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Posts tagged ‘Vision’


Now Accepting Nominations for 2 Board of Director Positions


The Network’s Current Board of Directors at their recent meeting in Louisville

Dear friends,

The Network Board of Directors is the team tasked with creating the vision for, and stewarding the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.  The board is made up of seven individuals, who each serve a 3 year term.  The term can be renewed one time.

This year, there are two board positions are up for appointment.  Those positions are currently being served by Tom Schwolert and Sue Megrund.  Both Sue and Tom have indicated a willingness to serve again.

The Network operates a ‘gift based’ board.  In other words, the board, as it looks at its strategic plan and vision, determines what gifts are best needed on the board to serve the mission.  We then seek nominees who have those gifts.

Given the Network Board’s current work on a new strategic plan, they determined that gifts that are important for new board members would be an ability to do “vision work” and to think strategically, and experience in Network leadership.

Once someone is nominated (nominations by oneself are weighted equally with those nominated by another person) the nominating committee examines all of the nominations, and works to determine who has the gifts that best meet the needs of the Network.  Those finalists then have their references checked, and then in an online meeting, the committee makes a recommendation to the board, who either accepts or rejects the slate of nominees.

All nominees then receive a notification, and the new board members are made public, probably in mid-November.

We are hopeful for gifted candidates. If you are interested in serving on the board, or know someone who would serve well, please direct them to our Board Nomination Form.



Nominations for Network Board of Directors Open


The current Network Board

The Network is governed by a seven member Board of Directors.  (plus two non-voting members.)  The Board is responsible for setting the direction and vision of the Network, which is then carried out by a small, part-time staff and a huge, dedicated and dynamic group of almost 150 volunteer leaders.

The mission of the Network?  To strengthen and empower children, youth and family ministry leaders in service to Christ.

This year, there are 3 seats on the board that are open for nomination.

Nominations are made either by the individual themselves (self-nominated) or by someone else (3rd party nomination).  Both forms of nomination are equally valued.

The Nominating committee, made up of two board members, two regional facilitators and one at large member, receives input from the board on what its needs are to continue its work, and then it focuses on culling through the nominations and to find the best fit of gifts and need.  The Nominating committee presents its slate of names to the board at its fall meeting, and the board either accepts or rejects the slate.

This year, the board has identified three areas of need as it looks at its current board make up:

  • Diversity of the board in terms of ethnicity
  • Diversity of the board in terms of geography
  • A need for someone with expertise in the area of children’s ministry

Of course, all nominations will be gladly received and considered.  The broader the pool the committee has, the better a decision will be made.

The Network’s hope is that perhaps you, or someone you know might be a good fit for the board.  It is a great group of leaders that makes a difference in the life of the church.  If you’re interested in serving, or know someone you believe would be a good fit, please visit the nominations page on the web site for more information.

If you have any questions, please send me an email.





No One Will Pick Up the Phone

Modern office cubicles divided with folding screensIf you were to pick up the phone and call the ELCA churchwide offices in Chicago, and said that you had questions about children’s ministry, or Sunday School, or something similar, there would be no one to take your call.  It’s true.  Say it’s a question about a resource…or perhaps about background checks for volunteer teachers, or maybe continuing education opportunities; there’s no one there who could help you.  Or, go to the ELCA web site.  There are no pages there that reference children’s ministry.

Don’t get me wrong, you’d probably get transferred to someone, and they’d be nice and would try to help.  (They’re all really nice people there) But there would be no one there who could answer your questions, or even tell you where to look.

Those positions were eliminated years ago.

Now I don’t want to get into evaluating those moves.  I don’t know why those decisions were made, and the folks who made them have moved on.  It could be that in the world of the church, at that time, the decision made total sense.  It’s not up to me to judge.  But I’ve noticed something interesting:

A few years ago, after a massive restructuring of the ELCA offices, and a reorganization, there were no children, youth or young adult positions left.  (The Youth Gathering remained staffed…but that’s self-funding.)  After some time and reflection, new positions were created in youth ministry and young adult ministry.  And I think the direction these new positions took makes all kinds of sense.  No longer “Directors” with heavy programmatic responsibilities, these new position descriptions include being aware of and knowing the landscape; networking; communicating; convening; linking congregations to resources and leadership development for both youth and adults.

Paul Amlin works in the youth ministry role, and Rozella White in the young adult role.  They are both gifted and phenomenal leaders.  We’re blessed to have them in these important roles.

But nothing has been done with regard to children’s ministry.  There is no one in our denominational offices that relates to those who do ministry with anyone from birth to grade 6.

To be clear, I don’t think that having this position in Chicago would solve our problems.  It would not.  Our problems with shrinking participation in faith formation for children (see my last blog entry) are congregational problems that will require congregational solutions.  But what kind of statement does it make when our denomination doesn’t spend any resources on the first third, of the first third of life?  I think that’s troubling.

Ministry is a continuum.  We all know that…it’s been one of the operating principles of the Network since its formation (and the church in general for a lot longer than that.)  So to expect that we can begin resourcing for ministry with young people when they hit age 12 or 13 without any attention prior to that isn’t realistic or healthy.

I also think it sends an unhealthy message to congregations.  We know the developmental importance of engaging children and their parents in faith formation at an early, early age.  There is so much ‘bang for the buck.’

I believe this needs to change.  I believe churchwide resources should be spent in this vital area (Not at the expense of the other two, but in addition to them).  A position structured similarly to the youth and young adult positions will allow for someone at the denominational level to ask the questions…to do the research…to network…to share resources…to invite practitioners to the table to think about solutions…to train…to think big picture with their colleagues…and… to answer the phone.

It would be both a gift, and a statement, to the church.

Networked in Christ,


Leadership Matters

leadership conceptual compassNominations open today for the Board of Directors of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.  Two seats on the board will become available when the next term begins.  Those terms don’t begin until February 3, 2014, a long time from now.  So why are we already opening up the nomination process for terms that don’t begin for 10.5 months?

Because good leadership matters.

The Network occupies an important place in the life of the church, and this is an important time in the life of the Network.  Good, progressive, forward-thinking leadership is needed as we live into our strategic plan.  And finding good leadership is a process that needs to happen thoughtfully…deliberately.  The board of directors serves as the organization’s governing body, providing primary direction and leadership of the organization as it achieves its mission.

Specifically, the board of directors:

  • guides the vision and strategic planning of the network,
  • implements plans for the organization’s future,
  • directs the work of the executive director,
  • dictates policies to ensure efficient operations,
  • monitors the organization’s finances,
  • assists in financial resource development (fundraising), and
  • assesses the organization’s overall performance.
  • The board’s work is further described in ELCA Youth Ministry Network Bylaws and GoverningPolicy of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network (Sections 1 and 2).

While serving on the board of directors, members are expected to:

  • be members of the Network,
  • be active in their own ELCA community,
  • care for their own spiritual life,
  • view their role on the board as their primary volunteer priority,
  • actively engage each other in discussions and decision making, and
  • attend all board meetings and the Extravaganza. Complete expectations of board members are detailed in Governing Policy of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network (Section 3).

So do you feel gifted in these areas?  Do you know someone that you think can lead well?  Do you know someone who has demonstrated good leadership within the community of the Network, or their synod, or their congregation?

Take some time.  Think.  Pray.  And then nominate.  We are excited for the future of the Network.  And we know that this future lies in the hands of the Holy Spirit who so clearly blows through this community.

Help us find good leaders.



TEDTalk: “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”

A brilliant TED Talk that is too good not to share.  My killer line: “There are leaders and there are those who lead.  Leaders are persons of authority.  Those who lead are persons of passion.”

Worth watching.  Interesting implications for our ministry.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this below…

Thanks to Rev. Scott Maxwell Doherty for sending this our way!


Board in the Air

Even as I type this, members of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network’s Board of Directors are in the air or are traveling by car to for its

The Board at its October, 2010 meeting at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa

annual fall meeting.  We normally rotate sites for the fall meeting, and this year we’ll be meeting at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network World Headquarters (my basement) and at the congregation where I serve.

The Board meets for several reasons:

  • To practice what we preach:  We talk, we network, we pray and we support each other.
  • To learn together:  Often we have a topic/conversation/book study that we do, so that we can stay on top of our game and can learn together.  We want to be smarter about those with whom we work.
  • To do the vision and mission work of the Network:  This is the group that dreams.
  • To monitor our status:  The Board is responsible for our finances, our fundraising, the the big picture planning.  The staff does the detail work.
  • To set policy:  As we move forward, the Board creates the policy that creates the boundaries for how our organization will move forward.
There are 7 people on our Board:
  • Charlene Rollins
  • Larry Wagner
  • Valerie Samuel Taylor
  • Yvonne Steindahl
  • Mike Ward
  • Julie Miller
  • Linda Staats
In addition, there are two members who have voice but no vote:
  • Sue Rothmeyer; ELCA staff
  • Todd Buegler; Executive Director
Please keep this group in your prayers as they travel.  Please pray for a good meeting.  Please pray for a clear vision as we move forward.  Check back soon…I’ll have reports on the actions and work of the Board.