The Indiana-Kentucky Synod Organizing Team’s mission is to “expand Lutheran participation in local congregation-based organizing efforts and to enhance the effectiveness and vitality of synod life and congregational mission.”
The purpose and tasks of this team overlap with the stated mission of this synod to “empower, equip and encourage the people of God to make Christ known.” The team serves as an extension of the synod bishop’s office through direct oversight of the synod’s Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM).
Two goals shape the work of this team:
- To permeate the entire system of the synod – its structures, processes, and ministries – with the skills, tools, processes and practices of community organizing so that synod ministry more effectively empowers and equips the congregations and leaders of this synod to move into the world to make Christ known
- To expand Lutheran participation in local congregation-based community organizing throughout the synod.
Even as Lutheran participation in local community organizing expands around the synod, the gifts of community organizing will also influence the cultivation of a relational culture in the synod as thes team assists us in uncovering and using the gifts and passions of the people of the synod and organizing them into action in engaging the needs and concerns of the world.
The Indiana-Kentucky Synod Council appoints five to ten members to the team at the recommendation of the synod bishop for an initial term of three years. The synod’s Director of Evangelical Mission will serve as the liaison to the bishop’s office.
In pursuing its mission, the Synod Community Organizing Team will seek to:
- Build relationships and meet regularly with synod Bishops and Directors for Evangelical Mission to negotiate re: the evolving makeup and best uses of the team;
- Foster a culture of relationality and accountability between and within the synod office, synod leadership, and congregations, especially by teaching, promoting the use of, and modeling the one-to-one relational meeting in its various applications;
- Provide staff and leaders with Community Based Organizing training and theological motivation for pursuing congregational vitality, evangelical outreach, and public arena engagement;
- Serve as a resource re: Community Based Organizing for First Call Theological Education activities in the region or synod and for any Lutheran seminary located on the synod’s territory;
- Provide support along with networking and accountability mechanisms for new starts and re-development ministries that put CBO principles at the center of mission work;
- Recruit and resource congregations to join (or start) local organizing groups;
- Connect in-synod organizing activities and leaders to the wider network of ELCA leaders, congregations, and inter-faith groups involved in Community Based Organizing;
- Leverage relationships with synod leaders, inter-faith partners, organizers, public leaders and officials to build strategic partnerships and address public arena issues.
- Practice and model the principles of Community Based Organizing in team activities, including doing regular and strategic one-to-ones, running effective meetings, doing significant leg work between meetings, regular strategic planning and evaluation, mentoring and development of new leaders, exhibiting integrity and accountability, relating to grass root base communities, determining priorities based on democratic principles, etc.