The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Digital media grows mission

In Iowa synod, ministry networks rely on technology-based meetings

Five minutes after Justin DeVore left the most recent Northeastern Iowa Synod's disaster network meeting, he was giving his 3-year-old son a bath. There was no small talk after the meeting, no extended goodbyes, no 35-minute drive home. Just a click on his keyboard, and DeVore was back to being a dad at home.

The meeting was one of many in the synod that are now conducted electronically through conference calls or Skype, a video calling service that enables face-to-face communication over the Internet. Instead of driving an hour or more to attend a meeting, DeVore and eight other network members meet face-to-face over the Internet from their homes, offices or wherever they have a high-speed Internet connection. 

Thanks to digital networks, Justin
Thanks to digital networks, Justin DeVore, a member of the Northeastern Iowa Synod disaster network, can maintain his commitment to synod ministries — and his family.

"You shouldn't have to invest an hour-and-a-half to get to an hour-long meeting," said DeVore, who is also a synod council member. "I don't have to give up a Saturday a month to be part of this ministry. Now I invest only an hour on a Tuesday and we still get done what is needed. This makes an abundance of sense."

The prospect of making it easier for people to participate in synod ministries — while reducing costs and time commitments — led the 2011 Northeastern Iowa Synod Assembly to adopt a resolution amending the synod constitution and bylaws so most of the traditional boards, committees, task forces and work groups could transform into a more fluid system of networks.

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