ABCPSW Annual Meeting
* For many people, life is a disappointment
Dr. Dale Salico – Executive Minister, ABCPSW
“God’s Call to Change Our Worlds for Christ”
Rms 12:2; 2 Cor 3:18; 1 Jn 3:2
· Some people are disappointed with God
· Young Americans are disappointed with the Church
· The problem is not that they were expecting too much
· The problem is that they expected too little
* God’s goal is not only our Salvation for the next world, but our Transformation in this one
* Metamorphosis is God’s portrait in nature for Spiritual transformation
* The problem: Your spiritual DNA has become disabled by sin
* We convince ourselves that this world is all there is and that it is good enough
* Satan blinds individuals
* Satan blinds churches
* Unlike caterpillars, we are responsible before God and before each other for how we conform to the world.
* Through Christ our spiritual nature can be energized by God’s Spirit
“How to Change Your Church Without Killing It”
Why we have changed . . .
We were dying
We weren’t reaching many lost people
We weren’t communicating the gospel in an understandable language
We were producing too many church go-ers and not enough fully devoted followers of Christ
To whom much is given, much is required
The Gospel is about change
Why are we so resistant to change?
We glamorize the past
Fear of the unknown
Unsure of the skills needed to lead through change
We’ve heard too many “crash and burn” stories
How do we change?
1. Prepare the soil –
a. the need for raising urgency
b. form your “dream team” – need the right people on the bus
c. develop and cast a compelling vision
i. what is your target?
ii. what are your unique strengths that you bring to the task?
iii. is our vision simple enough to be understood?
d. gain some credibility
e. communicate, communicate, and communicate (otherwise people will connect the dots in the most pathological way of possible)
2. Plant the seed –
a. affirm whatever is affirmable from the church’s past
b. magic words: “trial basis”
3. Cultivate/Fertilize -
4. Harvest –
Annual Business Meeting
Brian Scrivens, President of the Region
Main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing
The main thing for PSW is our new vision
Dale Salico – ABCUSA Relationships
For 20 years the issue of homosexuality has divided the ABCUSA
Homosexuals in society have advocated for change in society’s perception of their orientation and behavior
AWAB has advocated for moral acceptability of monogamous homosexual relationships
The legal and moral edge of the debate is now same-sex marriage
Two groups in the church
Conservatives – God blesses monogamous heterosexual marriages
Revisionists – calling for openness to legitimacy of same sex intimacy and relationships
The issue before the ABCUSA
1992 Resolution – “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching”
Should “out of the closet” homosexuals be permitted in leadership positions and on boards and commissions of the ABCUSA?
What should be the standing of revisionists that advocate for legitimacy of homosexuality for roles of leadership and teaching in ABCUSA events?
November 2004 – 3rd consultant in 12 years recommends against church planting campaign due to deep divisions in the ABC resulting in the deep division over homosexuality.
Consultant urges EM to take painful action or see the ABCUSA continue to bleed assets
Several regions reported churches, associations, or even the entire Region upset by inability of ABCUSA to implement Resolution on Homosexuality.
REMC wrote a pastoral letter with voluntary actions for restraint, promising recommendations to GB by June 2005
April 2005 – San Antonio
REMC and GEC fail to agree on any steps to implement the Resolution on Homosexuality
GEC recommended the education of American Baptists regarding denominational structure and the “unique unenforceables” of ABCUSA life
ABCUSA – Separate corporation for International Ministries, Separate corporation for National Ministries, Separate corporations for regions, Separate corporation for MMBB, Separate corporations for 5,700 churches
Affirmed the right and responsibility of every Agency, Region, and Board to exercise its best wisdom and judgment in determining the most faithful way to honor the resolutions in their contexts.
Deep dismay over San Antonio
If no action by Biennial
Remain a full covenanting partner, but reduce participation in ABCUSA meetings
Establish parallel relationships with other bodies to help us advance our vision and mission priorities
Withdraw from the ABCUSA Budget Covenant, but continue as a Covenanting Partner in the ABCUSA [Dr. Medley said the Covenant is a seamless whole; to withdraw from one is to withdraw from all]
Biennial Meeting, Denver, June 2005-10-13
GB received IN/KY report
No action until Nov 2005
GB called for unity while rejecting enforcement of Resolution in the name of soul liberty
Speakers and a Statement of Concern blamed conservatives
Regional Listening Conferences
14 conferences with over 300 persons
Overwhelming support for board’s position (95% expressed support)
Sept 7 – President Peggy Johnson and Dr. Roy Medley met with pastors and church leaders of ABCPSW (250+ present)
Because of respect for local church autonomy and soul liberty the ABCUSA does not implement policies related to Biblical, theological or moral issues
ABCUSA DOES implement policies related to finance and the Budget Covenant
Differences in Core Values revealed in meeting of Board and Dr. Medley/President Johnson
ABCUSA – local church autonomy and soul liberty
ABCPSW – biblical authority and local church integrity
Board passed resolution the next day
Will initiate process to withdraw from the Covenant of Relationships (39 partners to covenant may withdraw at any time)
Executive Committee to study the implications and report to Board on Dec 8, 2005
Upon approval, Board will call for special regional meeting in 2006 to vote on the resolution.
Our board has the authority to withdraw but felt that the churches should be entrusted with this decision on their own. (soonest this could happen is March of 2006, 90 day notice)
Churches must remain members of both the ABCPSW and ABCUSA to be able to vote on this issue.
The board also said that we continue to recognize our brothers and sisters in Christ in the ABCUSA as beloved friends and co-workers in the body of Christ. Because of our long history and many common concerns in gospel ministry, we will have opportunities for continued fellowship and partnership
What’s the issue?
Homosexuality is the issue above the water line (tip of the iceberg)
Below the water line: biblical authority and accountability
Three mental models
Denominational split – anger, accusation, hostility.
Corporate spin-off – creating distance and distinct identities with the possibility of future mutually beneficial relationship
Networking – forming and developing mutually beneficial partnerships to advance a cause embraced by all partners
For the record
I have advocated for a balanced biblical policy regarding human sexuality and unity in the ABCUSA for over two decades
NM Grow by Caring Task force and writer
ABCUSA Commission on Denominational Unity
Common Ground Conference Leader
Many calls to pastors to urge them to stay in the ABCUSA
On GB and International Ministries Board
Called to PSW to cast vision, uphold theological convictions, and maintain unity with the ABCUSA
On writing committee for the new ABCUSA Budget Covenant
Advocated for implementation of Resolution on Homosexuality while maintaining unity.
Written letters, position papers regarding this issue + hours of phone calls
Parchment Valley Agreement member
11 ABC EMs
Covenant to work together
Three hour meeting with Dr. Medley on Sept 27; one hour meeting with Charles Jones same day
Expressed sorrow over the decision by PSW
ABCPSW members of GB EC asked to leave meeting when PSW situation was discussed
ABCPSW delegates asked not to attend November meetings of the GB
National Ministries immediately canceled the contract with PSW for cooperation in ministry with Native American Churches without notifying PSW EM
National Ministries told Native American pastors they will lose their salary support if they remain with ABCPSW
NM and OGS have organized meetings in the region without notifying EM
MMBB will continue in partnership with the ABCPSW
Augie Bau invited to share MMBB’s commitment
Core benefits will remain the same
Non contractual benefits may be jeopardized (Center for Ministry subsidies, emergency fund, thank you check)
Benefits for retirees do not change regardless of the actions by PSW
International Ministries' partnership PSW churches will still be able to have their members appointed as missionaries in the future
PSW Board Action 10-13-05
Call for prayer and fasting for God’s guidance for ABC relationship on last Friday of every month until decision is made
Accepted into its record a statement by the Black Caucus calling attention to the historical relationship of ABCUSA and African American and other minority persons
ABCPSW will remain in the Budget Covenant until the churches vote the region out of the Covenant of Relationships (otherwise VF will interpret the end of the year as the end of our ABC relationship which the Board does not want to appropriate for itself)
With all the needs and issues we face in our nation and world today, why has the issue of homosexuality so important today?
To answer the question, Dr. Salico's responds with the quotation often attributed to Magisterial Reformer Martin Luther:
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
An additional hardball tactic surfaced during the Question and Answer time. One man stood to report that the Native American churches have not only been threatened with a loss of salary support, but also with enforcement of reversionary clauses. With emotion choking his voice, this pastor explained how vulnerable the Native Americans feel as they are being pressured not to affiliate with PSW on pain of loss of all financial support and their church properties! His report included a prospective timeline that may take effect as soon as the end of the year. Since the PSW board has elected to submit the matter of withdrawal to the congregations of the PSW, the earliest time the vote could take place (as mandated by the By Laws) would be March of 2006.
Interestingly, Dr. Medley insisted in writing to the PSW churches that no matter what PSW does, local congregations are still affiliated with ABCUSA UNLESS they take individual congregational votes to withdraw. Do different rules apply if you are a poor Native American congregation? IFF this report is true (and we heard the same story from multiple sources in our Arizona Native American community), isn't it fascinating that the upholders of justice for all minorities are willing to bully and threaten the least and the last among us in order to strike back at PSW?
Additionally, we were asked by Brian Scrivens, a layman who serves as PSW President, to pray for communications between the region and Valley Forge. He indicated from the platform that his letters to Valley Forge have not been responded to, nor have the letters, e-mails, and telephone calls from Dr. Salico to Valley Forge.
About the only bright spot in all of this relates to the reactions by MMBB and BIM. MMBB assures Salico that PSW pastors will continue to receive their contractual benefits and that they are still considering what to do about the non-contractual benefits. Charles Jones, interim ED of BIM, also indicated his desire to continue in mission partnership with PSW. Of course, readers should know that PSW leads the denomination in money sent to BIM. Salico, somewhat puckishly, informed the assembly yesterday that with regard to our givnig to BIM, "We're number one!"
Dennis E. McFadden
[This report is offered for the information of the readers of His Barking Dog and not to be confused with an official report of the proceedings. I claim no official authorization or permission to offer my opinions and observations which do not represent any official or entity within the PSW]