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Leading Together: What is it?
By Rev. Emily Carson
The people of Juba, South Sudan will have access to health care because of your generosity! In 2016, the people of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod contributed nearly $66,000 to the new Lutheran Center which is home to a community center, worship space, and clinic. This work was accomplished by financial gifts made through Leading Together, the synod fund that individuals and congregations give to in order to contribute directly to the developing of leaders, equipping of congregations, and accompanying of global partners.
The Southeastern Minnesota Synod is transforming lives in South Sudan, Colombia, Tanzania and right here in southeastern Minnesota. The ministry of the synod is accomplished through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the generosity of our 174 congregations and 121,000 members.
There are two primary ways the ministry of the synod is funded: mission support (dollars from congregations) & Leading Together (dollars from either individuals or congregations). One way your congregation makes financial contributions to the synod is through something called mission support. The leadership of each congregation discerns together what dollar amount they feel called to share with the synod. These dollars are very impactful because together as the 4 million members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we do so much more than we can do alone!
Congregations contribute their mission support dollars according to whatever schedule is most convenient for them: monthly, quarterly, or annually. Approximately 48% of the mission support dollars that come to the synod go directly to support the ministries funded through the churchwide expression of our denomination, the ELCA. These dollars support important work nationally and abroad! The portion of mission support that stays within the synod supports all the core aspects of our functioning including (but not limited to) call process, candidacy, rostered minister support, and faith formation.
Recognizing the need to build sustainable and expanding revenue streams in order to increase our impact, the leadership of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod felt compelled to explore new ways to empower individuals and congregations to give! Leading Together is the synod fund that individuals and congregations can give to in order to contribute directly to the developing of leaders, equipping of congregations, and accompanying of our global partners. 100% of these dollars go toward supporting specific initiatives identified by the synod. The people of the synod are generous! Leading Together provides another avenue for people to express that generosity.
In 2017, Leading Together dollars will be directed toward three main areas: (1) identifying 35 new candidates for ministry over the next three years, (2) equipping congregations including the launching of the Small Church Vitality Project to empower the synod’s smaller congregations, and (3) supporting Rev. Wal Reat, ELCA Missionary to South Sudan. More details about this year’s focus areas are available online at http://semnsynod.org/leadingtogether.
Thank you for your congregational or individual financial gifts in support of God’s work through the Southeastern Minnesota Synod! Mission support dollars and Leading Together dollars are a crucial way we collectively respond to the Spirit’s call in this time and place. To learn more, email Assistant to the Bishop, Rev. Pete Reuss (firstname.lastname@example.org), visit http://semnsynod.org/leadingtogether, or call 507-280-9457.
PS: The Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly offering dollars on May 6-7 will be directed toward Leading Together in support of identifying 35 new candidates for ministry. Bishop Delzer encourages all congregations to take-up a special offering to send along with voting members to this year’s assembly.