In summer 2010, a network was formed in the ELCA to support the ways in which we are an evangelizing church, centered in word and sacrament in worship.
Two volunteer Partners in Evangelical Worship from each synod named by synodical bishops, 10 Partners from culture-specific communities, many synodical directors of Evangelical Mission and the Mission Investment Fund’s building consultants gathered in Houston to be trained and then sent home to build or supplement existing worship resource teams.
Partners in Evangelical Worship support faith communities in ways to accompany worship with three major tenets:
- Worship IS mission. Every Sunday assembly, the Partners and faith communities both participate in the missio Dei (mission of God) and are nourished by word and sacrament. Worship is mission: The place where the Triune God comes to save, with the whole treasure of the gospel. At the same time, worship is for mission: The assembly gathered around word and sacrament is God’s gift, as well as a treasure to be shared beyond itself in evangelical mission.
- Worship has a context. The ancient and ecumenical pattern of the Sunday assembly comes to expression in local contexts. There are fundamental patterns of Christian worship that endure across time and distance, but these patterns respect and demand to be informed by local context.
- Worship always moves toward the world. The assembly follows Christ, whom we receive in word and sacrament, in the power of the Spirit, sharing good news with the broken, the thirsty and the hungry. We continue our service to all. The mission of God is God’s movement out toward the world.
In Houston and back in their synods, synodical Partners in Evangelical Worship have created action plans for how they will continue this conversation about worship renewal in their particular locations over the next year.
In some synods, Partners will locally host conferences or workshops, using a wide variety of newly created resources about worship. Others will bring greater intentionality to synodical worship planning. Still others will find creative means to spur local conversations about worship renewal. All Partners are available as resources for worship matters throughout the synod.
Some of the first steps Partners have taken include:
- a new Partners in Evangelical Worship Web site for the North/West Lower Michigan Synod;
- synodical teaching in the Southwestern Texas Synod. Partners are teaching Authorized Ministers about worship and have given presentations about worship renewal at their local Bishop’s Convocation; and
- Partners in the Grand Canyon Synod are being more intentional about worship at synodical events, including synod assembly and Bishop’s Convocation.
The Partners in Evangelical Worship have been empowered and given many tools to help lead these conversations about the enrichment and ongoing renewal of worship in local congregations.
Find out what is going on in your synod by contacting your local synod office to get in touch with your synod’s Partners in Evangelical Worship. Share your ideas and concerns about the renewal of worship in your area. More information about Partners in Evangelical Worship is available by e-mailing email@example.com.