From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Board Reviews Evangelism Strategy Report

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date 19 Apr 2000 13:14:32


April 19, 2000


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- To help guide the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America's (ELCA) evangelism endeavors, the board for the Division for
Congregational Ministries (DCM) reviewed a report on "A Telling Witness
of God's Good News," the ELCA's Evangelism Strategy, at its meeting here
March 24-26.
     The report summarizes the church's efforts in evangelism, outreach
and mission from 1991 to 2001.  The strategy was adopted by the 1991
ELCA Churchwide Assembly.  The Rev. Wyvetta Bullock, executive director
for the division, presented the report.
     In 1991 the ELCA resolved to encourage each congregation to
examine its own ministry of hospitality, review the opportunities for
sharing God's good news with people in its unique setting, and develop
ways to meet, engage, witness to and invite people to faith in Jesus
Christ, Bullock told the board.
     Other goals of the strategy included to establish 50 new
congregations a year, and to have at least 10 percent of the ELCA's
membership be people of color or whose primary language is not English.
     Today, the church is developing a new strategy for evangelism,
outreach and mission for the next 10 years, Bullock said.
     The "working definition" of evangelism is the "activity of the
individual Christian and of the church to share with other people the
good news of God's love, grace and power as revealed in Jesus Christ, so
that these others may be drawn into the community of Jesus to share a
new life with and from God," Bullock told the board.
     "Making disciples, commitment to witness and service, and passion
and compassion are what the church should be about.  These are not
negotiable," Bullock said.  "The mission arena in the United States for
2000 and beyond illustrates that between 80,000,000 and 90,000,000
people will not belong to a church.  There will be increased
racial/ethnic diversity -- within the next 50 years, Whites will be the
new minority," she said.
     At their meetings last fall, boards of the ELCA's Division for
Global Mission, Division for Outreach and DCM requested staff to
coordinate with the ELCA Department for Communication and other units of
the church to recommend strategies for evangelism and outreach for the
next decade.
     Staff prepared interim reports to spring 2000 board meetings, and
a final report to boards will be developed for fall 2000.  The ELCA's
Church Council will review the development process and receive the
board's actions as information.
     In spring 2001 a final version of the new evangelism strategy will
be distributed to churchwide boards and the ELCA Conference of Bishops.
The ELCA Church Council will take action on the strategy for
transmission to the 2001 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
     DCM is organized into ministry teams to carry out its work with
and on behalf of the ELCA's 11,000 congregations.  The division's
mission is "to support ELCA congregations to be alive in Christ as they
participate in God's mission by actively proclaiming the gospel of Jesus
Christ and welcoming all to living faith."

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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