As I come to the end of my first year working for Lutheran Services in America I continue to discover new and wonderful ways that LSA members are making a difference in the communities they serve. The uniqueness of each organization combined with a shared Lutheran heritage makes the LSA network both diverse and united in a common mission. I discovered the same dynamic holds true for the more than 100 organizations that belong to Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (LOM) when I attended their annual conference in early November. Lutheran Outdoor Ministries is a professional organization for camp and retreat center leaders. Camps and retreat centers encourage spiritual growth for the whole person through intentional Christian community.
What became obvious during my many discussions at the LOM conference with executives from Lutheran camp and retreat centers was the many other similarities between our organizations and the untapped opportunities we need to explore further.
For those who aren’t familiar with outdoor ministries they are similar to LSA member organizations in the fact that they were originally founded by area Lutheran congregations and synods to fill a need within the community. The organizations have grown and diversified over time to provide a variety of programs to people of all ages and faiths just like LSA members. Most importantly, outdoor ministries face many of the same challenges as LSA members do such as finding new financial resources, engaging local congregations, hiring and maintaining staff, managing boards, marketing, and fulfilling their mission.
These similarities and the opportunities they represent are the reason LSA and LOM have begun a concerted effort to work more closely together on a national level and help our members identify new ways for collaboration at the local level. In addition to recently attending the LOM conference in North Carolina, LSA is also encouraging more members of the LOM group to join LSA as Associate Members. We believe the opportunity for LSA and LOM members to share ideas and experiences combined with the shared focus on faith and mission will add significant value to both our networks.
On local level LSA and LOM are working to encourage member organizations to partner in order to enhance their existing programs. Some outdoor ministries are already working with Lutheran social ministries to offer new and innovative programs such as bible camps for seniors and foster children, however there are still many organizations that are not aware of the opportunities. In addition to the increased benefits for those being served, these collaborations can lead to more programming, increased fundraising, and improved efficiencies for members of both organizations.
Join a Webinar to Learn More
If you would like to learn more about Lutheran outdoor ministries and hear how others have already partnered, we invite you to register for our free webinar, Partnerships for the Greater Good: Collaboration between LOM and LSA Members on December 10 at 1 p.m. Eastern. LSA and LOM members are invited to attend to learn about current collaborations and share ideas for the future. You can register here https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3368018891345781761
Whether you are able to attend the webinar or not we hope your organization will seek out your local Lutheran outdoor ministry to discuss opportunities for collaboration that can benefit everyone. As we approach a new year, here’s to exploring new opportunities both inside and outside the LSA network!