As we, the Northeastern Minnesota Synod, engage in Mission Planning activities, we do so expecting to learn from one another. We anticipate a sense of messiness and maybe even confusion, and we hope to experience a few “grand failures” along the way. We do this acknowledging some basic assumptions based on our experiences over the past 50 years as “church” in the American culture.
We are living in exponentially changing times. Technology has drastically changed the way we experience daily life. It affects our everyday lives and our experience as “church” together.
We have experienced a radical shift in the role and influence that the church plays in our culture. Fifty years ago the church was at the center of our community in terms of both activity and influence. Today the church is at the periphery at best, on the outside of our culture looking in. The church has limited to little influence in the culture.
We are experiencing a dramatic loss of people from both the Net-Generation (born 1965-79) and the Millennial Generation (born 1980-2000) as active participants of our congregational life.
We have experienced a 50 year downward trend of participation in “church activity” (worship attendance, participation in Bible study & fellowship activities, generous giving).
God is very active in the world, everywhere, every day, in and through us and the people in our communities. It is important that we engage in prayerful discernment as to “What God is up to among us.”
Our Church does not have a Mission, God’s Mission has Our Church.
Our intent for this Missional Planning engagement is to grow as disciples of Jesus in our daily lives by engaging in personally developing our Discipleship Practices and by engaging in discernment together about God’s missional activity in and through our gathering as Jesus’ disciples.
We are excited and energized by this opportunity! We know that it will be a great deal of work, that our current reality challenges many of our assumptions about “church,” and that God has promised to walk with us and richly bless us along the way. This is a very good time to be the church!