He’s encouraged that his Synod has made evangelism its first priority, so this self-described bull in a china shop is charging forward.
In this interview hear how the Synod’s plan to place 2 people as evangelists in each of its 120 churches is unfolding – from a man whose energy and passion is contagious.
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How does a historically Swedish and German denomination thrive in a burgeoning Hispanic region? Bishop Mike says it’s by recovering Jesus’ sense of mission to all. Here are my notes from the interview:
The Latinos Are Coming!
Actually, they’ve been there a very long time – and because 90% of them come from a Catholic background means they are open to bridge churches, like the ELCA, which provides a welcoming home.
Create Space for Creativity
Bishop Mike says it’s crucial for those in charge to allow energetic new leaders to emerge run as far as possible with their dreams – giving permission, and not shouting down new ideas, is crucial in today’s environment.
Leading is About Listening
As hard as it is for him to do this, says Bishop Mike, he’s found that when he does more listening than talking, more and better things get done. How can we better clam up instead of speaking up?
About Mike Rinehart
Mike Rinehart is the bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio and a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from Valparaiso University. Mike has served congregations in Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas before becoming bishop in 2007.
Mike says, “Evangelism is one of my passions, and our synod’s highest priority. Evangelism is making fully devoted followers of Christ, who taught love of God and neighbor as the greatest commandments. Of late much time has been devoted to helping congregations get back on their feet after four devastating hurricanes in the last four years. I’ve also been very involved in our companion synod program, particularly with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Peru. I’m just starting to learn about our other companion synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic.”
Sponsors I Mentioned
Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest Episcopal Seminary in the U.S., forming men and women for leadership in the church. In addition to the MDiv, Anglican Studies and DMin degrees are their Masters of Arts degrees with a fous on Theological Studies, Christian Formation, Religion & Culture, and Biblical Interpretation. Check them out at vts.edu.