Remarkable! Ask me what our new Synod Mission Statement is and I can recite it from memory without any hesitation. Adopted by our Synod Assembly this past June, it is so clear and forceful that it burns in one’s heart.
Remarkable. Now this is a mission statement with real possibilities! And after all, isn’t this what a good mission statement is all about: possibilities?
In Jesus’ name, proclaim the Gospel, make disciples, do justice.
No need to peek at a copy of this statement to remember the words. No need to struggle to think, “Now what is it we are about as a church in this place?” Clear as a bell! Our mission with its Key Initiative—Support faith development in our congregations—is as clear and imperative as the needs of the people with whom we seek to share its message.
Turning possibilities into plans, and our new mission statement into action, will be the task of the Bishop, synod officers and council, synod staff, synod communities and task forces, conferences, and first and foremost the congregations of our synod.
Planning is ongoing as you read this.
No surprises—just the critical and intense work of turning expectations and needs into specific goals and actions that can enable all of us to breathe life into the words we have forged into our mission statement.
Sharing our new vision: We will be placing the words of our mission statement on everything we publish and holding its message as a mirror before everything we do.
Focusing our plans: The synod staff and council are, at this moment, developing strategic plans, both long term (five years) and short term (one year), for implementing our mission statement.
Evaluating our activities: We must review everything we do in the light of the restated vision of our mission, and where necessary and appropriate, be willing to change, add, and eliminate tasks and functions so that we waste not one minute of precious time, nor one dollar of precious resources. There are too many in need of the healing message of the Gospel, and the healing help of our actions.
There is no magic in any of this. We must examine the tasks that we are required to do by our present governing documents and see how and if they advance the vision of our mission. If they do, we must establish plans for carrying out those tasks in more effective and efficient ways. If they don’t, we must consider how we can better focus our efforts, organize our structure, and utilize our resources to implement our mission.
Every congregation and every individual who has volunteered to participate in the activities and ministries we carry out together as a synod has a right to expect that everything we do is concentrated on fulfilling our mission.
No one has the time or resources to waste on tasks that do not contribute to our mission. Indeed we can do more—far more—when we are all operating in cooperation and with the same clear results in mind.
In some cases our structure may be getting in the way of our work. Are our committees organized around the appropriate set of tasks? Do we have too many committees? Too few? Too uncoordinated? Is our election process the most effective one for filling our needs? Can we find more efficient ways to recruit volunteers for the tasks that need to be accomplished? Can we achieve more with more specific short-term task forces dealing with specific issues? How can we better communicate the activities of our committees to our council and our congregations? How can we increase the coordination of actions among congregations? How can we provide better response to the needs of congregations? How can we better provide training for lay leaders in the nitty-gritty work of running councils and organizations in congregations? How do we increase the commitment to implementing the actions adopted by our Assemblies? How do we say no when we need to focus and prioritize our efforts? How do we increase our resources so we find ouselves saying yes more often?
All of us, especially our congregations, will be invited to be active partners in this process.
This will require excellent communication between Bishop, staff and synod council, and congregational participation in the planning process. We will be using the input we have received over the past year from the responses to questionnaires we circulated and the meetings we have already held. We will be seeking additional input and participation through many different means.
Ideas, comments, constructive criticism, concerns, needs, and proposals for improvements or changes in synod functions are always welcome, and may be sent to either the Bishop or this Vice President.
The Bishop and Synod officers began planning for development of a strategic planning process during the summer of 1997. With the ongoing help of council member Bob Gleason and the staff, the entire council will concentrate on proposing and obtaining input on a strategic plan and after adopting it, beginning to implement its goals and actions.
It is expected that any needed changes in bylaws and/or our constitution will be ready for consideration by the 1998 Synod Assembly.
In the end, it will be the combined, coordinated efforts of all of us that will allow us to make progress toward achieving the aims of our mission statement. Actually, possibilities are not what our mission statement is all about! Our Mission Statement is about achieving a new reality.
Now that is remarkable!