What do you see as the principal challenge to the church at large in the next six (6) years, and how would you address it?
The principal challenge to the church at large in the next six years is how to GROW. Here is how I would address it:
- Synodical Servant Leadership: Imagine the office of Bishop not as the chief administrator but rather as the Chief Servant-Leader of the Synod. Why? A leader that can ignite our collective imagination with humility, encouragement and trust can get us to work together. That serves the health and vitality of all of our congregations. Click for more
- Partnership: Develop Mission Clusters (small groups of churches working together to share resources, ideas, and to build relationship) across the synod. Why? To foster collegiality, shared learning, and depth in authentic and vulnerable relationship. See a Mission Cluster!
- Synod Staff Restructure: The Bishop would preach and engage the churches of our synod in scripture and prayer as often as possible. Bishop Associates would all hold 1/2 time calls in churches and work 1/2 time in the synod office. Why? This kind of congregational-centered synod leadership brings immediate attention, visibility, and focus of our brightest and most apostolic talent to our mission outposts as well as provide a catalyst for churches working together. Click here for more
- Public Voice: Challenge each of our churches to commit to one initiative that would make a real and lasting difference in its immediate neighborhood. Why? Churches that are connected to the real needs of their parish find that the church grows as the neighborhood trusts. Click to see an example
- Mutual Learning: Monthly “Ted Talk” type videos showcasing learnings shared by leaders in our synod. Why? We have a lot of smart and underutilized leaders who would love to help the church in our synod thrive. Click to see one
- Commitment to Grow the Body of Christ: 1% growth in bodies in each church in the synod each year for 5 years. Why? As in business, so in the church. If we take our eye off the growth of our organizations, for whatever well-intentioned reason, we stop growing.
- Commitment to Grow Diversity in the Body of Christ: Challenge our synod to plant and support for 10 years 3 mission starts devoted to becoming teaching congregations to our synod around diversity. Why? Cultivating, supporting, and then listening to the voices of culturally-competent leaders as we walk together into God’s future is the path to realizing the growth in diversity we seek as a synod.
- Commitment to Grow Resources: The Jerusalem Offering, a three-year, 5 million dollar Minneapolis Area Synod capital campaign. Why? To raise resources for mission-critical outposts with no or very limited sustainability and make them sustainable. Click to read more
- Commitment to Grow Leaders: The Samuel Project, a yearly congregational mentoring program with one high school youth from each church with the goal of sending 146 youth leaders to the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute. Why? An “Eli” (Pastoral Leader) who has heard and answered the Master’s voice is uniquely qualified to help facilitate and encourage spiritual discernment among God’s next “Samuel” (Youth Leader). Check it out here
- Commitment to Live in Joy: Celebrate!, a synodical spiritual discipline to lift up, give thanks and broadcast widely all the ways God’s reign is growing using social media platforms. Why? Noticing, bringing focus, and celebrating inspires.
These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”