This position represents the Domestic Mission (DM) unit in the territory of the Western Iowa Synod, and is responsible for engaging synodical leaders, structures and strategies in the formation and development of Congregational Vitality: “Communities of Jesus that nurture life-changing relationships with God, one another and the world,”and reflects the purposes, principles and commitments of the synod, DM and in alignment with Future Directions 2025 (www.elca.org/future). This position will coordinate and staff the education of all evangelical mission, mission support and stewardship ministry in the synod through the formation and coordination of four synodical initiatives:
1. congregational vitality (worship, learning, community)
2. cross+generational stewardship education
3. mission support growth
The person in this position is expected to fully participate in the life and ministry of the synod staff, synod initiatives, and is responsible for implementing and building upon ELCA commitments to ethnic-specific communities, communities of color, the young-adult population; as well as people and communities experiencing poverty. This person participates in resourcing the synod mission strategy with an emphasis on congregational vitality and leadership.
This position will be co-terminus with the synod bishop and supervised jointly by both the Bishop of the Western Iowa Synod and DM staff. Other assignments of responsibility will be made by the Synod Bishop and Director, DEM Relationships. This full-time position will be based in the Western Iowa Synod and will serve as a living representation of the interdependent nature of the ELCA.
1. Responsible for the deepening of the capacity and competency of our baptized, leaders, rostered ministers and congregation to engage in evangelical outreach.
2. Responsible for growth in synodical mission support that includes stewardship education, mission interpretation, convening mission support conversations, strengthening synodical and congregational generosity, and promoting asset thinking and planning. This position pays particular attention to the implementation of ELCA commitments to be in ministry among ethnic, multicultural, and emergent communities; as well as ministry among people living in poverty. and supports the ELCA Comprehensive Mission Support Strategy in the synod.
3. Responsible for the formation and coordination of a network that identifies potential fields and resources for the vitality of existing congregations (specifically in the areas of worship, learning, and community). Provides new mission development of evangelizing congregations in the synod, including area ministry strategies.
4. Responsible for the development and coordination of educational initiatives and strategies for cross+generational stewardship education in every congregation in the synod. This strategy includes building a network and developing key relationships with missional leaders to assist with this effort.
5. Responsible for identifying and recruiting of leaders and participating in the behavioral interview process to raise leaders who can also serve as mission developers and redevelopers.
6. Responsible for being a public voice on behalf of the churchwide organization and synod including preaching, sharing learnings, and other leadership opportunities.
7. Responsible for participation in quarterly Relator conference calls which are scheduled for intentional conversation.
Must be willing to travel frequently via automobile and air (approximately 30%). Travel within the synod can usually be accomplished within the same day. Overnight stay may be required. Valid driver’s licence required.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear, use of hands and fingers to operate a computer and telephone. This position requires sitting for long periods of time. Reasonable accommodations can be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential function.
Experience and Skills:
1. Effective grounding in Word and Sacrament ministry, missional theology, the theories and practice of mission development and in the biblical and Lutheran understanding of stewardship that responds to God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
2. Effective communicator in preaching, sharing learnings, writing and evangelical outreach.
3. Demonstrated ability working with leaders in adaptive ways and facilitating group processes as well as knowledge, experience and/or willingness to learn, listen and utilize the arts of community organizing in growing leaders and building tables.
4. Extensive knowledge of the organizational structure of the ELCA and its congregations.
5. Ability to utilize congregational trend reports and demographic data in the process of the development of congregational vitality for new and existing congregations.
6. Experience with missional strategies for the vitality of new and existing congregations.
7. Proven effective time-management and administrative experience and ability to meet deadlines.
8. Exceptional interpersonal, organizational, analytical and communication skills and the ability to work in partnership with peers, other DM unit staff, synod and regional staff.
9. Demonstrated competency among communities of color; and well as with people and communities experiencing poverty. Ability to relate and communicate well in diverse cultural, ethnic and socio-economic situations.
10. Active participation in a Christian congregation and God’s mission.
11. Ability to seek out additional resources and persons who can expand the capacity of the unit in doing God’s mission.
The Western Iowa Synod consists of 112 congregations in communities with a population of under 10,000 (and 6 congregations in communities with a population between 25,000-65,000 and 8 congregations in a metropolitan area of over 100,000). Counties and communities in western Iowa are experiencing population decline, increased aging, school consolidation, and a challenging agricultural economy. Statewide, Iowa is seeing an increase in Hispanic, Asian and African-American populations. (Iowa’s population is 91.3 percent white-non-Hispanic statewide. That percentage is even higher in western Iowa). International migration accounts for the largest amount of recent population growth in the state. Only 30% of Iowans identify as “mainline Protestants.” Important for the ELCA in western Iowa is to uplift the distinctiveness of “ELCA” in the religious landscape and public sphere. The Western Iowa Synod has one ethnic-specific ministry (South Sudanese), a unique ministry in the state prison system, and one ELCA-focused outdoor ministry site.
Ministry challenges include renewing congregational commitments to community service; educating congregational members about the connections between faith, daily life, and the value of diversity in our communities; and encouraging new models for ministry partnerships (with ELCA and ecumenical partners). Synod leadership also places a high priority on developing leaders, teaching stewardship best-practices, and cross-generational faith formation. For more information go to the Western Iowa Synod website at www.wisynod.org.