The task force will regularly meet until the Churchwide Assembly in August 2011.  Smaller work groups will also meet outside of the task force meetings.


January 15-17 — Task Force meets at Lutheran Center in Chicago.

February 16 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

March 16 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

April 20 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

May 18 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

June 14 – 16  – Task Force meets at the Lutheran Center in Chicago

July 20 – Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

August 17 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

September 21 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

October 19 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

November 16 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

December 21 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)


January 18 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)

February 15 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST)  

March 15 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST) 

April 19 — Web Conference (2:00 p.m. CST) 

August 14-20 — Churchwide Assembly


13 responses to this post.

  1. Who are the web conferences for?


  2. Thanks so much for the information. I did contact him but am still awaiting a response.


  3. Posted by Karla Schutter on June 23, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Can anyone be a part of the web conference? If so, how can I be involved?


  4. Karla: In March, I asked who the conferences were for and was told they were open but apparently they aren’t. It’s my perception that the Task Force is utilizing a 20th century model not a 21st century model for interacting. But that’s only my perception.


  5. I think we are at a real crossroads in the Church. Our current ministry context is that of a world very active in social media and dialogue on a flattened playing field in which all are equal. To put it simply, we live in a networked world. As the Church we need to engage our environment in different ways. The most important thing the LIFT group could do is to actively engage in *dialogue* and to do their work in a Wikipedia fashion with those in the ELCA who are interested in how they can be a part of the conversation.

    I’d really be paying attention to the 125 Followers on Twitter. They are on the cutting edge of what it means to be a networked church.

    If you have people who are interested in listening in on the web conference proceedings, why turn them away? In fact, I’d invite everyone and anyone interested to listen and participate by sending questions in through the means most webinars offer. What we need to do, as a Church, is to listen to those who may currently be on the periphery of our network of faith, also known as the Body of Christ.
    One of the principles of true transformation is that it only occurs when you create wider circles of participation to connect those previously unheard to the conversation in ways that aren’t dictated to them.

    I’d really work towards moving from “broadcasting” to conversing. For example, on the June 3rd Facebook posting we were asked what topics we thought should be on the agenda for the June 13-15 meeting. A number of people responded. It would be easy enough to share how those responses guided what was placed on the agenda and then share the agenda with all of us. That would create some real interaction and let those in congregations and other ministry settings know that they are really being heard.

    In a networked world the Church needs to be fully engaged and fully transparent. We find ourselves in the position we’re in because we have not been paying attention to our context and the fact that most congregations feel disconnected from the wider Church. Let’s connect them in real ways.


  6. As a follow-up post, I highly recommend that the Task Force read “The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change,” by Beth Kanter and Allison H. Fine. I’ve been hearing about it all over Twitter and am reading it now.

    The authors refer to a variety of types of networks and then say: “We call this combination of social networks filled with individuals and organizations an organization’s ecosystem.” p. 26.

    As a researcher and nurturer of networks this is a book I think we should all be paying attention to at this point in time.


  7. A couple of other 21st century ideas:

    1. For the past two years participants in the ELCA Lifelong Learning Network have been tweeting from the annual gathering. We’ve been able to engage in conversation with others while the events were going on.

    2. Wouldn’t it be cool to ask members throughout the ELCA to create video presentations of their prayers and hopes for the future of the Church and upload them to YouTube. Could be interesting, could be scary, could be transformational!


  8. Amen, Sue. Imagine how interesting a vision of the future of the ELCA we might get if interested people across the country could interact not only with the task force *but with each other!* What an great idea to listen to voices from the periphery. Sounds like something Jesus would do.

    Elsewhere on this site it says: “The purpose of the Living into the Future Together: Renewing the Ecology of the ELCA Task Force is to develop and recommend options for the future of the ELCA in light of its identity, changes in its environment and its call to God’s mission.” That’s pretty exciting, scary and important. That charge affects pretty much all of us. Shouldn’t we want the broadest representation possible?


  9. Reading elsewhere on this site, I note Ozan Sevimli’s observation about the perception that church leaders are detached from realities on the ground. Finding as many ways as possible for Lutherans to give their answers to the key LIFT questions is one way to ensure that this process doesn’t fall into that trap.


  10. Posted by Neal Fischer on July 2, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I was blessed to webcast two synod assemblies this year. At the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Bishop Burkat said the following.

    “The rise of social media has given us the opportunity to connect and communicate in new ways but also challenges us to use these tools effectively.”

    “Embracing new communications technologies is part of Lutheran DNA, it started in the sixteenth century. What is your congregation doing to connect with people who think, communicate and view the world differently?”

    Watch the video here (the part I am referencing is about 22 minutes through about 34 minutes into the video):

    At the Upstate New York Synod Bishop Jerge said…

    “The changes in our world are so enormous that none of us really have the answers and we know that. They’re now saying the shift, right now, is very, very similar to the Reformation. Part of that’s the internet. It’s as big a shift in a way of thinking and a way of communicating as it was when they created the printing press. And so we’re at the next you know 500. We’re about to celebrate the 500 years. We’re in this enormous change.

    Watch the video here:

    Both Bishops draw the connection between the Reformation and the current revolution in technology. It would seem critical that any renewing of the ELCA from this task force make the use of technology as a major component of that metamorphosis.

    Sue Lang said in one of her comments the following.

    “In a networked world the Church needs to be fully engaged and fully transparent. We find ourselves in the position we’re in because we have not been paying attention to our context and the fact that most congregations feel disconnected from the wider Church. Let’s connect them in real ways.”

    On the Members page ( “LIFTELCA” in response to concerns raise by Pastor Ostercamp about openness and transparency replied.

    “The process is open for anyone to share their ideas for how to ‘renew the ecology of the ELCA’. Though we may not be able to speak for every contingency group within our 4.6 million member denomination, we hope to engage the whole church in a conversation about how to faithfully live into the future together. We are eager to receive and discuss all suggestions, comments, and feedback. Our ears and minds are open!”

    One way to open the process and get immediate feedback would be to follow the Bishop’s Online Town Hall format. ( This format has live video, a Facebook status widget, and a chat room for interaction. There were literally thousands watching the most recent Churchwide Assembly. I know there was a big issue to follow but the audience has been growing exponentially as technology and high-speed internet become more pervasive. Again, it would seem prudent that such a critical task force that has put “everything on the table” for discussion would find it vital to embrace 21st century technology to help complete its task.

    I want to take a moment to really lift up the wonderful job ELCA Communications has been doing with the Town Hall Meetings, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Kudos to them and the hard working staff there.

    Thank you for this opportunity for feedback.


  11. I just finished re-reading an article in the International Association for Human Resource Information Management titled: “Managing the 21st Century Organization.” It would be a good article for the Task Force and others to read.



  12. I highly recommend the book Church in the Inventive Age by Pagitt (Sparkhouse/Augsburg)


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