(from Pr. Preus) The Synod brought James May home and our church’s presence on West Africa has been virtually lost. We have withdrawn most of our international Word and Sacrament missionaries over the last few years simply because we can’t afford them. This makes us all sad. And the synod chose to discontinue Jeff and Todd from Issues Etc. That made me outraged. What a travesty – we are forced to cut back on vibrant missions.
It makes me a bit frustrated too because I have to believe that we could support these missions if we tried. Of course that would mean cutting something else. Hmm, what could we cut? I have a thought. Let’s cut the Synod’s restructuring plan. How much does it cost?
Well let’s think.
I want to figure out how much money we have spent and are projected to spend deciding whether or not we want to restructure ourselves. The following are the expenses which, I figure, should be included in the analysis.
First you have the time at the convention which is measured in the hundreds or thousands of dollars per minutes of convention time. You have to include the time at the last convention and the time which is scheduled at the upcoming synodical convention. At the last convention it had to be at least an hour. At the upcoming convention it is projected to be 6 times that. So figure the convention cost per minute and multiply by 420 for the seven hours of convention time.
Word on the street is that each district convention will be asked to allow for three hours of discussion on this topic, so you have to take the cost of running a district convention, calculated how much that is per minute, multiply that by 180 minutes and then by 35 for the number of districts.
Then you have to figure how much it costs to fly all the district representatives to the meeting in August which is taking place this year in Phoenix. That’s probably 150 -200 people or more spending money for airline tickets, hotels and food for three days.
Probably the greatest expense is the cost of consultants which is probably deep into the six figure mark.
OK, this is the easy part. Next you have to compute the cost of the typical meeting of the district presidents, calculate how much their meetings cost per minutes and multiply it by the number of minutes dedicated to this discussion among them. You have to do the same for the Board of Directors and any other synodical boards which have placed the topic on their agendas. These are not small amounts of time. In its July board briefs the BOD tells us that “several hours” of time were dedicated to listening to a report from the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod’s Structure and Governance.
Further, it is planned that the district Boards of Directors will dedicate time on their agendas for a discussion. This too, costs money and you multiply it by 35.
Then there are the many, immeasurable man hours which will be spent and have been spent with synodical and district administrators, parish pastors and congregational leaders simply mulling and chewing on the various options. Admittedly this is difficult to calculate. I would even have to factor in the time it took me to write this little piece and the time you are spending reading it.
Then there is the time already spent by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod’s Structure and Governance as it organized, met repeatedly, developed instruments by which to get feedback from the synod, made presentations at various District Board meetings and pastors conferences etc.
Keep in mind; this is money we will spend even if we decide to do absolutely nothing at all. And, again, word on the street is that people close to the current administration are worried that nothing is precisely what will come out of this endeavor. But if we do change our structure there will be costs associated to that.
I would ask two things. First, if there are people with more patience and precision than I who could provide actually numbers here I think it would help us put things in perspective. So you careful types, have at it.
Second, and this is rhetorical, which do you think is more consistent with the mission and ministry of the church of Christ – spending money on restructuring or supporting missionaries?