Dear Partners in Mission:
Last Saturday your NT-NL Synod Council met online to do important business of the church and to gather for prayer and fellowship. We gathered online because for the last 2 years weather has interrupted our ability to gather. Doing so also saves us considerable financials resources that otherwise would go to travel. You can read a synopsis of the meeting here. I also encourage you if you are a voting member to get registered for our Synod Assembly, April 28-29.
At the meeting we rejoiced in the continued success of our Parish Lay Ministry Academy (PLMA), the generosity of the Mission Endowment Fund (MEF), and three ordinations in the last 6 months. Leaders are being developed and your support prayerfully and financially makes that possible. Thank you to all for your sharing of God’s abundance for our work together.
In our conversations we also took time to hear some hard truths about generational decline, congregational closures, and the fact that in 2020 only 25% of American’s claimed to be practicing Christians (a drop of 20% since 2010). We also looked at synod wide statistics that show a downward trend in attendance, baptisms, and new members for the last 20 years. These realities have deep implications for our ministries and is not something that happened overnight.
So we focused significant time on what is the purpose of our ministries ranging from the Synod, PLMA, individual congregations, MEF, and Briarwood. In each situation there are documents that guide us to understand what our purposes are. Interestingly, these purposes are sometimes not what we spend the most time focusing on. Our purpose as constitutionally defined is…
“The Church is a people created by God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear witness to God’s creative, redeeming, and sanctifying activity in the world.”
With concerns about buildings, traditions, and individual desires and preferences, we can become distracted from our purpose. Yet our lectionary gospel reading last week (Matthew 5) reminds us that Jesus calls us to be Salt and Light for the world. Focused on this purpose and not the preservation of the past, I believe we can and will continue to make good decisions for future mission and ministry in our synod. Please join me in prayer for the elected leaders of your synod and for our work together.
In Mission Together: