This past summer, the General Assembly (GA) of the PCA approved a new funding plan for the denomination’s Administrative Committee (AC). That plan includes required fees, paid by pastors, churches and presbyteries. However, in order for the plan to be put into practice, the Book of Church Order (BC)) must be amended, and those amendments have to be approved by two-thirds of the presbyteries and the next General Assembly.
Others have written against the tax and given reasons to vote against the BCO changes. What I would like to do here is offer an alternative funding plan that, I hope, gives further reason to vote down the BCO changes.
I believe there is a funding plan for the AC that can maintain the voluntary nature of how the PCA funds its agencies. And since it would be voluntary, no amendments to the BCO would be required. The primary features of this funding plan are:
- Slightly modified, voluntary, fee payment table from the one presented and approved at GA. Each congregation decides, completely on its own, whether or not to pay this amount. The amounts continue to be based on tithes and offerings received, but are slightly higher. The higher fee is closer to the 2010 ministry askings of $7 per member for the AC. Every church that contributes according to the modified table may send its BCO permitted compliment of commissioners to GA without further registration fees or charges.
- A GA registration fee of $2,000 per commissioner for Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders whose churches do not contribute to the AC. This high fee is deliberate. Smaller churches will be encouraged to contribute to the AC since that contribution will be significantly less than the commissioner registration fee. However, some larger churches will decide to pay the commissioner fee instead, which will provide additional income to the AC from those large churches that do not regularly give to the AC.
- A registration fee of $200 per commissioner for Teaching Elders without call, retired, serving out of bounds, serving as missionaries, chaplains or campus ministers. I would recommend some sort of hardship would qualify for this lower fee as well.
- No presbytery fee.
- Any changes to the fee structure to be approved by General Assembly and a two-thirds majority of presbyteries.
- Take byFaith magazine out of the AC budget, making the magazine a self-supporting work.
This fee structure and funding plan is based on detailed analysis of statistics that are published in the 2010 Yearbook of the PCA. I made certain assumptions based on the data in the Yearbook, which led to an AC budget for 2011 that produces $1,699,583 in revenue and $1,683,260 in expenses, with a net surplus of $16,323.
For the detail behind these assumptions and the proposed fee table and 2011 AC budget, see this pdf file.
Suggestions and comments are welcome, as well as expertise on how to properly form this suggestion into a viable overture to next year’s General Assembly. We have almost a year, and it would be best to get it right.