It’s hard to believe that August 12th, 2019 marks my seventh year serving as your Pastor for Mission and Vision. Our ministry together has been challenging and fruitful. Presbytery has come through extreme transitions. The forces of change were like shifting tectonic plates, remolding the landscape right beneath our feet. The staff, the chairs of committees and the leadership teams acted and reacted to these challenges with intentionality. Each day striving to do the next right thing.
The process of transition was far from perfect, and not a straight line from there to here. It often felt more a like a long winding road, one that we made as we walked. Now, as if we have stepped through a portal, we stand in new place, morning has broken on a new day. The faithful effort of many have led us through extraordinary times and generated some stunning accomplishments. Here are some highlights of the changes and achievements:
- Navigated, endured and grieved/grieving church departures.
- Resolved a major intractable conflict(s).
- Radical reversal of finances that wiped out a deficit of nearly $400,000 a year, and provided vast resources to dream and engage mission.
- Refined our Mission. After several years of dialogue together, and a professional assessment from Holy Cow Consulting, we refined the mission of the Presbytery of San Francisco. Our mission is to: Celebrate, Nurture and Serve our communities through our life together in Christ.
- Discerned our Priorities. We came to understand that the Holy Spirit was calling us to focus our resources in four areas:
- Regional Missional Partnerships
- Nurturing our Minister Members
- Supporting Congregations that are Struggling to refocus their mission
- Supporting New Worshipping Communities and New Church Plants.
- Created a sustainable stable financial model that will support the Presbytery operations and mission priorities well into the future. Thanks to the work of the Investment Project Team who facilitated many stewardship conversations.
- Every Priority is funded!
- Regional Missional Partnerships. All three regions of the Presbytery have operational procedures and decision-making criteria. All three regions have $1,000,000 each to promote mission in their communities.
- Significantly modified, or completely changed every staff position. This resulted in a substantial change-over in staff towards a leaner staff model, while maintaining a focus on engagement with congregations and pastors.
- Incorporated better use of technology and completely reworked the administrative operations of the Presbytery.
- New Staff. Presbytery is blessed with a new diverse and gifted staff team.
- Developed new ways to collaborate as staff using a case conferencing model.
- Launched several initiatives to nurture our ministers including: Journey groups, Rewire, a pilot coaching program, and support for Zephyr preaching conference.
- New Worshiping Communities. An energetic visionary team now oversees New Worshipping communities and New Church Plants.
- Fossil Free Investments. We’ve blazed a new trail, becoming the first Presbytery in the country to effectively shift our investments towards renewable earth-friendly energy resources.
We all accomplished this together. There is much more to celebrate than I can name here. There is much more to be done for sure.
Presbytery has been retrofitted with a new foundation, one that is nimble and adaptable. Yet the most notable accomplishment has been a shift in our culture.
- We have moved away from a culture tormented by toxicity, and haunted by angry ghosts of the past, towards a culture that is free, infused with joy and hope for the future.
We are called. We are equipped. We are ready. MVL and the committee chairs will be gathering again this fall to discern and set the immediate next course for the future. I can hardly wait. The Best is Yet to Come!
Rev. Jeff Hutcheson PhD
Presbytery Pastor for Mission and Vision