This summer finds The Lutheran and others in Strategic Communications of the churchwide organization working to determine how we might better reach ELCA members with news and information that informs faith and unites us as a church. What we’re planning is a robust storytelling website that combines articles from the magazine with those of the blogging microsite Living Lutheran, plus full access to ELCA news releases and material on the denomination’s main site. It would be coupled with a regularly distributed e-news digest highlighting the best stories we have to offer.

For those wanting or needing print, the paper version of The Lutheran will continue. In this iteration the magazine would include much of its current content while incorporating material from Living Lutheran. It would also mix in stories and information members tell us they want added or increased, and conversely reduced or eliminated, in both the magazine and online.

We’re surveying readers and leaders, as well as those not reached by our current communications efforts. This sampling will be done in a way that the results will be statistically accurate and reliable.

And you, dear reader, can help. Consider the following questions, a broad but helpful mix drafted by Forrest Meyer, director for Strategic Communications. Share your thoughts at or via mail to the magazine at the address to the right of this column.

  • How do you currently receive communication from the ELCA?
  • How relevant do you find the content in The Lutheran, Living Lutheran and What should be added, dropped?
  • Do you feel well-informed about the ELCA through our current content? 
  • Does the content we offer move you to act in some way, such as volunteer, advocate, share or give? If so, why; if not, why not?
  • Do you feel connected to the ELCA and related organizations? Do you have a sense of belonging to a wider church beyond your congregation?
  • What are your preferences in receiving and consuming our content? This relates to frequency (daily, weekly, monthly) and format (electronic, print).
  • Finally, should we consider a new name/brand for this revamped website, as well as the magazine, in an effort to reach more members, or use one of the existing monikers, Living Lutheran or The Lutheran

We should be careful what we ask for, yet we need to hear from you. After 27 years as the ELCA, our communications efforts are always being made new.

Daniel J. Lehmann

I am a lifelong Lutheran with decades of experience in secular journalism. Like many of you, I’m interested in the theological and historical roots of our faith and how that plays out in the contemporary world. I want to know what our church members and leaders are thinking, what other Lutherans are doing, how religion in general influences and is impacted by culture.
My favorite reading materials are newspapers, specialty magazines and non-fiction. I work hard, but never skip vacations in order to regroup.
I’ve been blessed with a spouse of 40 years, two children and seven grandchildren. My church is a focal point of life in Chicago. I answer my own phone, and respond to e-mail and letters (but usually not spleen-venting tirades).
And I'm a fan of the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls, as well as the Art Institute, Field Museum, the lakefront and Millennium Park. Chicago's my kind of town.

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