The Metropolitan Chicago Synod (MCS) has many active new start missions (Synodically Authorized Worshipping Communities, often called SAWCs), in a wide variety of settings, with communities representing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and demographics.
The Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM) in the MCS oversees mission developers (church-planting pastors) and new ministry sites. The MCS Mission Table partners with the synod’s DEM to accomplish start ministry progress visits (ministry reviews), overall mission planning, and other areas of new start ministry work. This team is made up of rostered and lay people who have a heart for mission and a passion for new birth ministries. If you find your heart drawn in by the thought of missional new ministries in this synod, please consider serving at this Mission Table. You can find a link to the description of what a MCS Mission Table team member is expected to do below. (To express interest, please contact the DEM). The DEM also oversees a wide variety of ELCA churchwide grant processes and paperwork related to new starts, SAWCs, and mission developers, coordinating with the bishop, synod council, and other staff.
New start ministries are usually SAWCs that have embarked on creating and developing a new community of faith. In some circles, we call these ministries church plants. These vary from brand-new communities with very few members/participants to new communities of faith that have grown to hundreds. At some point (usually years after starting), the SAWC may apply to formally become a congregation of the ELCA. For the purposes of this discussion, a new mission (a SAWC) does not simply mean a new mission-focused group that grew out of an existing congregation. New missions are the sprouts of what we hope will someday become a new congregation.
One of the ways that you may be able to assist new missions in the MCS is by serving on a launch team or being a supporter of a local new ministry site near you or your congregation. A launch team is an advisory group that assists a new mission developer during the intense time of a new launching ministry (not necessarily “charter members” or council). You will find a detailed handbook on the rationale and guidelines for new mission launch teams (with a toolkit of possible resources to use) at the link below (launch team documents). If you would like to have a conversation about how to support a new mission ministry near you, please reach out to Pastor Carla Thompson Powell, Metro Chicago’s DEM, for a direct conversation (). Because the mission sites are so fluid and can change rapidly, we don’t usually list these mission developers or SAWC new start sites.
If new missions and mission developers are a calling of your heart, please regularly pray for our synod’s new missions and their mission developers. Pastor Carla (MCS DEM) hosts a monthly virtual prayer gathering about/with/for mission developers and their communities that is open to all. Currently, it’s offered on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. You can sign up for that email list here. After subscribing, you’ll be notified (with a ZOOM link) of the upcoming prayer time. Even if you can’t attend at that time, please keep these missional leaders lifted in prayer. It means so much to them to have the prayer support of their siblings in Christ in their ministry work.
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