Beginning in 2010, conversations between the Mission & Advocacy Committee, Congregational Development Committee, and the Resource & Education Committee started. The result was a recommendation to maximize the effectiveness of the funds available to each committee through a close collaboration….. thus began the Three Committees Collaborating (TCC) group.
In 2012 Genesee Valley Presbytery presented something new to its congregations and to the wider world. It’s called the “Triple Play”, using the baseball term for a rare feat of extraordinary skill and teamwork, because three of our committees are working together to do something extraordinary to further congregational ministry and community mission.
The Mission & Advocacy folks had come to the realization that its traditional way of making grants to worthy community organizations was missing the mark. In a survey it was discovered that very few of these organizations had any on-going connection to, or involvement by, congregations. It led to the uncomfortable feeling that mission dollars were not really doing anything to enhance congregational mission in the community, and that mission had been reduced to sending out checks.
The Congregational Development Committee, responsible for encouraging congregational health, had become worried that a significant number of congregations in the Presbytery were experiencing membership decline, reduced youth participation, and diminished finances.
The Resource and Education Committee could see that diminished congregations have fewer funds and energy for community involvement, and that centralized mission grants separate congregations from the mission that ought to be generating excitement and community visibility.
So the three committees arrived at the Triple Play. “If we’re going to have a sustainable mission as Presbyterians we need to have healthier congregations. If we’re going to have energetic congregations we need to have an exciting and visible mission outreach in our communities. If we’re going to have sustained mission and healthier congregations to support that mission we need to develop new leadership skills”. Each of the three committees shifted budget lines to the Triple Play. The three committees also committed to the plan for three to five years, because grant recipients would be promised significant financial support for an extended time in return for significant results. Instead of offering small grants to a wide variety of agencies and congregations, the decision was made to select a few projects and to make a strong commitment with Triple Play funding.
** As of June, 2015, Triple Play Grant applications are no longer being accepted. **
The introduction of the Triple Play in 2012 marked the beginning of a sea-change in the Presbytery’s approach to mission and mission funding. Mission grants had once been distributed directly to worthy community projects and organizations. The Triple Play began to modify that approach by linking support for community mission more directly to nearby collaborating congregations. Now, in effect, the Triple Play experience has helped shift the entire focus of the Presbytery from centralized operations and mission to the focus on healthy, vital, sustainable congregations as they engage on the front-line of mission in their communities.
For more information, contact Susan Orr, Presbyter for Mission & Education at [email protected]