calendar May 13, 2014 in 2014 Assembly, Assembly, Bishop, Giving

Assembly OKs Mission Advancement Campaign

The Assembly voted unanimously to continue work with Kairos and Associates on the development of a Mission Advancement Campaign to develop resources to reshape the Synod for the work of equipping leaders and congregations to engage their communities and deepen discipleship of their members.

Prior to presenting the resolution from Synod Council, Vice President Tracey A. Beasley said that the Synod’s purpose is “to equip pastors, lay leaders and congregations with resources to become growing and vital (communities of faith)” and “to take a leadership role with struggling churches.”

“Kairos can help us do this and so much more,” Beasley said.


Vice President Tracey Beasley addresses the Assembly.

Kairos’ David Lose earlier told the Assembly that a benchmarked “landscape” survey administered to nearly 500 clergy and lay leaders indicated that the Synod’s constituents strongly support making changes to help the Synod better support congregations in discipleship, community involvement, Lutheran heritage and stewardship, among other areas.

“Nobody changes before they are ready,” Lose said. “This body is ready, and excited, and eager to live into God’s preferred future.”

MAC-lose1As a result of the “landscape” survey and group and one-on-one conversations with key clergy, lay leaders, donors and staff, Kairos identified four common themes:
• The Synod has both a mandate and a capacity to change, with 99% of constituents reporting their support for change.
• There is a hunger to discern how congregations can be faithful and engaged Lutheran witnesses to the communities and people that they serve in the midst of.
• There is an opportunity to refine and clarify the role of the Synod, as research found that people who participate with the Synod are more committed and energized.
• The Synod should enhance its focus on equipping congregations and leaders, creating an environment where resources are available to help leaders manage change and attend to their congregation’s health.

The next few years offer a window of opportunity that will determine whether we together as a Synod live into our potential to transform the church or slide into complacency, Kairos’ initial report said. Bishop Burkat earlier told the Assembly that, having already done the hard work of cutting staff and expenditures, “we are now positioned to make the kinds of changes that will make us a more flexible, resilient organization” that can be a model for the rest of the ELCA.

MAC-Bishop1“We have heard you,” the bishop said in response to the Kairos report. “You want us to help equip leaders and congregations in ideas, collaborative partnerships and best practices to enable your faith community to bring new people into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. We need to develop a discernment process to help us rethink how, together, we can be vital congregations into the 21st Century.”

As the process continues, a lay and clergy team will meet soon to turn the data points of the Kairos research into specific, actionable steps to bring the process to life. Later in the process, congregations will be recruited to undertake a similar self-assessment process, which will reveal congregational strengths and passions and help the Synod staff to better network congregations.

Once a compelling case for action is developed, Kairos will work with the Synod team to develop goals and strategies to fund this enhanced mission. Funding will be to enhance the priorities identified through this process, not to shore up the Synod’s normal operating budget, the bishop said.

Kairos and Associates has been consulting with Lutheran communities – including a number of synods – for more than 25 years, raising more than $1.4 billion. Kairos was selected by the Synod Council because of its focus on clarifying mission and sharpening an organizations vision before raising funds, and its view that both parts of this process are spiritual processes.

The ELCA is also embarking on a major fundraising initiative at this time. Rather than winding up an effort to raise funds separately for the ELCA, it is intended that the proceeds of the Mission Advancement Campaign will be tithed to the ELCA Campaign for its nationwide and global work.

— Bob Fisher


Mission Advancement Campaign from on Vimeo.