Southeastern Minnesota Synod

For several years contributions from congregations to the synod had been on a downward trend. But for the past two years those contributions have been increasing.

The key factor behind this reversal is Mike Ward’s guidance as our consultant from GSB. Mike first helped us focus on discerning our story as a synod, which led to the development of our three priorities:

  1. Developing leaders
  2. Equipping congregations
  3. And accompanying our global partners.

Out of those priorities flowed our mission statement: “Equipping congregations and leaders to follow Jesus into a changing world.” Mike also guided us as we implemented GSB’s Stewardship for All Seasons (SAS) program.

So far about 30 of our 170 congregations have participated in SAS. Factors that make SAS work are:

  1. it is what I describe as a development model of stewardship;
  2. each participating congregation has a coach to guide them;
  3. each participating congregation has “skin in the game”, i.e., they pay part of the cost;
  4. participating congregations work in cohorts enabling them to learn from one another.

Mike has also guided us in developing an Annual Fund that we call Leading Together (LT), which appeals primarily to individuals, offering them the opportunity to contribute to ministries about which they are passionate.

Stewardship for All Seasons and Leading Together have helped our rostered and lay leaders and our congregations move to a deeper spirit of gratitude for, and commitment, to the ministries we share. I highly recommend the guidance and ministry of Mike Ward and GSB.

Bishop Steve Delzer, Southeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA