Tools, Trainings, Etc. to Enhance Your Congregations
1.) What is a tool or training anyway?
A tool or training is simply anything that is designed to help empower YOU or your CONGREGATION. Examples include webinars, conferences, online or in-person learning events, special groups offering help for a cause, or financial assistance opportunities. Of course, these are just a few examples. It is up to you to use your best judgement when submitting a tool or training.
2.) What should I consider when submitting a tool or training?
a.) When submitting tools and trainings, the first thing to consider is whether or not it is designated for rostered ministers only, or if it's open to anyone in our congregations. If it is open to anyone, it will be posted on this page. If it is for rostered ministers only, it will be posted here.
b.) The second thing to consider are the benefits and opportunities for growth. Is this something that is going to help enhance your career, personal growth, or congregation? That is the main difference between a tool/training and an event.
Example of an Event: Upcoming community potluck! Anyone can attend.
Example of a Tool or Training: Help your congregation grow and thrive! Join our upcoming webinar on congregational enhancement.
3.) Where do I submit information regarding a tool or upcoming training? You can submit information via the form posted at the bottom of this page.
Utilize text support: It’s brave and smart to seek help if you’re living with stress, depression, anxiety, or mental health struggles – but accessing an in-person counselor isn’t always easy or even possible. That’s one reason the ELCA-Primary health plan EAP benefit has expanded to include Talkspace, digital confidential online counseling with licensed therapists via text, video, or audio. Read more on myPortico. Retirement on the horizon? Increase your confidence and peace of mind by learning more about developing a withdrawal strategy, utilize Social Security, plan for health care costs, and more. Participate in live virtual workshops later in January, or watch the recordings whenever it works for you. Learn more, or sign up to participate, on myPortico. Getting started on your taxes early? The Richard R. Hammar Clergy Tax Guide and the Federal Reporting Guide for Churches are both available on myPortico at no cost to you. Develop a ‘I can do this’ mindset: Deep breaths, time with loved ones, a good night’s sleep … what are your best practices for keeping yourself centered and healthy? If you’re looking to expand your toolbox, and you have ELCA-Primary health benefits, check out Learn to Live’s new course focusing on building resilience. Take the initial assessment and then enroll in the self-guided program at no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Working with others means more people, more ideas and better outreach. …(we) want to experience the many ways to serve God and worship with others as well. - Lisa Clay-Trimmer, President, St. James Lutheran Church, Tuscarawas, Ohio
The Sharing Congregational Resources presentation created by your Synod Council representatives is ready to go! All NEO conferences, clusters and congregations are invited to secure this unique opportunity. The Northwest Conference participated, spurring lively discussion and helpful thoughts. They are already benefitting in many important ways by sharing their congregational gifts in community with other congregations. To reserve a date on your calendar for the Sharing Congregational Resources presentation, please contact Susan Frantz (firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-725-0969, please leave message). Synod Council Sharing Congregational Resource team: Don Wiff, Paul Gochnour, Pastor Robert Eller, Pastor Dan Skillman, Susan Frantz. Advisor: Pastor Jeremy Hollingshead.
Have you ever wondered why people are generous in the ways they are? Curious to explore how you can tap into giving motivations to encourage generosity? In this increasingly post-pandemic world, rostered and congregational leaders might well explore some of the nuances of giver motivation with the upcoming webinar “Practical Stewardship Tips,” which is free and open to all. Stay tuned to ELCA communications for more information and the opportunity to register. Mark your calendar – New date: Practical Stewardship Tips Wednesday, Feb. 1 6 p.m. Central Join from computer or mobile: https://iu.zoom.us/j/86372108860?pwd=NXpScVRWS1ZORXUyU3NIREpqcEg5UT09 Meeting ID: 863 7210 8860 Password: 938447
The Upcoming 2023 Festival of Homiletics: "Preaching Hope for a Weary World”
"Preaching Hope for a Weary World" is the Festival’s response to the hardships and heaviness that have been our reality the last few years. In these wearying days, what is our call to preach? Hope. The Festival of Homiletics 2023 will inspire us to a renewed sense of our radical calling. Our weary world needs us, preachers. Come renew, refresh, and recharge your spirit! Click here for more information.
Lutheran Volunteer Corps Recruitment
LVC has just begun recruitment for the 2023-24 Volunteer/ Fellow Cohort. We are excited that we have many applications already. In the last 4 years, under President Deirdre Bagley's leadership, we have increased the number of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC volunteers and have also increased the number of volunteers who are discerning seminary. We are truly living "Reconciling in Christ" and also have Social Justice programs.
We are asking if you all would disseminate the attached recruitment postcard (with QR code) to your churches and other affiliates. If you have a newsletter, could you please include the postcard?
We are always looking for placements for our fellows/volunteers. We currently have houses in DC, Baltimore, and the Twin Cities. We also can have placements from around the country, if you are interested in the volunteer working virtually only. Would love for synods to be placements!
We are happy to share the news with you that in about 15 minutes, we will be launching Journi to the public. If you feel inspired, please join us in sharing the site with your networks! All social media managers will be hearing from Jeffrey Roberts about sharing Journi across all of our social channels. Throughout the next two week, you will see us promoting Journi across all of our channels.
This online leadership development tool was made possible by a very generous donation. From this donation we conducted a year of research and built Journi, a place where people can gain access to contacts, ministries, programs, tools and content to aid them in taking their next most faithful step as they discern their call to leadership. Journi is a website that has been built to be mobile-, tablet- and desktop-friendly so it is accessible to people on all devices.
In its first iteration, Journi features nine paths that are like small courses that showcase programs and ministries from across the ecology of the ELCA along with dozens of articles, videos, podcasts and other resources for users to learn from. You will also find a calendar of upcoming leadership events. Additionally, we have updated the look and feel of the existing Spiritual Gifts Assessment tool and called it the Spiritual Personality Quiz so that users can identify their top five spiritual gifts and receive content recommendations based on those gifts.
We invite you to visit www.journi.faith. When accessing the site, you will notice that some content may require a user to register and log in. To have the full Journi experience you should take 5-10 minutes to create a profile and complete the Spiritual Personality Quiz, which will help Journi recommend content to you based on your interests and strengths.
ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Application Now Open!
The ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program invites ELCA young adults ages 21-29 into a transformative, year-long journey in international service. As they offer themselves in service, ELCA young adults are shaped by the witness of our global neighbors. They share in the journeys of companion churches and organizations in one of nine countries around the world. A year of service through the Young Adults in Global Mission program invites young adults to become the hands and feet of Jesus in the world, providing critical support to ministries and projects in communities of need. It also invites volunteers into a journey of self-reflection, providing space to consider their sense of identity, God’s work in the world, and their place within it all. Young adults serve in the spirit of accompaniment, walking alongside global companions in a manner that practices mutuality, interdependence and solidarity. Areas of service include, but are not limited to, health and development, congregational ministry, human rights, education, homelessness, addiction recovery, women’s issues and children and youth. All site placements provide opportunities for young adults to confront issues of wealth and poverty, racial privilege, economic disparity and globalization, all through the lens of faith. Candidates for Young Adults in Global Mission apply to the program at-large rather than to a specific country. Applicant preferences are taken into account but the final decision about where volunteers serve is made by Global Mission staff and YAGM country coordinators in mid-April. Current YAGM country programs include: Argentina/Uruguay, Jerusalem/West Bank, Mexico, Senegal and United Kingdom Applications for the 2023-2024 YAGM service year will be open from Nov. 1, 2022 through Feb. 1, 2023. Priority will be given to those who apply before Jan. 15.https://www.elca.org/yagm
Churchwide Social Media Resources for Congregations
Did you know that our Churchwide website has resources you can use on Social Media? There are camera-ready resources you can download for your social media sites. There is also a guide called "Social Media and Congregations: Planning and Procedures" to give you ideas for use. And the best part? They are free! Here is the link: https://elca.org/Resources/Congregational-Communications-Tools#SocialDigital
The ELCA Fund For Leaders Scholarship application is open today through February 15th. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a Pastor or Deacon contact our candidacy coordinator Pr. Angel Jackson. Click here!
Opportunity for Congregations Without a Pastor
Is your church currently without a pastor? Are you preparing the worship space and/or the bulletin each week? Could you use some support in preparing for the holiday worship services?
The major holidays are coming up, Advent (Nov. 27), Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter (April 9). Where do you go to find all the different prayers (confession, offering prayer, communion prayers, blessings and more) for each season? A few simple changes in the words used can enhance the worship experience and make the holidays special. Get answers to questions like, "When do we use: the Nicene Creed, the Glory to God, or the Kyrie?" Get ideas of things to do with children to include them, or celebrate in childlike joy. Perhaps you can you do something visually in the worship space to highlight the theme of the season?
You can confidently plan engaging worship services using Sundays & Seasons, a fantastic resource available at Augsburg Fortress for around $50/year. The Rev. Lor Breyley loves worship, and is volunteering to schedule a gathering of worship planners from congregations currently without a pastor, to hear their needs, frustrations, and joys around this important ministry you graciously attend to each week. Let’s spend time working through segments of the S&S book to become familiar with what is available and useful for your congregation.
Slightly interested? Email Rev. Lor Breyley at email@example.com or call her at 248-850- 6357. Send her your e-mail and she will set up a "need to meet" text to find the best time to meet.
Resourceful Servants COVID Grants
God’s mission in the world is served when vibrant leaders are supported in serving vital communities. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many leaders used up savings they had built or had difficulty making payments on their homes and utilities, their transportation, or their healthcare needs. These struggles were felt particularly strongly by leaders serving in under-resourced communities.
To accompany leaders facing these situations, Resourceful Servants, an initiative of the ELCA churchwide organization and its ministry partners, is launching the Grants for COVID Emergencies program. Through a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., this program provides up to 200 ELCA leaders with one-time grants of $1,000 and membership in the ELCA Federal Credit Union.
This program is open to ELCA rostered ministers as well as those who lead congregations but are not ordained (for example, synod-authorized ministers, non-ordained mission developers, and leaders of communities in the Vulnerable and Vital Network or Homeless and Justice Network). This funding won’t completely resolve any financial crisis, but we hope it will give leaders some stability and further equip them to engage in ministry for the sake of the world.