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


5 responses to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Messiah Lutheran, LIFT ELCA. LIFT ELCA said: upLIFTing thoughts ~ http://t.co/TznZafh Linda Bobbitt's reflections on the work of the LIFT task force. #ELCA […]


  2. Posted by Dick Schlenker on February 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Your e-mail was very interesting and informative. The most critical issue faceing the ELCA today is the sexual statement and how it is splitting the member churches since many are leaving the ELCA abd joining the North American Lutheran Church. This is resulting in a drastic reduction of revenues and making it difficult for the ELCA to fullful its mission. Are you and LIFT addressing this issue and what will be the recommendations? Many Lutherans are against this issue and are in a quandry about supporting the ELCA, I look forward to further communications.
    Dick Schlenker


  3. Thanks for your work on this project. My hope is that your recommendations will not be “more of the same” but a rebirth of the church for the 21st century. Christ be with you in your work and among his people.


  4. I am following your progress in great anticipation of the next wave of discussions. I hope you have checked out Kelly fryer’s statement/definition of the church in “Reclaiming the L Word”
    page 100: “The church may be the only orgnaization on the planet that exists entirely for the sake of those people who don’t belong to it, yet. In fact, as soon as we forget this and start making it all about ourselves, we stop being the church”!!!
    What a discussion opener.
    Pastor Anne


  5. Posted by R.McMullin on March 1, 2011 at 12:56 am

    I like the way your church opperate. How different it is from some other churches. You beleive that all the people come together and form an idea, direction, and course. It is very democratic and based on the core assumption that truth will emerge from the consensus of the total church congregation as a whole with all parties being asked to present and share their viewpoints. The older view is that truth resides in a select few people (The Elect) whose job it is to teach it to everyone else, expunge the heretics, and keep everyone in line thinking exactly the same thing. I like your way better.


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