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Act 20, 2023 – Church Planting

The General Assembly, recognising the responsibility of the Church to the whole of Scotland, and being aware that there are many large areas and populations not served by the Free Church or by any other denomination fully committed to the preaching of the gospel and Reformed standards, resolve to plan and implement a programme of Church Planting in such areas. They revise the existing Church Planting regulations and enact and ordain as follows:

  1. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES  

The Mission Board will work with the local Presbytery and Kirk Sessions in implementing its strategy for church planting and evangelism, recognising their distinctive roles and working together to secure agreement and harmony in the church planting and evangelism programme.

1.The Initiative. The initiative for a new church plant may come from any one of the following or from a combination of them after discussion:

1.1. The Presbytery. 

1.2. The Mission Board.

1.3. The local Kirk Session.   

1.4. An individual Church Planter. 

2. The Presbytery. The Presbytery has responsibility for general oversight and advancement of gospel ministry and evangelism within its bounds, including church planting.

2.1 Ongoing Review. Presbyteries will keep the local situation and opportunities for church planting under review as part of its ongoing review of strategy for ministry within its bounds.

2.2 Application. When the Presbytery identifies an area which is considered to present an opportunity for a church planting ministry, it will apply to the Mission Board which will assist in establishing the Church Plant.

3. The Mission Board. The Mission Board will identify strategically important locations in Scotland for new Church Plants within the Church’s overall mission strategy. 

3.1. Church Plants. The Board is empowered to approve new church planting projects and appoint Church Planters.

3.2 Presbyteries. The Board will consult with the local Presbytery and will bring forward firm proposals for establishing a Church Plant with the approval of the Presbytery.

4. The Kirk Session. Kirk Sessions shall also seek to identify areas which present an opportunity for the expansion of gospel ministry and the planting of churches.

4.1 Application. When a Kirk Session has decided on a church planting project, they will make an application to the Mission Board, requesting that a Church Plant be established. 

4.1.1. The application will come to the Mission Board with the approval of the Presbytery.

4.2. Mission Board. The Mission Board will support the Kirk Session in the preparation of the application.

4.2.1. If the application is successful, the Church Plant will be formally established by the Mission Board.

4.2.2. The Board will assist the Kirk Session in identifying and recruiting a Church Planter for the proposed Church Plant.

5. Existing Congregation. A Church Plant may be established to replace an existing congregation when, after completion of the requisite financial review, and in consultation with the congregation, the Presbytery and the Mission Board conclude that it has become financially non-viable and is in terminal decline. In such situations, the following will apply:

5.1. Dissolution. The Mission Board will report on the outcome of the review to the General Assembly or its Commissions, requesting that the existing congregation be dissolved.

5.2. Charitable Status. The legal entity, charitable status, and registration of the existing congregation will be retained on the dissolution of the congregation.

5.3. Trustees. The Presbytery will appoint trustees, from the former congregation as far as possible, to manage the assets of the congregation and to carry out the duties and responsibilities of Charity Trustees until the Church Plant is established.

5.4. Church Plant. Once the General Assembly has dissolved the existing congregation, the Mission Board, in conjunction with the Presbytery, will designate the location as a Church Plant. 

5.4.1. When the previous congregation has been replaced by a Church Plant in this way, the ministry will come under the terms of Church Planting set out in this Act.

5.5. Review. The Mission Board will review the situation each year and if a Church Plant is not established or comes to an end, will arrange for the legal entity and the charitable status of the original congregation to be ended.

5.6. Resumption. If the Church Plant is successful, the new congregation will be allowed to assume the legal entity and charitable status of the original congregation. Where appropriate the new congregation will be allowed to change the name of the registered charitable body to more accurately reflect the nature of the new congregation.

6. Church Planter. The Church Planter will be a Probationer or an ordained Minister of the Free Church of Scotland.

6.1. Interview. When agreement has been reached regarding a suitable appointment, the parent Kirk Session or the appointed representatives of the Presbytery, with the support of the Mission Board, will proceed to interview the preferred candidate, giving due regard to the call of the Church to such an appointment.

6.2. Assessment. All Church Planters will be required to complete the Mission Board Church Planter Assessment prior to their Induction to the work and the results of the Assessment shared with the Kirk Session of the parent congregation.

7. The Documents. The Kirk Session or Presbytery will delegate to the proposed Church Planter and the Advisory Group the responsibility for producing the following documents:

7.1. Development Plan. A Development Plan which outlines the vision, model, and method of church planting, with a general strategy for the progress of the Plant.

7.2 Financial Plan. A Financial Plan showing budgeted costs and all confirmed and potential sources of income for the first five years of the Plant.

8. Application. The Development Plan and the Financial Plan will provide the basis of church planting applications which will come to the Mission Board with the approval of the Presbytery.

B. ESTABLISHING A CHURCH PLANT

When there is conjoint agreement between the Mission Board, the Presbytery and/or the Kirk Session, as to a location for a Church Plant, the following steps will be taken to establish a Church Plant:

1. Oversight. A Church Plant will normally be established under the oversight of the Kirk Session of an existing congregation typically within the Presbytery.

1.1. Kirk Session. When the initiative for a Church Plant arises from the Presbytery or from the Mission Board, they shall identify a suitably located and resourced Kirk Session who will take immediate oversight of the work.

1.1.1, Core Group. The Kirk Session will act as parent to the Church Plant and may provide a core group who form the nucleus of the Church Plant in its initial stages.

1.1.2. Representation. The parent Kirk Session will appoint two of its members with direct responsibility for the Church Plant. One of the representatives shall normally be the Church Planter.

1.1.3. Church Plant Elders. Suitable men who are members of the Church Plant can be elected by the parent Kirk Session as Elders of the Church Plant. They will be members of the parent congregation Kirk Session but will have responsibilities and locus in matters pertaining to the Church Plant only.

1.1.4. Seat. Once inducted to the work the Church Planter will be granted a seat on the Kirk Session of the parent congregation.

1.1.5. Role. The parent Kirk Session will provide necessary pastoral and ministry support including pastoral care. They will have responsibility for making arrangements for administering the Sacraments and for maintaining the records associated with the general oversight of a Kirk Session.

1.2 Presbytery. In exceptional circumstances where it has not been possible to identify a suitably resourced Kirk Session to act as the parent congregation, the Church Plant will come under the direct oversight of the Presbytery.

1.2.1 Kirk Session. The Presbytery will appoint at least two Elders from within its bounds to form a Kirk Session with the Church Planter with responsibility for the oversight of the Church Plant.

1.2.2. Role. The Kirk Session so appointed will carry out the normal duties of a Kirk Session including that set out in 1.1.5. above.

1.2.3. Church Plant Elders. The Kirk Session may carry out an election of Elders from among men who become members of the Church Plant.

1.3. Reporting – General. The Church Planter shall report to the Presbytery at least bi-annually, one of which will be in the month of January. The reports to the Presbytery in all cases shall be forwarded by the Presbytery to the Mission Board so that an update can be given in the Board’s report to the General Assembly.

1.4. Advisory Group. In all cases, an Advisory Group will be appointed by the Mission Board in conjunction with the Presbytery to assist in the ongoing oversight and management of the Church Plant.

2. Church Planter Appointment. The Church Planter will be appointed to lead the work of the Church Plant in its initial stages, to further assess the potential for growth in the area, and to develop a strategy for ministry in the light of the local situation.

2.1. A Probationer. If the preferred candidate is a Probationer, the Presbytery will proceed to arrange for trials for ordination. On the successful completion of the trials, he will be ordained and inducted to the Church Plant and granted a seat in the Presbytery.

2.2. Ordained Minister. If the selected Church Planter is an ordained Minister in a pastoral charge, or in another full-time ministerial post, the invitation to take up the appointment in the Church Plant will be processed through his Presbytery in a manner analogous to a Call.

2.3. Presbytery. The Church Planter will be granted a seat in the Presbytery on his induction and appointment to the Church Plant.

2.4. Training. The Church Planter will participate in the Board’s Church Planting training programme that covers all the building blocks necessary to plant a successful church whilst maintaining a focus on the gospel, the Church Plant, and the local context.

3. The Church Planter Term. The Church Planter will be appointed for a five-year term.

3.1. An Extension.  On the expiry of the initial five-year term, the appointment may be extended for a second and final five-year period with the joint approval of the Kirk Session, the Presbytery, and the Mission Board.

3.2 Ineligibility. During the first five years of his appointment, the Church Planter will not be eligible for call elsewhere.

3.3. Focus. In order that he may devote his whole time to the work, the Minister appointed shall not accept extra ecclesiastical work or appointments, or appointments which require absence from the designated area of his ministry, in the first five years of his appointment, except with the express written consent of the Kirk Session, the Presbytery, and the Mission Board.

3.4. Termination of Appointment. Should the appointment be terminated at any stage, the procedure set out in Section C, Paragraph 4.2.3. will be followed.

3.5. Resignation. If the Planter resigns from his post, the Mission Board will work with the parent congregation to make a new appointment.

4. Assistant Church Planter. In exceptional circumstances, an Assistant Church Planter may be appointed to the Project to assist in the achievement of the aims of the Project.

4.1. Status. The Assistant Planter will be an ordained Minister or a Probationer. He will be granted a seat in the Presbytery on his induction to the Church Plant.

4.2 Exceptional Circumstances. The exceptional circumstances in this case will be the considered scale of the initial challenge of establishing the Church Plant or the increased scale of the challenge of developing the ministry of the Church Plant which were not initially apparent.

4.3. Appointment. The Assistant will be appointed according to the process set out in Paragraph 2 above, and with the approval of the Mission Board.

4.4. Funding. The Mission Board will ensure that funding is in place to cover the cost of appointing an Assistant before approving the appointment.

4.5. Term of Appointment. The Assistant Church Planter will be appointed for a maximum five-year term but the end of his term to coincide with the end of the five-year term of the Church Planter. This appointment may be renewed for a second five-year term in line with the progress of the overall Project.

4.6. The Assistant Church Planters’ appointment will be reviewed at the end of the first three years of each five-year term.

5. Mission Board. The Mission Board will provide support for the Church Planter and the Assistant Planter, where such is appointed, on an ongoing basis.

5.1 Training. The Board will provide suitable training for all Church Planters supported by suitable church planting resources identified by the Board in consultation with church planting partners.

5.2 Coaching. The Board will also provide a Coach who will work with the Church Planter to set and meet personal, relational, and missional goals that will enable him to plant and grow a healthy church.

5.3 Funding. The Board will support the Church Planter in fundraising efforts as needed.

6. Additional Workers. The Mission Board may appoint additional workers to the Church Plant to assist in achieving the aims and objectives of the Development Plan.

6.1. Appointment. The additional workers will be appointed under the arrangements for Ministry Support Workers.

6.2. Term of Appointment. The additional members will be appointed for up to two years, renewable for additional two-year terms as the work demands. The Mission Board shall approve all appointments and renewals.

6.3. Funding. The Mission Board will ensure that funds are in place to cover the costs of each additional worker before approving the appointment.

6.4. Presbytery. For the avoidance of doubt, additional workers who are ordained Ministers or Probationers, will not be granted a seat in the Presbytery.

C. CHURCH PLANT GOVERNANCE

  1. Governance. Governance of the Church Plant will be undertaken by the Deacons’ Court of the parent congregation who will fulfil the role of local charity trustees until such time as the Church Plant is established as a pastoral charge with its own charity registration and status.

1.1. Arrangements. All the financial and governance arrangements for the Church Plant will be agreed, on a per-case basis, by the Board in consultation with Kirk Session and/or the Presbytery, the Chief Executive Officer, and the Finance Manager, and any other interested parties.

1.2. Approval. The Chief Executive Officer and the Finance Manager will confirm that they are satisfied with the financial and governance arrangements before the Church Plant is formally established.

1.3. Presbytery. In the absence of a suitable resourced parent congregation, arrangements will be made to ensure governance under the local Presbytery.

1.3.1.When the governance is undertaken by the Presbytery, the conditions in Paragraphs 1.1 and 1.2 above will apply.

1.3.2. Where the Presbytery is unable to provide good financial governance, the Presbytery will consult with the CEO, the Finance Manager, and the Mission Board, to make whatever arrangements are considered necessary to secure good financial governance and compliance with the requirement of the charities’ regulator.

2. Ministry Plan. A detailed Ministry Plan for the Church Plant will be developed by the Church Planter and Core Group in the first year.

2.1. Basis. The Development Plan and the Financial Plan required in Paragraph A.7.1 and A.7.2. above, respectively, will form that basis of the Ministry Plan.

2.2. Term of the Plan. The Plan will cover the first five years of the Church Plant.

2.3 Content. The Plan will include a clear mission and vision statement, core values, measurements and accountability, and funding streams and sources. It will also include a detailed strategy for ministry designed to suit the local situation.

2.3.1.The plan will also show clear aims and objectives and the key activities of the Church Plant including a leadership development programme which will ensure that the aims and objectives are achieved under the blessing of God.

2.4. Reporting. The Church Planter will report back to the Kirk Session at least quarterly.

2.5 Review. The Plan will include the review process to be followed at the end of the five-year term.

2.5.1. It will also include a formal annual review in order to monitor the ongoing ministry.

2.6 Mission Board. The Church Planter will engage the support and assistance of the Mission Board in formulating the Ministry Plan.

3. Financial Plan. The financial situation of the Church Plant, set out in the five-year Financial Plan according to Paragraph A.7.2. above, will be monitored by the Deacons’ Court of the parent Congregation and the Mission Board in consultation with the Finance Manager.

3.1 Six-monthly Update. At the end of June annually, the Treasurer of the parent congregation will provide an update on the financial situation of the Church Plant for the Deacons’ Court and the Mission Board, in consultation with the Church Planter. 

3.2 Annual Review. At the end of the calendar year, the Treasurer of the parent congregation will provide an update on the financial situation of the Church Plant, in consultation with the Church Plant, for the Deacons’ Court and the Mission Board.

3.2.1. Budget. The Church Planter will provide a budget to the Deacons’ Court of the parent congregation and the Mission Board showing the necessary income to meet the costs for the following year.

3.2.2. Financially Non-viable. If at either of these reviews it is clear that the Church Plant is not financially viable, and there is no reasonable expectation that the funds necessary for the continuation of the Church Plant will be forthcoming, the Mission Board will proceed to terminate the appointment of the Church Planter, that of the Assistant Church Planter if appointed, and that of any Additional Workers, in consultation with the Presbytery and the Kirk Session of the parent congregation.

3.2.3. Termination. The appointments will be terminated effective three months from the date on which the Board reached its final decision.  The Church Planter, and the Assistant Church Planter where such has been appointed, will be paid the stipend for this three-month period. The Board will seek to ensure that there are sufficient funds in the Church Plant accounts to cover the stipend for this period. At the end of the three-month period, the names of the Church Planter, and the Assistant, will be added to the Roll of Ministers Eligible for Call.

3.3. Finance Manager. The Finance Manager will examine the six-monthly update and the annual review to assist the Mission Board in monitoring the financial viability of the Church Plant. 

3.4 Presbytery Oversight. Where the Church Plant is under the oversight and governance of the Presbytery, the requirements of Paragraphs 3.1. to 3.3. will apply but with reference to governance arrangements put in place to fulfil the role of the Deacons’ Court. 

4. End-of-term Review. The Church Plant will be reviewed at the end of the first five-year term. The Kirk Session will commence the review process in consultation with the Presbytery and the Mission Board not later than nine months before the end of the five-year term.

4.1. Ministry Plan. The Kirk Session will report on the Ministry Plan showing progress made in the ministry of the Church Plant and highlighting adjustments to the Plan where the ongoing experience of ministry has necessitated such changes.

4.2. Financial Plan. The Kirk Session will report on the Financial Plan showing actual income and expenditure for the five-year term in comparison to budgeted income and expenditure for the same period.

4.3. Updated Ministry Plan. The review will also include the submission of an updated Ministry Plan for the second five-year appointment along with a budget showing costs and confirmed and potential sources of income for at least the coming three years. A Sustentation Fund Schedule will be submitted to the Mission Board through the Presbytery should it be the case that the Church Plant has developed sufficiently to qualify for the status of a sanctioned charge.

4.4. Review Outcome. The Presbytery will consult fully with the Church Plant and the parent Kirk Session before submitting their report with recommendations to the Mission Board.

4.4.1. New Status. If the Presbytery reports that the Church Plant has developed sufficiently to meet the requirements for application for the status of a sanctioned charge, and that the ministry plan and financial plan show evidence of good governance, the Presbytery shall report to the Mission Board accordingly with appropriate recommendations in the light of their conclusions.

4.4.2. A Second Term. If the Presbytery concludes that the Church Plant has not developed sufficiently to meet the requirements for application for the status of a sanctioned charge or a fully sanctioned charge, but that the work has progressed such that there are encouraging developments justifying continued full-time ministry, and that the ministry plan and financial plan show evidence of good governance, the Presbytery will report to the Mission Board accordingly, recommending that the Minister’s appointment be extended for a second and final five-year term.

4.4.3. Termination. If the Presbytery concludes that the Church Plant is no longer viable, and that there is insufficient evidence to show that a second five-year term will be successful, they will report to the Mission Board accordingly, recommending that the work be terminated. Should this be the case, the Minister’s appointment will be terminated according to the terms and conditions set out in Section C, Paragraph 4.2.3 above.

D. A SANCTIONED CHARGE

1. Conditions of Application. The Church Plant applying for the status of a sanctioned charge will meet the following conditions of application: 

1.1. A Development Plan. The application must be accompanied by a Development Plan showing how gospel ministry is being developed and will be developed in the future.  The Development Plan must also show projected income and a financial plan for the sustainability of the current ministerial arrangements and financial viability in the future.

1.2. Financial Resources. The Church Plant must be numerically and financially self-supporting and be able to meet the costs of full-time ministry through payment of the Ministry Levy and the Administration and Training Levy.

1.2.1. The application must be supported by evidence of ordinary income equivalent to at least the total of Ministry Levy and the Administration Levy.

1.2.2. The application must be supported by evidence of good financial governance and management.

1.2.3 The application must be accompanied by completed and approved financial reports and statement of accounts for the parent congregation for the previous two years showing income and expenditure for the Church Plant.

2. The Application. The Kirk Session of the parent Congregation will meet with the Church Plant at a duly constituted congregational meeting to establish the Church Plant’s support for the application. The application will be accompanied by documentation showing that such a meeting took place and that the Church Plant’s support has been confirmed.

2.1 Application. The Kirk Session shall seek the Church Plant’s support for the application to be granted the status of a sanctioned charge.

2.2. Sustentation Fund Schedule. The Kirk Session shall seek the Church Plant’s agreement regarding the financial commitments of the Sustentation Fund Schedule. The completed Schedule will show the Church Plant’s ability to meet the Ministry Levy and the Administration and Training Levy.

2.3. Ministry. They shall ascertain if it is the cordial desire of the congregation that the resident Church Planter continue as their Minister. They shall ascertain whether it is the cordial desire that the Elders of the Church Plant currently being members of the Kirk Session of the parent congregation should continue to serve as Elders in the newly sanctioned charge.

2.4. Presbytery. Where the Church Plant is under the oversight and governance of the Presbytery, the requirements of Paragraphs 2.1. to 2.3. will apply but with reference to the Kirk Session established as in Paragraph B.1.2. above.

3. Application Process. The Church Plant or congregation making application for the status of a sanctioned charge shall do so through the local Presbytery and the Mission Board to the General Assembly or its Commission according to the following steps: 

3.1 Local Process. The application will follow the process set in Part 1 and Part 2 of Act 1, Class 1, 2018 regarding the Sustentation Fund including the submission of a Sustentation Fund Schedule completed by the congregation and by the Presbytery. 

3.2. A Petition. The application will include a Presbytery petition addressed to the General Assembly or its Commission requesting that the appropriate status of a sanctioned charge be granted.

3.3. Mission Board. The Mission Board shall process the application according to the terms of Act 1, Class 1, 2018 regarding the Sustentation Fund, Part 3. The Mission Board will include the application in its report to the General Assembly or its Commission with a suitable recommendation regarding the request of the congregation and the Presbytery. 

3.4. Documentation. The application to the Mission Board must be accompanied by relevant extracts of the proceedings of the Kirk Session and its meeting with the congregation, and extracts of the proceedings of the Presbytery.

3.5. Minister’s Appointment. If the application is successful, and the Church Plant is granted the status of a sanctioned charge, the Minister’s appointment will be according to the terms of Act 1, Class 1, 2018 anent the Sustentation Fund, and will be continuous with his original induction to the Church Plant.

3.6. Kirk Session. If the Kirk Session of the parent congregation has elected at least two Elders with responsibility for the Church Plant as in Paragraph C.4.2 above, the General Assembly or its Commission will declare the elected Elders to be Elders of the newly sanctioned charge to form a Kirk Session with the Minister.

4. A Sanctioned Charge. On being granted the status of a Congregation, the following rules will apply:

4.1 Kirk Session. The Congregation will have its own Kirk Session, with at least two members elected from within its own communicant membership or appointed as in Paragraph D.3.6 above, or with the appointment of two Assessor Elders by the Presbytery.

4.1.1. In the situation where the Presbytery appoints Assessor Elders to form a Kirk Session with the Minister, the Session will meet as soon as possible to carry out an election of Elders from the communicant membership of the newly established congregation.

4.1.2. The Kirk Session will also put the following documents in place: Roll of Communicants, Roll of Kirk Session, Roll of Deacons’ Court, Baptismal Roll.

4.2. Deacons’ Court. The Church Plant will have its own Deacons’ Courts with members elected from within its own communicant membership.

4.3. Charitable Status. On being granted the status of a congregation or sanctioned charge, the Deacons’ Court will adopt the Constitution for Deacons’ Courts approved by the General Assembly, and the Kirk Session shall call a Congregational Meeting to approve the Constitution before making application to the Scottish Charity Regulator for charitable status. In exceptional circumstances, the Kirk Session may appoint a Finance Committee as an interim measure and adopt the Constitution approved for use by Finance Committees.

4.4. Consultation. The Congregation shall consult with the Legal and Compliance Officer at the Church’s Central Offices for assistance with the process.

4.5 Transfer of Assets. The funds of the Church Plant will be transferred to the new congregation once the registration process with OSCR has been completed. The transfer of buildings will be completed with the assistance of the Legal and Compliance Officer.

E. PIONEERING CHURCH PLANTING

The Mission Board and the Presbytery (or Presbyteries) may agree an initiative to explore pioneering church planting opportunities in a geographical area, under the oversight of the Presbytery, or amongst particular populations, networks of people or people groups.

1.The Pioneer Planter.  The Pioneer Planter will be an ordained Minister with proven experience in church planting ministry or evangelism.

1.1. Fixed Term. The Pioneer Planter will be appointed to the Project for an initial five-year period renewable for a second and final five-year term.

1.2. Interview. When agreement has been reached regarding a suitable appointment, the Presbytery, with the support of the Mission Board, will proceed to interview the preferred candidate, giving due regard to the call of the Church to such an appointment.

1.3. Assessment. The Pioneer Planter should have completed their full assessment prior to their Induction to the work and the results of the Assessment shared with the Presbytery.

1.4. Minister in Settled Charge. If the preferred candidate is in a settled charge or appointment, the invitation to take up the appointment in the Church Plant will be processed through his Presbytery in a manner analogous to a Call.

1.5. Presbytery. The Pioneer Planter will be granted a seat in the Presbytery on his induction to the Pioneering Planting Project.

1.6. Implementation. The Pioneer Planter will be responsible for ensuring that the Project Plan is implemented in its scope and aims.

1.7. Reporting. The Pioneer Planter will report monthly to his Advisory Group, and every six months to the Presbytery and to the Mission Board.

2. Project Plan. The Mission Board and the Presbytery will approve a basic Project Plan for the Pioneering Planting Project. The Plan will include the following:

2.1. Ministry Plan. A Ministry Plan showing the aim and purpose of the initiative with clearly defined goals.

2.2. Workers. The number of Minister’s and workers required to achieve the aims of the Project in the short to medium term.

2.3. Management. The overall management of the Project showing roles and responsibilities and clear lines of accountability.

3. Financial Plan. The application will also be supported by a viable Financial Plan showing all confirmed and potential sources of income for the first three years.

3.1. Six-monthly Update. At the end of June annually, the Presbytery Treasurer will provide an update on the financial situation of the Pioneer Planting Project for the Presbytery and Mission Board, in consultation with the Pioneer Planter.

3.2. Annual Review. At the end of the calendar year, the Presbytery Treasurer will provide an update on the financial situation, in consultation with the Pioneer Planter, for the Presbytery and the Mission Board.

3.2.1. Budget. The Pioneer Planter will provide a budget to the Presbytery and the Mission Board showing the necessary income to meet the costs for the following year.

3.2.2. Financially Non-viable. If at either of these reviews it is clear that the Pioneering Planting Project is not financially viable, and there is no reasonable expectation that the funds necessary for the continuation of the Pioneering Planting Project will be forthcoming, the Mission Board will proceed to terminate the appointment of the Pioneer Planter, and that of any Additional Workers, in consultation with the Presbytery and the Kirk Session of the parent congregation.

3.2.3. Termination. The appointments will be terminated effective three months from the date on which the Board reached its final decision. The Pioneer Planter, and the Assistant where such as been appointed, will be paid the stipend for this three-month period.

3.2.4 Funds. The Board will seek to ensure that there are sufficient funds in the Pioneering Planting Project accounts to cover the stipend for this period.

3.2.5. Rolls. At the end of the three-month period, the names of the Pioneer Planter, and the Assistant where such exists, will be added to the Roll of Ministers Eligible for Call. If a member of the Team is a Probationer, his name will be retained on the Roll of Probationers.

3.3 Finance Manager. The Finance Manager will examine the six-monthly update and the annual review to assist the Mission Board in monitoring the financial viability of the Pioneering Planting Project.

4. Assistant Pioneer Planter. The Presbytery may appoint an Assistant Pioneer Planter to the Project to assist in the achievement of the aims of the Project. The Assistant may be an ordained Minister or a Probationer.

4.1. Conditions. The conditions under which an Assistant Pioneer Planter will be appointed will be in line with the conditions for the appointment of an Assistant Church Planter set out in Section B.4 above.

4.2. Term. The Assistant Pioneer Planter will be appointed for a maximum five-year term but with the end of his term to coincide with the end of the five-year term of the Pioneer Planter, and with the approval of the Mission Board. This appointment may be renewed for a second five-year term in line with the progress of the overall Project.

4.3. Appointment. The process for the appointment of the Assistant Pioneer Planter will follow the process which applies to the Pioneer Planter in Paragraph 1 above with the exception of Paragraph 1.4 when the selected Assistant is a Probationer. 

4.4. Presbytery. The Assistant Pioneer Planter will be granted a seat in the Presbytery on his induction to the Pioneer Planting Project.

5. Additional Workers. The Presbytery may appoint additional workers to the Project to assist in achieving the aims and objectives of the Plan.

5.1. Ministerial Members. The additional workers may be ordained Ministers or Probationers. They will be appointed to the Team under the provisions of Act 8, Class 2, 2022 anent Ministry Support Workers with the approval of the Mission Board.

5.2. Support Workers. The Presbytery may also appoint support workers to the Team, who are not Ministers or Probationers. The additional support workers will also be appointed according to the terms of the said Act on the employment of Ministry Support Workers.

5.3. Fixed Term. The duration of the appointment of the Additional Team Members and Support Workers will be fixed to coincide with the fixed term and review period of the Project Plan.

5.4. Presbytery. For the avoidance of doubt, the Additional Team Member and Support Workers will not be granted a seat on the Presbytery.

6. Governance. The Presbytery and the Mission Board will ensure good governance structures are in place to cover all aspects of the Pioneering Planting Project.

6.1. Finance. The Chief Executive Officer and the Finance Manager will confirm that they are satisfied with the financial and governance arrangements before the Project is formally established.

6.1.1.The Presbytery may apply for charitable status under the direction of the Legal and Compliance Officer whereby they would manage the financial activities of the Pioneering Planting Project. In doing so, they would seek to identify local personnel to help them secure the everyday financial management of the Project. If such personnel are not available locally, the Presbytery will consult with the CEO and the Finance Manager as to what steps need to be taken to support the Presbytery in this aspect of managing the Project.

6.1.2. Alternatively, where the charitable status of the Presbytery as the means of securing good financial governance is judged to be inadvisable, the Presbytery will consult with the CEO, the Finance Manager, and the Mission Board, to make whatever arrangements are considered necessary to secure good financial governance and compliance with the requirement of the charities’ regulator.

6.2. Ministry. The Pioneer Planter will ensure that the governance of everyday ministry under the Pioneering Project Plan complies with our Presbyterian form of Church government, and which will ensure clear lines of accountability and reporting for all Team members.

6.2.1. The Presbytery will appoint an Advisory Group comprised of at least one Minister and two Elders. The Advisory Group will also include a representative appointed by the Mission Board.

6.2.2. The Advisory Group will meet with the Pioneer Planter monthly, and they shall report to the Presbytery on the meetings every six months.

7. Church Planting. When the Pioneering Planting Project identifies an area or location that is judged to present a Church Planting opportunity, the Pioneer Planter will report accordingly to the Presbytery and to the Mission Board.

7.1. Process. The Presbytery and the Mission Board will then proceed to establish a Church Plant according to the process set out in Sections A-C of this Act. 

8. End-of-term Review. The Pioneering Planting Project will be reviewed at the end of the first five-year term. The Project Advisory Group will commence the review process in consultation with the Presbytery and the Mission Board not later than nine months before the end of the five-year term.

8.1 Project Plan. The Advisory Group will report on the Project Plan showing progress made in the ministry of the Pioneering Project and highlighting adjustments to the Plan going forward where the ongoing experience of ministry has demanded such changes.

8.2. Financial Plan. The Advisory Group will report on the Financial Plan showing actual income and expenditure for the five-year term in comparison to budgeted income and expenditure for the same period.

8.3. Review Outcome. The Presbytery will consult fully with the Advisory Group and the Project Team before submitting their report with recommendations to the Mission Board.

8.3.1. A Second Term. If the Presbytery concludes that the Pioneering Planting Project has progressed such that there are encouraging developments justifying continuance of the Project, and that the Project Plan and the Financial Plan show evidence of good governance, the Presbytery will report to the Mission Board accordingly, recommending that the Project be extended for a second and final five-year term.

8.3.2 Termination. If the Presbytery concludes that the Pioneering Planting Project has achieved all its objectives, or is no longer viable, and that there is insufficient evidence to show that a second five-year term will be successful, they will report to the Mission Board accordingly, recommending that the work be terminated. Should this be the case, all appointments under the Project will be terminated according to the terms and conditions set out in Section C, Paragraph 3.2.3. above.

9. Final Review. A Pioneering Planting Project will continue in operation for a maximum of two five-year terms.

9.1. Final Report. At the end of the second five-year term the Project Advisory Group will prepare a final report for the Presbytery and the Mission Board in consultation with the Pioneer Planter.

9.2. Review. The Mission Board and the Presbytery will review the whole Project and its outcomes, assessing its overall ministry in the context of the aims and objectives of the Project Plan.

9.3. Ministerial Members. The appointments of all Ministers appointed to the Pioneering Planting Project will be terminated according to the terms and conditions set out in Section C, Paragraph 3.2.3. above. Additional Workers.

9.4. Additional Workers. The appointments of all additional workers appointed to the Pioneering Planting Project who are not ordained Ministers or Probationers will be terminated according to the terms of their contract of employment.

F. REPEALS

  1. The General Assembly repeal Act 15, Class 2, 2013 anent Church Planting and Evangelism.