Over the past couple of years a vision has been emerging for how we will collaborate in vibrant response to God’s great Commission and Commandment and God’s mission of rescue and renewal in Jesus Christ. Our Synod, in partnership with our ELCA’s program unit for Congregational and Synodical Mission (CSM), are exploring and implementing new avenues for partnership in the gospel.
The following working definitions for these leadership groups are offered in the interest of providing clarity about the differences between these groups:
- Boards & Committees (including synod council) are constitutionally-designated groups that tend specific assignments within the corporate life of the synod as defined in the synod’s constitution, bylaws and continuing resolutions.
- Tables are cadres of folks who foster ongoing conversations around various aspects of how this synod serves God’s mission. They are oriented toward producing and implementing mission action plans resulting from imaginative missional conversations with congregations, parishes and conferences in a fluid manner with tablemates who “come and go” over time.
From time to time committees and tables may form two other sorts of synod leadership groups:
- Teams address a more narrowly-focused area of the synod’s life over an extended or even indefinite period of time;
- Task Forces also address a more narrowly-focused area of the synod’s life, but in a more time-limited and task-focused way. Typically a task force is disbanded when it has fulfilled its charge.
Boards and Committees
Foundational to this plan being actualized in our synod is the formation of mission tables. The image of “table” is like a kitchen table where people gather and are fed and dream and plan, come and go. The image of “table” is like the Lord’s Table where people gather and are fed by the Risen Lord Jesus and sent out as resurrection people empowered to be participants in God’s new creation and mission for the sake of the world including our neighbors and neighborhoods.
An Evangelizing Congregations Missional Plan is being established which emphasizes: renewed evangelizing congregations, new evangelizing congregations, and missional strategies. Undergirding this plan is the assumption that “bishops lead as missionary bishops, every baptized person is a missionary, every pastor is a mission developer, and every congregation is a mission station for the sake of the world” (a vision articulated by CSM’s Executive Director, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Bouman).
This emergence of mission tables is taking place alongside the synod’s other leadership groups.