CHICAGO, IL (March 31, 2011) – Following is an overview of the assignment given to the 20-member Organizing for Mission Project Team.
The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), seeking to advance its mission while bridging to the future, has been asking three important questions of itself and its leaders:
- What are we trying to accomplish in the lives of real people in real places?
- What are the core ministries that will accomplish that mission?
- What is the best alignment of personnel, structures, and resources to accomplish that mission?
In answer to the first question, our framing language is: “We join God in God’s mission to see more disciples, among more populations, in a more caring and just world.”
In answering the second question, we identified five core ministries:
- Start and Strengthen Churches
- Make and Deepen Disciples
- Develop Leaders
- Love Mercy, Do Justice
- Serve Globally
The Organizing for Mission Project Team, convened by the president with the authorization of the ECC Executive Board, is now tasked with developing potential answers related to the third question – its primary focus is structural.
This vitally important assignment centers in organizing for greater effectiveness and capacity for the mission, not innovating around our identity as Covenant people: pietists joining together for mission. The scope will include the denomination, regional conferences, and affiliated institutions/corporations to identify unique strengths and appropriate responsibilities of each, clarify their intersecting relationships, and find ways to further our mission through cooperation and mutual support.
We expect the potential answers to point toward:
- Greater missional effectiveness
- Greater organizational clarity and simplification
- Cohesion and congruence across the whole of the ECC’
- Ongoing flexibility and responsiveness for adaptation moving forward; and
- Leadership and financial streams to support the mission.
Project team recommendations may relate variously to procedure (which can be implemented immediately), policy (which will require board(s) approval), or polity (which will require annual meeting(s) approval).
The target for the project team is to have finalized and presented recommendations by the October 2011 ECC Executive Board meeting.
To guide the process:
- Mission-driven: The process should maintain “advancing capacity for mission” as a filter for all recommendations.
- Congregationally-centered: The process should build on the core assumption that the ECC structure exists to serve churches and to unite churches in service together.
- Vantage Points: The process should take advantage of the voices, perspectives, ideas and needs of the congregational, structural, vocational, and demographic mosaic of the ECC.
- Communicative: The process should include a communications strategy for stakeholders and constituents throughout the process.
- Coordinated: The process will benefit from learning from other recent or current ECC “macro” initiatives, such as Innovation Groups, Vision 2020 Task Force results, and the Five-fold Test, and further by staying in dialogue with other on-going planning processes.
- Strength/asset-based: The process should build on strengths and assets within the ECC, and not be dominated by “fixing” problems and deficits.
In the reconfigured structure:
- Missional: The structure should serve the mission
- Congregationally-centered: The structure should serve our churches and unite our churches in service together
- Resources: The structure should encourage flexible distribution of resources (financial, human capital, knowledge, access, etc.)
- Connectional: The structure should create and support relational connections between the denomination, conferences, and local churches
- Adaptable: The structure should be flexible enough to allow for streamlined decision-making and course-corrections as necessary
- Integrated: The structure should coordinate various tasks, functions, and divisions so that they work together and not at cross-purposes or in isolation. The whole must be greater than the sum of its parts.
- Empowering: The structure should encourage effectiveness through innovation, creativity and risk-taking
- Multi…: The structure should reflect, support, and benefit from the advancing mosaic of the ECC