Like most of the other conservatives, I am frustrated with the lack of progress of the Koinonia project but on the eve of a new calendar year, upon further reflection, I think it deserves some more time.
There is more going on than the average person may percieve. It was never presented to be a quick fix. If it is to accomplish anything it is going to take a long time. Also, upon further reflection, it is not going to be as easy as one may have first thought.
There are now in place at least three pilot district Koinonia programs. There is one in my own district (Northern Illinois) and it appears that there is a good mix of pastors in the group. I have also heard of some good folks involved in the other districts.
One of the major reasons the Koinonia Project was delayed is that President Harrison and his team were faced with a huge challenge that no administration has ever faced. They were tasked by the convention with implementing the synod reorganization. This was a massive task and it is still not complete. From my vantage point, Harrison is working slowly, methodically and in good order, to implement the changes and in so doing, the nature of synod is changing like the proverbial frog in the ketttle. Out with the old and in with the new.
The people that Harrison is putting in place have a totally different view of church, doctrine and practice than what we had for the previous nine years. Their impact on the synod is going to be almost imperceptible at times but it will be positive and confessional. Harrison is to be commended for following the wisdom that all of us pastors and laity ought to strive for and that is “teach first then make changes.”
I am not all that interested in synod politics but BJS has given me insights that the average pastor may not have (people send me info all the time) and I am convinced that there is a slow, good-order process in place that is pleasing to our Lord. That same Lord may on occasion give the LCMS tests that need to be passed in the meantime, that are outside a slow and methodical process, but for the most part, slow and steady is the godly way.
When candidate Harrison first rolled out the Koinonia project it made a great splash and with good reason. It was refreshing to see someone putting doctrine and practice at the heart of synodical issues. Those questions are still at the heart and the center of the Harrison adminsitration. Upon further reflection, when I go back and read the document “It’s Time,” it is clear that it was never presented as a program but as an organic process. It was also presented with a long-range horizon in mind.
Even though I am encouraging patience on the process, I am concerned that it is now in the hands of the DP’s. That almost guarantees that it will become programmatic and die a slow, useless, meaningless bureaucratic death. (DP’s please see this as a challenge to do something rather than an excuse to do your usual passive-aggressive whining about the evils of the internet.) Even so, there is a dialogue going on that has not gone on formally for years. The right questions are being asked. I am not sure if we are going to get the right answers, but at least the effort is being made. Without that effort, nothing happens.
So everyone, pray for the Koinonia project, look for your own little Koinonia moments (I need to ressurect the Mini-Koinonia project I launched here on BJS a few months ago) and stay faithful.
Patience does not mean closing the critical eye. Gadflies on the behind of the LCMS like BJS and the ACELC are doing a good thing. Pointing out error is a part of the Koinonia process.
God bless the LCMS. More importantly, God bless His Church as we make our way to glory by faith.