From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutheran Services in America Gauges its Three-year Performance

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date 20 Apr 2000 15:12:09


April 20, 2000


     CLEVELAND (ELCA) -- Directors of Lutheran social ministry
organizations took part in an informal survey to help Lutheran Services
in America (LSA) gauge its performance during its first three years of
operations.  They used more than 200 wireless electronic voting devices
to answer a series of multiple-choice questions at the LSA annual
meeting here March 30.
     LSA is one of the largest human service networks in the United
States and Caribbean.  Its 296 social ministry organizations, in
alliance with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), form a national network of social
service and long-term care programs, providing more than $3 billion in
services in 3,000 communities each year.
     The annual meeting was a one-hour business session during the LSA
annual conference, "Joined at the Heart," March 29-April 1.  LSA was
organized in 1997.
     "For the first time in our brief history, we used the annual
meeting as a time to invite feedback about our services," said Joanne
Negstad, LSA president and CEO, St. Paul, Minn.  "The questions engaged
our social ministry leaders in feedback about our programs and services
as we have developed them in our first three years."
     Negstad conducted the survey during her annual report.  The survey
gathered various statistical data from the participants:
+ 30 percent were attending their first LSA conference;
+ 52 percent were using the LSA logo in their agency's promotional
+ 94 percent welcomed getting LSA materials for board and staff
+ 88 percent said they benefitted by relating with other social ministry
organizations through LSA; and
+ 84 percent said they had met with local representatives of the ELCA or
LCMS in the past three years to review their relationship with the
church body.
     "One clear message was affirmation of LSA efforts to more
effectively connect the work of social ministry organizations with
ministry partners, such as synods and congregations," said Negstad.  The
ELCA's 11,000 congregations are organized into 65 synods.
     "Responses reflected a positive reception of our new initiative,
'Joined at the Heart,' which invites member organizations to reclaim
their Lutheran roots," said Negstad.
     "The swift transition to technology was reflected in nearly 75
percent asking for our general communications to be Web-based instead of
on paper," she said.
     "The highlight of the meeting was the president's report," said
the Rev. Nelson C. Meyer, LSA chair, Columbus, Ohio.  "She used the
latest feedback technology to test some ideas and to test LSA's national
offices' service to the members."
     "In general, the members were very supportive of the services,
showed a high degree of usage of the services and said they valued those
services very highly," said Meyer.  "My biggest surprise was that LSA's
services are even more highly valued than I thought they would be," he
     "We found that feedback to be helpful," Meyer added, "as we
continue to sharpen and to expand our services for our members."
     The voting equipment was provided through a grant from Lutheran
Brotherhood, a fraternal benefits society based in Minneapolis.
     The annual meeting re-elected Meyer, president, Lutheran Social
Services of Central Ohio, Columbus, Ohio; Roberta Nestas, executive
director, Lutheran Social Services of Washington and Idaho, Seattle; and
the Rev. David J. Keller, executive director, United Lutheran Program
for the Aging, Milwaukee, to the LSA board.
     The LSA board consists of 18 members.  Nine are elected by the LSA
annual meeting of social ministry organizations; three are elected each
year to three-year terms.  Six board members are elected by the 5.2-million 
member ELCA; and three are elected by the 2.6-million member LCMS.
-- -- --
     Lutheran Services in America maintains a Web site at

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

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