Living into the Future Together (LIFT)
Renewing the Ecology of the ELCA Task Force
What is Living into the Future Together (LIFT)?
At its November 15, 2009, meeting, the ELCA Church Council authorized the creation of a task force, which took the name Living into the Future Together: Renewing the Ecology of the ELCA (LIFT). The LIFT task force first met on January 14, 2010, and formed seven work groups to respond to basic questions raised about the changing life of the ELCA. This work continued until March 17, 2011, when the task force submitted its report to the Council.
The LIFT report is concerned with the future identity of this church as it faces the challenges posed by the major changes that have occurred in both our culture and the ELCA since this church’s founding in 1988. It is not a report that focuses on structural design, although LIFT research was used in the churchwide redesign of October 2010.
The Church Council asked the task force to prepare implementing resolutions for action at the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
The report’s resolutions clustered around:
- Congregations as centers of mission
- Support for congregations as one of the highest priorities of this church
- Leadership development and support
- Strengthened relations with global companions and ecumenical partners based on the model of accompaniment
- Strengthened existing relationships in this church often via increased networking
- Nurture of a culture of discernment in areas of decision-making
- Constitution, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions amendments that support this church’s focus on mission
- Patterns of giving that promote financial sustainability
- Ongoing work on the LIFT recommendations and implementing resolutions
The main actions taken by the Churchwide Assembly on the Living into the Future Together (LIFT) report:
The 2011 Churchwide Assembly voted to:
- Make support for the work of congregations one of the highest priorities of this church and requested congregations, in collaboration with synods, to begin, develop, review or redefine their unique mission plans by the end of 2012
- Ask the Conference of Bishops, in consultation with synod leaders and the churchwide organization, to prepare a report and recommendations on how to support and strengthen synods as catalysts for mission planning for the November 2012 meeting of the Church Council for consideration by the 2013 Churchwide Assembly;
- Build and strengthen relationships with this church’s global companions and ecumenical partners, focusing on accompaniment, mutual growth, capacity-building and sustainability of relationships
- Authorize the Church Council, in consultation with the Conference of Bishops and Communal Discernment Task Force, to establish a review process of current procedures for the development and adoption of social statements;
- Explore the use of social media and technology in order to allow greater participation of ELCA members in meetings of the Church Council and the Churchwide Assembly; and
- Authorize that after 2013, churchwide assemblies will be convened every three years instead of every two.
To see processes and resources that are being used in various ELCA synods and congregations for mission planning,
please go to: www.elca.org/missionplanning.