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On Saturday, 30 January 2015, the Association of Lutheran Mission Agencies (ALMA) held a mini-conference on “Facing New Realities: Lutheran Mission in the 21st Century.” ALMA began in 1996 with 10 mission societies; today, ALMA consists of approximately 65 mission societies. The mini-conference began around 1 PM and finished at 4 PM. Dr. Douglas Rutt from Lutheran Hour Ministries served as the moderator. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations presented on behalf of OIM. Rev. Jeffrey Thormodson presented on behalf of the Lutheran Society for Missiology.

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Dr. Collver presented on OIM’s strategic plan and how that engages mission in the 21st century. He also discussed the recent CCM opinion regarding the Board for International Mission (BIM) role as the only sending agency of the Synod. Collver indicated to ALMA that the CCM opinion had little effect on mission societies in general. If the mission society wished to send a rostered worker of the Synod they would need to work with the BIM. He also indicated that BIM / OIM would like to work with the mission societies to increase each other’s capacity and to promote the Gospel of Jesus to the world.

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Rev. Jeffry Thormodson presented on how mission societies bring innovation and new ideas to the mission field and are able to respond to the changing landscape more quickly than larger organizations. Mission societies also are able to work with groups too small or isolated for larger groups such as the Synod. He indicated how the Internet and social media have changed the world and how we do mission.

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Rev. Berhard Seter, Chairman of the BIM, and Butch Almstedt, Vice-Chairman of the BIM, attended the meeting to discuss how the BIM would implement polices based upon the CCM opinion that the BIM is the sole sending agency of the Synod so that mission societies could work collaboratively with BIM / OIM. The OIM’s Regional Directors attended and participated in the Q & A. Over all this was a very good opportunity for the mission societies and OIM to get tougher to discuss how to cooperate.