Over the past few years, congregational teams have participated in a number of synod-wide events under the broad heading of “Do What Matters.” The phrase, “Doing What Matters to God,” reminds us that God calls the church to be intentional about its purpose. The church exists not to keep current members comfortable by doing things the way they’ve always been done, but to reach out to the surrounding community with a message of God’s love. The downloadable document, “Guiding Principles for Congregational Mission Planning,” can help congregational leaders begin a conversation about doing what matters in their context.
There are a number of resources available to assist congregations in assessing their readiness to be about the mission to which God is calling them. These include:
1. The Synod’s Witness and Service Ministry Team. Members of the “Coaching and Encouraging” sub-group of the ministry team are available to work with congregation councils and visioning teams in matters of congregational renewal and neighborhood engagement. For more information, contact Pastor Mike Bennethum (firstname.lastname@example.org; 610-266-5101).
2. The mission planning page on the ELCA web site (http://www.elca.org/en/Resources/Mission-Planning) contains many helpful do-it-yourself tools for congregational leaders.
3. Unbinding the Gospel (www.gracenet.info). A number of synod congregations have used this small group process to reawaken a passion for the basic faith practices of prayer and holy conversation as a preparation for intentional outreach in the surrounding community. Contact Pastor Mike Bennethum for more information.