During the Synod Council meeting in November, Dr. Nancy Going reported the findings of Vision to Action. The goal is to allow the Florida-Bahamas Synod to recognize how it is being called by God with a new opportunity to steward a significant source of income— funds from the sale of St. James Lutheran Church in Coral Gables. The Vision to Action process allowed the Synod to carefully consider and focus how this income can be used to both challenge and bless the people, the churches, and the communities of Florida where they serve. The primary objectives were to carefully listen to the God-given hopes and dreams of the leaders and people of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, to focus the goals for the use of this fund and develop and name the necessary decisions for the Synod Council that will move the Synod from vision to action.
It stared in May 2022 with the six Big Ideas: Sharing Christ, Making Disciples, Doing Justice, Healthy Leaders, Vital Congregations, and Intentional Diversity. From there multiple opportunities were
provided for folks to speak into, define, make their voices heard, and to vote were provided, both in person and online.
From the Big Ideas, definitions were developed and the visioning phase, or Phase Two started. This was the “deep listening” part of the process. Over 500 visions were submitted in what Dr. Going calls “an extraordinary response” for something so involved.
Phase Three was the focusing part of the process. Here folks helped to refine what had been presented in Phase Two. Dr. Going then executed a Qualitative Theme Analysis of all the input and refined it into 36 Vision Goals. These goals were presented at the Conference on Ministry and voted on by the participants. Then an online survey went live to allow the whole synod to speak into the refinement process. That part of the process closed November 15th.
The top 11 (there were two ties) were presented to Synod Council. They are, from most popular:
- 1. Creating a Culture of Love in our Churches (Intentional Diversity)
- 2. New Churches/Evangelism. (Share Christ)
- 3-4. Our Churches are Spiritually Focused (Make Disciples)
- 3-4. Synod Ministry Leader Renewal (Healthy Leaders)
- 5.-6 Igniting Congregational Outreach (Do Justice)
- 5-6. New Forms of Church Communities (Share Christ)
- 7. Focus on Creating Community (Make Disciples)
- 8. Developing Congregations as innovation Centers (Vital Congregations)
- 9.Re-focusing Congregational Practices. (Make Disciples)
- 10. Identifying Community Organizations for Partnerships (Do Justice)
- 11.Our Churches are Active in Their Communities (Intentional Diversity)
The next step is for Synod Council to decide how many of these 15 the synod will focus on, create grant criteria, accept submissions, and award grants. The goal is to accomplish this in the early part of 2023.
Please note no singular ministry is mentioned. This is because a ministry (ex: basket weaving) could apply for any of the grants if they can design their ministry to meet the goal. If the basket weaving ministry of Marty’s Lutheran Church wants to develop a new ministry to bring in at risk middle school kids so Marty’s Lutheran Church is Active in their Community (#11) and teach them basket weaving and tutor them with their homework, then they should apply. The grants are focused on outcomes not specific ministries. This allows any ministry to be as creative as they can be and apply.
Stay tuned…2023 is going to be an exciting year!