Palmberg Outlines Covenant 2020 Vision Initiative

Post a Comment » Written on June 23rd, 2007     
Filed under: News
PORTLAND, OR (June 23, 2007) – Denominational growth and a rapidly changing world present significant challenges and opportunities, President Glenn Palmberg said in a rare second report to the 122nd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church today.

A task force has been organized to guide the process of helping the denomination pro-actively adapt to what the world may look like in 2020, and especially what the Covenant Church ideally could look like. It is particularly important to begin now putting into place whatever new steps may need to be taken to position the church for that new reality, Palmberg noted.

“Much of what held us together as a denomination no longer exists,” Palmberg said, reciting a lengthy list of elements in the past that formed “denominational glue.”

In the past, Palmberg said, nearly all Covenanters used the same hymnal and liturgies and knew each missionary by name. Worship was on Sunday mornings and evenings as well as Wednesday nights, infant baptisms were the norm, and a megachurch was one with 500 people. Family and social ties bound people across the country. “A person of color in a Covenant church was extremely rare.”

Palmberg predicted that what binds the church today will not exist as it does today in 2020, and noted some of the challenges, including dealing with the good news of growth.

The ECC currently has 165,977 people attending 765 congregations, and more than half the people are new to the denomination in the last 10 years. Leaders project denominational growth to rise to 250,000 members in 1,005 congregations by the year 2020.

The Covenant currently has a ratio of one credentialed clergy per every 1,000 attendees (1,600 pastors serving roughly 160,000 attendees). “If we continue to grow, we will need 2,500 clergy by 2020,” Palmberg said.

A video highlighted the rapid societal changes that have occurred and projected the changes will continue exponentially.

The report was given during a break from the legislative business of the session so that everyone could participate in discussion about what they heard. Evelyn Johnson, superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference, guided the process.

Delegates were asked to consider several questions:
•    Identify what you believe is one thing the denomination and conference can do to best support the mission and momentum of your local church in the next decade.
•    Name at least one opportunity you believe the ECC will have between now and 2020.
•    Name at least one challenge you believe the ECC will face between now and 2020.
•    What do Covenant leaders and/or conference superintendents need to hear about our life together.

Delegates and others moved into small group discussions to share individual responses to the emerging trends, suggesting from their own perspectives what they believe the church could look like, as well as identify the challenges that may need to be faced.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog