Dear Partners in Mission:
Over the last 20 months we have been challenged to learn new ways of being church together. This has caused challenges for leaders, brought significant conflict in some places, and also pushed us towards greater innovation in how we connect with one another.
This past Sunday I was visiting King of Glory, Dallas for worship and to meet with their council. Their leadership has contracted with Convergence, an independent faith leadership organization that offers a variety of products. The staff from Convergence was presenting the results of a survey conducted with members of King of Glory both about their congregation and their understanding of their mission moving forward. The data was interesting to see and I hope will help the leaders of this community discern next steps. But what stuck with me the most was their conviction in stating without reserve that the future of this congregation is to be a hybrid church.
In listening, learning, and discerning I must say I completely agree. If we do want to share the good news of Jesus Christ broadly, connect with more diverse communities, and be authentic in our life together hybrid ministry will be essential. To accomplish this work we have many tools at our disposal. Convergence offers a variety of webinars for leaders. Over the past three years congregations in NT-NL have participated in a Leadership for Faithful Innovation Cohort focused on learning to experiment and try new things. Our convocation focused on that theme as well and videos of those presentations are being prepared. In past weeks I met with representatives from Gloo/Church about ways for congregations to connect with people in their communities who are seeking help/spiritual engagement/guidance. NT-NL and ELCA Coaching can help individuals and congregations as they move forward as well.
All of these are resources we need to utilize to help our communities engage this hybrid future. But the reality is none of it will matter if we are not open to change and being changed. Of doing, as I mentioned last week, the often hard work of letting go of our silos, working in relationship to one another, with the conviction that our mission is to share the good news of Jesus. The good news that has changed us.
Know that in this time your synod staff, Briarwood Leadership Center, and myself stand ready to walk with you in this journey. We have an amazing opportunity to connect and share God’s love with our communities. I pray we will be open to God’s spirit working in us to fulfill this task.
In Mission Together,