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Articles tagged with: lift report

Shifting from Institution to Networks: The ELCA LIFT Report

LIFT ReportOne of the promising aspects of the ELCA LIFT report (some background here in my previous post) is its urgent call to begin to understand our church, not as a monolithic institution, but as a collection of overlapping and interconnected networks.

It “calls for immediate attention to this church as a grouping of networks. Caring for these networks, some of them virtual networks and social networking relationships, is an immediate necessity.”

Further, it recommends that we “initiate ways to encourage congregations, synods and partners to develop flexible networks for varying purposes, recognizing these networks can increase collaboration and connections across this church and include emerging leaders from all parts of the ecology.”

This is incredibly helpful and I want to make some suggestions about how we might do this.

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Shifting the Focus to Congregations: The ELCA LIFT Report

LIFT ReportEvery mainline Protestant denomination is struggling with declining membership, decreasing financial support, and the question of how best to be the Body of Christ in this time.

In response, my denomination, the ELCA, created the LIFT (Living into the Future Together) Task Force, which was charged with making recommendations on how to change our denominational structures or "ecology" in order to help best fulfill our mission today.  The task force issued its final report to the ELCA on April 11th.

My short take is that the task force shows very good instincts, particularly in its overarching recommendation regarding the shift of focus and resources to local congregations. However, I think the report also falls victim to three persistent problems we face in our church ecology.

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