No. Emerging Spirit was designed to go four years. There was money left after the four years and so the program went an extra year so that we could continue to respond to requests from congregations and regions for events in their area.
So what will happen?
One of the things that the General Secretary brought before the last meeting of the General Council Executive in May 2010 was a proposal for a Network for Ministry Development. As I understand it – and I could be wrong! I have no inside track – this network will have three basic focii.
(i) developing a network of “consultants” – in search of a better term – across the country who can serve congregations, presbyteries and other ministries of the church as they seek to figure out even more faithful ways to respond to changing times. This is in line with one of the observations of our team that public events are useful and important, to a point. The real challenge though arises when leaders get back into their setting and have to navigate change one circumstance at a time. This kind of work is really the area of consultants, coaches and, in some cases, mentors.
(ii) Continued development of support and learning opportunities for leaders. Many suggestions are floating around but nothing, as I understand it, has been finalized. My own personal view is that one of the first tasks of the new Network will be to meet with people, including seminaries and training centers, to accurately gauge the need and how the many components now available might fit.
(iii) New ministry development. There is little doubt that one of the absolute necessities is that the church figure out how to identify and support the development of new ministries, particularly those not tied to or dependent upon property. My understanding of the new Network is that it will assist people wanting to develop an idea but that it will not have the ultimate power and responsibility of making decisions re finances. Development of how those decisions will get made in a way that reflects regional and other concerns is another significant piece of work.
All I know about the logistics and timeline of the Network is that a job description for the Executive Director has been posted. The closing date is September 24th. I believe the hope is that it will start January 1, 2011.
What about WonderCafe?
The General Secretary has repeated said WonderCafe will continue. I’m not “in the know” on this but I don’t think the exact mechanics of this have yet been worked out yet. People are still waiting to hear about General Council staff reductions and the shape of what will come next.
Emerging Spirit has a very full round of events planned until the end of November. December will be used for our team to take accumulated holidays and clean up what needs to be done.