Intra-Presbytery Dialogue on Assessment

This past Saturday, at the regularly stated meeting of the Southwest Florida Presbytery, we hosted what we hope to be the first in a series of discussions about topics of importance to the presbytery. This first dialogue centered on the role of the MNA Assessment Center in assessing the readiness and preparation of a potential church planter. The healthy dialogue featured initial presentations of two of the teaching elders in our presbytery, Steve Casselli and Tim Rice, followed by an open discussion and Q&A time. The notes from those two presentations are below.

A Principles Argument Against Requiring Assessment

On the Value of Assessment









4 Responses to “Intra-Presbytery Dialogue on Assessment”

  1. Dwight Dolby Says:

    As a member of this presbytery, I was impressed with the tone of the discussion and the clarity of perspective each presenter gave. I agree with TE Rice that the MNA Assessment Center is not a “parachurch” entity. I think it is a helpful tool for potential church planters. Unless I missed something, neither the church planting network in Central Florida nor our presbytery MNA committee has a written policy stipulating local funds are only available to “MNA assessment” participants. I regret the perception that “lines were drawn.” I believe our Lord will bring good from the experience that provoked this discussion. Thank you Steve and Tim.

  2. Quentin Johnston Says:

    Is it just me are are both files the same?

  3. Steve Jeantet Says:

    *Corrected* Thank you for pointing this out. I corrected it.

  4. gordon shaw Says:

    I may have missed much information about this assessment idea over the months. However, I have not seen any information regarding the cost of maintaining such a committee, board, or group of “experts” who do this. Namely, how much does it cost to maintain these men and/or women? Who would have to defray the costs of an assessment such as this. Would the individual candidate have to pay? Would the requesting church have to pay? Or, above and beyond our current presbytery and general assembly costs will we have to maintain another “board”.

    I know prophets test prophets but did the prophets have to appear before a board to be assessed by other prophets and then, if their particularly personalities did not measure up to some standard, they could be advised to step out of this calling of God?

    There was a man from Germany, a somewhat hot-tempered, sometime profane and gross man who often gave bad advice to a nobleman, would certainly never pass an kind of assessment board. Yet, God raised up this man to be a great reformer, the key phrase being “God raised him up.” When God gives a desire to a man to go into the field for Him, I say let him stand or fall in His Lord.

    An assessment board may find certain negatives in a man, reveal them to him, and he would feel a loss of confidence. I would be humiliated. What would any church think of him knowing–if they were informed, which would inevitably happen at some time.

    I haven’t had time right now to peruse either Dr. Casselli’s essay or Mr. Rice’s in detail and may have missed things in the presentations at Presbytery. However, I see many commissions, boards, and human gatherings make many unwise decisions simply because they “feel” a moral responsibility. I would say that if a man has a great desire and even compulsion to go into the field, let the church and the elders decide like they did with Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, and others. I would hate to lose good field sewers and reapers because a committee makes an advisement which could affect on God’s work.

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