Director for Evangelical Mission, Southwest California Synod

    • Job Tracking ID: 512830-786799
    • Job Location: Glendale, CA
    • Job Level: Any
    • Level of Education: Any
    • Job Type: 9mp contract
    • Date Updated: August 23, 2021
    • Years of Experience: Not Applicable
    • Starting Date: ASAP
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Job Description:

About the ELCA

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states, Caribbean and U.S. Virgin Islands. With a vision to live in a world experiencing the difference God’s grace and love in Christ makes for all people and creation, the ELCA strives to be a welcoming, thriving and connected church that introduces people to Jesus so they can discover community, justice and love.

The Lutheran Center (national office) is located in Chicago, Illinois. A staff of 400, under the leadership of the Presiding Bishop, serve as administrators, advisors, conveners, partners, and resource people for the ELCA and its ministries. Staff lead the work of national, domestic, and global ministries and programs including Lutheran Disaster Response, ELCA World Hunger, Service & Justice, Christian Community and Leadership, and Innovation. We are also home to five of our separately incorporated ministries: The Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA, Women of the ELCA, Lutheran Men in Mission, the ELCA Foundation and the ELCA Federal Credit Union.

About the position

The Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM) is the person in each synod who has primary responsibility for helping the church engage new people, inviting them to follow the way of Jesus and discover community, justice, and love. New people will include those who are younger more diverse than our current membership. Diversity means ethnic, economic and among LGBTQIA+ communities.

In close collaboration with the Christian Community and Leadership (CCL) home area and Bishop of the Southwest California Synod, this position is accountable for strategically stewarding and aligning the resources of this church. This role is mission outcome-focused and ministry data-guided in ways that allow this church to invest for equity and growth.

This position is co-terminus with the synod bishop and supervised jointly by both the Bishop of the Southwest California Synod and CCL staff. Other assignments of responsibility will be made by the Synod Bishop and Senior Director, Congregational Vitality, Training & Development.

The position will be based in the Southwest California Synod and will serve as a living representation of the interdependent nature of the ELCA. This is a full-time, term-specified contract position.

1. Work with a Team: Establishes and maintains at least one synod team to develop strategies and priorities for the work of reaching a million new people. This will be done through existing congregations and the development of new ministries. Raise leaders for synod teams and those who have potential to serve the larger church as mission developers.

2. Set Goals: Relates to appointed Regional DEM Deans and in partnership with synod bishop and CCL leadership, as accountability partners to establish measurements, outcomes, OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and other evaluation methods with synod ministries and leaders. Key indicators include the number of active participants in a ministry, the number of people discipled in the faith, the number of baptisms conducted, the numbers of people engaged who would recommend the ministry to a friend. These goals which will be identified as objectives and key results will be used to evaluate the outcomes.

3. Measure Progress: Collects and shares with CCL, data and stories that will together inform decisions about continuing strategies and funding.

4. Manage the Process: Manages the process of application, reception, and evaluation of grants through the ELCA GrantMaker (EGM) System.

5. Recruits, trains, encourages, and coaches those lay and rostered leaders who lead ministries supported by grants, those trying to activate others to reach new people.

6. Learns and uses tools and theories of innovation to provide process and produce outcomes for the DEM work in collaboration with peers, CCL, synod and churchwide staff as a visible witness to the interdependent nature of the church. Help create an environment where the best ideas are shared, tested, and implemented and other duties as assigned.

7. (When necessary) With the bishop and in consultation with CCL, allocates no more than 25% FTE to Stewardship and Mission Support if another synod staff leader does not have that responsibility in the DEM portfolio.

8. Other duties as required.

Physical Effort

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear, use hands and fingers to operate a computer and telephone. This position requires sitting for long periods of time. Employee will occasionally need to lift boxes or materials up to 15 pounds. Reasonable accommodations can be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Some travel. Most large churchwide sponsored meetings and events have shifted to online and digital formats. In-person travel will be minimal for those events. Travel to in-person meetings and events within the synod will be necessary and can usually be accomplished within the same day (depending on the geography of the synod). Occasional overnight stays may be required. Valid driver’s license required.

About the synod

Southwest California Synod is comprised of 106 congregations stretching from Long Beach to Atascadero. We are the home of Universal Studios and Cesar Chavez, of Rodney King and Kobe Bryant. While our reputation suggests great personal wealth from the entertainment industry and aerospace, 26.5% of households in the synod have a yearly income below $50,000. 48% of the people of the synod are Latinx or Hispanic descent, 7% Black, 1% American Indian, 13% Asian, 22% Other Race, and 5% Two or More Races. The synod has one of the greatest concentrations of Arab/Middle Eastern people in the ELCA. We have African Descent women who self-identify as "Third-generation Swedish Lutheran" and migrant workers who found Lutheranism in a worship service held out of the back of a pickup truck.

LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant rights, disability and neurodivergent rights… California wishes to be at the forefront of all these things. A "one size fits all" strategy will not be sufficient. Relationship-building, context-comprehension and joyful spiritual engagement will be critical requirements for this job. Technical capability and creativity are essential. Bishop Brenda Bos is creating a team of coaches and entrepreneurs, a staff where individualized care plans, experimentation and collaboration will be essential. Spanish or Mandarin language speakers encouraged to apply.

To learn more about the Southwest California Synod, go to:

Experience and Skills:

1. 5-7 years’ experience effectively leading an effort that connected with new people; proven lived experience being engaged, lifting up and building relationships with a wide variety of people and leaders including those with lived experience in young adult, ethnic-specific, (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), LGBTQIA+ communities as well as people/communities experiencing poverty. Spanish or Mandarin language speakers encouraged to apply.

2. Working knowledge of evangelism, discipleship, and the church’s efforts to reach new, young, and more diverse people.

3. Familiarity of how objective and subjective data is collected and used to make decisions.

4. Ability to build trust, raise up and work with leaders in agile, innovative ways through group process facilitation.

5. Ability to learn and demonstrate extensive knowledge of the organizational structure of the ELCA, synods, congregations, and Future Church priorities.

6. Ability to demonstrate effective grounding in Lutheran community life and theology, missional theology, the theories and practice of mission development, and the spiritual Christian practices of prayer, proclamation and witness that responds to God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

7. Proven effective use of technology, including Microsoft Office suite and willingness to learn and use new systems, time-management, and administrative experience; exceptional interpersonal, organizational, analytical and communication skills.

8. Ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality.


The ELCA offers a competitive benefits package for eligible employees, including employer paid health premiums for employees, health and dependent care FSA’s, a health savings account (HSA) with an employer contribution, life insurance, and a substantial employer contribution to 403b retirement plan (no match required). We also offer a generous paid time-off policy including 11 paid holidays.  All benefits commence on your start date.