LIFT Presentation

Here are the presentation slides that will be used at synod assemblies in upcoming weeks.  Feel free to use it in your context to introduce some of the concepts found in the LIFT Report & Recommendations.

Download Powerpoint presentation

More LIFT Resources

Here are some resources to supplement the LIFT Report & Recommendations.

How do you envision incorporating the LIFT materials and process in your context?

LIFT Report & Recommendations

The LIFT Task Force recently signed off on a report and recommendations that were given to the ELCA Church Council.

LIFT Report (April 11)

Church Council Action (April 18)

Additionally the Church Council took a separate action on Social Statements as an outgrowth of the task force’s work on Communal Discernment.  You can read about that separate action via the ELCA News Service.

upLIFTing Thoughts

Soon after it was formed the LIFT Task Force realized that their job was to guide a conversation about what it means to be church and how we, the ELCA, might be faithful to God’s mission in the world. We knew that this conversation needed to happen not only within the task force but across the whole church and beyond. Early on, the task force began to wrestle with basic questions like what it means to be church and the value of being a denomination. Those conversations spread across the church in the form of focus groups, surveys, interviews, blogs, meetings, and synod assemblies. We talked with lay people, experts, pastors, lay leaders, congregation members, volunteers, staff, global partners, ministry partners, Bishops, and Synod Vice Presidents. Each perspective added a layer of vibrancy to the conversation to create a rich fabric.

Like a wide canvas, a clear message emerged when we stepped back and looked at the whole body of information. We came to understand that while the mission of the church hasn’t changed much since it was founded over 2,000 years ago, the approach to that mission needs to be lived out very differently everywhere two or three are gathered together. We recognized the value each part of the church plays in God’s mission, sometimes to support each other and sometimes to reach out in to the world. We could see clear areas of strength faithful to God’s mission and other areas where weak ties, a lack of coordination or strained relationships have blurred our focus as a church.

Now the LIFT Task Force is preparing recommendations that reflect what we heard from you. Over the next several months these ideas will be shared across the church and a new conversation will begin. A conversation about how to more clearly focus on God’s mission as a whole church. A conversation about what to do more of and what to do less. A conversation about how we can strengthen each other and work together in new ways that build each other up so that God might better use our hands in the world. God’s work – our hands.

 

Linda Bobbitt

Vice President, Rocky Mountain Synod

LIFT Task Force member

God’s ‘Demonstration Plot’

Dr. Craig Van Gelder, Luther Seminary, offers a description of innovation in farming practices that has inspired members of the LIFT Task Force.

“Growing up on a farm in rural Iowa provided me with an object lesson for understanding the church’s being missionary by nature. Each county in the state employed an extension agent to work with farmers. These extension agents were usually university graduates with degrees in agriculture. As new farming technologies, seeds, and fertilizers became available, the extension agents introduced these to farmers. My dad, like many farmers, was often hesitant to accept the innovations. One of the methods extension agents used to gain acceptance of these innovations was demonstration plots.

A strip of land, usually along a major roadway, was selected as a demonstration plot, where a new farming method, seed, or fertilizer was used to raise a crop. It was not uncommon for farmers to remain skeptical throughout the summer as the crops grew. But there was always keen interest in the fall when the crop was harvested. Invariably, the innovation performed better than the crops in the surrounding fields. By the next year, many farmers, including my dad, would be using the innovation as if it had been their idea all along.

The church is God’s demonstration plot in the world. Its very existence demonstrates that his redemptive reign has already begun.”

Craig Van Gelder, The Essence of the Church: A Community Created by the Spirit. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000.  p. 99-100.

 

May God use our common efforts at plowing, planting, watering, nourishing, weeding, and cultivating for new growth and beautiful produce – maybe even a bumper crop.  ~ Rev. Dee Peders0n

LIFT in Scripture

Bob Bacher’s opening devotions for the task force’s final in-person meeting focused on occurrences of the word “lift” in Scripture.  Here are the verses we reflected on:

* * * * *

The Lord LIFT up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  ~ Numbers 6:26

If I am wicked, woe to me! If I am righteous, I cannot LIFT up my head, for I am filled with disgrace and look upon my affliction.  ~ Job 10:15

LIFT up your heads, o gates! and be lifted up, o ancient doors! that the King of Glory may come in.  ~ Psalm 24:7

To you, o Lord, I LIFT up my soul.  ~ Psalm 25:1

I LIFT up my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come?  ~ Psalm 121:1

LIFT up your hands to the holy place, and bless the Lord.  ~ Psalm 134:2

Get you up to a high mountain, o Zion, herald of good tidings; LIFT up your voice with strength, o Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, LIFT it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”  ~ Isaiah 40:9

LIFT up your eyes on high and see: who created these?  ~ Isaiah 40:26

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even LIFT up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”  ~ Luke 18:13

And just as Moses LIFTed up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be LIFTed up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.  ~ John 3:14

And I, when I am LIFTed up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.  ~ John 12:32

We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever.  How can you say that the Son of Man must be LIFTed up?  Who is this Son of Man?  ~ John 12:34

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was LIFTed up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  ~ Acts 1:9

I desire then, that in every place they should pray, LIFTing up holy hands without anger or argument.  ~ 1 Timothy 2:8

Therefore LIFT your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.  ~ Hebrews 12:12

Questions for thought:

  1. Is LIFT important in Scripture?
  2. What is being LIFTed?
  3. Who does the LIFTing?
  4. What is the purpose of the LIFTing?

Determined to do God’s Work

Nice article on the Living Lutheran site, featuring LIFT members Kathleen Elliott Chillison and Erik Ullestad.  Check it out.

Determined to do God’s Work