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Executive Committee Votes New Vice President Position

Executive Committee Votes New Vice President Position

Over the past three months, the Oregon Conference administrative leaders have traveled to more than a dozen churches across the Conference territory leading worship and prayer, sharing reports, and inviting feedback from membership. A common theme shared by members is a deep desire to see more people and families engaged in church life and churches being revitalized through the power of the Holy Spirit and strategic equipping. Membership statistics underscore that since the start of the pandemic, nearly half of congregations have found themselves in a state of decline.
 
Something Has to Change
In response to this need, Conference administration, with support of the executive committee, is developing an intentional strategy to facilitate the revitalization of Conference churches. It begins with the creation of a new Conference role: Vice President for Church Ministries with an emphasis on revitalization. In its April meeting, the executive committee and joint nominating committee elected Elder Dave Schwinghammer, current executive secretary/vice president for administration, to lead in this important role.
 
A New Vice President
President Dan Linrud emphasizes that the Oregon Conference headquarters, “exists to serve local churches and schools, enabling and empowering their success in accomplishing our common mission. Our Conference departments are like beautiful streams running down a hillside,” explained Linrud. “Each stream brings life and vitality as it makes its path downhill. But what if the streams could converge into a mighty river that could cut through the earth and even move obstacles?” The vision is that this kind of lasting, transformational impact can be aided in local congregations with additional support from this VP role to help coordinate and focus the delivery of Conference ministry resources for maximum impact at the local level.
 
Strategic Efficiency for Missional Effectiveness
For over three years, the Conference administrative team has focused on strategic efficiency for missional effectiveness, applying resources in the best ways to maximize impact. The creation of this VP position will be impactful and has been implemented as a budget-neutral action by reallocating a pre-existing unused department budget to focus on the important work of church revitalization.
 
“It starts with listening,” Elder Dave Schwinghammer explained. “There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for church revitalization.” Instead, Schwinghammer expects to spend lots of time with pastors, lay leaders and Conference departments collaborating in dreaming, learning, coordinating, and mentoring as they undertake the work of revitalization together.
 
“Elder Dave Schwinghammer is uniquely gifted for this role,” noted President Linrud. “Between his doctorate in spiritual vitality, former Conference leadership in church health, and his personal experience as a pastor in revitalizing struggling churches, Elder Schwinghammer will be a tremendous blessing to our Oregon Conference churches.”
 
Intentional Timing
The timing of this move is intentional. As the Conference bylaws are open on the matter of additional vice presidents, the Executive Committee members gave careful consideration to the best approach to creating this role. “Ultimately, it was determined that taking the action now was the best way to be transparent and accountable going into our constituency session,” explained Elder Linrud. “When the nominating committee meets in August, they will know that leadership in this new position will need to be affirmed and that the executive secretary/VP for administration position will require their recommendation of a new candidate through the regular process.”
 
With constituency session nearing, Elder Schwinghammer will continue to carry the duties of executive secretary/VP for administration through the session to ensure that necessary preparations are in place for the quinquennial constituency meeting.
 
Confidence in the Future
“I have great confidence in God’s continued faithfulness and leadership in the future of the Oregon Conference,” said Elder Linrud. “Jesus’ greatest joy is for his bride, the Church, to be beautiful with radiant vitality. It is our constant purpose to seek to strategically pursue this in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. I believe this role of Vice President for Church Ministry will help the churches of our Conference accomplish this for God’s glory. This is crucial as we prepare for Jesus to return.”    

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