As the world continues to change, it is important for the church to remain true to the Gospel and relevant in our time. In 2020, global pandemic, the urgent struggle for racial justice and a divisive political climate have only sharpened and renewed this church’s purpose to “activate each of us so more people know the way of Jesus and discover community, justice and love.”
To do this important work, the ELCA Church Council affirmed a new Future Church design at its fall meeting November 12-14, 2020 in order to meet the current realities that we face as a church and assist us in moving beyond where we are. The following are the realities in which we currently live that are driving this process.
Overall, the ELCA continues in a pattern of macro decline as do other mainline churches. The majority of our members are aging and our membership profile does not reflect the diversity of the United States or the Kingdom of God. Thirty years on, the ELCA has enjoyed a rich history of ministry together. Yet disruptions persist that have affected our ability to reach people with the Gospel and invite them to experience grace in the sacraments. In response to these continuing trends and data from an innovation readiness survey we recognized that we need to move forward and in a new direction.
It is because of the above that Future Church was designed. It is based in the strong belief that members, congregations, synods and the churchwide organization must work together to share a powerful witness of the Gospel in the world; inviting more new, young and diverse people to experience God’s grace in action, while engaging our current members in new, innovative ways. It envisions a world experiencing the difference God’s grace and love in Christ make for all people and creation. To accomplish this we, as the church, will:
- Prioritize the engagement of new, young and diverse people
- Unite all expressions into one church – together
- Align decision-making, accountability and leadership where best suited
- Operate in agile, flexible and prompt ways
- Act based on data and measurable impact
- Eliminate silos and divisions
More information about how all members of this church can be a part of growing this church into the future will be available in the coming months.