CHICAGO -- The Church Council of the Evangelical LutheranChurch in America (ELCA) recommended that the 2003 ChurchwideAssembly adopt "Sharing Faith in a New Century: A Vision forEvangelism in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."
The Church Council is the ELCA's board of directors and servesas the legislative authority of the church between churchwideassemblies. The council met here April 4-6. Assemblies are heldevery other year; the next is Aug. 11-17 in Milwaukee.
The 2001 Churchwide Assembly called for the development of acomprehensive strategy on evangelism for the ELCA. It received "ATelling Witness of God's Good News," the evangelism strategy reportfrom 1991-2001 and, in receiving that report, the assembly authorizedthe presiding bishop of the ELCA -- in consultation with the ELCADivision for Congregational Ministries and other churchwide offices --to establish a task force for the development of an evangelismstrategy.
Council member Sally Young, Waterloo, Iowa, said members of thecouncil's Program and Services Committee discussed and suggestedamendments to the evangelism strategy document for consideration bythe council. Young serves as chair of the committee.
In light of the committee's work, the council requested thatthe ELCA Office of the Presiding Bishop establish "appropriateprocesses" for the implementation of the evangelism strategy in thechurch, if adopted by the 2003 assembly. The council asked that theimplementation be performed in consultation with the Division forCongregational Ministries and in accordance with the ELCA's strategicplan, "Faithful Yet Changing: The Plan for Mission of the EvangelicalLutheran Church in America," to be presented to the 2003 ChurchwideAssembly. The council also affirmed the strategy as a "corestrategy" of the ELCA's strategic plan.
The council also requested regular reports on the progress ofthe implementation, and it affirmed the "vital roles" of the 5.1million members, 10,766 congregations and 65 synods of the ELCA, andits related agencies and institutions, "in bringing to life" theevangelism strategy.
By Albert H. Lee