Every church is organized in some way—some more formally than others. For us, Jesus is the C.E.O. Here’s a quote from the Bible which says why:
Christ is the head of the body, the church.
The members of the congregation, therefore, follow Jesus’ lead. At meetings of the congregation, all the big decisions are made: budgets, calling pastors, electing leadership, buying property, building projects, etc. We have two regular meetings of the congregation each year: the Annual Meeting in January and the Budget Meeting in May.
The Council and the Pastors
The Council (including the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the congregation) oversee the day-to-day life and ministry of the congregation. The Pastors keep the life and ministry of the congregation centered on the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. What’s the Good News about Jesus? God came to earth as Jesus to welcome everyone on earth into God’s family, so everyone on earth can enjoy the abundant and everlasting life we have as God’s family.
The Boards work on all the details of the day-to-day life of the congregation. We have seven boards. Most of the names of the boards tell you what they do:
- Celebration: You might call this the worship board. In worship, we celebrate God’s presence with us!
- Education: This Board directs educational opportunities for people of all ages.
- Outreach: Outreach oversees the kinds of ministries that reach people outside the congregation.
- Personal Growth: Nicknamed “the party board” for its role in organizing picnics, this Board also organizes photo directories and new member care. As part of our most recent visioning process, Personal Growth is focused on developing a friendly, welcoming culture among members and guests who are in the building during worship and Sunday School.
- Stewardship: Every year, the Board of Stewardship reminds us of ways we’re called to give thanks for God’s love for us in Jesus.
- Structures and Grounds: Parts of our building are over one hundred years old. Parts of our building are equipped with the latest digital technologies. Structures and Grounds oversees the cleaning, maintenance, repair, and replacement of all of it! Our parking lot, sidewalks, green space, and the Garden of Grace are ways people who drive and walk by get to know Grace, so that the ministry of this Board is ultimately a welcoming ministry, too.
- Youth and Family Ministry: Youth ministry includes confirmation ministry, but also activities for youth and their families. This Board makes it happen!
The Council and the Boards have committees to help them do their work. The Council has support committees. Some of the support committees are:
- Long-Range Planning
The Council appoints other committees from time to time to work on special projects:
- The 100th Anniversary Committee (we were 100 in 2008!)
- The Sanctuary Renovation Committee
- The Garden of Grace Committee
- The Welcoming Task Force
- The Vision Committee
Boards sometimes have committees, too, to focus on special projects. The Board of Structures and Grounds, for example, is usually mostly made up of guys. Truth is: none of them are usually interested in interior design. When a chair needs reupholstering, you don’t want HVAC or IT experts doing that. For that kind of thing, Structures and Grounds looks for members of Grace who are interested in interior design and ask them for their help. So, from time to time, committees can be appointed by any Board to make recommendations to the Board about special projects.
Other Organizations in the Congregation
There are a few.
The Mission Sewing group meets the third Thursday of every month to sew quilts to give away to local charities and ministries, but also to Lutheran World Relief’s longstanding quilting program. Mission Sewing quilts are made out of scraps of discarded clothing. And batting (whatever that is). And yarn. And love. They’re unusual. And beautiful. You could say they are unusually beautiful! Because when tornadoes or wars or floods or tsunamis strike, our quilts are there to help keep people warm and clean.
The Memorial Trust and Mission Endowment Committees
Grace is blessed to have two trust funds: the Memorial Trust and the Mission Endowment. In general, the Memorial Trust funds projects for the congregation; the Mission Endowment funds community charities or ministries and ELCA, or congregational ministries. The members of both committees are elected by Boards, the Council, or the Congregation to serve terms set out by the governing documents of each respective trust.