Synod Visioning Process and Progress
By Rev. Emily A. Carson
“Church is the place where we find our home…where we find that we have been found by the One who knows us and loves us completely.” Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, shared this message as part of her videotaped address for the 2015 Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly.
In order to live more fully into what it means to be church together, our synod engaged in a Strategic Ministry Visioning Process over the past year. The goals of the process were to come to a shared understanding of the synod’s overall vision and priorities. Hundreds of lay and rostered leaders provided feedback along the way.
The results of the process made it clear that caring for congregations and developing leaders are the two most important priorities for the people of our synod. The following goals have now been articulated as central to our synod’s functioning:
- To develop leaders who feel supported and who are growing spiritually and are serving effectively in their contexts
- To support congregations to discern a more vibrant future
As the visioning process came to a conclusion in April, Bishop Delzer and Assistant to the Bishop, Rev. Pete Reuss, wrote a letter to congregations and leaders about our synod’s new objectives and strategies.
They shared, “We are very excited about the clarity that we have as a result of this process. We feel that as these initiatives are launched we will see churches revitalized and leaders equipped for a changing world. We do all this knowing that the Holy Spirit goes before us.”
Two specific processes will be used throughout our synod in the coming years to vitalize congregations and leaders. These processes are called Living Every Day as Disciples (LEAD) and Stewardship for all Seasons (SAS). LEAD is a process seeking to grow congregational leaders with a deep, bold, consequential faith in Jesus Christ. SAS is a process seeking to provide sustainable stewardship strategies with the specific goal of increasing congregational giving between 10-15% in the first year.
To learn more the Strategic Ministry Visioning Process, LEAD, and SAS (and to apply for LEAD and SAS), utilize the following links: