(from Pr. Preus) OK, we are all waiting on baited breath for the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod’s Structure and Governance which, reportedly, will be unveiled at the upcoming confab in Phoenix later this month. I will not be attending since I have to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments at that time but I can always fantasize from a distance. And this is what I think will happen. If these turn out to be correct then you can admire my prescience. If I turn out wrong then – well – I’ll say I was wrong.
Reportedly Dean Wenthe and Dale Meyer our two seminary presidents will do their shtick. This was well received at the circuit counselors meeting nine months previous to the last convention when the synod spent the money to bring all 1200 circuit counselors together along with all the district and synodical administrators so that we could hear good things about what the synod was going to do for us under President Kieschnick’s leadership. I sat a table where people were actually unaware that arguably the two most important men in the synod after the president could actually communicate. So their stock went up – kind of – when it was apparent that they could. I fear that this go ’round their little tag-team entertainment before the restructuring proposals will be like Katrina and the Waves opening for Black Sabbath. Some things just don’t belong together.
But I digress, on to the predictions.
I think that we can assume that harebrained ideas like taxing congregations or realigning the districts will not be suggested despite the fact that, reportedly, high ranking if mean spirited administrators want them. Congregations will not sit still for the former and districts will despise the latter. What synod officials may not, but certainly should know is that, unlike 25 years ago, there is far more loyalty to districts these days than to the synod itself. Witness the decreasing amounts of funds that are finding their way to synod coffers despite the anguished plea from the International Center. So anything which transgresses the strength or identity of the districts will not see the light of day.
There are three things which will be suggested. All are unnecessary.
First, there is that chronic and nagging rumor that strong attempts will be made to change the rules of representation so that larger congregations get more representation than smaller. I don’t think this idea has much of a chance of success although it will generate a great deal of heat throughout an already heated church. We are still fundamentally congregational in our polity and our thinking. Little will change that. Even most big churches will see the foolishness of such a power grab. Besides the idea is far too political and most people just want peace. They long for the day when we don’t care about who represents us. That’s they way things were a couple of decades ago when circuits simply chose as their representative someone who hadn’t gone for a while. People will not institutionalize the politics. And except for the most avid supporters of the current president most will see the attempt as too transparently advantageous to him politically.
Second, it will be suggested that the synodical president have an exclusive or at least largely expanded role in choosing the execs of the synod. This suggestion is based on the assumption that the current practice of boards calling these execs is flawed. The only one who seems to think that way is the president who has a strong track record of wanting do things himself even when others are more authorized and more capable.
Third, it will be suggested that we need a streamlined decision making structure so that our leaders can respond quickly to the urgent mission opportunities of the church as she recognizes to the needs of the world. Again, streamlined decision making capability is something the current administration would love. At the same time many of leaders in districts and in the synod are a bit wary of giving quick decision making capacity to an administration whose decisions are not that great. Most wish the current administration would have been slowed, retarded or even brought to a standstill as it has decided to recall, discourage and bring to a stop the missionaries of the church.
So these are my predictions. What are yours?