Here is a piece by Jack Marcum of PCUSA Research Services: Mission Priorities
What the research shows It’s tempting to discuss the differences presented at left. To do so, however, would be to focus on the trees instead of the forest.
The major finding is the lack of consensus on the most important mission activities. In no group did as many as 35 percent rate any one of the 14 listed activities as most important. Put differently, majorities of 66 percent or more failed to rank each activity as being of top importance.
Beyond de-emphasizing or eliminating gender justice and, perhaps, communications and ecumenical relations, these results provide limited guidance. There are no “sure things” that all Presbyterians want the GAMC to do. Make direct relief a priority? Well, 73 percent of members and elders and 83 percent of pastors want something else. How about church development? Again, 88 percent, 85 percent and 66 percent have other preferences
Hence, opposition might be expected, whatever choices the GAMC makes.
That might be preferable to a collective yawn: In a 2005 survey 87 percent of members and 71 percent of elders considered themselves only “a little informed” or “not informed” about PC(USA) mission. Few (18 percent; 22 percent) had “very often” or “often” wanted to know more.
Whatever the GAMC decides, the reaction or lack thereof will be interesting to watch. Apathy might be easier to handle in the short run, but a general “ho-hum” now might be more troublesome for the GAMC in the long run.
What you also need to know is that this is only the survey of the Presbyterian Panel. The same survey was done with the GAMC board and with focus groups of Presbyterian leaders like Middle Governing Body leaders and Seminary leaders. The overall result was not much different.
I should also point out that this survey is not a perfect tool but it does confirm that, generally speaking, there is no broad based passion for any one type of ministry but there is frequently a minority of folks with great passion for one type of ministry.