Strategic Plan

Strategic PlanDear friends,
The Network’s Board of Directors has spent the last 12 months working together on assembling a new Strategic Plan to guide the Network in its growth in the next 3-5 years.  We’re excited about the future, and on where God is leading the Network.  We are grateful to Rev. Mike Ward of Lutheridge+Lutherock Ministries for guiding the board through this process.

Below, please find a draft of the strategic plan.  The board anticipates further discussion and an approval of the plan at our meeting in January in Anaheim.

We invite you to look over the plan, and in the comments section below, to give feedback to the board.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


ELCA Youth Ministry Network Strategic Plan 

October 20, 2012

Big Hairy Audacious Goal:
By April 30, 2015 the ELCA Youth Ministry Network will have 1,000 or more members.

The Network Board of Directors has identified 7 areas of focus in achieving this goal:

  • Membership
  • Extravaganza
  • Partnerships
  • Financial Diversity
  • Diversity
  • Governance
  • The Practice Discipleship Initiative

Membership:  In three years, the ELCA Youth Ministry Network will have 1,000 or more members, reflecting a diverse cross-section of professional and lay youth ministry leaders who also reflect the cultural and geographic diversity of the church.  This increase in membership will provide more and better opportunities for youth ministry leaders to renew, learn, and connect.

Retention:  Retention rate will significantly increase (a percentage increase will be identified here.

1.  Streamline the electronic renewal process—Allocate $3,000 to do this by May, 2013
2.  Incentives
Board to determine discounts at Fall meeting
i. % discount if renewed by date
ii. Every 3rd consecutive year you are a member you get a __% discount
iii. Membership Team created that will conduct an annual membership phonathon
iv. Exit Survey to be conducted by Board members annually, or given to membership committee to conduct.

3. New Members
a. Get a new member:  You each receive 50% off your membership
b. Set annual new member goals to reach 1,000.  (Need Todd to figure this based on current retention rate.)

4. Partners
a. Reward SYMBOL leader who recruits most new members (or percentage of new members based on their size.)
i. Determine reward by May, 2013
b. Silver/Gold Partners to pay $75 more annually.  In return they get a free membership to give away.  Initiative to start in 2013
c. Partnership with Companion Synods.
i. Incentive to SYMBOL leader that they can bring a companion synod representative to Extravaganza (w/ membership for half off E registration)

5.  CrossCultural
a. Grow to 9% by end of three years in membership and Extravaganza attendance
b. Recruit from MYLE and DAYLE–phonathon
c. 3 free crosscultural memberships in 2012/13 to cross-cultural members
d. Board to revisit annually in April/May

Extravaganza:  In three years, the Extravaganza will continue as the central community gathering for youth ministry professionals and ministry resource providers. The event will lead to transformed congregations as youth ministry leaders are renewed, energized, and inspired for ministry.

Average attendance—at least 800 in three years

Increase retention rate
Net Promoter Score—set baseline and strive for growth.

In three years, the network will have established a collegial, working relationship with other organizations that share our mission, purpose, and core values. The YMNET will continue to be an autonomous entity with a strong sense of identity in the midst of these emerging partnerships.  We will continue to welcome existing groups with shared values to find their home in the Network.

Silver/Gold partners

  • Increase by 2 each per year the number of silver/gold partners
  • Grow partner revenue to 10% of annual budget
    $13,415 received in 2011/12—needs to be $26,000 to be 10% of budget

Other Networks

  • Invite every other ELCA network with like values to host a conference within the E
  • Invitation extended to Outdoor Ministry Network to attend E in 2013 and any year at member rate if member of LOM.

Financial Diversity
In three years, the Network budget will have less than 50% of income derived from Extravaganza (currently it is as much as 75%).  This will mandate that growth will happen in the areas of Partnerships, gifts, and member dues in order to accommodate this growth.  Scholarships will come from non-Extravaganza income.

  • Membership at 1,000 could mean an additional $22,000 in dues revenue after three years
  • By January, 2013 increase membership dues $10 for basic and $25 for supporting and sponsoring
  • By March, 2013 complete a Thrivent Financial grant to fund a part-time development director that includes a job description and workplan to be approved by board prior to submission.
  • May, 2013 set an endowment exploration team
  • Fall, 2013 have each board member recruit one silver
  • Upgrade half (4) silver partners to gold by January, 2014
  • January, 2014 host 5 new retail partnerships (groups not necessarily ministry related—whitewater rafting companies, ski resorts)
  • January, 2014 for YM Network to explore the development and sales of a youth ministry software management program.  Include a web development component
  • Three year membership rate to be set by Feb 1, 2013.  Also include bundled memberships so congregations can include lay people.
  • By October, 2013 provide a board training on soliciting board partnerships.
  • Create a task group to explore other methods of developing alternative revenue streams by March, 2014.

The ELCA YM Network strives to be a culture of receptivity—a network culture that will receive, honor, and celebrate voices from every “nation, tribe, people, and language” (cf Revelation 7) in order to reflect God’s vision for the creation and the church.  This diversity includes ethnic and geographic diversity of its members.  In order to achieve this diversity, benchmarks will be established within the areas of Membership, Extravaganza, and Network Leadership.


  • Extravaganza—By 2015 each synod will have at least one participant at every Extravaganza.  RF’s identify potential members in synods with no participation.
  • Membership—Annually review the three lowest participating Synod’s as relating to membership and grow each by two members every year.
  • Network Leadership—Practice Discipleship Teams will be formed in every Synod


  • Membership—Two complimentary one year, non-renewable memberships per synod for persons of color
  • Extravaganza—Up to 8 persons serving in multicultural contexts and people of color receive complimentary registration to Extravaganza.
  • Network Leadership—It is expected that Practice Discipleship teams will be reflective of ethnic diversity to include persons of color and/or people whose primary language is other than English


  • In three years the board will accomplish the following:
  • Establish goals for the Exec Director as articulated in the strategic plan at the Autumn Meeting beginning with the Autumn, 2013 meeting.
  • Set an annual evaluation of the Executive Director at the autumn meeting to begin at the Autumn, 2013 meting.
  • Self-evaluate at the Winter board meeting each year in order to direct the nominating committee of the skill-sets needed to fill vacant board positions. To begin Winter, 2013.
  • At the conclusion of each board meeting spend 10-15 minutes to do a self-analysis of how the board meeting functioned and what needs to be fixed for the next meeting.  Begin at the Spring, 2013 meeting.
  • The board will participate in a half day anti-racism training once every six years and a diversity training every six years. (this to happen once in each term).  First training to be in 2014.
  • Will assign one member of the board as a “champion” to each section of the strategic plan. Board assignments can be re-negotiated annually based on gifts of board members.  Assignments to be made initially Winter, 2013.
  • By Spring 2014, a half day leadership training will take place for the board and will re-cur every three years.
  • Board will monitor progress on each area of the strategic plan at each board meeting beginning at the Spring, 2013 meetings.

Practice Discipleship (The Practice Discipleship Initiative)

The Practice Discipleship Project is a partnership between the ELCA Youth Ministry Network, the Churchwide Organization, and other ministries within the church.  The Initiative will extend through 2015, with the hope of continuing into the future.  The Practice Discipleship Initiative is committed to bringing theological and practical training to congregations and to providing resources to groups who plan to attend the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering.

  • Actively promote a cross-generational faith formation conversation, including an exploration of how children’s ministry relates.
  • Establish a staff person to lead the Practice Discipleship Project by November 2012
  • Identify a Practice Discipleship coach and team in each synod.  It is our expectation that teams are inclusive of people of color and/or whose primary language is not English.
  • Create a communication strategy to articulate the various aspects of the project
  • Work with Youth Gathering staff to incorporate a Practice Discipleship day at the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering.


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