The ELCA evangelism strategy made its way through the Churchwide Assembly and is now in the Office of the Presiding Bishop to be incorporated into the ELCA's strategic plan.
Sharing the Faith in a New Century: A Vision for Evangelism in the ELCA is the fulfillment of a 2001 Churchwide Assembly action, though work on its development began two years earlier. The plan has four main objectives (see www.elca.org/visionevangelism/):
• A call to prayer for the renewal of the church.
• Prepare and renew evangelical leaders, offering grants for education and mentoring.
• Teach discipleship by equipping people of all ages to be faith-filled witnesses to Jesus Christ.
• Increase the number of ELCA congregations and ministry sites that are growing spiritually and numerically.
At a news conference following the 933-42 adoption, Wyvetta Bullock, an executive director of the Division for Congregational Ministries, called the vote "a defining moment for the ELCA ... that we are naming and claiming the vocation of all the baptized to share our faith in Jesus Christ. It's the mark of our passion for Christ and compassion for the world."
Implementation of the strategy has already begun, Bullock said, adding that some synods already are receiving congregational outreach plans suggested by the strategy.
Funding questions are yet to be determined. Bradley W. Miller, Southeastern Iowa Synod, told the assembly he hoped the strategy would not be another "beautiful plan" for which there is no adequate funding.
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