Three Categories for Reform

Reform efforts range from simple to complex and from quick to slow.  Acting on reform issues with an appropriate understanding its nature can both energize from the easy accomplishments (and their benefits) and prepare for the longer, complex processes of the more difficult goals.  Consider:

The Common Sense Actions.  These are simple, direct improvements which can make a tremendous difference for both morale and administration.  Examples are: Publishing an Accurate Membership statistic (the data is mostly in hand); Making Connectional Budget Income Allocations Equitable (with membership data, it is straight forward, though difficult for some to swallow); Updates on the Annuity Crisis; Updates on Changes with Retirement Services; Reporting from AME, Inc. & AME Future Fund; and A Statement on Conflict of Interest/Self-dealing.  The key:  Just Do It!

Constitutional/Legislative Actions.  These are policy/program processes which should not be rushed or mere reaction motivated.  They require research, expert consultation, 360 degree consideration, refinement, and plans for implementation.  Just putting it in the Discipline is not implementation! Examples are: re-writing the Retirement Service section of the Discipline; revising the relationship of AME, Inc. to AMEC; revising General Board structure and Commissions; defining judicial processes (including appeals); and re-structuring the Budget.  We limp between two extremes. Either we do nothing because the hill seems steep, or we hide the details and deliberations until the last minute, which causes us to adopt flawed concepts and procedures.

Radical Personal/Systemic Change. This takes the most time and effort. Examples: eliminating/modifying personal entitlements and autocratic methodology; changing the way bishops, general officers, and presiding elders are financially supported; reviewing the support given to higher education; allowing one bishop to lead two contiguous districts (without merging); and eliminating, restructuring or creating connectional departments.  Foundational revisions to “the way we have been doing it” take research and analysis prior to proposal formation and convincing the Church of the necessity and benefits of change.

Nothing is impossible with God!  It is time for us to pray and reason together.  A stronger, more faithful church awaits us.