Rev. Norma Malfatti, Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop
The churchwide expression of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is committed to supporting and encouraging the mission of the synodical and congregational expressions of this church. Directors for Evangelical Mission (DEM) are one way that the churchwide expression does this – DEMs are churchwide staff that work in and embrace the synods they are in. Pastor Norma Malfatti serves as the DEM in the Upstate NY Synod.
One of the major roles of a DEM is to convene leadership tables in the synod which oversee four main areas:
- Mission development (or new starts)
- Congregational renewal and redevelopment
- Stewardship and Mission Support
- Missional vision and planning for the synod
In other words, the DEM is a resource for congregations and leaders seeking tools and support for starting a new ministry, revitalizing an existing ministry, and developing and equipping leaders for mission and ministry.
Currently Upstate NY has four regional mission renewal tables (Team East, Team Central, Team West and Team Genesee Finger Lakes) which oversee congregational renewal and new starts along with serving as a resource for congregations in the areas of leadership development and mission planning. The tables also help to provide Mission in Transition (MIT) training and coordinate the congregational vitality assessment.
The synod’s stewardship table is redefining how it relates to congregations. The goal is that it will serve as a resource and provide training in holistic stewardship for year-long and seasonal stewardship foci in congregations. What is stewardship? The table defines it this way: stewardship is the faithful managing of God’s gifts in life with Jesus Christ at the center. How we shop at the grocery store, care for the environment, interact with our families, attend to our daily work, care for the hungry and homeless, spend money and so much more are all a part of stewardship.
You may be asking, “what is a table?” Viewing ministry teams as a table comes from the understanding that the most important conversations that happen in families usually take place at the dinner table. The same holds true for Christian community; the most important conversations we have are around the Lord’s Table where we are fed by God and fellowship tables. Drawing from this understanding of table in our work together we are constantly reminded that we are grounded in God’s word and meal and are tending to the important work of God’s church.
The DEM also works with the synod’s communication strategy team (CST). Communication is a critical part of missional work and Pastor Malfatti helps to shape the synod’s communication through this lens.
At the heart of all of this work is faith formation and growing in confidence in telling the story of our God who became flesh and died on a cross for the sake of the world. As we work together as a synod, learning the story of our faith and telling it to others will help us all be mission minded, stewardship minded and, most importantly, remind us that Jesus is at the heart of all we do.
Contact Rev. Malfatti
Phone: (315) 299-4955 X
Fax: (315) 299-4981