The General Assembly Mission Council is now the Presbyterian Mission Agency and its elected governing board is now known as the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board.

The name changes were approved at the 220th GA following a recommendation from the GAMC, now known as the Presbyterian Mission Agency. 

The obvious question is – why change our name? The General Assembly Council (as it was originally known) has been encouraged to clarify its identity for more than seven years.

  • In 2004, the Mission Work Plan called for the development of a communication strategy, due to low awareness by pastors and Presbyterians in the pews of the mission and ministry of the General Assembly Council.
  • In 2007, the “General Assembly Task Force to Review the GAC” joined this effort, directing the council to create an identity for the mission agency.
  • In 2008, the council’s effort from 2004 concluded with a similar call: create an identity for the mission agency. This call was answered with a first step, approved by the General Assembly and a majority of presbyteries: changing the name of the “General Assembly Council” to the “General Assembly Mission Council.”
  • In 2009, the Six Agency Review Task Force also called for a heightened identity for the mission agency.

Each of these efforts have called on the GAMC, now the Presbyterian Mission Agency,  to be more intentional about the way it communicates so that those who participate in its ministries have an awareness of where these ministries originate, how to obtain additional information, and how to support the expansion of these ministries for other audiences.

In addition, the adoption of the new Form of Government by the General Assembly and a majority of presbyteries provides another impetus for the name change. The term “council” is changing in the life of the denomination. Under the new Form of Government, “councils” are the term for what was once referred to as “governing bodies.” Since the GAMC is not a governing body, the term “council” should no longer be part of the mission agency’s name.