Director for Evangelical Mission -Southwestern Minnesota Synod

    • Job Tracking ID: 512830-672907
    • Job Location: Southwestern Minnesota Synod, MN
    • Job Level: Any
    • Level of Education: Any
    • Job Type: Full-Time/Regular
    • Date Updated: March 25, 2019
    • Years of Experience: Any
    • Starting Date: ASAP
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Job Description:


This position represents the Domestic Mission (DM) unit in the territory of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod, and is responsible for engaging synodical leaders, structures and strategies in the formation and development of Congregational Vitality: "Communities of Jesus that nurture life-changing relationships with God, one another and the world," and reflects the purposes, principles and commitments of the synod, DM and the ELCA as a whole. This position will coordinate and staff the education of all evangelical mission, mission support and stewardship ministry in the synod through the formation and coordination of three synodical initiatives:

1. congregational vitality; and

2. mission support and/or stewardship

3. alignment with Future Directions 2025 (

The person in this position is expected to fully participate in the life and ministry of the synod staff, synod initiatives, and is responsible for implementing and building upon ELCA commitments to ethnic-specific communities, communities of color, the young-adult population; as well as people and communities experiencing poverty. This person participates in resourcing the synod mission strategy with an emphasis on congregational vitality and leadership.

This position will be co-terminus with the synod bishop and supervised jointly by both the Bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod and DM staff. Other assignments of responsibility will be made by the Synod Bishop and Director, DEM Relationships. This fulltime position will be based in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod and will serve as a living representation of the interdependent nature of the ELCA.


1. Responsible for the deepening of the capacity and competency of our baptized, leaders, rostered ministers and congregation to engage in evangelical outreach.

2. Responsible for the development and formation of a mission support/stewardship table. This table will create a mechanism for synodical mission support that includes stewardship education, mission interpretation, convenes mission support conversations, strengthens synodical and congregational generosity, and promotes asset thinking and planning. DEM supports the ELCA Comprehensive Mission Support Strategy in the synod.

3. Responsible for the formation and coordination of a synod mission table that identifies potential fields and resources for the vitality of existing congregations and new mission development of evangelizing congregations in the synod, including area ministry strategies, congregational mission plans, and congregational vitality.

4. Responsible for the development and coordination of synod mission strategy including building and developing key relationships with missional leaders who will form the synod mission strategy table. This position and table pays particular attention to the implementation of ELCA commitments to be in ministry among ethnic, multicultural, and emergent communities; as well as ministry among people living in poverty.

5. Responsible for the administration of partnership support for the synod’s Congregational Vitality portfolio.

6. Responsible for identifying and recruiting of leaders for synod tables as well as participating in the behavioral interview process to raise leaders who can also serve as mission developers and redevelopers.

7. Responsible for being a public voice on behalf of the churchwide organization and synod including preaching, sharing learnings, and other leadership opportunities. Provides a visible witness to the interdependent nature of the church and communicates our shared mission and vision.

8. Responsible for participation in quarterly Relator conference calls which are scheduled for intentional conversation.


Must be willing to travel frequently via automobile and air (approximately 30%). Travel within the synod can usually be accomplished within the same day. Overnight stays may be required.

Physical Effort

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk, hear, use hands, and fingers to operate a computer and telephone. This position requires sitting for long periods of time. Reasonable accommodations can be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Experience and Skills:

  1. Effective grounding in Word and Sacrament ministry, missional theology, the theories and practice of mission development, the Missional Church Movement, and in the biblical and Lutheran understanding of stewardship that responds to God’s grace in Jesus Christ
  2. Effective communicator in preaching, sharing learnings, writing, and evangelical outreach.
  3. Demonstrated ability working with leaders in adaptive ways and facilitating group processes as well as knowledge, experience and/or willingness to learn, listen, and utilize the arts of community organizing in growing leaders and building tables.
  4. Extensive knowledge of the organizational structure of the ELCA and its congregations.
  5. Ability to utilize congregational trend reports and demographic data in the process of the development of congregational vitality for new and existing congregations.
  6. Experience with missional strategies for the vitality of new and existing congregations.
  7. Proven effective time-management and administrative experience and ability to meet deadlines.
  8. Exceptional interpersonal, organizational, analytical, and communication skills and the ability to work in partnership with peers, other DM unit staff, synod and regional staff.
  9. Demonstrated competency among communities of color; and well as with people and communities experiencing poverty. Ability to relate and communicate well in diverse cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic situations.
  10. Active participation in a Christian congregation and God’s mission.
  11. Ability to seek out additional resources and persons who can expand the capacity of the unit in doing God’s mission.

Synod Information The Southwestern Minnesota Synod

The Southwestern Minnesota Synod is comprised of more than 230 congregations in the Southwestern corner of Minnesota. Our synod includes the St. Cloud area as well as more rural communities and cities
Our mission statement is

Walking together in Christ’s mission...

The congregations and all the baptized who are the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are claimed by this mission: God places us in cities, farms and towns together under one prairie sky. The Risen Christ surprises us with opportunities to plant God's Word in the world. Walking together in confidence, we cultivate life-giving congregations, nurture partner ministries, and cooperate in the life of the ELCA. By God's grace, together we have what we need.

Our vision statement is "Embracing God’s Mission- Equipping God’s People

-Deepen Congregational Vitality Enhance Local and Global Mission ?Develop Servant Leaders.

A bit more about our synod:
* Our congregations vary in size from large multiple-staff congregations, to solo calls, to multiple- point congregations.
* Our communities of faiths’ context varies from large cities, regional centers, small towns, and open country.

* We have formal ecumenical partnerships across the synod with many of our full communion partners and developing relationships with other traditions.

* We are working at deepening our capacity to engage the deepening diversity of Southwestern Minnesota. We work with Sudanese and Laotian people in St. Cloud. We have Latino populations across the synod and an ethnic specific Latino congregation called Paz y Esperanza. Our congregations are laboring to move beyond their ethnic origins to engage the many diversities of education, financial power, ethnicity, race, and spiritual history.

* We have a mission field full of congregations in the midst of mission redevelopment to serve the swiftly changing context where God has placed them. For many this redevelopment involves establishing new sustainable partnerships to serve a mission field of fewer people or diminishing membership/engagement. We have a number of congregations that are involved in redevelopment and congregational vitality process. We have been exploring and using a number of assessment tools to get beyond the "anec-data" of stories we like to tell and get to greater engagement and understanding of not just inside leaders but also engage a greater number of people in our assessment and then planning forward.

* Almost every call in our rural west requires us to ask, "What will a sustainable ministry look like here? Who are our potential partners and how do we serve communities where we are the only tradition with a full-time pastor?"

* Our changing demographics require us to think differently as some of our communities are growing while others are in a time of declining population.

* We have an incredible opportunity to embrace, enhance, and cultivate healthy stewardship practices building on strong work and the gifts of a Lilly Endowment Fund grant to address the economic challenges of our pastors and congregations. We are seeking a second grant to deepen the sustainability of our work in this area.

* Because of resources we have available through our Embrace God’s Mission + Equip God’s People Funding Initiative, we are working on projects related to all three phrases of our mission statement.

o  Deepen Congregational Vitality ? For example, we are a part of Luther Seminary’s, Leadership for Faithful Innovation project.

o  Enhance Local and Global Mission ? For example, we have been sending young adults to our companion synod in South Africa to build a new generation of people who learn from our sisters and brothers in Christ there and deepen our wisdom in accompaniment in future generations.

o  Develop Servant Leaders. ? For example, one of our big traditions and strengths is our "Equipping Day" where we seek to deepen the imagination, vision, and skills of our synod’s many people serving in congregations. ? We also are working to address the economic challenges of our synod’s pastors.

* Learn more by taking a look at o o

* The DEM will have the opportunity to collaborate with an incredibly talented, faithful, and team-driven synod staff.

Thanks for considering this position. We are excited about having a new team member join our work to serve the Gospel of Jesus in this mission field. We look forward to walking together into the next chapter of God’s preferred and promised future.