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Act 34, 2006 (XXXIV) – Act approving Co-operative Agreement with Mission to the World. 24th May 2006.

1. The General Assembly welcome the continued cooperation of MTW workers with congregations of the Free Church of Scotland and express their gratitude for the dedication shown.

2. The General Assembly receive and adopt the Cooperative Agreement as drawn up by the Committee in consultation with Dr Thomas Courtney.

Agreement for Cooperation and Relationship between the Free Church of Scotland of Scotland and Mission to the World of the Presbyterian Church in America

PREAMBLE

Whereas we are churches sharing the same biblical and theological roots, Reformed heritage and confessional standards, especially the Westminster Confession of Faith;

Whereas the Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned his Church with the words: “Go into all the world to preach the Good News to all creation,” (Mark 16:15) “and you will be  my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), we reaffirm our missionary vocation;

Whereas we are not driven by worldly motives but by the glory of God in the extension of his Church and Kingdom through winning people to faith in Christ;

Whereas the times in which we live present to us great needs, challenges and opportunities that can only be resolved in relation to Christ and his Gospel;

Whereas we are not able to complete the great task of proclaiming the Gospel and expanding the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in an isolated, unilateral and self sufficient way but rather as Churches united in one cause;

Whereas we recognise, value and celebrate our different cultural, national, ethnic and historical identities;

Whereas we respect the integrity, jurisdiction and policies of our respective Churches;

Whereas we desire to help, support, encourage and stimulate each other to love and serve Jesus Christ in obedience to the Great Commission;

For that reason, we affirm together the obligation of the Great Commission in its application to the life of our Churches today and enact the following:

PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

I. Purpose – the purpose of this agreement is primarily to foster a spirit of cooperation between the Free Church of Scotland of Scotland (FCS) and Mission to the World (MTW), the missionary organization of Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in order to utilize the resources of both churches for the extension of God’s Kingdom through church planting and evangelism in areas where both churches have existing ministries or plans for new ministries.

II. The following principles will govern joint projects in which the FCS and MTW cooperate:

A. A Joint Project Committee will be established comprising three MTW representatives and three FCS representatives selected by each church body. In the case of the FCS, the Church Extension and Redevelopment Committee shall appoint representatives for a term of four years, renewable for a further four-year term. Advisors or consultants may be co-opted at the discretion of the Joint Project Committee.

B. The members of the Joint Project Committee will appoint the chairman annually. MTW and FCS personnel will hold the chair alternately.

C. All projects to be considered by the Joint Project Committee should be presented in writing in a fully detailed and organized manner having gained the prior endorsement of the appropriate church courts.

D. Submitted projects will be adopted if approved by a two-thirds majority of the Joint Project Committee.

E. Both parties reserve the right to decline participation in or to withdraw from approved projects, subject to 90 days notice and a statement of reasons. However, great care should be taken to avoid such action.

F. Both parties pledge themselves to encourage a culture of mutual respect for and sensitivity to the history, tradition, organization, ethos and practice of the other.

G. The Joint Project Committee, informed by six-monthly written reports submitted by the project leader, will evaluate each project annually.

H. MTW and the FCS will jointly fund agreed projects. The level and balance of such funding will be determined before the project begins.

III. Areas of Mutual Cooperation for MTW and the FCS within Scotland:

A. The primary area of cooperation will be church planting.

a. Church planting opportunities will be evaluated in the light of careful research including demographic studies and such factors as location, neighbourhood needs, perceived spiritual openness, logistic feasibility, etc.

b. A church plant project may be initiated by a Kirk Session operating with the approval of a Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland. The presbytery will reserve the right to satisfy itself as to the academic standing, theological competence, spiritual gifts, leadership ability and general character of all personnel assigned. In the case of non ordained personnel, the presbytery may delegate this right to a Kirk Session also involved in the church plant.

c. All personnel working with the FCS in church planting will be accountable in an operational sense to the appropriate church courts.

d. All personnel assigned to a church plant will come under the legal and administrative auspices of their sending body, without compromise to the jurisdiction of local church courts. MTW personnel will for all issues of discipline come under the jurisdiction of the relevant PCA Court.

e. The joint funding for church plants will be determined before work is begun.

f. The Joint Project Committee will establish and monitor measurable criteria appropriate to each church planting project under its supervision, including numerical strength; financial viability judged by Free Church of Scotland legislation regulating the calling of a minister; the training,  selection and ordination of office bearers; a sustainable programme of evangelism; and a suitable permanent location. When it is judged the criteria has been met the Joint Project Committee will invite the local Presbytery to appoint an interim moderator to oversee the calling and settlement of a minister. On the appointment of an interim moderator the church planter will become eligible for relocation to another project

g. All short term personnel, including interns, from either MTW or the FCS, will have clear job descriptions presented to them by the Joint Committee. These will include details of the reporting structure and  their immediate supervisor.

h. To satisfy child protection legislation and other important criteria, all short term teams assisting FCS congregations or church plants must be approved both by the receiving body and MTW Atlanta.

B. The second area of cooperation for MTW and the FCS will be that of assisting church redevelopment (revitalization).

a. The Joint Project Committee will receive all requests for assistance in church redevelopment and will carefully determine the feasibility of such projects in relation to its church planting strategy before granting approval.

b. The Joint Project Committee, as well as the relevant Kirk Session will approve all personnel assigned to a revitalization project, reserving the right to satisfy itself as to the academic standing, theological competence, spiritual gifts, leadership ability and general character of all personnel assigned. In the case of ordained ministers the Presbytery will reserve the right to satisfy itself as to the candidate’s academic standing, theological competence, spiritual gifts, leadership ability and general character.

c. All personnel assigned to a church revitalization project will come under the legal and administrative auspices of their sending body, without compromise to the jurisdiction of local church courts. MTW personnel will for all issues of discipline come under the jurisdiction of the relevant PCA Court.

d. The joint funding for revitalization projects will be determined before the project commences. Normally the FCS will be responsible for bearing the larger proportion of costs.

e. Church revitalization projects will come under the oversight of a Kirk Session and Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland, which may request the assistance of the Joint Project Committee.

f. An exit strategy establishing the criteria for redeploying any personnel assigned to the revitalization project will be documented and agreed upon by all parties involved in the revitalization ministry before the project commences.

g. All short-term personnel, including summer interns to two-year interns from either MTW or the FCS, will have clear job descriptions presented to them, including the reporting structure and their immediate supervisor.

h. To satisfy child protection legislation and other important criteria, all short term teams assisting FCS congregations or church plants must be approved both by the receiving body and MTW Atlanta.

C. The third area of cooperation for MTW and the FCS will be in specialized projects (other than church planting or church revitalization) in fields such as theological education, specialized outreach and evangelism, and social welfare (mercy ministry).

a. All specialized projects must be submitted for approval to the Joint Project Committee where each project will be assessed both on its own merits and in relation to its possible contribution to existing church planting and revitalization projects.

b. All personnel assigned to specialized projects will be approved by and accountable to the appropriate FCS courts and MTW management structures.

D. The fourth area of cooperation for MTW and the FCS is that of developing and maintaining church partnerships between the FCS and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

a. Congregations of the PCA and FCS are encouraged to enter into partnership relationships without reference to the Joint Project Committee. For the avoidance of unnecessary complications it is strongly advised that the Joint Project Committee be informed of all such relationships.

b. The Joint Project Committee is willing to advise, nurture and promote such partnership relationships at the request of Kirk Sessions.

c. All short term teams and/or interns coming from the PCA to work with FCS congregations must come through the administrative structure of MTW.

d. Once every two years, the Joint Project Committee will host in Scotland a multi-day celebration of the partnership between the PCA, MTW and the FCS in church planting, revitalisation and other specialised ministry. These events will include thanksgiving to Almighty God and spiritual and biblical stimulus to mission in Scotland and/or Europe in the form of presentations, reports, testimonies and seminars.

e. The biennial celebration event will be open to all FCS congregations, particularly those involved in ministry with MTW or the PCA. PCA churches involved in ministry in Scotland will be encouraged to send representatives. MTW representatives will also be invited. Attendees will be expected to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. The expenses of speakers and other active participants, along with general expenses normally will be covered by the Joint Project Committee either through the Scotland partnership account, specific FCS funds or through a reasonable registration fee.

IV. Areas of Mutual Cooperation for MTW and the FCS of Scotland in other countries.

A. MTW and the FCS International Board shall keep each other informed of work in countries where they have a mutual interest.

B. It is open to each partner to suggest areas of cooperation in existing areas of work or in developing new fields.

C. In particular MTW and the International Board of the FCS may explore areas of cooperation in Europe, South Africa, Peru, India and work amongst Muslims.

3. The General Assembly commend this new partnership to the prayers and support of the Church and, in dependence upon the help of Almighty God, call on the Church Extension and Redevelopment Committee and the International Missions Board, as well as Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions, to further the Church’s commitment to Church extension, redevelopment and home based cross cultural ministry.