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General Board Redesign Steering Committee

Vision

by Christopher Bowman
(General Board Chairperson during Redesign)

Table of Contents


Vision Statement

CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN GENERAL BOARD
Report of Vision Discernment Team

The General Board accepted this amended report as its Vision Statement
to guide a further process of redesign.
Tuesday, June 27, 1995

We envision a General Board that:

*equips congregations to make faithful disciples to carry on the ministry
of Jesus Christ, locally and around the world; (Vital congregations are 
crucial to carrying on the ministry of Jesus. Congregations are places where
lives are transformed and disciples are nurtured.  As it works on behalf of 
the denomination, the General Board establishes a partnership with 
congregations to empower the church’s worldwide mission.)

*works in partnership with Church of the Brethren pastors, congregations,
districts, and agencies, as well as other denominations and organizations;
(Intentional efforts must be made to communicate and coordinate fully with
other Church of the Brethren agencies to enhance our common ministry. 
Recognizing the unity of the body of Christ and maintaining the integrity
of our witness, the General Board augments its ministry by cooperating with
other denominations and organizations.)

*participates in the Annual Conference discernment process and then
faithfully implements the will of the delegate body; (General Board members
and staff have a place in the Annual Conference discernment process. As 
decisions are being made, open and forthright conversation between the 
General Board and Annual Conference can help the delegates to make informed 
choices concerning vision and priorities, polices and official statements.  
While the General Board should respect dissenting voices within the church, 
Board members and staff should have a witness in harmony with Annual 
Conference directives.)

*facilities denominational ministries through a unified structure and
vision of shared ministry; and vision of shared ministry; (Much of the work 
of the denomination crosses the boundaries of specific disciplines, 
specialized staff portfolios, and even current Commission boundaries. The 
mission of the church may be accomplished most effectively by
employing staff under a single program arm, assigning them to project teams
that are created to accomplish specific tasks and then dissolved.  In its
work, Board members and staff should take care to foster a holistic view of
ministry and guard against competition.)

*acts as a compassionate employer, calling together gifted staff in a
nurturing environment and encouraging excellence among its employees;
(As part of the body of Christ, the General Board has a responsibility to
be a compassionate employer.  The general Board must consider the impact 
of its decisions on the staff,.  At the same time, the long-term health and
viability of the denominational ministries demand that the General Board 
encourage and affirm excellence among its employees.)

*constantly pursues simplicity, clarity, focus, and good stewardship in its
structure and functions; (As the program arm of a small denomination, the 
General Board can do some things uniquely well and should focus its efforts 
on these.  The administration of program should reflect Brethren 
understandings of simplicity and stewardship.)

*anticipates and prepares for the future mission of the church and is
informed by the strengths of our Brethren heritage. (Both congregational 
and denominational life are constantly changing.  In order to thrive, the 
General Board needs to listen to congregations, learn, anticipate crises 
in denominational life, and plan for the future.  As it moves innovatively 
into the future, the General Board also must affirm the core values of our 
faith, interpreting Brethren identity and heritage for today.)

Vision Discernment Team Members:
Christopher Bowman, Chair
Phyllis Crain
Donald Fitzkee
Tracy Wenger Sadd
Bonnie Kline Smeltzer

RSC