The General Board Self-Study is Moving Forward
At the 2017 General Board meeting, an update on the Self-Study was given by Bishop Vashti McKenzie, General Board President and Self-Study Committee Chair. The work on a digital process for the surveys for stakeholders has been ongoing since April. Stakeholders should complete their surveys by the end of June 2017. This process should yield close to 700 surveys ready for analysis. Stakeholders surveyed include bishops, general officers, connectional officers, presiding elders, Women in Ministry, the Women’s Missionary Society, Connectional Lay Organization, YPD, RAYAC, college presidents and deans, and members of the General Board.
Every survey has a set of core questions. The goal of the Self-Study is to be able to find out what is in the hearts and minds of our constituency. This information will allow us to be able to craft a ministry that will suit the people who are a part of that ministry—and meet the needs of current and future members.
Dr. Miriam Burnett provided an analysis of the trending issues in the Self-Study:
- Time management of the General Board, particularly as it relates to using technology to help with pre- and post-meeting work so that the work of the General Board members can be year-round.
- Money. This issue is prevalent in surveys submitted by general officers and connectional officers, as well as the Connectional Lay Organization. Funding for activities is a recurring issue. Even though fiscal resources was the number one issue in the surveys, the answer to the question, “Do you tithe?” was overwhelmingly “No.”
- What brings you to the AME Church? The top three responses are a pride of heritage, liturgy, and litanies.
- There are two trends regarding the important elements in worship. For the younger respondents, the top three responses are music, litany and liturgy, and sermon. For the older respondents, the top three responses are litany and liturgy, music, and sermon.
- Being consistently engaged in ministry as well as accountability, not necessarily fiscal accountability but accountability for work is an issue that comes up repeatedly.
To move into the next phase of the Self-Study, the following recommendations were made:
- That members of the General Board take the survey, commend those who have taken the survey, and encourage anyone who has not taken the survey to do so by the end of June 2017.
- That we continue to work with Payne Theological Seminary professors and Master of Divinity or Doctor of Ministry students as they look to develop coursework to assist with this endeavor.
- That we present results of the surveys to the General Board, CONVO, and the General Conference.
- That we distinguish what needs to be legislative, suggested, and common consent after the data has been gathered and the analytics completed.
- That we gather as much data as possible to give an accurate picture of leadership and ministry that is counted in the General Board of this Denomination.
- That we utilize technology in a greater way to disseminate information about the General Board Self-Study,
- That we continue our work through conference calls, emails, and webinars until the Committee meets again when the General Board convenes next year.
- That we tell the authentic story of the AME Church so that it resonates with the next generation.
- That we ask our auxiliaries to include information about the General Board Self-Study on their websites and that the information is on the main AME Church’s website as well.
- That we partner with the Commissions on Publications to provide them with the material they need to promote the vision and goals of the General Board Self-Study.
- That we fill the vacant positions of a young adult representative on the Self-Study Committee from the 2nd, 8th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th Districts.