An Update from this Week’s Board Meeting

Dear Network friends,
The ELCA Youth Ministry Network’s Board of Directors met this week for its regular spring meeting and had good conversation and made some important decisions in the life of the Network that I wanted to share with you.
The meeting was originally scheduled to happen at the ELCA offices in Chicago.  Because of the pandemic, that meeting was moved to an online format.  All seven board members were present, plus Rachel Alley from the ELCA staff and myself.
  • Because we had two new board members at their first meeting, Heather Hansen and Josh Toufar, we spent a little time in introductions, and checking in on our ministry during a time of pandemic.

  • I gave a brief Executive Director’s report.  That included:
    • An overview of Extravaganza evaluations.  We learned a lot about the event through the evaluation process, especially with the new “track format.”  We are adapting the program structure based on the feedback we received.
    • A review of our budget status.  Finances are very tight right now.  We are at the low point of our normal “cash flow” cycle.  We are working hard to control spending, and are looking forward to cash flow increasing.
    • I discussed that we’re at the end of the “Discipling Cohorts” funding stream and will be looking forward at the program’s sustainability.
    • And we talked about possibly moving some of our resources to a digital format, (i.e. Connect Journal, etc…) and talked about the possibility of adding a more robust digital component to the Extravaganza for those who might not be able to be physically with us because of the pandemic.

  • Rachel Alley gave a report from the ELCA offices, and talked about the effects of the pandemic and quarantine on meetings and events the ELCA is planning.  The Youth Core Leadership Team will not be meeting face to face in July, and the Summit might need to take a different format as well.  She also shared that ELCA program directors have been asked to consider priorities in their budgets  if mission support is less than expected.  At this time, the grant from the Domestic Mission Unit to the YM Network is not planned to be reduced because of the importance and value of the Network to the church and its priority of equipping  leaders. 

  • We received a report from Regina Goodrich about the Multicultural Initiative for 2020.  It was very successful and a good experience.

  • The board spent a lot of time discussing the role and need for Regional Facilitators.  The original intent of the RF’s was to be primary communicators and community builders.  As the world has shifted, and digital communications have become easier, more efficient and more direct, we wondered if the RF role was still necessary, especially considering the amount of our budget that funds the RF program.  The board decided to bring the RF role to an end following the Minneapolis Extravaganza in 2021.  At the event, we will find a way to honor and thank those who have served as Regional Facilitators for their great work.  And we will work to enhance regional communications in other ways.

  • The board had a conversation about our membership fees.  Our fees have remained the same ($85) for over 10 years.  This means that when adjusted for inflation, our fees have actually reduced over time, and this is beginning to have an impact on the Network’s budget.  We made the decision to raise the dues by either $5 or $10, effective July 1, 2021.  This gives time for the church to get (hopefully) beyond the current health crisis.  The exact amount will be decided next winter.

  • We decided that we needed more regular contact as a board.  We will begin the practice of meeting approx. every 6 weeks in an online format.  This may mean that we don’t need to meet face-to-face in the fall and spring.  We will make that determination later this summer.  We determined that our next meeting will be June 8, 2020 at 2:00pm, meeting online.

  • We closed our meeting by electing officers for the next year.

    • Becky Cole, of Kirkland, Washington, was elected chairperson
    • Heather Hansen of San Antonio, Texas was elected secretary
The Network has a great board and a wonderful group of leaders.  We are thankful for the way they share their gifts.
Please continue to keep the Network in your prayers as we step forward into our future.
God’s blessings!
Todd Buegler
Executive Director

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