Leaders Explore Opportunities for Advancing the Mission

CHICAGO, IL (September 22, 2010) – More than 80 leaders from around the Evangelical Covenant Church met Monday to explore future directions for Covenant ministries and, in particular, ways in which ministry areas at all levels can effectively collaborate and advance the whole mission.

The group included representatives from various denominational, conference and regional ministry areas as well as affiliated institutional ministries of the Covenant and individuals who work closely with local church ministries.

“The goal is to advance the mission while bridging to the future generationally, multi-ethnically and structurally,” said President Gary Walter in addressing the group. The day’s activities were moderated by Evelyn M.R. Johnson, special projects director in the president’s office, with assistance from others. The day concluded with a time of worship and communion. The event is one of several activities designed to gain a broad range of input to help shape future ministry directions.

During the past two years, various groups have focused on exploring and answering two of three framing questions influencing future directions – what the Covenant is trying to accomplish as a whole, and identifying the core ministry initiatives and values that will accomplish the mission. Attention now is shifting to evaluating the best Covenant-wide alignment of personnel, structures and resources to accomplish that mission.

The mission as currently defined is joining God in his mission to see more disciples, among more populations, in a more caring and just world. The five core functions in pursuit of that mission are currently defined as starting and strengthening churches, developing leaders (both lay and clergy), making and deepening disciples, loving mercy and doing justice, and serving globally.

The challenge now is to identify ways in which the strengths of local churches, conference ministries and denominational initiatives can be harnessed for maximum efficiency and impact through more creative models for collaboration, cooperation and partnerships – living out the goal of “all of God’s mission by all of God’s church.”

The larger group spent the day unpacking those concepts and identifying opportunities for maximizing shared ministry effectiveness. A significant portion of the afternoon was devoted to exploring opportunities in new and emerging technologies that promise to enhance ministry at all levels while achieving greater cost effectiveness through shared initiatives.

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