Almost as soon as the final gavel fell at the 2018 District Convention, I was peppered with a series of related questions:
- Who will replace you as Executive Director of Mission and Ministry?
- How are you going to fill your old role?
- What options do you have for “replacing yourself”?
In answering these questions, I ran into a pair of challenges. Now, we’ve also got a solution.
The Mission and Ministry Challenge
Some readers will remember when the Ohio District had four full-time and one part-time mission and ministry staff, most of whom were deployed. Mainly due to funding decreases, four years ago we went to one full-time mission and ministry staff. Bascially, we kept funding grants for mission and outreach, but did not replace staff as they retired.
As the sole staffer, the first challenge was figuring out how to work in person with churches. One staffer can only work with churches in one region on any given day. Add executive responsibilities, and I just couldn’t spend enough time with churches.
The second challenge was funding. If we budgeted for a full-time Mission and Ministry Executive, we could not meet other District needs, such as improving communications. I finally came to this realization: I could not look a potential fulltime staff member in the eye and say, “I am confident this position will be funded in three years.”
The solution was to shift from one full-time staffer to several part-time mission and ministry staff.
Regional Faciltators, serving on average five hours a week, will provide mission and ministry training and equipping. At this point, the Regional Facilitators will…
- Help congregations assess their health and vitality
- Assist congregations in utilizing MissionInsite
- Facilitate vision-casting processes
- Walk congregations through a process to create an outreach strategy for building relationships with the local community.
- Coach church leaders in meeting challenges and opportunities
The idea is that five facilitators could work with two churches at a time any given week. If the part-time facilitators can connect with 10 churches, we will serve more churches than we could with one full-time worker.
In addition, we plan on providing a time-part Mission Coordinator to handle the executive responsibilities in supporting mission work and new church starts. This is the most challenging position to fulfill, because it requires working cross-culturally as well as handling administrative duties.
Each year, we’ll assess how the “part-time” approach with Mission and Ministry Facilitators is working. If we need to go back to a full-time position, we’ll find a way to do so. For now, watch for announcements about Regional Facilitators.
(This post originally appeared at oh.lcms.org, the home website of the Ohio District, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.)