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Posts tagged ‘Regional Facilitators’


Introducing New Leadership!

The Network is excited to introduce new members of our leadership!  There are two new people who will be joining the Network’s Board of Directors.


Rev. Regina Goodrich

Rev. Regina Goodrich is the pastor at Mediator Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and Waynoe State University, she has been involved in children, youth and family ministry for over 30 years.

Becky Cole is the Director of Children’s Ministry at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Kirkland, Washington.  Becky has earned both a B.A. and an M.B.A degree, and is in the process of seeking certification from Trinity Lutheran College in Children, Youth and Family Ministry Studies.

Becky Cole

Becky Cole

In addition, Erik Ullestad, of West Des Moines, Iowa, has been reappointed to a second term serving on the Network’s Board of Directors.

There are also 3 new Regional Facilitators who will begin their terms at the conclusion of the Extravaganza in Detroit.

Abby Triebel of Poughkeepsie, New York, will begin representing Region 7.  She serves at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Ashley Strelau, or Moorhead, Minnesota, will begin representing Region 3.  Ashley serves as the Associate Director of Youth Ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Region 9 also will be selecting a new Regional Facilitator.  They have not yet been identified, but should be in place prior to the Extravaganza.

We welcome these new leaders in our Network!  Thank you for your service!



E2014AThere aren’t enough ways that I can say “thank you.”  I wish there were, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.  I’m still in St. Louis, here for one of the post-E meetings that typically takes place at the end of the event.  I have to admit that I’m having just a little bit of trouble focusing, because my mind is still completely wrapped around the Extravaganza we just experienced.

This was a great event!  I know that we’ll go through evaluations soon, and that there will be good, constructive criticism that comes from those evaluations.  And, we’ll learn from them.  But my gut tells me that it was a good event.

How does this all of this happen?  There are a whole bunch of people who make it possible.

The E-Team is 26 of the strongest servant leaders I have experienced in the church.  They worked in unbelievably creative ways to pull together an event with more than enough space for the Holy Spirit to do its work.  And they are led by Scott Maxwell-Doherty, one of the church’s strongest and most creative leaders.  These people need to be thanked.

But there are more:  The Network’s Board of Directors, the Regional Facilitators, and so on and so on.  The Network is full of leaders.

But here’s the deal:  These gifted, blessed children of God are not the reason the Extravaganza was great.  They’re a part of the reason, but they are not the whole.  I often say that the Extravaganza isn’t an event, it’s a community.  We gather as friends to share in our common mission.  An Extravaganza is a “wiki-like” experience, created by community.  And for that to happen, it takes exactly 653 people.  Because that’s how many people were “in the house” for the Extravaganza.

653 of you put together this Extravaganza.  They gave their time and energy.  They shared their knowledge and wisdom.  They contributed to the conversation.  They gave, and they received.

I wish I could thank you all individually.  Because it is all of you who made this happen.  Thank you for being in St. Louis.  Thank you for sharing who you are with the rest of us.  we are all stronger in our ministry because of it.  So I’d like to make 653 thank you’s.  One for each of you.  Because you made this event work.  So please, please, please accept my thanks.

With gratitude, and networked in Christ,


New Network Board Members Appointed

Sue Megrund and Tom Schwolert have been appointed to fill vacancies on the Board of Directors of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.  Their three year terms will begin at the conclusion of the Network’s Extravaganza, January 30-February 3, 2014.

Sue Megrund

Sue Megrund

Sue Megrund is the co-founder of Interserve Ministries, an organization based in Minneapolis that works with congregations in children, youth and ministry staff transition, and provides trained interim staff to walk them through the process.  Sue has 24 years of congregational experience and completed her M.A. from  Luther Seminary as well as NALIP Interim Ministry Training.  She has completed the training for and implemented Healthy Congregations and Bridge Builders processes.

Tom Schwolert is a 26 year veteran of congregational ministry in Minnesota and most recently in Texas.  He recently left his position at Faith Lutheran Church in Flower Mound, Texas.  Tom has his M.A. in children, youth and family ministry from Luther Seminary, and has helped to provide leadership within his synod.  In addition, Tom has done speaking, consulting and training, primarily around youth leadership and peer ministry.  He co-wrote a curriculum on “Full-Circle Relationships.

Board members serve three year terms, renewable once.   Tom and Sue will be filling seats being vacated by Yvonne Steindal, who has served two full terms, and Rev. Mike Ward, who has served one term.  Mike was recently elected to the ELCA Church Council and elected not to continue his work on the Network’s Board, though he will be working with the Network to further develop organizational partnerships.  I will give more information about Mike in this role in an upcoming blog posting.

Tom Schwolert

Tom Schwolert

The process for selecting board members begins in February every year as the board identifies the kind of gifts that are needed at a leadership level to help move grow the Network.  A nominating committee made up of 2 board members, 2 regional facilitators and 1 at large member is appointed, and they begin their work in March, when nominations are opened up.  Nominations are accepted until July 1, and are open to all.  The board meets 2-3 times in online meetings from July until the middle of September, narrowing the candidates down to the number of vacancies.  That slate of candidates is voted on by the board at it’s meeting in the middle of October.

We are excited for the gifts that Sue and Tom bring to the board, and look forward to their service!



Regional Facilitator Selection Is On!

ELCAYMNet Mission Statement copyEvery year, 3 of the ELCA regions are up to select (or reappoint) their Regional Facilitator.  This year, Regions 1, 4 and 5 are due up to select their RF.  We have modified the selection process for RF’s this year as well.  Our new process isn’t powered by election, but by a matching of skill sets and gifts of the individual and the needs of the Regional Facilitator role.

A Regional Facilitator is a person who is passionate about the work of the Lord with people in the first third of life. In addition to their work with young people, they serve the ELCA Youth Ministry Network as a liaison between the Executive Director, the Network Board and its member/owners. They are also needed to answer questions about the Network, help to connect with folks in ministry in their area and to provide a listening ear. A full description of expectations can be found on our web site. This is a minimum of a three year commitment.

If the current Regional Facilitator is either not eligible or not interested in re-appointment, the new selection process will begin as outlined below:

  • Current RFs will assemble a Selection Team which includes representation from each synod of that region: i.e. Regional Team members, Synod Coaches, other strong and invested youth ministry workers, etc.
  • Online nominations open in September.
  • The Regional Selection Team will meet and review nominations and seek additional candidates as necessary, facilitated by the outgoing RF.
  • By December 1, the Regional Selection Team will make a recommendation for the position of RF so that the selected individual can make arrangements to fully participate in the Extravaganza.

If the currently serving RF is willing and eligible for a second term, the process is the same, except that the process will be facilitated by Amy Wagner, our Regional Facilitator Coach.

This year, in Region 1, Lisa Gray has chosen not to seek reappointment.  This is also true in Region 5, where Molly Haggerty Brewster has served.   In Region 4, Ian Hartfield is willing to serve another term.  We are grateful for the time and energy all 3 of these RF’s have given in the past 3 years.  They have done great ministry.

So you might be interested in serving as an RF.  Or, you might know someone who you think would be a good fit.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Does the role of RF fit within your skill set and the time you have available to commit?
  • Can you fulfill the role as RF for three years?
  • Can I devote time for: making connections with youth ministry people throughout your region, connecting with a leader in each of the synods in the region, exploring how else you can grow the Network, making monthly RF conference calls a priority, attending the Extravaganza (from our pre-meeting through our wrap up meeting), and regular check ins with the RF coach?
  • For RFs seeking re-appointment: consider how you can build on what you have accomplished throughout your previous term.

The Regional Facilitators meet face-to-face twice a year, at the Extravaganza and at a spring meeting in Chicago.  They also meet online an additional 5-6 times per year.

If you have questions about this process or about serving as a RF, please contact Amy Wagner, Regional Coach.



Regional Facilitators – Looking for Nominations!

A Network is only as good as its communication links.  We put a lot of our time and energy into our web-based stuff.  So we’ve got an

The RF’s Meet a couple of years ago

active web site, a very active Facebook page, an e-mail newsletter, etc…etc…etc…

While these ways of linking people together are important, they can’t (and shouldn’t) replace the human component.

Welcome to the Regional Facilitators.

Each ELCA region (there are 9 of them) has a regional facilitator assigned to it.  Facilitators are elected by members of the region when they gather at the Extravaganza.

The Regional Facilitators (we like to call them RF’s for short) have a simple set of tasks:

  • Communicate to their regions, things that are going on in the life of the Network
  • Communicate back to the Network’s board and staff, what they’re hearing from their regions that we need to pay attention to
  • Help facilitate and communicate regional networking

Our RF’s work hard.  They are the ‘local expert’ in their region.  They become troubleshooters, communicators and leaders within their region.  They work to get to know the synod staff folks.  More information on our RF’s can be found on our RF home page.

The Regional Facilitators also meet twice a year (at the Extravaganza, and again in May) face to face, and have a monthly online meeting to keep in touch and keep their ministry moving.  RF’s terms run 3 years, and they can be renewed once for a total of 6 years.

Every year, there are 3 regions that are up for re-election.

This year, regions that will be electing new Regional Facilitators at the Extravaganza in Anaheim include Region 6 (currently represented by Julie Schussler Peralta);  Region 2 (currently represented by Janet Renick) and Region 8 (currently represnted by Barbara Harner.

Both Julie and Janet would be eligible for renewal for another term.  Barbara has completed 2 terms, and is not eligible to be elected again.

We are grateful to all of our RF’s.  If you are possibly interested in serving as an RF, or if you know someone who would be good, and you’d like to nominate them, please go to our online nomination form and submit the information.




Leadership Week

Network Leadership week is next week.  Every spring, we link two of of our primary leadership teams together for back-to-back

The Network Board last October

meetings.  Beginning Sunday night, our Network Board will begin meeting in Chicago.  They will finish up on Tuesday at noon.  On Tuesday, our Regional Facilitators will begin meeting and will finish up on Thursday at noon.

Our meetings will be held at “The Lutheran Center,” the building that offices the ELCA churchwide structure.

The agenda for the Network Board includes things like:

  • Checking in with each other
  • Receiving the report of the Executive Director
  • Discussion of possible ecumenical partnerships for the 2014 Extravaganza
  • Reviewing Extravaganza 2012
  • Working on our strategic plan
  • Hearing our 2011-2012 financial plan “to-date”
  • Adopting the 2012-2013 budget
  • A review of Vision 2.0 progress

The agenda for the Regional Facilitators will include things like:

  • Checking in with each other
  • Receiving the report of the Executive Director
  • Reviewing Extravaganza 2013
  • Input into the strategic plan the Board is working on
  • Communication strategies
  • Reviewing our RF “to-do” list
  • Local networking

There are over 130 people involved in some form of Network leadership.  The 20 who will meet next week play key roles in setting vision and policy, and then communicating that to the rest of the leadership, and the Network members.  This is a great group of leaders, who dream big, hairy, audacious dreams of what God might be up to.

We meet every spring in Chicago because we think there is value in being present at the ELCA offices, both for the connections we make there, and the witness to the role of children, youth and family ministry in the greater life of the church.

Please pray for them as they travel, and please pray for powerful and dynamic meetings.

Peace,     Todd