The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



• New ministers feel most confident about preaching, preparing for worship and visiting parishioners, found a survey of 618 ELCA pastors in their first three years. The pastors, who ranged in age from 24 to 75, felt less confident about planning budgets, stewardship programs and managing church offices. They also listed evangelism as an area of need. "They've heard a lot about the church moving in that direction," said Connie Leean Seraphine, coordinator of the First Call Theological Education program, which did the study. "But they don't know how to get people excited about evangelism once they're in the congregation." Second-career pastors rated themselves better prepared for working effectively with congregational leaders, guiding committees and addressing ethical issues in their communities, Seraphine said.

Bethel Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn., received the silver award for performance excellence from the Minnesota Council for Quality. It recognized the 4,200-member urban congregation for its efforts to embed quality principles and practices into its ministries. Bethel is the first church in Minnesota to receive this award and only the second congregation nationwide to do so. The process included a 60-page assessment describing how Bethel uses quality principles, as well as a three-day site visit. Criteria for the award focused on leadership, strategic planning, community, data/information, human resources and process management. A follow-up feedback report was given to Bethel identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement.


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