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director’s report october, 2012 rev. todd buegler

elca youth ministry network - director’s report october, 2012

Dear friends and colleagues, Greetings! Welcome to Denver! I am very excited about this meeting. It has been a busy 5 months since we last met. We had very successful involvement in the In particular I am grateful to Sue Rothmeier and the ELCA for hosting our meeting in Chicago. I think it is an important witness for our group to be gathered at The Lutheran Center, and an important sign of a growing partnership. Table of Contents: 1. The Box Scores 2. Extravaganza 2013 3. Extravaganza 2014 4. Extravaganza 2015 5. Shift in ELCA Roles 6. The Practice Discipleship Project 7. The Practice Discipleship Project Phase II 8. Shift in RF Roles 9. Financial Report—Annual 10. There’s an app for that 11. 12. Upcoming Board Meetings



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October 2011


1. The Box Scores October 2012 739 Our membership has remained stable since last spring, which is great. I suspect it will shrink somewhat this fall as our Extravaganza registration will likely be lower than last year. We currently have 83 registered for the Extravaganza. One year ago today, (10/11/12) we were at 109. That is about where we expected to be given last year’s connection with the ELCA Youth Gathering. 2. Extravaganza 2013 Plans are well under way for the event. We are excited for the program, and we’re excited to be in Anaheim. We continue to roll out more and more details in the next few weeks. We have this year offered discounts for registration to both LACE (Lutheran Association of Christian Educators) and Outdoor Ministry Program Directors. It will be interesting to see how many people take advantage of this discount. The team of people who continue to work this event are a gift to the whole church. They are talented and passionate about the mission of the Network and the event. Rev. Scott Maxwell Doherty, who directs this process, is a gifted leader. I learn much just watching him work. I am very grateful to the entire team. 3. Extravaganza 2014 We will be at the Hyatt Regency in downtown St. Louis. At this point there are no other updates.


elca youth ministry network - director’s report october, 2011

4. Extravaganza 2015 We have made a change in the ‘15 event venue. We were contracted to be at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn as a part of our multi-year deal. I thought the hotel there worked ok, but not great for us. But the incentives of the multi-year contract really did make it worthwhile. However, the Hyatt corporation cancelled its management contract with the hotel because the hotel owners did not want to put enough money into renovating the hotel. Because Hyatt walked away from the hotel, we had the right to cancel our contract with no penalty. So I took advantage of this opportunity to “shop around again.” We have moved the event to the Marriott at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. They came very close to duplicating the Hyatt contract and the property will work for us much better. 5. Shift in ELCA Roles Sue Rothmeier has taken a new position with the ELCA churchwide offices. She has moved to the Office of the Secretary. For the time being, Mark Burkhart will be stepping into the role of being our liaison to the churchwide offices. We anticipate that a new staff person will be hired in the near future who will tend partnerships. In the meantime, we are grateful to Mark for his time working with us, and for his presence at our meeting. 6. The Practice Discipleship Project The PD project for pre-gathering and during the Gathering is in the history books. Next week, the Gathering team leaders will be meeting in Chicago to do the post-gathering evaluation. But at this point, everything we have heard anecdotally has been very positive. 7. The Practice Discipleship Project Phase II Our goal is to harness the infrastructure of the PD project to continue to provide training and support to congregations. While “nested” in the Network, this would be an initiative of the ELCA, our educational institutions, our resource providers and others. A team of youth ministry educators are working on a framework and curriculum for the next set of trainings. They will rotate membership and leadership in this team every year. We have commitments in the amount of $36,000 for funding at this point for the project. We are awaiting word from the ELCA on its level of financial support, which will dictate much of what we are able to do with the program. Catherine Anderson, who has until recently served as the coach for the Regional Facilitators, will be providing leadership for PD Phase 2. 8. Shift in RF Roles With Catherine Anderson moving to the PD role, that leaves a vacancy for the role of coach of the RF’s. Amy Wagner, of Sheridan Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska has served for several years as the Region 4 RF. She recently took a new position in church communications at her congregation and wondered if she should stay in her RF role. Amy is a very strong leader and we want to keep her connected to the work of the Network. It was a natural move to have her shift to the


elca youth ministry network - director’s report october, 2011

coach role. Her skill sets and responsibilities in communications will be helpful in her work with the Regional Facilitators. She was glad to be offered this role. This leaves then a vacancy for the Region 4 RF. Our practice when an RF cannot fill their term is that we can appoint a replacement from the region. Historically, we have accepted the recommendation of the outgoing RF. Amy strongly recommended Ian Hartfield, who serves at Kountze Lutheran Church in Omaha. Ian has agreed to fill out that term. We are grateful to Catherine, Amy and Ian for their willingness to serve. 9. Financial Report: Annual The end of year financial report is attached as an addendum. We finished the year in the black, (for which I’m always grateful!) You’ll note that both our income and our expenses were significantly above what was budgeted. This is because of the size and scope of the Extravaganza. While we had hoped for numbers like these, we chose to originally budget conservatively. 10. There’s an app for that We are in negotiations right now for a possible web development company to provide a robust mobile app for the Network in exchange for a Network partnership and perhaps some other marketing concessions. This could be a great new method of communicating with our membership, and a ‘value-add’ for network membership. I will keep you in the loop as our conversations continue. 11. We have created a web site with resources for youth and young adults who are looking for considering ministry as vocation. It seemed important to create a central clearinghouse for resources in this area. At the same time, it helps us look to the future in terms of membership by putting the Network into the vocabulary of young people at an early stage. 12. Upcoming Board Meetings  January 23-24, 2013; Hyatt Regency, Anaheim, CA.  April 28-30, 2013; The Lutheran Center, Chicago, IL  October 18-20, 2013; To be decided  January 30-31, 2014; Hyatt Regency, St. Louis, MO  April 27-29, 2014; The Lutheran Center, Chicago, IL  October 16-18, 2014 (Tentative); To be decided  January 29-30, 2015, Marriott Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI In Conclusion Thank you again for all of your work on behalf of the Network. It feels like we’re at an exciting spot in the development of the organization. The combination of our strategic planning process, the Practice Discipleship Project, and other organizations that are seeking connections with us are creating a level of energy that is very exciting. It is a good time to be the Network. Peace,


Rev. Todd Buegler Executive Director

Youth Ministry Leadership Development Initiative within the ELCA April 2012 Given that the landscape of ministry with, for and among youth today is shifting…and this shift requires attention;1 Given that current leadership of ministry with, for and among youth is becoming increasingly dependent on lay, often volunteer, leadership…and these leaders come with varying expertise and often have limited access to leadership development opportunities;2 Given that the ELCA has a rich history of attending to ministry with, for and among youth…and this history has resulted in numerous active and vibrant networks and initiatives;3 Given the shifts taking place in leadership and resourcing ministry at the national and synodical levels…and the need to rethink existing and future work around ministry with, for and among youth;4 Might this be an opportune time to develop a coordinated, national youth ministry leadership development initiative?


In the past ten years several national studies on the spiritual lives of young people (i.e.: the National Study of Youth and Religion) have demonstrated that while young people are open to believing in God and participating in faith communities, most are incredibly inarticulate about their belief in God and faith that does not impact their daily life in any meaningful way. These studies also acknowledge that if young people are going to be socialized into any religious tradition, congregations and families are going to be the primary players. These realities call for urgent attention to the faith lives of young people and the practices of congregations and families. 2 In the ELCA, the majority of congregations are small and served by a solo pastor. Ministry in these settings requires a shared model of leadership between a pastor and a group of lay leaders. At the same time there are a significant number of congregations that are large and served by a staff team of lay and clergy, in partnership with congregational lay leaders. And there are congregations that lie “in the middle” of these two. All of these congregations seek to be faithful to their call to ministry with children and youth, yet all have particular needs with regard to leadership development and seek to use the limited resources they have in the best way possible. 3 One example of this is the ELCA Youth Ministry Network. They have attended to equipping leadership in youth ministry for over a decade. They are doing great work, but their work is limited in many ways. This initiative would enhance and come along side what they are doing, not replace it. LACE and Outdoor Ministry are other examples of vibrant networks that are actively equipping and networking leaders. These networks will also be invited into conversation about their participation in this initiative. 4 With the limited resources available to synods, few have staff attending to the equipping and networking of children and youth ministry leaders. Yet with the shifts taking place within the overall religious landscape, and specifically within regions, are challenging ministry with children and youth in new ways and convening conversations and equipping ministry leaders in these areas is extremely important.

Youth Ministry Leadership Development Strategy Talk Sheet


The goals for creating a national leadership strategy for leaders of ministry with, for and by youth within the ELCA include: o

o o



Inviting the multiple networks of ELCA ministries into a deeper conversation around children, youth and family ministry in the 21st century that would inspire and equip ministry leaders to address the changing and varied needs of their particular ministry context in the midst of our current cultural realities, Making available and accessible a robust array of leadership trainings for those leading congregational youth ministry across the ELCA, Developing a vibrant collection of resources for equipping leaders theologically, theoretically and practically for ministry with children, youth, young adults, and their families in a pluralistic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual world, Maximizing current and future efforts of mission and ministry strategic initiatives within the ELCA that would take seriously the call to be faithful stewards of our shared work, as well as aspire to make a deeper impact on transforming the church for the sake of the world, Fully embracing the whole ecology of the ELCA, seeing the church as being the whole of our work, not just the efforts of congregations, synods, churchwide, colleges, seminaries, and/or camps.

A Proposal – a way forward! Building upon the work of the Practice Discipleship leadership development initiative created in preparation for the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering, this proposal puts forth a three-year plan to extend that leadership initiative into a Youth Ministry Leadership Development Strategy for the ELCA. This initiative would happen by weaving together current and future strategic initiatives. Year one would begin with the following strategic initiatives/networks of the ELCA: o o o

the synodical coaching/communication system established through the Practice Discipleship Project, the network of ELCA Youth Ministry seminary and college/university educators and the ELCA Youth Ministry Network

connecting their efforts around an annual theme and then coordinating existing and future activities around that theme. Over the course of three years, additional strategic initiatives/networks would be added. The idea -

Each of the three years this leadership initiative would have: o An annual theme – This theme would provide the overarching focus for the year’s curriculum. It would include an introduction session addressing some larger shifts that

Youth Ministry Leadership Development Strategy Talk Sheet



are taking place in children, youth and family ministry and the church today. Tied to this theme would be a series of workshops. A series of “workshops” – The annual theme would then be unpacked with a series of 6 ‘workshops” that would address sub-themes and particular ministry skills related to the main theme. These workshops would make up the curriculum for that year and would be available in multiple formats: webinar (live and archived,) DVD/written curriculum for workshops to be led around the country by synodical coaches, and face-to-face sessions offered at various existing leadership training events (i.e. synod assemblies and Extravaganza). The “workshops” would use the Standards and Guidelines established by the ELCA Youth Ministry Network as a guide, with the general format being 2 workshops bent toward theological ideas, 2 addressing theoretical ideas, and 2 focused on practical skills.

Why these three initial partners? The three initiatives/networks named above have been involved with the Practicing Discipleship leadership track, are familiar with each other’s work, and are in a position to move quickly toward rolling out the year one curriculum of this proposal. Current leadership is aware that time is of the essence, not only within the church, but also drawing upon the momentum created through the good work of various teams in preparation for the ELCA Youth Gathering in the summer of 2012. Acknowledging this reality, the leadership team would include other partners so that the work on inviting other ELCA partners into the process to expand participation in the coming years would begin immediately. Phase 1 – Moving from the ELCA Youth Gathering preparation to year 1 - Now-May 2013 Annual Theme: What is Faith Formation in a Missional Age? Workshop Series: Theological: The Bible and its call to the world, Theoretical: Cross-cultural engagement and servant learning, and Practical Skills: developing student leaders. Leadership Team and housing of initiative: The leadership team would tend to two main efforts. One effort would work on the year one curriculum and would bring together representatives from SYMBOL, the ELCA Youth Ministry Network, Youth Ministry Educators, and synodical coach/communicator, prioritizing person’s familiar with the Practicing Discipleship process from 2011-2012. The second effort would work on expanding the partners and moving the initiative into phase two. Persons working on this effort would include a liaison from ELCA Churchwide and representation from some other potential partner ELCA initiatives/networks . These two efforts would work together as one team, with someone from within serving as a team lead. The ELCA Youth Ministry Network would serve as the “host” organization. Timing: The timing would be similar to the Practice Discipleship leadership development roll out this past year. The annual theme would launch in the summer 2012, with an introductory session available in early fall. Workshops would follow throughout the fall 2012 in webinar format, as well as offered live at the 2013 Extravaganza. Video/written curriculum would be

Youth Ministry Leadership Development Strategy Talk Sheet


made available in spring 2012, offering the opportunity for synods and congregations to host these workshops on their own. Prep for Phase 2: While the curriculum team is rolling out year one, rest of the leadership team will be working on preparing for Phase 2. This work would include, but not be limited to: developing the theme for year 2, naming the workshops, developing the curriculum and extending the conversation of this strategy to other potential initiative, both within the ELCA and elsewhere. (For example, Outdoor Ministry, LACE, DEMS, Bishops, LIFT, Ministry Resource Providers, etc.) Ministry Resource Providers: While this strategy was incubated from within particular ELCA initiatives, it is a hope of the initial team that this initiative would grow beyond the partners named above. It is important to note that youth ministry initiatives within the ELCA today would not be as robust or vibrant without the partnership of a wide-range of ministry resource providers. In other words, vibrant frontline youth ministry depends on both the shared efforts of a denomination, as well as the shared learning of ministry resources providers. The work of two these streams overlap in many ways, and yet they are also different in many ways. As this leadership initiative moves forward, it is vital to keep lines of communication open, while also recognizing that each are accountable to their own specific mission, vision and viability criteria. Therefore, this proposal does not set forth any particular ideas of how ministry resource providers might participate in this strategy, but desires that this conversation continue to be explored. Phase 2 – May 2013- May 2014 The idea of a theme and follow-up workshops would continue. A team to lay out the theme and workshop topics would begin in phase one. The leadership team and strategy would be expanded to include more strategic initiatives/networks, as proposed from the team in year one. Evaluation of year one would take place and the learnings from that evaluation would be taken into account as this work moves forward. Phase 3 – May 2014 – May 1015 The idea of a theme and follow-up workshops would continue, again with the ground work developed in phase two. The leadership team and strategy would be expanded to include more strategic initiatives/networks, as proposed from the previous year. Evaluation would continue, and the future of this initiative would be determined. Budget The leadership initiative which accompanied the Practicing Discipleship arm of the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering was integrated into that budgeting system. Being a tri-annual event, moving this initiative forward would require seeking funding, if it is to continue. This section proposes three different options, each requiring different levels of funding. Proposal one puts forth a plan Youth Ministry Leadership Development Strategy Talk Sheet


that would continue at the level of the previous year, with only minor adjustment. This is the preferred move forward. Proposal two is the middle ground approach, requiring some leadership to volunteer their time and resources to be shared, but choosing to invest financial in some aspects of the plan. Proposal three puts forth a plan that would require a minimal level of funding, requiring both volunteer leadership and initiatives/networks “sharing” from their current assets. Proposal one – Preferred Model – greatest accessibility and representation – greatest chance for impact on the overall ecology. Cost: $350,000 per year or 1 million for three years o

In this plan,  Curriculum writers would be paid and money made available for video/written curriculum development  Synodical coaches would be given a stipend and a small budget to use within their synod (be it travel or sponsoring an event)  Money would be available for gathering the leadership (leadership team, coached and curriculum writers) together for an annual event, provided the technology platform needed for webinars (and any tech support needed for those webinars), and for a stipend for the team leader.


Cost per year – $350,000  $45,000 for Curriculum  $260,000 for synodical coaches/coordinators  $45,000 for leadership, tech support and travel

Proposal two – Desirable Model – accessible – coordinated – good potential for impact in regions and congregations, but needs committed leadership and relies on resources from other systems. Cost: $175,000 per year or $525,000 for three years o


In this plan,  Curriculum writers would receive a very small stipend and money would be available only for the development of the written portion of curriculum  Synodical coaches would have a budget allotted to them to support their efforts (be it their own travel across the synod or money to help sponsor a synod gathering) and receive a “token” stipend.  No money would be available for gathering the group together.  Money allocated for tech support.  No stipend for the team leader, but money available to gather leadership team and get curriculum writers to the Extravaganza 2013 to present. Cost per year – $175,000  $20,000 for Curriculum  $130,000 for synodical coaches/coordinators  $25,000 for leadership, tech support and travel

Youth Ministry Leadership Development Strategy Talk Sheet


Proposal three – A Framework –coordinated effort that continue past work - potential for change within congregations, but needs committed leadership to volunteer their time and relies heavily on resources from other systems. Cost: $20,000 per year or $60,000 for three years o

Per year – $20,000  $0 for Curriculum  $12,000 ($200 per synod) for synod expenses, but $0 for synodical coaches/coordinators.  $8,000 for leadership, tech support and travel


In this plan,  Curriculum writers would volunteer their time with no money for developing video/written curriculum resources.  Synodical coaches would be voluntary, but a minimal budget would be allotted to them to support their efforts (be it for travel across the synod or money to help sponsor a synod gathering).  Some money would be available for travel for the leadership team to gather and for curriculum writes to present at the Extravaganza. But no money would be available for gathering the leadership (leadership team, coached and curriculum writers) together for an annual event.  Some money allocated for minimal tech support, with the hopes of some of it being “donated” from an initiative/network that has such a resource.  No stipend for the team leader.

What’s next? This talk sheet has been prepared as a conversation starter. It is not seeking to be adopted or passed by any governing body, sent to any assembly of the church, or be a directive for any existing network. Rather it is intended to invite feedback and stir imagination about what an organic, yet strategic leadership initiative for ministry with, for and by youth within the ELCA might entail. If it ignites conversations among various ELCA leadership teams that work with congregational children and youth ministry, then we’ve done something. The imagination of the team around this talk sheet was to focus a conversation, and perhaps even offer a direction for it. So, if this talk sheet captured your imagination and you’d like to be part of furthering this conversation, your participation would be welcomed. Please use the contact information provided to share your ideas and interest. If this talk sheet raised red flags for you, your voice is also welcomed. You too are encouraged to share your thoughts using the contact information provided. If there is enough energy and resources to move this initiative forward, it will happen. If not, these issues will have to be addressed in other ways. Know that we, the team that develop an idea and were crazy enough to put it on paper, hold this work loosely, believing God is at work and simply seeking to be faithful and responsive to what’s in our midst. In the meantime, pray…pray for young people, their faith, their families, and the congregations that seek to engage them. Youth Ministry Leadership Development Strategy Talk Sheet


In God’s service, Terri Martinson Elton – Luther Seminary Catherine Anderson – Practice Discipleship Team Leader Todd Bugler – ELCA Youth Ministry Network Tammy Jones West - SYMBOL

To share ideas, interest in participating, or concerns go to:

Youth Ministry Leadership Development Strategy Talk Sheet


Faith Formation with young people begins with you, the adult leader. The ELCA Youth Gathering, in partnership with the ELCA Youth Ministry Network, is investing in the leadership development of adult leaders. Take part in these free online trainings and curriculum resources and invite others to join you! Free online webinars:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Lutheran Theology: How God Works in the World Lutheran Theology: How Lutherans Read the Bible Your Role as Leader Strategic Planning Leading a Small Group Faith Conversations Planning for the Unexpected

Video Resources On Demand

Youth Ministry Events as Faith Formation: Opportunity or Despair (3 parts)

Coming in Fall of 2012:

Practice Discipleship Phase 2

ELCA Youth Mninistry Network Year End Report 2011-2012 Fiscal year: July 1 2011 - June 30 2012

Income: Item: Membership Dues Orginizational/Institutional Gifts Individual Donations Extravaganza Income Network Partnership Income Connect Journal Advertising Misc Income Gathering n the East Total

2011-12 Budget 2011-2012 $ 44,625.00 $ 52,462.96 $ 50,000.00 $ 50,000.00 $ 10,000.00 $ 6,635.94 $ 150,000.00 $ 251,558.84 $ 7,500.00 $ 13,415.00 $ 4,000.00 $ 2,000.00 $ 446.52 $ $ 268,125.00 $ 374,519.26


Expenses: Item: Staff Salaries Board & Facilitators Meetings Other Meeting Expenses Business/Operational Expenses Regional Networking Member Recognition Extravaganza Connect Journal Vision Team Development Council Online Training Expenses Shipping costs Misc expenses Savings Account 3rd Tuesday Conversations Gathering in the East Audit

11-12 Budget 2011-2012 $ 48,000.00 $ 39,262.62 $ 20,000.00 $ 21,506.45 $ 1,000.00 $ 1,110.07 $ 8,000.00 $ 13,601.45 $ 4,500.00 $ 1,370.81 $ 2,500.00 $ 3,573.65 $ 150,000.00 $ 239,814.83 $ 10,000.00 $ 12,406.37 $ 500.00 $ 3,331.43 $ 2,000.00 $ 222.32 $ 1,500.00 $ 698.77 $ 2,500.00 $ 4,953.74 $ 2,500.00 $ 499.00 $ $ 600.00 $ 41.29 $ $ 4,500.00 $ 3,100.00






Profit (Loss):





incl Spring 11 board mtg costs

ELCA Youth Ministry Network Financial Account Balances

As of 15 October, 2012 Wells Fargo Checking Account: $14,999.94 ELCA Mission Investment Fund $30,593.47 ELCA Funds in deposit process to MIF: $25,000.00 __________ Total Cash Assets:


Network Executive Director's Report - October, 2012  
Network Executive Director's Report - October, 2012  

Report of the Executive Director to the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Board of Directors, by Rev. Todd Buegler, October, 2012