Dear Pastor, Why Don’t We Give More to Synod? by Pastor Rossow

April 24th, 2014 Post by

I recently got an email from an older member who asked me why our commitment to the synod in our annual budget is shrinking. I wrote him the following response. (It is edited a bit for sake of clarity for a larger audience.)

Dear ___________,

I understand your point. I was the last hold out on the staff and board of elders for reducing what goes to district/synod.

It made more sense in the “good ole days” when our giving to synod actually went to the things the synod originally intended them to go toward: missions, educating pastors and teachers, and a very small and efficient bureaucracy.

Today, instead we have a huge, bloated bureaucracy and all the money for the Concordias and for individual missionaries is raised by the institutions and the individual missionaries. Our own member who is doing missionary work overseas on behalf of the synod, has to raise every single dollar of his support. He does not get a penny from the synod. (The synod does provide an executive and administrative umbrella to support him and other missionaries.)

Believe it or not, the money that we designate as district/synod goes to the district. They determine how much actually goes to the synod office. In the estimate of our pastors and elders they are not using what we give them wisely. Our district uses the money we give them to pay for programs that are contrary to how church has been done in the LCMS for its entire history. Our district uses this mission money and mindset to support a “happy clappy” church that was just recently started a few miles from River of Life, Chanahon which is a thriving parish that is on the move and does church much like Bethany and not in the way the district prefers. That is one of the reasons we are passionate about supporting River of Life and have committed $30,000 to them over the next three years to help them move out of the store front and into their new church building.

Getting back to our total giving to our district, the pastors and elders actually calculated what a small, efficient bureaucracy would cost, factored in our larger size, and determined our district commitment along those lines although we are still being a little generous at that.

I could write a lot more on this. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Pastor Rossow

Note: This year we gave $18,500 to district/synod and an additional $17,000 to various mission groups and we support our Lutheran Day School with about $250,000 a year from our offerings.






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  1. Brad
    April 24th, 2014 at 15:31 | #1

    Excellent!

  2. Marc from Cincy
    April 24th, 2014 at 15:46 | #2

    from the happy-clappy church’s website: “…we are here to share the life-changing love of Jesus by Word and Action.”

    I’m guessing “Action” is not synonymous with “Sacrament”, huh? In other words, and others may want to create their own interpretation of this phrase, “we are here to share the life-changing love of Jesus by Word and then we’ll start guilt-tripping the life out of you with works of the Law.”

    Yeah, I’d be hesitant to give $ to that too!

  3. John Marquardt
    April 24th, 2014 at 17:09 | #3

    A question: Why do so many of these ‘modern contemporary’ churches use the word ‘point’ or ‘pointe’ in their name?

    There has to be a reason.

  4. Jim Claybourn
    April 24th, 2014 at 17:27 | #4

    The Indiana District is probably more conservative/traditional than NID, but we still have concerns. Several years ago our congregation made District/Synod a pass through line on our budget. Whatever members designate on their weekly envelopes is what is forwarded to District. Some designate a lot, some designate none and support other mission endeavors.

  5. Abby
    April 24th, 2014 at 18:23 | #5

    I’m very glad you are giving to River of Life instead of to the District. We need to help keep that Pastor Fiene healthy!

  6. Diane
    April 24th, 2014 at 18:47 | #6

    It’s interesting that when you plug in the words Baptism or The Lord’s Supper in the search box of the happy-clappy site, it comes up with nothing. Baptizing and teaching are the ways Jesus wanted disciples to be made.

    In Christ,
    Diane

  7. April 24th, 2014 at 19:02 | #7

    The vision of the “happy-clappy”:

    OUR VISION

    Minooka CrossPoint Lutheran Church will share the life-changing love of Jesus:

    - Through modern, contemporary worship of the Savior, Jesus Christ, who is revealed in the Bible.
    - Through our faithful witness in relational connection with God and with other people.
    - Through our work in making a difference in the community by serving people.
    - Through repeating the process by planting new churches and ministries

    Notice that both word and sacrament are missing?

  8. Randy
    April 25th, 2014 at 09:13 | #8

    Rev. Rossow,

    Excellent article & letter. The same story exists in the Mid-South. The district funnels copious amounts of money to these “Happy-Clappy” churches while the confessional/liturgical/orthodox congregations are often disregarded.

    Down here, one of the “Happy-Clappy LCMS Entertainment Machines” that receives money from the district to support it’s “Church Planting Training Center” held/sponsored/promoted a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) cage fight in their parking lot under the pretense of “Outreach.”

    ……..I suppose a far reaching left jab IS in fact a form of “Outreach.”

  9. Jason
    April 25th, 2014 at 09:16 | #9

    @Randy #8

    I still like that comment I heard once (I think originally at ALPB): “Nothing says Jesus loves you like a punch to the face.”

  10. April 25th, 2014 at 09:24 | #10

    Quote:

    Today, instead we have a huge, bloated bureaucracy and all the money for the Concordias and for individual missionaries is raised by the institutions and the individual missionaries. Our own member who is doing missionary work overseas on behalf of the synod, has to raise every single dollar of his support. He does not get a penny from the synod. (The synod does provide an executive and administrative umbrella to support him and other missionaries.)

    Response:

    That is not exactly the full truth. The National Synod Office employs less people today than in many, many years, having gone through a great restructuring, both mandated by the Synod in Convention in 2010 and the financial realities of things.

    The missionaries do not raise every single dollar of their support. They raise significant sums but do not wait to be sent out until they have every dollar they will need over three years raised. While some lament this, the truth is that with dollars declining to Synod, there would be no missionaries at all without the missionary developing a partnership with the people and the parish.

    The sad reality is that the actual dollars sent by Districts to Synod is not much different today than it was in the 1970s but inflation has reduced the value of those dollars significantly. Synod has to do more with less and they are doing just that — not because it is the best way but because that is the reality of the money coming in.

    I would offer you another choice. It sounds like the District is the issue for you more than Synod. Why not increase the giving by designating half of your total directly to Synod and register your complaint to District about the use of funds for missions opposed to the Confessional identity of Lutheranism by reducing the funds to the District?

    You could do as my parish has done. In addition to the District/Synod giving, we adopted a small faithful LCMS mission in our District and supported them directly (because they were not getting money from the District).

    The problem is this. Once people get used to the conception of Synod as a bloated bureaucracy that spends money like it does not matter, it is nearly impossible to remove that image and the distrust and ill will devolves to all levels. Better, I believe, to place the complaint where it belongs and be a bit more circumspect with the criticism of Synod.

  11. April 25th, 2014 at 09:47 | #11

    Larry,

    I do agree with you that LCMS Inc has shrunk. President Harrison and his team have done a great job of shrinking it and have done a decent job with new hires. It is going to get better and better over time.

    However, the reason is because there is no money. This is not some noble move on anyone’s part.

    Until the synod figures out how to get back to supporting missions and pastoral training with a small a bare bones adminsitrative group, the money is going to keep shrinking.

  12. Martin R. Noland
    April 25th, 2014 at 10:11 | #12

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    I agree with Pastor Peters’ ideas and approach. Sending 50% of synod/mission funds to synod directly and 50% to district would accomplish a lot. I think that the synod in convention should encourage such 50/50 “proportionate giving” from congregations, but you will find a lot of resistance from district offices. Money is a very political thing in the synod.

    Pastors and congregations of the LCMS who are not giving anything to synod/missions/district, or thinking about giving less, should re-read Walther on the subject.

    Walther addresses the pastor’s duty in his Pastoral Theology; in the Lutheran News 1995 edition, that’s pages 270-273, chapter 49.

    Walther addresses the congregation’s duty in his Form of a Christian Congregation; in thhe CPH 1963 edition, that’s pages 178-197, Part Seven, sections 60-66.

    In the latter book, Walther quotes extensively from Scripture, Luther, and the orthodox Lutheran theologians backing up his claims. By the way, section 60 addresses specifically the responsibility to assist fellow Christians in disaster relief.

    As to the issue of districts helping to support “mission starts” that are in direct competition with neighboring congregations, and which have heterodox practices, that is not a money issue–that’s just wrong. Section 54 (pp. 166-170) of Walther’s book “Form of a Christian Congregation” specifically addresses the issue of parish boundaries.

    Although the laymen can go where they please in our current polity, the DISTRICT PRESIDENT—OF ALL PEOPLE–should be seeking to maintain harmonious relationships by encouraging congregations to respect each other’s boundaries and not “sheep steal.”

    District Presidents who plant congregations in order to take members away from existing congregations in their district are themselves “sheep stealers,” not “mission-minded.” Those facts should be publicized, if true, and the district members encouraged to find a new president at their next convention.

    I hope this helps a bit. A blessed Easter season to all of you!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  13. April 25th, 2014 at 10:15 | #13

    Pious thoughts Martin but until the districts and the synods go back to the only legitimate purpose for their existence, to send out missionaries and to train pastors and teachers, as Walther teaches over and over again, people are not going to be moved to give and it wouldn’t hurt to have more evidence that Synod Inc is doing its first and primary duty – to preserve sound teaching.

  14. R.D.
    April 25th, 2014 at 12:44 | #14

    @Martin R. Noland #12
    “Pastors and congregations of the LCMS who are not giving anything to synod/missions/district, or thinking about giving less, should re-read Walther on the subject. ”

    Given the state of things, this is pure legalism.

  15. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 25th, 2014 at 13:45 | #15

    A memory emerges.

    Some years ago in my previous District that the Pastors in one of the circuits had submitted an overture to reduce District contributions to Synod (back in the Kieschnick era) to the District Convention.

    The response from the Floor Committe was a curt resolution stating that the overture should be rejected because our Lord Jesus says “Go and make all the world my disciples”, and because Congregations, Districts and Synod are called into partnership.

    I kid you not.

    The implications were clearly
    1) that Matthew 28:18 clearly and explicitly prohibits District remittances to Synod from ever being modified – at least from ever being reduced.
    2) that the Pastors who submitted the overture must have been either bad theologians, ignorant of the existence of Matthew 28:18, or bad Christians disobedient to it.
    Well, the reasolution may very well have been meant to say that they were both. What do I know?

    At the District Convention the authors of the overture presented a substitute motion, on which there was some debate. In this debate, I remember, some valid observations were brought up that even convinced me that there were legitimate reasons to reject the substitute motion.

    No debate was allowed on the Floor Committee’s rude resolution, however. The matter was immediately called into question – no conversation – and the resolution passed, with these obvious Second and Eighth Commandment violations, and the vicious attack on some of our brothers.

    Ironically, the theme for the the Convention at which the reputation of some of our brothers were so discourteously and unbrotherly attacked, which theme was also referenced in the very attack on their professional and spiritual intergrity, was “Called Into Partnership”.

    I learned a lot that day about just how touchy a topic contributions to District and Synod can be.

    I also learned a lot, which I had already suspected, about my former District …

  16. Rev. Loren Zell
    April 26th, 2014 at 00:40 | #16

    If you can, take the time to look into a recent Lutheran Annual. In the back are a number of statistical reports. They don’t paint a very pretty picture. While congregations continue to send increased offerings to their districts, the districts continue to cut the amounts that they pass on to Synod. Some districts send a shockingly small share to St. Louis. Maybe there needs to be a resolution at a future convention that requires districts to send a minimum percentage of the offerings they receive to the Synod.

    IMHO, the Synod leadership is going to have to come to terms soon with some unfortunate realities. We are a shrinking church body, yet we still have a much larger bureaucracy than we need. We have a college system that is far greater than our needs. And with the popularity of the SMPP program, we soon will need only one seminary. IMHO, these expenses eat up funds that could be used to actually fund some missionaries.

  17. LadyM
    April 26th, 2014 at 05:53 | #17

    @Rev. Loren Zell #16 Does Synod give more than a token of support to the college system, or even the seminaries, for that matter anyway? If the accounting systems were more transparent, I wonder if they would show that most of the funds from Synod for those entities are earmarked by their givers to begin with. Then Synod dips their hands in to support their own salaries before sending what’s left to the (already) designated destinations. Do you sense distrust from this layperson? Well, I would say I represent a majority of us. The days of trusting that contributions are going to be spent as we desire are long past. I imagine acts of mercy and missions will continue to grow at the congregational levels as bureaucracies are met with more and more distrust – both in the district and synodical levels – by laypeople. Once trust is lost, it is nearly impossible to regain. Until Synod corrects the doctrinal errors being taught and practiced, or cuts ties with those who do so, this layperson, and I suspect many others, will keep her monies at the local level.

  18. Randy
    April 26th, 2014 at 09:29 | #18

    @LadyM #17

    LadyM, I agree completely. If the Districts and Synod continue to play games with Doctrine we should also play a game – it’s called “Keep Away.”

    Unfortunately, the reality is that many Districts place Pure Economics above Pure Doctrine. Districts believe that “Happy-Clappy LCMS Entertainment Machines” make far more money than orthodox congregations do. I believe this “risk-reward” theology has taken over the LCMS. Districts believe that the risk of investing in orthodox congregations is too great and will not yield sufficient “fruits/rewards.” Therefore, our broken LCMS bureaucracy will continue to fund heterodox endeavors and prop up/support heterodox teachers throughout the LCMS in order to facilitate their own bottom line.

    As far as the Synod bureaucracy goes, you’d think that if they were serious about getting back to our Confessions that they’d expend more of their resources on simple things like showering their website with positive messages of Pure Doctrine and Scripture, encouraging Word and Sacrament ministry, and show support for the Divine Service and Closed Communion. Of course, these simple website concepts are not the overall answer to the greater problems in the LCMS, but they would be a step in the right direction to demonstrate a desire and determination to correct error.

  19. April 26th, 2014 at 09:29 | #19

    Now now ………. A little kindness for the ” Drive by ” Pew Sitters ” ….. – There is a Latin maxim that addresses the centrality of worship in the life, identity and mission of the Catholic Church; “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”. The phrase in Latin literally means the law of prayer (“the way we worship”) is the law of belief (“what we believe”). It is sometimes expanded to as, “lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi”, further deepening the implications of this truth – how we worship reflects what we believe and determines how we will live.

    Any person who has the least amount of curiousness will soon see how the LCMS has fallen so far from her early days. The very idea of Happy Clappy and open “Pastors” who haven fallen from the most basic understanding of the 1580 BOC are not only tolerated but celebrated! Many Districts are worse! { Can you say ULC ! }

  20. Tim S.
    April 26th, 2014 at 09:53 | #20

    Ours gives a small amount (~3%) to District today, which most of our members assume goes to Synod as well. We really can’t give more because 90% of our budget is staff compensation.

    When we used to have members attending the Seminary, we stopped giving to District and gave it directly to the Seminarians. When we told that to Pres. Mirly at his Fan-into-Flames fundraising visit, he said that was fine.

  21. helen
    April 26th, 2014 at 10:40 | #21

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #11
    Until the synod figures out how to get back to supporting missions and pastoral training with a small a bare bones administrative group, the money is going to keep shrinking.

    A local observation: the district office could probably be reduced by 2/3 without cutting anything useful. Its stated objective is more “happy clappy” missions and NO support for traditional Lutheranism. So, in supporting that, traditional Lutheranism is paying for its coffin.

    Sadly, a church which brags that it ‘doesn’t support district’ often isn’t supporting anything. That’s a bad habit to get into!
    One of the earliest Lutheran Witness issues, after the change in regimes at Synod, had an envelope to give directly to Synod. Better idea than giving to district! But better yet, support a missionary; support the seminary; support an RSO, e.g., Higher Things, Lutheran Heritage Foundation, Augustana Ministerium, the Marquart Fund for Haitian Seminary education.

    It won’t happen, of course, but if we believed, as we once did, that the local parish pastor was the most important person in synod, elected officers would be paid no more than the average wage for a pastor of a congregation. I would include the pastoral income of CRM’s in that calculation; that might inspire attention to discouraging un Scriptural, un Lutheran dismissals!

  22. Gene White
    April 26th, 2014 at 20:24 | #22

    One area not covered above is the bloated staff in some districts. Staff eats up funds at an alarming rate and staff often are more involved in “make work” projects, like endless conferences for this group or that. District convention bureau anyone? Some conferences are justified from time to time, but not when there is duplication or ineffective ones eating up funds needed for real mission work.

  23. Carol Broome
    April 26th, 2014 at 20:57 | #23

    Personally, I will donate directly to the synod as long as things are moving in a good direction. And my view is that we are making some progress, although I wish that the Koinonia Project were progressing more quickly and more transparently.

    However, I have been impressed with the financial transparency that the Synod has demonstrated during the last few years, and with the measured steps toward fiscal responsibility that I have seen in the various reports. Additionally, although I would like it if we funded missionaries and the seminaries more directly, I think that it’s good that at least we are doing considerably less deficit spending than before, and hope that we can proceed in the direction of more direct funding in the future. It was also very good to see that the synodical National Offering, which kicked off last year and is ongoing, has specific categories for giving to the seminaries via the Joint Seminary Fund, and to some extent via the Global Seminary Initiative. Our congregation gave to the Joint Seminary Fund last year in addition to our normal district offering, and we are not particularly wealthy. We can all pitch in financially at least to some extent to help move things into the right direction.

  24. April 27th, 2014 at 07:42 | #24

    Quote:

    Does Synod give more than a token of support to the college system, or even the seminaries, for that matter anyway?

    Response:

    THE SYNOD is congregations and pastors. St. Louis is the national structure through which we cooperate. It does not help when we needlessly confuse things and call the office THE SYNOD when we are that Synod, congregations and pastors.

    They would give much more to Sems and colleges EXCEPT that giving by Districts to Synod has declined so much that there is none left to give. Because good folks in the pews will not give to paper clips and copy paper (needed but hardly glamorous), this is where the dollars go — to the places where donors do not desire to give. Sad but true even on the congregational level.

  25. Al
    April 27th, 2014 at 14:17 | #25

    Here in Iowa our small church supports missionaries directly through a Iowa west group called
    Mission central in mapleton ia. They are all volenteer run no money is used to run there headquarters which is a restored farm site. They have a list of missionaries needing funds, a church or indivial can adopted them.
    They are the largest mission agency in the lcms. What we liked was our money went to our missionary directly not through St. Louis. http://www.missioncentral.us

  26. helen
    April 27th, 2014 at 22:04 | #26

    @Al #25
    What we liked was our money went to our missionary directly not through St. Louis. http://www.missioncentral.us

    Which saves your missionaries, I have been told, about 40%, [UNLESS they have to kick back part of your contributions to synod anyway].

    @Pastor Larry A Peters #24
    They would give much more to Sems and colleges EXCEPT that giving by Districts to Synod has declined so much that there is none left to give.

    Bottleneck identified; avoid bottleneck!

  27. Jonathan
    April 27th, 2014 at 22:42 | #27

    Change a few words and names and that original letter would be describing my district.

  28. Jonathan
    April 27th, 2014 at 22:59 | #28

    I wanted to address this:

    Martin R. Noland :

    Pastors and congregations of the LCMS who are not giving anything to synod/missions/district, or thinking about giving less, should re-read Walther on the subject.
    Walther addresses the pastor’s duty in his Pastoral Theology; in the Lutheran News 1995 edition, that’s pages 270-273, chapter 49.
    Walther addresses the congregation’s duty in his Form of a Christian Congregation; in thhe CPH 1963 edition, that’s pages 178-197, Part Seven, sections 60-66.
    In the latter book, Walther quotes extensively from Scripture, Luther, and the orthodox Lutheran theologians backing up his claims. By the way, section 60 addresses specifically the responsibility to assist fellow Christians in disaster relief.

    What about a congregation who only gives to the district/synod in disaster relief situations? I believe that’s the situation my church is currently in. For context, know that I am in the Minnesota South District, and am still upset about what happened to ULC, who we give money to as a part of our missions budget. After that whole debacle, I’m very comfortable being in a church that doesn’t contribute financially to a bureaucracy that makes those types of decisions.

  29. April 28th, 2014 at 16:01 | #29

    The big disconnect in this whole discussion is the District.

    Income to congregations is WAY UP over the last 40-50 years.

    Income to Districts is WAY UP over the last 40-50 years.

    Income to Synod is WAY DOWN over the last 40-50 years.

    Districts have overall radically increased their staff and commensurate staff costs, radically increased the percentage of the congregational funds they receive that they keep, and radically decreased the percentage of those funds they pass on to our combined work of missions, education, pastoral training, etc…

    This is the elephant in the room.

  30. Jason
    April 28th, 2014 at 16:31 | #30

    @Pastor Larry A Peters #29

    Not in my district. It has been going done for a while. Staff is a bit less, more contract work. And we even lowered our money to synod, because we don’t have that much. So we are broke. And we have 16 vacancies, so I would really like to know where this overabundance of pastors is that some quarters complains about….

  31. April 28th, 2014 at 16:46 | #31

    Jason :
    @Pastor Larry A Peters #29
    Not in my district. It has been going done for a while. Staff is a bit less, more contract work. And we even lowered our money to synod, because we don’t have that much. So we are broke. And we have 16 vacancies, so I would really like to know where this overabundance of pastors is that some quarters complains about….

    Welcome to the LCMS Lost Pastors Site

    In the course of pastoral ministry it may happen that a pastor is without a currrent call to ministry. A congregation may not have been able to support a pastor. A pastor may return to seminary to further his education. A pastor may be returning from a specialized ministry or desire a change of ministry. In some cases there is a failure to bond with a congregation through no fault of his own. Finally there are cases where a pastor needs to reenforce his commitment to ministry and now is ready tocontinue his pastoral career.

    At the time of this writing there are 371 pastors ready for a call varying from a few years to many decades of experience. There are approximately the same number of calling congregations who cannot find a pastor, and about the same number of non-calling congregations who need some pastoral support. The purpose of this page is to provide a means for connecting pastors needing a call to churches needing a pastor.
    http://www.lostpastors.org/SitePages/Home.aspx @Jason #30

  32. Walter Troeger
    April 28th, 2014 at 20:37 | #32

    @Mark Huntemann #31

    It seems that the site was a very good idea, but seems rather idle with no new contributions. Unfortunately, all calling congregations and pastors looking for calls have to go through their District Presidents Office.

  33. helen
    April 28th, 2014 at 20:54 | #33

    @Walter Troeger #32
    Unfortunately, all calling congregations and pastors looking for calls have to go through their District Presidents Office.

    All calling congregations are asked to consult with their districts.
    They DO NOT “have to” call from the district list.

  34. Walter Troeger
    April 28th, 2014 at 21:13 | #34

    @helen #33
    All calling congregations are asked to consult with their districts.
    They DO NOT “have to” call from the district list.

    You should quote from the confessions instead of using caps. Please share your statement with your district president and hear his response.

  35. April 28th, 2014 at 21:47 | #35

    The LCMS Lost Pastors Site just seems empty. Because of the extremely sensitive nature of this Ministry the calling congregation has to register. Those Pastors who participate have to register as well. The only part that is public is the public comment section. all are welcome there. One has to carefully look at all the sections to fully understand the procedures for full participation . The reasons for the closed nature of the site is that the District Presidents and their members are often autocratic and manipulative in the ways they set their “alternate agendas ” Granted not all districts are like this but enough are as shown by the above commenters who have been misled. The Pastors who are on the site are at risk as well from DP’s . this should be another post for another time by one who is more closely involved with the site, maybe BJS could dive into that shark infested water, I feel very sorry for both BJS and the spokesperson involved in that!

    http://www.lostpastors.org/SitePages/Home.aspx

  36. helen
    April 28th, 2014 at 21:55 | #36

    @Walter Troeger #34
    “You should quote from the confessions instead of using caps. Please share your statement with your district president and hear his response.”

    I apologize for the caps. [I suppose I could sift through the BJS archives, where I'm sure we'll find that statement made with more authority, i.e., by a man, but you can do that, too.] ;)

    What would the Confessions have to do with it? This is Texas. :(

    I will tell you a story:
    A congregation which I used to visit because of family connections wanted a “conservative” pastor. Since Texas regards every vacancy as another “praise” opportunity, the district list was not giving them much joy. District said finding a conservative pastor “would take a lot of time” (as it was told to me).
    So, direct contacts were made with confessional pastors in the area, who knew several men at loose ends or about to be soon. One of them accepted the call in four months and was installed a month later.

  37. Walter Troeger
    April 29th, 2014 at 08:39 | #37

    @helen #36

    3 different states, 3 different district presidents. There were 2 churches, in two different districts, that had vacancy pastors and the churches that they were serving wanted to call them as their sole pastor. 2 district presidents said “No.” Their response was, we don’t like churches calling their vacancy pastor. One church listened to the DP and called someone from the famous list they received from district. The other church played hardball and refused to call from the list that the DP provided and the vacancy is still serving with the title from the publications from district as “vacancy pastor.” The third example I have is, there was a young pastor, in good standing, who didn’t have a call so he filled at a church several times in another district. The church was vacant at that time. The church prayed and extended the young pastor a call but soon was informed by the DP that all calls must go through his office and that he cannot take the call and it was not a valid call extended.
    So you see why I say all calls must go through the DP’s office? This should not be the case but it seems to me that this is what is happening. Perhaps we need to do away with the District office all together; just stop supporting them and giving them money period.

  38. Randy
    April 29th, 2014 at 09:31 | #38

    @Walter Troeger #37

    @helen #36

    Walter & Helen,

    You both make good, but unfortunate points. While I don’t have visibility on all Districts or DPs, I will say that my experience leads me to believe that, once assuming the role of District President, many DPs quickly forget that they are in the business of service. Instead, they assume the role of “Theologian-in-Chief” of their Districts.

    I know they are elected, but it appears to me that the small congregations often don’t stay appraised of what’s going on at the District or Synod Office level. That’s obviously unfortunate, and ultimately destructive, in my opinion. In my case, my small congregation, having not dealt with the District for years, believed that the District and DP could do no wrong. With a few exceptions, I believe the Districts and DPs are backed and funded by the “LCMS Entertainment Machines” or the “unwitting” Confessional/Orthodox congregations – it’s a vicious circle and it’s wrong.

  39. April 29th, 2014 at 10:21 | #39

    @Jason #30
    But if you look at the trend, over 40-50 years the income is way up… even though the most recent trend may be down.

  40. helen
    April 30th, 2014 at 19:37 | #40

    @Walter Troeger #37
    Perhaps we need to do away with the District office all together; just stop supporting them and giving them money period

    Given the rest of what you told us, I’d say “the district” has outlived it’s usefulness! There was a time when travel was slow and communications were also, when perhaps a district was a good idea. Neither of those excuses prevail now, when we hear from Synod every morning by e-mail and our leadership can get around the world easier than Walther could get across Missouri.

    Pass the money directly “upstairs” and tell the district personnel to get a job!

    @Randy #38

    Instead, they assume the role of “Theologian-in-Chief” of their Districts.

    I don’t think theology has much to do with it, Randy.
    They get a grasp on the purse. :(

  41. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 30th, 2014 at 22:09 | #41

    helen :
    <
    I don’t think theology has much to do with it, Randy.
    They get a grasp on the purse.

    Through the ages, though, concern for the purse has proven itself to be the mother of much bad theology …

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