Members of the board met in late June at the WordAlone offices in New Brighton, Minn., and were pleasantly surprised and impressed to witness once again how the educational ministry of the Network through Sola Publishing and under the direction of our education director, Pastor Steven King, is truly prolific and user friendly. New materials available on the Small Catechism were introduced along with the prototype for a WordAlone leaflet ministry that would deal with a variety of topics, teaching a confessional Lutheran perspective on them. The emphasis of this "tract ministry" would be evangelism and education. To read more, go to www.solapublishing.org . Pastors and lay people alike should find this a helpful means for passing on the faith and communicating with neighbors whether they are friends or strangers.
WordAlone's first book - "By What Authority?" - is available on-line and marketing plans are being developed to expand its market and outreach within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and beyond. Special efforts will be made to create awareness across the denominations, Network chapters and members about this and other valuable resources.
A plan for revitalizing existing chapters, improving networking with WordAlone churches and expanding the membership was presented to the board. Personal contact with every part of the Network by the president throughout the remainder of the year was listed as an important aspect of this work. The president and staff of WordAlone would be available to attend meetings and forums and preach at worship services.
The board also heard reports from Lutheran CORE, the coalition that WordAlone is a part of with other reform groups and is directed by Mark Chavez who wears the director's hat for both WordAlone and Lutheran CORE. Reports of synod elections and actions were heard in addition to plans for the coming year including the 2009 churchwide assembly to be held in Minneapolis, Minn.
The board approved suggestions by its policy committee regarding the adoption of the Carver model of governance. It is a set of concepts and principles that describes the job of a governing board. It outlines a servant-leadership model for boards in their organizations and in their relationships with managers of their groups. This model will help the board and staff to proceed through this time of revitalization and recruitment as we plan for the future on both the reform and educational fronts.
The 2008 budget was reviewed and amended to allow for expansion of the educational ministry and for additional staffing to help accomplish our wider vision. The need for additional support and increased fundraising was recognized.
The board agreed they would like to try to support Institute of Lutheran Theology at a level of at least $2,140 a month if funds are available.
WordAlone's calling to witness to the authority of God's Word within the ELCA, across the mainline churches and to society is becoming more and more crucial. Historically Lutherans have been primary theological leaders of the Protestant movement and it is time that the diaspora of confessional Lutherans committed to the Word of God take a stand, find their voices and freely confess their faith. As the actions and votes of one institutional denomination after another witness to conformity to society, we as a Network are called to witness to the Word who has sustained the true Church for thousands of years.
Grace and peace,
Jaynan Clark Egland