but an additional five Regional Coordinators will be hired. These will either be GA employees or contracted positions. They will have a few years in which to grow organizations which will fund their positions. The skill set for these Coordinators will be wide-ranging. They will have to be able to manage collegiate ministry development and programming, new ministry start-ups, and significant institutional development and fund-raising - and all in ten hours a week! That the vision incorporates five independent organizations in addition to the CM Network seems a lot of structure in a time in which less structure is occurring across the denomination. 

The Network will have some formal structure, also, with a part-time communications person as well as an operating budget. It will initially be supported by the OCM, as PACHEM and PCCA are now, but whether or not it will also move to independent status in not clear from the Strategic Plan Outline

I'm thankful the Task Force has Big Dreams.

What do you think?

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