Shared Ministry in Utah and the Utah Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. will both undergo a complete reorganization in the next year.
The Rev. Dr. Douglas Alan Kelly, a specialist in church management and administration who will be interim head of both groups during the restructuring, said the change was undertaken largely because both groups have grown to the point that each needs a full-time executive director if they are to continue to expand. In the past they have shared a director, staff and office."It's a positive sign of growth," said the Rev. Kelly, who holds the official titles of interim executive secretary of Shared Ministry and interim executive presbyter of the Utah Presbytery. "A year from June, we should have two new full-time executives."
Some other staff, he said, may continue to be shared in the interest of good stewardship and funding limitations.
The Rev. Kelly, who holds a doctorate in executive management and administration in the church from McCormick Seminary, Chicago, said his specialty is fairly uncommon. "There are not that many (f us) in the country. Only one place gives a doctorate."
Before coming to Utah in mid-March, he spent 10 years as executive director of the Ozarks Area Mission, Clarksville, Ark., a Presbyterian program with seven churches and a university campus ministry. The program included training student volunteers working with five denominations, none of which had regular headquarters in that part of the country. The Rev. Kelly has also worked as a management and administration consultant with both individual congregations and with denominational structures on the state and regional level.
Shared Ministry, a cooperative program arm of five Utah Protestant denominations, is a "fairly distinctive" organization, he said. "I don't know of any other organization such as this any place in the country."
The initial cooperative effort, said the Rev. Kelly, was between the Methodist and Presbyterian churches and was a consequence of the unusual circumstances of Protestant churches in Utah. "Because they were so few, and churches tended to be relatively small and rural, for them to do even education or training events on their own just wasn't possible."
Other denominations joined in -the Christian Church (isciples of Christ), American Baptist and United Church of Christ. Shared Ministry now includes 64 congregations statewide, soon to be 65 with the opening of a new Methodist church, said the Rev. Kelly.
The group sponsors six to eight major educational events for clergy and laity each year. The denominations also work together on new church development, activities like summer camping, and Shared Ministry serves as a resource on various programs.
The Rev. Kelly said one area that will probably get more emphasis is keeping abreast of social and political issues in the state.
"We'll be more and more a resource catalyst for the entire state in terms of the Protestant churches."
He said negotiations also continue with other Protestant denominations that might join Shared Ministry. "I have hopes that in three to five years the majority of Protestant denominations may be part of the network." Some Lutherans and Episcopalians already participate in Shared Ministry-sponsored events, he said.