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Total Ministry in the Metro New York Synod


A clear, single vision of the synod as one church committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. A commitment from synod leaders to pursue the vision. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Total Ministry in the Metro New York Synod

Total Ministry in the Metro New York Synod
  • A Vision for the future of our Synod

Total Ministry . . .
  • How did the idea come about in the first place?

Once upon a time . . .
  • There was a church located about 65 miles east of
    Manhattan in the midst of the Pine Barrens
    section of Suffolk County.
  • They had a baptized membership of 111, most of
    whom were adults.
  • They averaged 59 persons in weekly worship

They were still looking to the future
  • In the previous year they gave 52,729 toward
    their budget of 53,112.
  • In their fall stewardship campaign they reported
    that the congregations average weekly giving was

By the following summer
  • Several families had announced their plans to
    relocate to other parts of the country.
  • Some of their key donors had passed away.
  • A few Sunday School staff members had moved.
  • Worship attendance and giving had dropped
  • They had fallen several months behind in pension
    payments for their pastor.

A neighboring church tried to help
  • In July a special offering raised about 4,000 to
    help the people to catch up on some pension
  • A meeting was held so the Councils of both
    churches could meet each other and discuss
    further ways they could assist one another.

The Bishop offered his assistance
  • He asked the pastors to work together to explore
    options for the future of St. Marks.
  • He promised the assistance of his staff in
    working toward a new future.
  • He offered some financial assistance to help the
    church to keep things going.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding was approved
    between the Bishop and the two congregations.

The Memorandum of Understanding was agreed to on
September 10, 2001. and we all know what
happened the next day. . .
(No Transcript)
By September 11, 2002 (One year later . . .)
  • Their weekly worship attendance averaged under 30
  • Weekly Offerings averaged 275.00
  • Catholic Charities had contracted with them to
    purchase their property to construct 33 units of
    affordable Senior Housing.
  • A Middle Country Lutheran Parish was in
    operation, joining the two congregations in
  • A new concept called Total Life Caring Ministry
    was being developed by their Joint Mission Task

What does the future have in store for Lutherans
in Metro New York?
Before September 11, 2001 We had a certain
understanding of our world. One day of madness
changed that understanding completely . . .
and forever
But did the world really change? Or was it we
who changed?
  • It is normal for us to take the world for granted
    when we are busy and engaged with the normal
    activities of life.
  • When disaster struck, we were thrown off balance,
    but we began to respond to the crisis in the
    community around us.
  • As we came together as a Lutheran community, we
    started to realize that we cannot continue to
    carry on business as usual.

We also started looking at how we were doing as a
Church, and what did we see?
  • We recognized the signs of clergy burnout and
    increasingly discouraged members.
  • We saw that we had become focused on ourselves
    and our vision for mission had grown dim.
  • We discovered that the same problems that were
    going on here were also taking place in nearly
    half of the churches of our Synod.

But even more than that
  • We discovered that we have many congregations
    facing a severe crisis in finances and
  • We learned that nearly 1/3 of our congregations
    are in danger of dying out within the next 5
  • We realized that we did not have any overall
    strategy for helping churches face their crisis.

What else did we see?
  • We saw that most of our clergy have not received
    any preparation to respond to the crisis faced by
    our churches.
  • We saw that our laity also need help in
    determining what steps they need to take to
    decide about their future.
  • We realized that many of the issues we focused on
    in our churches were of little significance
    compared to the larger picture.

Just as our world learned lessons from the events
of September 11, 2001, we also began to realize
that in the Church we cannot continue to operate
as if it is business as usual.
We asked ourselves How can we address our
current situation and strengthen the ministry of
our synod?
  • Survival of the Fittest.
  • Last one out, turn off the lights.
  • Arranged Marriages.
  • Father knows best.
  • Or could we try to reclaim the Great Commission?

We discovered a new but old idea . . .
  • It is called by many different names
  • Local Ministry
  • Shared Ministry
  • Ministry of All the Baptized
  • Total Ministry
  • The priesthood of all believers
  • We called it Total Life Caring Ministry

A Paradigm Shift . . . From
  • Churchgoers who attended services
  • Volunteers who helped the pastor
  • Isolated, individual congregations not
    connected even to the churches down the block
  • Apostles, disciple-making disciples committed to
    Gods mission
  • Skilled ministers, missionaries, care providers
  • Missionary outposts of the Synod, linked
    together for mission with other Lutherans and
    even non-Lutherans

A Paradigm Shift . . . From to
  • Inter-dependent members
  • Many ministries to members and to the larger
  • Extensive and comprehensive quality training for
    lay ministry, pastoral duties, and evangelism
  • Ministry Teams led by trained leaders carrying
    out a shared vision of ministry to others
  • Clergy-dependent,
  • Let Pastor do it . . .
  • attitudes
  • Few lay ministries
  • Little training of lay members for ministry
  • Time and Talent approach with church-centered
    jobs to be done

A Paradigm Shift . . . From to
  • Educational programs to inform and stimulate
    thought about religious subjects
  • Needs-based program development Fix it
    programs Who can we get to fill this slot?
  • Someone else is responsible.
  • Educational programs designed to train people for
    ministry and to serve the unchurched
  • Asset-based community development What gifts do
    we already have to offer to others?
  • Were all in this together.

A Paradigm Shift . . . From to
  • Gods Mission among us and through us to our
  • The Way of the Cross
  • giving of ourselves sacrificially, in
    faithful obedience to Gods will
  • Maintaining our buildings, meeting our budget,
    supporting a full-time or part-time pastor
  • Survival renting out facilities for income from
    outside groups, fund-raising activities, cutting
    expenses, cutting out staff

Why this cannot work in the Metro New York Synod
  • Clergy enjoy being independent. They dont know
    how to be team players.
  • Clergy are professionals with career paths.
  • Congregations value their local traditions.
  • Competition, not cooperation, is the American
  • Each leader and each church wants to set their
    own agenda.
  • Our neighbors are not our kind of people.

More reasons why this cannot work in the Metro
New York Synod
  • Clergy and congregations arent trained to work
    creatively and collaboratively.
  • Clergy are treated quite differently from one
    congregation to another.
  • There arent many examples to help us in
    developing a new paradigm.
  • Weve never done it this way before.

At the center of the concept of Total Ministry is
the conviction that . . .
  • Ministry is for everyone, not just the clergy.
    The leadership of every church, parish, and
    congregation in the land is the responsibility of
    the whole of that community. Churches need
    leadership, but that leadership will empower the
    whole congregation, fusing them into a dynamic,
    outward looking community, bearing witness to the
    powerful message of the Gospel.
  • --- Canon Robin Greenwood, Total Ministry

What are some of the pieces need in order to
develop a plan to become a Total Ministry
  • A clear, single vision of the synod as one church
    committed to fulfilling the Great Commission.
  • A commitment from synod leaders to pursue the
  • A vehicle and a plan for developing and casting
    the vision.
  • A willingness to help people see how they can
    benefit from collaborating together and from
    reassigning and sharing resources (money and
  • A lot of time and patience unfortunately, it
    cannot happen as quickly as it needs to happen.

Metro New York Synod is not alone in this effort
. . .
  • For over 30 years the Church of England has been
    experimenting with various forms of Local
  • The Anglican Church in New Zealand, Wales,
    Australia, Canada, and even the United States has
    devoted tremendous resources to empowering the
    priesthood of all believers.

What would Total Ministry look like in Metro New
York Synod?
  • There are different models we might use
  • A single congregation could minister with a
    variety of trained ministry teams.
  • Clusters of churches could work collaboratively
    to support one anothers ministries.
  • Entire conferences could shape a shared ministry
    to a common community.

One example of the Single Congregation Model is
Hopes Total Life Caring Ministry
  • We define TLC as
  • Caring for all people regardless of religion,
    race, gender, age, or ethnic heritage.
  • Involving every member of the Body.
  • Using all the gifts and assets God provides.
  • Addressing every aspect of a persons life.
  • Giving the very best of who we are for the sake
    of Gods Kingdom.
  • Every day in every opportunity God gives us.

Total Life Caring Ministry ministers to
members and non-members . . .
  • Ministry teams can help members by
  • Leading worship services
  • Teaching children, teens, and adults
  • Caring for those who are suffering in body, mind,
    or spirit
  • Inspiring one another to serve the Lord in our
    daily lives in the world

Total Life Caring Ministry ministers to
members and non-members . . .
  • Ministry Teams can minister to our neighbors by
  • Bearing witness to Gods love in our daily work
  • Caring for the poor, the weak, the suffering
  • Speaking out for justice and renewal in society
  • Inviting them to share in the joy of fellowship
    with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Such a vision cannot be carried out by a single
person or even by a professionally trained staff
  • Our Lord gave the Great Commission to
  • all of his followers.
  • Our Lord gave the Great Commandment to all of his
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
    with all your soul, with all your mind , and with
    all your strength and love your neighbor as

The Cluster Model would bring together the
resources of several churches for shared ministry
  • Staff members working as a Team on behalf of two
    or more churches.
  • Led by one Team that oversees the joint mission
    of the churches.
  • Possibly merging into a single congregation while
    maintaining separate facilities.
  • Opening the door to new mission opportunities
    using the combined critical mass of the

The Conference Model could focus on a shared
conference community
  • Stronger and weaker churches could support each
    other with human and financial resources.
  • Joint activities can provide resources any single
    church might not be able to organize.
  • Conference Mission Teams could provide new
    avenues for members to serve one another and
    their neighbors.
  • Pastors could benefit from their interaction and
    the insights of others, improving clergy morale.
  • Economic advantages might be available to
    conferences that are not available to local

All these models are developed on the ground
  • Our Synods Commission for Evangelical Outreach
    can help in the process.
  • The Strategic Planning Team can consult with
    congregations, clusters, and conferences.
  • The Total Ministry Development Team can assist in
    forming a model that works for you.
  • The Congregational Renewal and Training teams can
    assist with making a transition from here to
  • The Ministry Development Board can assist in
    evaluating facilities for future use.

The Body of Christ is blessed with many God-given
  • God has bestowed many gifts and abilities on the
    members of the Body
  • Talents
  • Skills
  • Life experiences
  • Education
  • Work experiences
  • Relationships
  • Financial resources

These assets belong to the whole Church
  • You are not on your own.
  • The assets you have can be shared with others.
  • Others may have assets they can share with you.
  • The Bishop, the Synod, and your Conference are
    resources that can help you to envision a new

How can a church begin?
  • Re-commit yourselves and your resources to Gods
  • Form a Vision of what might beAre there others
    around us who should take part in this process?
  • Pray and worship together especially with your
    mission partners.
  • Study the Scriptures and study your mission
  • Listen to one another and your community.
  • Begin to identify your God-given gifts and
  • Ask for assistance from others who want to help
    including the CEO, the Bishops Office, the Dean
    and your conference.
  • Begin thinking outside the box about what God
    might be able to do through your ministry.

Dont be afraid . . .
  • The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid,
    for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was
    crucified. He is not here he has risen, just as
    he said. -- Matthew 28 5-6
  • Jesus said, Peace be with you! As the Father has
    sent me, I am sending you. And with that he
    breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy
    Spirit. -- John 20 21-22

We already have everything we need . . .
  • Jesus gave His Church His Great Commission
  • All authority in heaven and on earth has been
    given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of
    all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
    Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
    teaching them to observe all that I have
    commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even
    to the close of the age Matthew 2818-20