MISSION TOOLS

MISSION ARTICLES:
Our Director for Evangelical Mission, the Reverend Blair Morgan, has written one page articles on mission for our synod newsletter, The ECHO, over many years. These articles are available here as a resource for whatever use you may find helpful. Feel free to adjust and edit as you might need them to fit your space or update certain facts. Most of them have a month and year at their end as a way of discerning timing – again feel free to remove if helpful.
PLEASE SEE THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE FOR THESE HELPFUL ARTICLES.

OPENING DOORS GRANTS

Each year the Outreach committee makes available funds to encourage ministries serving local communities. These grants are used as ‘seed’ money to begin a new ministry, or to enhance an established ministry or to expand an ecumenical effort. Although there are limited funds, we encourage every congregation to prayerfully consider submitting a grant request. No grant will exceed $1500 and no congregation will receive more than $3,000 in any one calendar year. We wish we could offer financial support for every request submitted. We will consider all grant requests and honor as many as possible with our limited funding. The application is available below:

Opening Doors Grants Opening Doors Grants (37 KB)

ON THE ROAD TOGETHER WITH CHRIST JESUS

The Outreach Committee is the synod committee responsible for mission development. We have a list of Mission Tools available for our congregations and their pastors as they seek to work together to strengthen their mission.

The tools are always being renewed and strengthened. Some of the tools that we offer have been available for years. Some are more recent and we are still learning their value as they are applied to congregational life.

Each of the congregations of our synod has aspects that make them unique. It is important to have a discussion with our Director for Evangelical Mission, Pastor Blair Morgan, regarding the mission challenges you face. He can then share which of the available tools might be most helpful to meet your current situation.

These first four have become the essential tools for our work in congregational renewal:

1) Mission Planning: Aim at nothing and you will generally hit it! We now have a resource to help congregations discern and plan their missions. It provides a biblical foundation, a process for understanding the neighborhood and community surrounding the church, and steps to develop a plan for the congregation's ministry in the next 2-3 years. Our synod's resource to work on congregational mission planning is now available to download:

Manual for Congregational Mission Planning Manual for Congregational Mission Planning (538 KB)


2) Transformational Ministry (TM): Congregations sometimes reach a point where they know they need to seriously consider significant changes in their ministry. TM takes a congregation on a journey of spiritual discernment. It starts with a focus of renewal of the team that has been called to oversee the process. It works next toward the renewal of the congregation. It finally takes that congregation into a ministry of renewal of the community in which they reside.

3) Natural Church Development (NCD): This process provides a way for congregations to look at their ministries around 8 key characteristics of vitality in ministry. The congregation develops a health team to work through this process. There is an evaluation done of congregational ministry; a plan worked through to address the characteristic that needs the most work; an evaluation done again to see how things have progressed; and a new plan developed. This works best with congregations who have established missions, years of ministry living out those missions and now looking to evaluate their ministry and focus on the weakest of their 8 key characteristics.

4) Cooperative Ministry: This can take many forms from congregations and pastors joining to work together on VBS, fellowship events, outreach ministries or Confirmation instruction to congregations sharing pastoral leadership in multiple ways. Yet, the key to this cooperation is the goal of strengthening and expansion of Gospel ministry. We believe this is an essential renewing tool for the congregations of our synod and important for them to consider.

These next tools are used as resources for specific congregational needs:

Mission Partners: This is a program that encourages congregations to be in a partner relationship for ministry support. It often involves a congregation with a specific ministry need and another congregation willing to respond to that need. A covenant is developed that includes mutual prayer support of their ministries. This has been a program of the ELCA for many years that we are working to renew and strengthen in our synod.

Asset Mapping: This is a simple, 2-hour event that can help a congregation to develop new mission ideas for their church when they are ready to do so, but just feel kind of stuck. It is a fun way to identify the assets that are available and to connect them together in new ways to identify new possible ministries. It also is designed to have new volunteers ready to participate in those new ideas.

Healthy Congregations: This tool uses family systems theory as the foundation for its work in training congregational leaders to have better communication skills. It requires the time investment of at least 3 sessions of 3 hours each to experience the training. It has been very well received wherever it has been offered.

Unbinding the Gospel: This is a resource that is guided by the book by that title and written by Martha Grace Reese. It is a creative guide to help a pastor and a congregation to grow in their ministry of evangelism and witness. It is designed for the challenges that mainline congregations and their members face as they consider being witnesses of the Gospel. More information is available at their website www.GraceNet.info.

ARTICLES BY PASTOR BLAIR MORGAN

Mission- Evangelism Article Downloads

Learning to Talk About God working Learning to Talk About God working (15 KB)

More Ideas for Congregations around Evangelism More Ideas for Congregations around Evangelism (16 KB)

Personal Faith Sharing Personal Faith Sharing (16 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - Different Events to WhichThey Could Come The Year of the Invitation - Different Events to WhichThey Could Come (14 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - Final The Year of the Invitation - Final (14 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - Intro - Excuses Why We Do Not Invite The Year of the Invitation - Intro - Excuses Why We Do Not Invite (16 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - Invited into Mission The Year of the Invitation - Invited into Mission (14 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - It Never Came Up The Year of the Invitation - It Never Came Up (14 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - More About Prayer The Year of the Invitation - More About Prayer (14 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - Pray The Year of the Invitation - Pray (14 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - Some Biblical Models The Year of the Invitation - Some Biblical Models (14 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - Why I Like My Congregation The Year of the Invitation - Why I Like My Congregation (16 KB)

The Year of the Invitation - You Can Do This (Examples) The Year of the Invitation - You Can Do This (Examples) (14 KB)

Why People don't Return to a Congregation After First Visit Why People don't Return to a Congregation After First Visit (16 KB)

Ideas for Congregations Ideas for Congregations (16 KB)

 

Mission - Helpful Books Article Downloads

Christianity for the Rest of Us Christianity for the Rest of Us (14 KB)

Christianity for the Rest of Us -A Second Quote Christianity for the Rest of Us -A Second Quote (17 KB)

Reclaiming the L Word Reclaiming the L Word (15 KB)

Souls in the Hands of a Tender God Souls in the Hands of a Tender God (15 KB)

Unbinding the Gospel Unbinding the Gospel (15 KB)

Mission - Inspirational Article Downloads

Congregations that Go Beyond the Ordinary Congregations that Go Beyond the Ordinary (15 KB)

Creative New Ideas to be About Mission Creative New Ideas to be About Mission (17 KB)

Mission & Discipleship Mission & Discipleship (14 KB)

Mission Across the Church Mission Across the Church (15 KB)

Mission and Justice Mission and Justice (14 KB)

Mission and the Importance of WITH Mission and the Importance of WITH (55 KB)

Mission in a Culture that Sees Scarcity Mission in a Culture that Sees Scarcity (15 KB)

More Ideas for Reaching Out into Your Neighborhood More Ideas for Reaching Out into Your Neighborhood (14 KB)

Not Becoming a Dead Sea! Not Becoming a Dead Sea! (25 KB)

Prayer and Martin Luther Prayer and Martin Luther (14 KB)

Praying with Expectation Praying with Expectation (15 KB)

Quick Read but Thought Provoking Quick Read but Thought Provoking (14 KB)

Trimming the Bushes Leads to Mission Trimming the Bushes Leads to Mission (14 KB)

Two Basic Facts Toward Congregational Renewal Two Basic Facts Toward Congregational Renewal (15 KB)

William Passavant and Mission William Passavant and Mission (15 KB)

Working Together as the Larger Church Working Together as the Larger Church (16 KB)

Worship and Mission Inspiration Worship and Mission Inspiration (15 KB)

Mission - Planning Article Downloads

Creating a Team to Focus on Mission Creating a Team to Focus on Mission (16 KB)

Four Key Tools for Congregational Mission Four Key Tools for Congregational Mission (14 KB)

Mission - A Simple Planning Tool for Congregations Mission - A Simple Planning Tool for Congregations (14 KB)

Mission - Basic Planning 1 Mission - Basic Planning 1 (14 KB)

Mission and the Importance of Planning Mission and the Importance of Planning (14 KB)

Mission to Your Neighborhood is Essential Mission to Your Neighborhood is Essential (14 KB)

Summing Up Your Mission in Key Phrases Summing Up Your Mission in Key Phrases (15 KB)

Understanding Your Congregation's Size Understanding Your Congregation's Size (15 KB)

Who We Are and What God is Calling Us to Do Who We Are and What God is Calling Us to Do (15 KB)

Mission - Resources Article Downloads

Council Retreats and Planning - Story Matters Council Retreats and Planning - Story Matters (14 KB)

Finding Resources for Mission on the ELCA Website Finding Resources for Mission on the ELCA Website (15 KB)

Healthy Congregations Aids Communication in Congregations Healthy Congregations Aids Communication in Congregations (16 KB)

One Page Summary of Natural Church Development One Page Summary of Natural Church Development (16 KB)

Supporting Mission Through the Mission Development Fund Supporting Mission Through the Mission Development Fund (14 KB)

Mission - Scripture Article Downloads

Mission Scripture and Prayer Mission Scripture and Prayer (14 KB)

Mission Statements in Scripture Mission Statements in Scripture (15 KB)

Through the Bible in 16 Weeks Through the Bible in 16 Weeks (14 KB)




For additional information, contact Pastor Blair Morgan at the Synod Office by telephone (412-367-8222) or e-mail at blair.morgan@elca.org.