Pacific Southwest District Board of Directors and Praesidium held its regular meeting at the District offices recently on June 26, 2019. With an agenda including a particular emphasis on vision for church planting, revitalization and resourcing congregations, the meeting was productive and future-focused. Highlights include:
· Devotions centered on the theme verse of Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house will serve the Lord”, contemplating where we serve outside of our vocation, and answering the call from Isaiah 6:8 “Here am I, send me!”
· “Owner Dialog”, where a District constituent is a guest at the beginning of the meeting and can provide perspective from the field, report on what they are doing in mission and ministry, describe their opportunities and challenges, and ask questions of the Board. Rev. Craig Michaelson from Faith Lutheran – Las Vegas, NV provided an overview of recent expansion, current activities, future plans and community challenges via video conference.
· Financial reports were shared indicating that congregational giving to District is down 11% over the previous year. Giving reports will be sent again to congregations after June 30.
· The upcoming Synod convention in Tampa was discussed, including delegate preparation and resolutions with particular relevance for the District.
· The process for demolition and sale of the UCLA University Lutheran Chapel property continues with nave stained glass panels professionally removed and stored, hazardous material remediation complete and demolition underway.
· Plans for District-wide, expanded campus ministry were discussed in connection with Campus Mission Coalition, with the focus of being “One Mission, Multiple Places”.
· President Gibson presented vision and models to address various church planting and mission needs within the District. Titled “Into the City…and Beyond”, his presentation described the District encompasses 32 million people in 6 major metropolitan areas, with hundreds of “micro-contexts.” This diversity requires “community exegesis”, taking a deep look into an area to understand its context, needs, opportunities and challenges for the purpose of church planting, revitalization, restarts and new mission starts. Providing the right training, especially for laypeople who are a critical component these efforts, is a key part of moving forward.
Models under development include circuits organizing for mission, churches planting churches, reaching “nones” (those with no religious connection), individual churches in close proximity organizing into regional/”cathedral” churches that work together to share resources and serve their wider region, multi-ethnic church plants, and replants of previously closed congregations using retained and remodeled properties.
· Mission funding requests were reviewed and approved for Campus Mission Coalition and for beginning restart efforts at the former St. Paul’s-Norwalk, CA.
· As recommended by the Praesidium, a tithe of $90,000 from the sale of Grace-Long Beach, CA was approved to support the District-wide Mission India goal to reach 100,000 people for Christ in India.
· Audited financial statements for 2018 and management letter were received, with no internal control deficiencies identified. The report is available from the District website.