I love to tell the story;
’twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and his love.
– Refrain from “I Love to Tell the Story,” ELW #661

We are in good company!
For 2000 years, every generation has told “the old, old story” in new, new ways.
We are always called to translate the riches of the faith into a new cultural vernacular.
– Rev. Matthew Short, Assistant to the Bishop for Evangelical Mission


1. “Will the ELCA be Gone in 30 Years?” — Click here.

An article written by Dwight Zscheile, Vice President of Innovation and Associate Professor of Congregational Mission and Leadership at Luther Seminary. The article ends with six “things we can do now,” and would be a good way to begin conversations with congregational leaders about taking small steps to shift into a more mission-oriented approach. He is also the author of the book The Agile Church, a fantastic resource for congregational councils or mission teams to read together. Chapters are short and each end with questions for discussion.

2. Podcast Interview about the article — Click here.

ELCA Bishop Jim Hazelwood (New England Synod) interviews Dwight Zscheile about the article above and the research beneath it. This is a terrific companion to the article, because you can hear the hope in Zscheile’s voice as he describes what we can do to more deeply root ourselves in mission, not institutional survival.




3. What’s Really Causing Church Decline and What We Can Do About It — Click here.

A 42-minute video from the “Faithful Innovation Summit” at Luther Seminary during the summer of 2019. In this video, Drs. Dwight Zscheile and Michael Binder from Luther explain the challenges we face and the empowering steps we can take. A great resource to invite congregational leaders deeper into the conversation as we dream about ways to innovate with integrity.



4. Ideological Shifts of Revitalization — Click here.

A six-page document compiled by synod staff, listing 13 different “shifts” we can live into that will help move us in the direction of mission. This includes some suggested ways to live into each shift, and can be useful as a discussion-starter with leaders.

5. Faithful Innovation: Greater Milwaukee Synod cohorts — Click here.

In our synod, we have groups of congregations working together to live into many of the shifts discussed in the items above. We call this nine-month process “Faithful Innovation.”
Learn more about the process, and when the next cohort is beginning.

6. Faithful Innovation: a Primer for Rostered Leaders — Click here.

For leaders who are curious to learn more and try some small innovation work on their own, but don’t believe their congregation is ready to be a part of the cohort-based process listed above. This free nine-month process will gather rostered leaders (pastors and deacons) from across the state of Wisconsin on a monthly Zoom (video conferencing) call to learn innovation work by doing it together.

7. How To Lead Dwelling in the Word — Click here.

A four-minute video from our partner Dr. Michael Binder explaining the central spiritual practice of “Dwelling in the Word.” Dwelling in the Word is a way of hearing scripture that doesn’t depend on the ordained leader explaining the “right” interpretation of a passage, but trusts that the Spirit will speak to the group through shared discernment.




Click here for scriptures, songs, and other resources to help lift up innovations in your congregation.

Keep checking this page for new resources! This is just the beginning of an ever-changing conversation!