By Stan Friedman
CHICAGO, IL (June 28, 2014) — Delegates to the 129th Annual Meeting unanimously approved the first major restructuring of Covenant governance in roughly 40 years Friday.
President Gary Walter told delegates the restructuring would help the Covenant live “into the fullness of God’s purposes in the world.”
Other than the addition of the Department of Compassion, Mercy, and Justice in 2007, there had been no significant change in four decades.
Walter said that the former structure, which was instituted when the Covenant was less than half its current size, constrained ministry. The change streamlines what had previously been 20 separate departments, offices, and entities into a comprehensive alignment built around five mission priorities: Make and Deepen Disciples, Start and Strengthen Churches, Develop Leaders, Love Mercy-Do Justice, and Serve Globally.
The changes also will be much more cost effective, with Walter noting that initial changes this past year already have saved roughly $500,000.
Make and Deepen Disciples will encompass efforts related to evangelism and spiritual formation currently distributed among the Departments of Christian Formation, Church Growth and Evangelism, and Women Ministries.
Start and Strengthen Churches will encompass efforts related to church planting and congregational vitality currently housed in the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism.
Develop Leaders will encompass functions of the Department of Ordered Ministry as well as work toward the establishment of a Center for Leadership for both clergy and lay development.
Love Mercy-Do Justice will encompass functions of the Department of Compassion, Mercy, and Justice while also deepening all mission priority areas with these matters as well as bridging to initiatives of Covenant Ministries of Benevolence.
Serve Globally will encompass international activities, including the functions currently distributed between the Department of World Mission, Covenant World Relief, and Paul Carlson Partnership.
Finance will encompass the functions currently distributed between the business office, pension, and Bethany Benefit Service.
Communications will encompass the publication, media, interactive, design, printing, and bookstore functions of the Department of Communication.
Advancement will develop a comprehensive approach to deepening the financial partnership of congregations and individuals.
Operations will encompass the functions currently distributed between information technology, human resources, building services, events office, and governance administration.