Name: Roger Walter
City, State: Vancouver, WA
As a pastor, I've seen the organizational structure from the inside. Our structure was created before cell phones, before the Internet, before cars, before airplanes, before fax machines, etc. I serve on a committee in the NAD that when I attend, my reimbursment usually is about $1,000. 25-35 people come to this meeting 1-2 times per year. So, between the Conferences and the NAD, the cost for a meeting is hyper-expensive. Thankfully, Ivan Williams is beginning to use technology to get us together rather than spending so much money for a one day meeting.
The business world has figured out that they can lead a world-wide organization, or even a multi-national corporation from its regional settings. It seems to me, we could do the same. Close the conferences, beef up the Unions a bit, and run from the regional area. I think locally, you'd want a someone for ministerial, for education, and for youth (possibly also Trust Services). But the millions of dollars we could save in office expense, staffing, programming, etc could be funneled back to the local churches for pastoral help, evangelism dollars, and many other areas. It seems the time is right for this, now, when so many conferences are struggling. Yet, in doing this, I wouldn't want to shift the total staff from the Conferences to the Union. I think this concept is designed to minimize the contact and structure so that the local church becomes much more aggressive in its own care and feeding. Church Health becomes the major issue, not programming from the Conference or Union.
In the NAD, 80% of our churches are small 100-125 or less. Yet 80% of our members go to a large church of 500+. Yet, our large churches are vastly understaffed, and getting more so as conferences find ways to tighten their belts. This solution, above, would provide the funding to fix much of our understaffed churches - large or small.