By Michael Kohn
The churchwide expression of the ELCA has been engaging synods, congregations, and individuals in a strategic listening exercise designed to give clarity to where we are and want to go as a church. Rev. Ginny Aebischer helped demystify that process for a group of eager participants at the 1017 Synod Assembly.
Pastor Aebischer began the session with a Speed-Dating-With-The-Bible exercise where participants got to know one another better while listening intently to Bible passages. Fun and thought-provoking, the exercise put the group in a frame of mind for dealing with the questions of what is really important as church together.
Using a second process of table discussion and sticky notes, each participant had the opportunity to articulate what was important at the local level and what ministries in individual congregations were most important and done well. After pinning the thoughts on the wall and reading the results, the group then began to see how SC’s thoughts matched up with what is being discovered churchwide.
The overlaps were interesting and encouraging. This exercise would be a fun process to replicate in congregations, and Rev. Aebischer at the Synod Office (803.765.0590) can advise on how to make this happen. The document “Called Forward,” is likewise available through the Synod office and recommended for congregational use and study.