The Radical Action Plan

The General Assembly 2019 accepted three reports that between them have the potential to radically reshape the Church of Scotland, at every level from the local to the national and the General Assembly itself.

The overall thrust of the plans is devolution of decision-making and resources from the centre to reorganised regional and local structures, with an emphasis on equipping churches for mission in their local context.

The decisions of a radical Assembly

The General Assembly accepted the above reports from the Council of Assembly, General Trustees, and the Special Commission on Structural Reform. Through these reports, the Assembly has agreed the following decisions:

  • Up to £25m to be spent on projects aimed at church growth, with particular emphasis on church planting
  • 100 new worshipping communities to be established
  • Focus on engaging with people under 40
  • Cost of central administration to be cut by up to 30%; four councils to be merged into two
  • Number of Scottish presbyteries to be reduced from 43 to about 12, focused on supporting local congregations in their ministry and mission
  • Networks, hubs and other new local church structures to be developed
  • Kirk Sessions to be reduced in size and focused on ‘leadership and strategic decision-making’
  • Decision-making and resources to be devolved from the central administration to regional and local levels
  • No congregation to pay more to the centre after next year until new arrangements are agreed
  • Land and buildings plan to focus on "well equipped spaces in the right places"’. Money from sale of redundant buildings to be shared between congregations
  • Improved training and support for all ministry and leadership roles
  • General Assembly to be made smaller
  • Encouragement of a season of "prayer and preparation" across the Church from September to December 2019

For an in-depth look at the reform process, read the Life and Work Assembly 2019 Special Supplement

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