A. Called Forward Together in Christ is a process that will help leaders of this church make decisions about future directions and priorities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is a process that invites people in the pew, church leaders and staff working for different expressions of this church to engage in conversation about the future of the ELCA. From those conversations, we will learn what is important and understand the challenges ahead. This information will guide the ELCA’s decision making bodies in forming the directions for the future of this church – who we are, what we do and what is most important.
Q. Why it matters now?
A. The cultural and religious landscape in America has changed since the ELCA was formed. Looking to the future, it is important that this church is clear about how we proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and what we do as a church together. Our leaders want to build a shared vision about how the ELCA can best participate in God’s mission in what is an increasingly challenging national and global context – where more people and countries are affected by violence, conflict, displacement of people, poverty and injustice.
Q. How can people participate or contribute their thinking?
A. There are many pathways for you to contribute your ideas.
Go to ELCA.org/future to stay up to date on how to be involved through surveys and local conversations.
Q Will my ideas and views be considered?
A. Yes! We know there are many different experiences and perspectives about what this church means to people, what is important and what God is calling this church to be and do. The more people we hear from the better we can understand the shared hopes and aspirations, and the challenges, facing this church and the communities it serves.
Q. How long are you collecting feedback from ELCA members?
A. By the end of June 2016, we will finish up final conversations with our members and begin work on the Future Directions paper.
Q. How will the information collected be used?
A. All information will be collected, analyzed and collated for the Future Directions Table to review and advise on how to move forward. The Future Directions paper written in July will utilize the information analyzed.
Q. Can I share the video with my congregation? How do I get a copy?
A. Yes! We encourage you to share the video! You can download the video from the ELCA Vimeo page. Find the link at ELCA.org/future.
Q. What is the Future Directions Table?
A. A group appointed by the Church Council to offer advice on the Called Forward Together in Christ process, shape the questions we ask across this church, help synthesize the feedback received and assist in the framing of the final statement created.
Q. Who will make the final decisions?
A. The ELCA Church Council, made up of representatives from across this church, will make decisions at their meeting in November this year. The Conference of Bishops will provide advice on the proposed directions to be considered by the Church Council.
Q. When will we know the outcome?
A. By the end of 2016, a statement will be delivered as part of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation observances.
Q. What happens next?
The process doesn’t end there. In a way it begins, as leaders in different parts of this church work through the implications of the directions in their context. Implementation of the directions and priorities is likely to happen over years to come. And the ELCA’s leadership tables will continue to revisit and refocus the directions as this church journeys forward - in the face of new opportunities and challenges.