News Releases

Covenant Executive Board Approves Realignment of Denominational Team

CHICAGO, March 23, 2021—On March 17 the Evangelical Covenant Church’s Executive Board approved the Strategic Alignment Team’s proposal for a new organizational model which realigns the denominational team to better serve our local churches and conferences. The recommendation will be presented at the 135th Annual Meeting this June, and delegates will vote on key elements of the reorganization proposal, including the purpose of the denominational team, overall operating philosophy, leadership structure, and a bylaw amendment.

If the proposed model is adopted, the organizational structure of the denominational team will increase missional effectiveness and contribute to future financial sustainability. The reorganization will also allow the denominational team to be more responsive and nimble in discerning and implementing the needs of the Covenant moving forward.

In the proposed structure, the mission and the five mission priorities (develop leaders, love mercy do justice, make and deepen disciples, serve globally, and start and strengthen churches) are the central organizing principle of the denominational team. The proposal is for the denominational team to reorganize to follow a functional model where staff would encompass one collaborative team all working together to fulfill the whole mission of the Evangelical Covenant Church: “To join God in God’s mission to see more disciples among more populations in a more caring and just world.”

Through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, all teams would deliver on all five mission priorities. The Engagement Team would contain Mobilize and Connect personnel who would engage around items such as credentialing, pastoral care, leadership development, relief and development, events, curriculum, marketing/communications, technology, and so forth. The Mission Infrastructure Team with Fund and Organize personnel would include finance, accounting, governance, and operations functions. All teams would contribute to and advance all five mission priorities in a more streamlined system. This would enhance the ability to provide better customer service to constituents, one of the key concerns identified through denominational listening efforts.

The new proposed structure becomes less top-heavy and more financially sustainable, moving from the current model of five elected and five appointed executives to two elected and two appointed vice presidents. Two elected vice presidents would oversee the Mobilize and Connect teams, and two appointed vice presidents would oversee the Fund and Organize teams. In addition, the current role of executive minister of Ordered Ministry would be elected and retained as part of the Mobilize personnel.

“Ultimately, denominations exist to serve their churches,” said Jon Bonkoski, chair of the Covenant Executive Board. “And that is why the denominational team is here—to serve the Evangelical Covenant Church as a whole and do what we can to help the Covenant thrive. The realignment of the denominational team will greatly help us increase our ability to serve the denomination more effectively and efficiently in furthering God’s Kingdom.”

The Strategic Alignment Team (SAT) was created as a discernment body. The SAT listened to the wider Covenant, assessed the financial stability and health of the denominational team, collected information and analyzed opportunities to determine and recommend how the denominational team can better serve the needs of the entire Covenant church body. The proposal resulted from a seven-month process and strongly aligns with the needs identified through the listening efforts with conferences, ethnic associations, boards, and members of the denominational team, as well as the Ministerium, denominational staff, and many more. Twenty-nine sessions took place with focus groups; more than 700 people engaged between surveys and in-person interviews; and the online survey generated 3,000 individual, hand-typed comments.

The proposed model does not include a significant reduction in staff but rather a reorganization and realignment designed to better position the denominational team. The majority of the denominational team would have the opportunity to shift to new roles or embrace new responsibilities. The proposed model’s structure and reporting patterns would aim to reduce bottlenecks and increase missional clarity for better collaboration.

We are grateful to the Strategic Alignment Team for their service and work. The members of the Strategic Alignment Team are: Dierdra Clark, John Fanous, Greg Jao, Glenn Peterson, Doug Stevens, Gustavo Torres, Diane Leavitt, Claire McClun, Angela Yee, and John Wenrich.

Materials for delegates to the Annual Meeting regarding details of the proposal, including a video and supporting documents, will be available online in mid-April at Gather.CovChurch.org, and delegate Q&A sessions will be held in April and May.

Please pray for the denominational staff and for the upcoming vote at the Annual Meeting this June.