Meet 4 directors for evangelical mission
One of the greatest assets all ELCA congregations have when they begin thinking about developing a mission plan is their director for evangelical mission.
Each synod has a director whose job it is to accompany congregations in becoming healthy centers for mission.
Here are four directors from across the country describing the work they do.
Maria Paiva, ELCA Southwest California Synod
What do you do? My role is to facilitate the mission in our synod, whether it is by starting new ministries or by redeveloping ministries, working alongside congregations that are looking at themselves to explore mission opportunities in their communities.Jean Devoll-Donaldson, ELCA Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod
What does a congregation in mission look like? It’s a congregation that sees its mission field as the whole community, that is well known to the community and always seeking opportunities to serve the people and to share God’s love with people.
What’s your favorite thing about being a director for evangelical mission? Since I’m bilingual — I speak Spanish — I love working with the different ethnic groups and discovering together what we can do to reach out to all populations.
What do you do? I think of myself as being a resourcer, equipper, encourager and connector.Philip Hirsch, ELCA Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod
What does a congregation in mission look like? A missional congregation recognizes that God isn’t just at work at church but in the community. They become good neighbors. They also experience God at work in them so that they become Christ in the world.
What’s your favorite thing about being a director for evangelical mission? I love my job. It’s an opportunity to see how God is working through so many people in so many places. I get to see how God is working with congregations outside the synod and bring back their stories of hope to encourage the synod’s congregations
What do you do? I work to help start new congregations and to help existing ones find pathways to renewal.
What does a congregation in mission look like? I would say that a missional congregation is one that sees itself as helping others understand the good news of Jesus Christ. It’s a group of people who easily build relationships with new people, talk about the work and the way of Jesus, and naturally connect with others and help them to walk in the way of faith.
What’s your favorite thing about being a director for evangelical mission? My favorite thing about my job is creating new things in the church; bringing together people, spirit and resources; and watching the church grow.
Nancy Nyland, ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod
What do you do? I think one of the important things that I do in this position is connect the three expressions of this church: congregations, synods and the churchwide organization. More specifically I empower, equip and encourage our rostered leaders, lay leaders and congregations in the areas of evangelism and outreach, congregational renewal, strategic mission planning, stewardship and Mission Support.
What does a congregation in mission look like? A missional congregation to me has a sense of who they are and who God is calling them to be. It’s a congregation that is working on growing their relationship with God and with one another and the world. They know how to have fun, laugh together and fellowship together.
What’s your favorite thing about being a director for evangelical mission? A real joy for me has been to see teams of people from congregations come and learn from one another and to see them leave with new hope and new energy. I’m out and about three Sundays a month, and I enjoy meeting with the people and accompanying them in their ministry. I welcome opportunities to be invited into congregations.
You might also want to read:
Network for worship renewal
Beyond our doors…
Following God’s current