As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. With our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus Christ’s name throughout the world.
Southwestern Minnesota Synod Mission Statement:
The congregations and all the baptized who are the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are claimed by this mission: God places us in cities, farms and towns together under one prairie sky. The Risen Christ surprises us with opportunities to plant God’s Word in the world.
Walking together in confidence,
we cultivate life-giving congregations,
nurture partner ministries, and
cooperate in the life of the ELCA.
By God’s grace, together we have what we need.
We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. For us as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, this faith comes through the good news of Jesus Christ and gives us the freedom and the courage to wonder, discover and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person – questions, complexities and all.
We are a church that belongs to Christ. There is a place for you here.We believe God calls each of us by name. Christ’s church is not ours to control, nor is it our job to sort, divide, categorize or exclude. Whenever we feel compelled to “draw the line” in our lives, we must acknowledge as Lutherans that Jesus always stands on both sides of that line.
We are a church whose unity is in Jesus Christ, who gathers us around word and water, wine and bread.
Because we are grounded in God’s love and forgiveness, we are equipped to live and serve here and now, in the world, with all its complexities, tensions and ambiguities. We have the courage to explore the world as saints and sinners, knowing we will never take God somewhere God has not already been.
We are a church that believes Jesus is God’s “Yes” to us.
Our lives can be a “Yes” to others. The “Yes” of Jesus Christ compels and empowers us to be open and accessible within any community, within any context.
We are a church that believes God is calling us into the world — together. We don’t have to do it alone, and we don’t have to do everything. Each of us has a unique story, and we are part of a larger story that makes up the ELCA. We work through our congregations, synods and partners, and the churchwide organization. Together, we achieve things on a scale and scope that we could never do otherwise.
We are a church that rolls up our sleeves and gets to work.
We do God’s work in the world — restoring and reconciling communities. We pursue justice and seek peace no matter how long the journey or wide the chasm.
We are a church that is a catalyst, convener and bridge builder.
Our faith calls us to see the world as interdependent. The ELCA has become a force for connection, working across denominations, faiths, organizations and sectors, locally and globally. We’re a welcome partner because we respect the perspectives and strengths of others and share a common vision to uphold human dignity.
We are a church that is energized by lively engagement in our faith and life. “Our faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing,” said Martin Luther. We continually strive for a deeper understanding of what the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ means for the world. Doing so puts us right where God wants us to be: in the thick of life.
We are a church that is deeply rooted — and always being made new. Our roots are in Scripture, tradition and the Lutheran Confessions, as well as in the vibrant communities and rich histories of our congregations. These roots are an ongoing source of nourishment; they enable us to be a church guided by the Holy Spirit that is both resilient and always being reformed.
Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world. This is the mission statement of the ELCA. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. With our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus’ name throughout the world.
Biblical and theological foundation
Members of the ELCA are called and privileged to participate in God’s work in the world. God calls and empowers us for mission through baptism. As a community of believers justified by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), we do not describe mission in terms of our own work but with reference to the healing, salvation and restoration that God accomplishes through Christ. We seek the guidance of the Spirit in our planning, while expecting surprising developments and unanticipated opportunities. Grounded in God’s love and forgiveness, we are equipped to live and serve here and now, in the world, with all its complexities, tensions and ambiguities. We have the courage to explore the world as saints and sinners who are certain of God’s promises and of the confident hope that all God’s loving purposes will be fulfilled when our risen Lord Jesus Christ returns (1 John 3:2).
Strategic directions for the ELCA churchwide organization
The ELCA churchwide organization, working collaboratively with congregations, synods, agencies and institutions and other partners will give priority to:
- Accompanying congregations as growing centers for evangelical mission; and
- Building capacity for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty and to work for justice and peace.
To this end, the churchwide organization continues to play a significant and pivotal role in the life of this church by working with its local and global mission partners to build, support and extend the mission of this church.
Claimed by God’s grace for the sake of the world, we are a new creation through God’s living word by the power of the Holy Spirit;
Gathered by God’s grace for the sake of the world, we will live among God’s faithful people, hear God’s word and share Christ’s supper;
Sent by God’s grace for the sake of the world, we will proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, serve all people following the example of our Lord Jesus, and strive for justice and peace in all the world.
Living into the Future Together
The Living into the Future Together: Renewing the Ecology of the ELCA report presented to the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly focused on the future identity of this church as it faces the challenges posed by the major changes that have occurred in both our culture and the ELCA since this church’s founding in 1988. The 2011 Churchwide Assembly endorsed the work of the task force and supported its future work in collaboration with other church bodies and committees.