The Augustana Ministerium by Pr. Eric Stefanski

In mid-September, I wrote a note in response to a comment that had been made regarding an article on this site (about the wacky ‘Jefferson Hills Church’, where Missouri District mission offerings are being wasted on anti-Lutheran theology and practice). The commenter to whom I was responding had indicated that his congregation was directing its offerings away from LCMS, Inc., having seen the gross mismanagement of their previous offerings (including the directing of funds toward projects that were theologically unacceptable, while seeking to eliminate what was the corporate synod’s most excellent venue for both outreach and edification, Issues, Etc.). I made a suggestion as to a fiscally responsible organization that is focused on the cross of Christ, a group whose purpose is to support the mission Christ gave to His Church in John 20:21–23—forgiving sins—by promoting “Lutheran pastors and a distinctively Lutheran Ministry of Word and Sacrament to Lutheran congregations.” Dr. Hein was prepared to build off of that comment for an article in this space, but final preparations for teaching in Sierra Leone took precedence and he asked that I would continue in his place by fleshing out my earlier suggestion.

I had written:

If I might interject a suggestion for offerings at this point: I know of a pastor whose salary will disappear as of 10/1/08. (Indeed, I know of another, but he found a job that will take care of his family’s needs, while this pastor has not yet been able to do so.) I know of others in similar situations. I know of one and only one organization who is trying to do anything to help such men: The Augustana Ministerium.

If any of you—or your congregations—are looking for a way to help pastors and to help congregations keep their faithful pastors if they aren’t able to pay them in full, I urge you to visit the Ministerium’s website at http://AugustanaMinisterium.org, where you can find information about this group and what it does to keep pastors and their families alive and, if possible, serving parishes. Check out the ‘Confraternity’ tab on their menu, too, and download their bimonthly newsletter for an accounting of what was accomplished through this group in the past four years (including their teaming up with Lutheran Church Charities of Addison, Illinois in LCC’s fantastic work after Hurricane Katrina).

If The Augustana Ministerium received even a tenth of what is being wasted by LCMS, Inc., the assistance provided would be too amazing to recount (i.e., the need is that huge, beyond most folks’ reckoning).

Well, that’s three ‘if’s in a row…will the reality be that this pastor of more than a decade will lose all he owns while he tries to find a low-paying job just to keep food on the table, and that he goes on CRM status, never to be in a parish again, or will he receive whatever aid he needs, perhaps to start a new mission somewhere (maybe across the street from Jefferson Hills…) and to continue in service to the Church as God has prepared him to render?

I concluded by noting that I am a non-LCMS pastor but was asking for assistance to a rostered LCMS pastor and that The Augustana Ministerium (TAM, for short) wished to help any Confessional Lutheran pastor…and that now is, therefore, the time for those disgusted with Synod, Inc. [whether Missouri, WELS, or whatever] to ‘step up’ and put local pastors (even someone else’s, but especially your own) above bureaucracies, directing funding through agencies that actually put offerings to work where you think they’re going when you give them. That’s how TAM operates: we don’t just grumble and grouse about the problems, we connect gifts with needs, so that families can live and the work of Christ’s Ministry can be done. (And, as said above, if we had more gifts, we could use them all, as there is no lack of needs.)

We are now at the eve of the above-mentioned pastor’s going without pay…and the eve of The Augustana Ministerium sending him a check to help with his family’s expenses. This past weekend, another check went out to help another pastor with medical bills. There is no telling what other needs may present themselves before October is through. What will TAM do? If we have the resources, we will do what we always do: provide for pastors physically and emotionally, connecting them, when possible, with other pastors near them who can provide ongoing pastoral counsel and aid. As an example of how that has played out so far this year:

Through 08/31/08, we received $ 18,015.39 for mission and personal assistance.

  • In January, a pastor forced out of his parish without severance received $ 2,000.00 and began a mission congregation, needing no further support to this point.
  • In January, a pastor received $1,000.00 to assist his family with uncovered medical expenses.
  • In February, a designated gift of $1,000.00 was received to assist a pastor with vehicular expenses.
  • In April, a pastor received $1,000.00 to allow him to catch up on bills that were overwhelming him in his low-salaried secular job after having been illegitimately forced out of his parish.
  • In April a designated gift of $750.00 was received to assist a pastor with his wife’s medical expenses.
  • In May, a CRM pastor received $850.00 to keep him from being evicted.
  • In May, a designated gift of $1,000.00 was received to assist a pastor with living expenses after having been forced from his parish.
  • In May, a grant of $2,000 was given to assist a mission pastor and his family of four with basic living expenses while he relaunched his employment search following the unexpected withdrawal of a job offer.
  • In July, an additional $1,000 was provided to a pastor and his family who continued to suffer through a severe financial crisis, due in large measure to legal bills incurred while battling an unjust effort to remove him from serving faithfully the faithful people of God in his parish.

Total personal assistance through 08/31/08: $10,600 (I won’t have the financial statement for September for a few more days, but suffice it to say that at least a couple thousand more dollars in aid were disbursed.)

At the same time, we have worked to keep pastors in parishes where they could not afford to stay without our assistance:

  • A pastor in California has received mission assistance in the amount of $100 per month, for a total of $800.
  • A pastor in Michigan has received mission assistance in the amount of $250 per month, for a total of $2,000.
  • A pastor serving a three-point mission in Wisconsin and Michigan has received mission assistance in the amount of $300 per month, for a total of $2,400.
  • A pastor serving a mission in Minnesota has received mission assistance in the amount of $500 per month, for a total of $4,000.
  • A pastor in Nebraska, serving in a parish and on a reservation, has received mission assistance in the amount of $300 per month since March, for a total of $1,800.

Total Mission expenditures through 08/31/08: $11,000 (plus the above-mentioned $4,000 of personal aid that allowed pastors to continue to serve or to establish new mission work)

On the other hand, TAM operates very frugally. Outside of the $1,556.24 (all raised from members’ dues, not at all from gifts for personal and mission aid) that paid for this year’s Theological Conference, our total administrative costs have amounted to $102.50 (due, in part, to the fact that Administrative Council members often do not seek reimbursement for their expenses).

I hope that no one will take this as TAM ‘patting itself on the back’; I made a remark about fiscal responsibility vs. irresponsibility, and I present you with these figures only so that you will know that the data backs up such claims. If anything, TAM has been too quiet as it goes about its work, preferring to just ‘get the job done’…but we lay these facts and growing needs before you so that we might, indeed, ‘get the job done’ on the larger scale that is necessary in this ‘post-synodical’ era, where struggling pastors and congregations must look beyond an ecclesiastical structure that offers them little to no support in such practical matters. Again, I encourage you to visit our website—http://AugustanaMinisterium.org—to learn more about us, to click on the ‘Donate’ button to support this necessary work, and to join The Augustana Confraternity so that you can be sure of receiving up-to-date information about our needs and activities. If you have any questions for me or the other officers of TAM, you will also find a contact form there so that your question is directed to the right man or men.

Rev. Eric J. Stefanski
Dean of Communications, The Augustana Ministerium

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

The Augustana Ministerium by Pr. Eric Stefanski — 35 Comments

  1. It might be helpful to your readers to know that the LC-MS has a policy that pastors who declare bankruptcy, (my understanding is for any reason) will be removed from the roster of the Synod. While fiscal irresponsibility is wrong, some pastors are in serious financial situations through no fault of their own, but because their congregations cannot or will not pay them adequate salaries.

    Also, I’d like to know if congregations can join the Augustana Confraternity or is it just lay folk?

  2. Though I am Catholic, I tell you sincerely that it makes me feel ill to see Confessional Lutheran pastors so poorly treated. I pray that TAM can find all the funding it needs to help the workers of the Lord’s field.

  3. Also, I’d like to know if congregations can join the Augustana Confraternity or is it just lay folk?

    As TAM scrupulously avoids even looking like a ‘synod’, or some sort of ‘church within a church’, only individuals can join the Confraternity…but if a whole congregation of individuals wanted to join as individuals …well, I’m not exactly sure what we might do in that case…a discounted membership rate, maybe…I don’t know, but if a congregation somewhere is wanting to join in that fashion, if they’d bring it to the Administrative Council we’d be delighted to take it under advisement. (Some ’problems’ we’d really like to have!)

    EJG

  4. Returning to Elnathan’s comment #1 and my response of comment #3, it has been suggested to me that perhaps what Elnathan was really wanting to know was whether whole congregations can donate to The Augustana Ministerium, such as having TAM receive a portion of their budgeted mission offerings, etc. If so, the answer is resoundingly yes!

    Indeed, donations will be (have been) accepted from individuals who don’t wish to become Confraternity members, as well. Really, the biggest reason for membership is to make sure that the conference, newsletter, and so on are paid for without using aid funds—and to give TAM points of contact to make sure the message continues to go out locally. We would love to have so many TAM and TAC members that our small administrative and conference budget were so adequately covered that we could also move a substantial portion of membership dues over into the aid fund, as well.

    In fact (speaking for myself and with no authorization from TAM’s Administrative Council), I would rather see the few people in a congregation who are likely to come to our conference join TAC, convince their pastor and congregation that our publication should be in everyone’s hands and that they, as a congregation, should give to TAM, and, on that basis, buy their congregation a color laser printer (not that expensive anymore) and locally produce enough copies of the newsletter so that everyone can have one. When folks look at our ‘organizational structure’, they are often struck by the fact that we have a ‘bursar’ and not a ‘treasurer’ and think that we are just retaining archaic language, etc.; the fact is, we went with ‘bursar’ specifically because we see his main task as disbursement of funds, not collection of them—especially not administratively. Our goal is not membership, nor financing a bureaucracy, but helping pastors and, thereby, serving congregations.

    I hope the above is helpful.

    EJG

  5. I would rather that my TAC membership fee go to the aid fund, not to fund the meetings (that I won’t be attending) or newsletter printing/postage (that I can download).

  6. TAM funds don’t go to fund meetings. Those are paid by the dues of members. They go to assistance only.

    Another commenter wrote:
    “It might be helpful to your readers to know that the LC-MS has a policy that pastors who declare bankruptcy, (my understanding is for any reason) will be removed from the roster of the Synod.”

    Actually this is not a “synod” policy but one that the Council of Presidents of the LCMS made up on their own – IOW, by bull in the china shop fiat. Imagine this policy coming to us by all those district presidents that make six figure salaries and allow parishes to severely underpay many pastors, allow parsonages to fall into disrepair, and then complain if congregational “offerings” to district aren’t up to where they used to be, etc. Could we have a policy to remove a DP for greed to be fair and balanced? A congregation’s first financial responsibility is to pay the pastor an adequate salary and take care of him and his family in general. (Look at the discussion on spiritual fathers in the 4th commandment in the Large Catechism.)

    Also, some of you might want to read this essay in a book published by Logia/the Luther Academy (http://www.logia.org)

    Martin Noland. “District Presidents and Their Council: Biblical and Confessional Limitations,” in Church Polity and Politics: Papers presented at the Congress on the Lutheran Confessions. Edited by John R. Fehrmann & Daniel Preus. (Crestwood, MO: The Luther Academy, 1997) p.170

  7. I would rather that my TAC membership fee go to the aid fund, not to fund the meetings (that I won’t be attending) or newsletter printing/postage (that I can download).

    To a great extent, I agree with you. What you are paying for, though, as a non-attender of the theological conference and as one who doesn’t need the printed matter, is to assist those who aren’t as ‘connected’ as you and I are, those who need to hear about what TAM/TAC is doing but aren’t as likely to visit a website as they are to deal with stuff in print, and those pastors who are completely unable to pay dues.

    In short, the conferences are necessary not only for the enrichment of the pastors and laity who can attend, but for visibility (and, when the sound equipment works, those who listen to the audio later) and for the sake of addressing topics that no one else is addressing. TAM confronted Eastern Orthodoxy head on, analyzing it as no one else is doing, treating it as fairly as possible without conceding to it. TAM has been the first group to explore the ‘post-synodical’ reality of contemporary Lutheranism in a unified (and unifying) way; indeed, our founding was the result of some of us discussing and living within that reality since the mid-90s.

    That said, this will be the first year that TAM has had anything approaching a ‘re-designatable’ surplus in its administrative account, and I think that 2009 will see us (oh, what’s the proper bureaucratic word? ‘re-purposing’?) dues to the mission/aid account. The more members we have in TAM and TAC, the lower the percentage of membership dues we will need to use for such publicity-related publications and events, freeing us to add some of those dues back to the aid fund.

    (BTW: Our Bursar will probably be ready to clobber me after reading this far, because I’ve been using terms that ‘make sense’ for other organizations, instead of TAM’s terms. For TAM, our ‘General Fund’ is the aid fund, whereas the administrative stuff that one normally finds in a ‘General Fund’ is our separate, smaller, ‘Administrative Fund’. Maybe it looks like more to me than it is, but I think this idea that our mission and aid offerings are our ‘General Fund’, kept totally separate from the administrative account, shows where our priorities lie…and, again, I think we will be able to even further establish that by the transferral of administrative funds to the General (aid/mission) account (which I am hoping can happen shortly before the 2009 conference.)

    At any rate, I will make sure that your comment is heard by the Administrative Council, and I believe that all will work to see that as much of possible of your dues go to that end (as well as, of course 100% or all non-dues receipts).

    EJG

  8. Okay, then I would rather that my TAC dues go to the aid fund, not to fund the theological conferences(that I won’t be attending) or newsletter printing/postage (that I can download).

  9. I miswrote:

    freeing us to add some of those dues back to the aid fund.

    The word ‘back’ is incorrect, since none of said money ever was or would have been in the ‘aid fund’.

    That’s how unusual TAM is; we take from the administration to feed the mission instead of the other way around!

    EJG

  10. Mr. Schenks, your response #8 appears to be to what the Rt. Rev. Bauer wrote in #6, but I would like a response from you as to whether my #7/10 made sense to you. If not, I will try to do better.

    EJG

  11. I just didn’t understand the wording of the response. TAM funds don’t go to fund meetings. Those are paid by the dues of members. They go to assistance only.

    Those = TAM funds or meetings?
    They = TAM funds or dues?

    I don’t want to fund meetings. If that’s what the membership fee is being used for, I’d rather not be a member and donate directly to the assistance fund.

  12. I don’t want to fund meetings. If that’s what the membership fee is being used for, I’d rather not be a member and donate directly to the assistance fund.

    Not a problem.

    To clarify your note and the Bauer response:

    1. TAM/TAC dues go for ‘administration’—i.e., mailings, newsletter, and one theological conference per year, at which we also have our plenary session.

    2. Some of this ‘administrative’ stuff is necessary for some people (e.g., the newsletter, for a) those without internet access and b) passing around at church, etc.) and some (e.g., the theological conference) is a part of what we do to support pastoral growth and well-being (as well as to have the pastors and laity studying together, etc.)

    3. Because of the ‘necessity’ mentioned in #2, paying for these things will come from ‘somewhere’; we don’t want to use funds that folks intend for aid to fund these things, so we have membership dues.

    4. As stated before, I would like to see us have a large enough membership—and maintain the frugality we have thus far exhibited—so that a decent portion of the dues (especially TAC dues, as opposed to TAM dues) could be re-directed…so that even though they were collected for administrative use, they end up being used for aid purposes…and, seriously, I think that this is a good possibility. (Indeed, I have already forwarded your earlier comments to the Administrative Council, along with a proposal for doing so.)

    At any rate, I have no problem with you donating but not being a dues-paying member. I would ask, however, that you consider printing off copies of the brochure and newsletter (color laser preferred) to circulate among members of your congregation (with your pastor’s and applicable board’s or voters’ assembly’s approval, of course). As I said before, all we really care about is helping struggling pastors and congregations, and don’t really care to get bogged down in ‘old media’ expenses. The theological conference, otoh, is a necessary part of our support and identity…and so far we’ve been able to run it more cheaply than anything similar of which I am aware.

    EJG

  13. What is CRM status?

    Officially, it is the status of “Candidate for the Holy Ministry”—meaning that a pastor is without a congregation, but that he ‘officially’ has done nothing wrong. The problem comes with the ‘unofficial’ stigma attached to men who are CRM.

    Some congregations won’t look at men with a CRM after their name, reckoning that they ‘must’ have done something really wrong.

    On the other hand, when a pastor teaches in line with the Lutheran Confessions and the District President doesn’t, and said pastor has been unjustly removed from a congregation for his teaching, sometimes District Presidents don’t really do much to circulate the CRM pastor’s name; some even refuse to send information to congregations that request it. I know of one pastor in Minnesota—an author and radio show host, an expert in Creation Science—who remained CRM for several years and finally had himself listed as ’emeritus’ (retired), rather than having to fight to stay on the LCMS roster. (Yes, CRM guys not only have the deck stacked against them wrt receiving a Call, they have to argue that they still belong on the synod’s clergy roster in spite of their lack of a Call.)

    CRM was supposed to be a temporary status for pastors who went back to school to earn graduate degrees, etc. If one actually did something wrong, he was to be removed from the roster for cause. Now, though, CRM is a black hole, sucking Confessional pastors in and coating them with a tar of wrongdoing, keeping them in every way possible from escaping back into the parish. For now, the best and only remedy is for congregations to Call these men as assistant pastors—even if they cannot afford to pay them full time—so that this ‘black mark’ is no longer next to their names.

    EJG

  14. Rev. Eric Stefanski:

    Thank you. Us layman don’t know much about how these things work.

    Is there a list of good pastors without calls that one can find somewhere? I didn’t find one. It would be easier to help them get calls if people knew who they were.

  15. Is there a list of good pastors without calls that one can find somewhere? I didn’t find one. It would be easier to help them get calls if people knew who they were.

    If you contact The Augustana Ministerium’s Dean of Pastoral Care, the Rev. Dr. Micheal Strong (or, really, any member of The Augustana Ministerium), he would be happy to help you find some pastors to consider for a Call list.

    We do not publish a list ‘generically’ to the public, but we do seek to help those who are looking for a pastor by helping them find solid Lutheran pastors who might be particularly in a position to serve them.

    BTW: You and every member of an LCMS congregation should learn your rights in the Call process! Some District Presidents and Circuit Counselors have been ‘miscommunicating’ their role in the affairs of the local parish, illegitimately refusing to give information about pastors, making laymen feel as if they aren’t allowed to nominate a man for the pastoral office if they don’t know him personally, and so forth. Indeed, as I type this, one member of The Augustana Ministerium is having his Self Evaluation Tool (SET) withheld by his district president because…he uses a Macintosh computer!

    “What?” someone says. Yes, that’s what it amounts to: the Council of (District) Presidents requires all SET forms to be submitted in a computerized format…but they haven’t updated their Macintosh Version in this millennium, so that anybody running Apple’s system software is unable to use this SET program…and they won’t simply allow this pastor to print off his answers so they can send the printed document to the congregation. No, they insist that they have the computer file so they can print it themselves. This is in one of the LCMS’s ‘conservative’ districts.

    Please learn what your congregation’s rights are by downloading (and printing for your Calling congregation) the document
    Calling a Pastor: The Rights & Privileges of a Congregation
    from The Augustana Ministerium’s website. And, if any District President refuses to give you information on any rostered pastor, tell him that unless he can show that giving you the Pastoral Information Form (PIF) and SET will cause a legal liability for the district, he is obligated to give you that information…or he will be causing a legal liability for the district!

    EJG

  16. EJG wrote: “Indeed, as I type this, one member of The Augustana Ministerium is having his Self Evaluation Tool (SET) withheld by his district president because…he uses a Macintosh computer!

    “What?” someone says. Yes, that’s what it amounts to: the Council of (District) Presidents requires all SET forms to be submitted in a computerized format…but they haven’t updated their Macintosh Version in this millennium, so that anybody running Apple’s system software is unable to use this SET program…and they won’t simply allow this pastor to print off his answers so they can send the printed document to the congregation.”

    Wow! I got off of CRM just in time before I started using Linux exclusively. If the COP won’t update the Mac version of the SET, I can guarantee they don’t even have a Linux version of it! 😉

  17. Thank you, brother Stefanski, for all that you and TAM/TAC are doing for those of us stuck in the purgatory of CRM status. Your support means more to us than you can ever possibly know. It’s really easy to feel like the church has forgotten you when you’re in this situation.

    I have been in CRM status for over 2 years now, and I have had a total of 2 contacts from congregations who might consider me for a call. Both of those contacts came because two friends passed along my name, the District had nothing to do with it.

    There are so many catch 22’s and contradictions in this situation that I find myself in. I must have a copy of my PIF on file with the district, but according to my DP I can’t receive a copy of my own. I need to attend conferences and symposiums to continue my growth as a pastor, but I am unable to afford them or to take the time off of the job that I need to have to support my family. And, of course, there’s always the financial pitfall of earning far less than a full-time pastor, but having the student loans and other debt accrued from Seminary and being on CRM status. Thankfully, the Lord has seen to it that my wife and I are surviving with our little family, but it’s a constant struggle.

    Finally, I think one of the worst things about all of this is the doubt that it puts into your head. Am I really supposed to be a pastor? Is it time to stop holding out for a call? Should I move on to do something else with my life to better provide for my family? What options do I have?

    I’m sorry if it seems like I’m whining, but I find that more often than not, very few people have an understanding of what this is like, especially the laity. Far too many of them have the perception that there is something wrong with us because we are on CRM status, if they even know what we’re out here at all. I hope and pray that people will continue to pass the word that there are many good men out here desperately waiting for a call to serve the Lord by providing Word and Sacrament ministry to His people. Thanks for bearing with me in this post.

  18. Finally, I think one of the worst things about all of this is the doubt that it puts into your head. Am I really supposed to be a pastor? Is it time to stop holding out for a call? Should I move on to do something else with my life to better provide for my family? What options do I have?

    I’m sorry if it seems like I’m whining

    Anyone to whom it seems like whining needs to pop down to the chemist’s and buy himself a callous remover of some sort, imo. With all the rest of the trauma of being displaced and deprived of anticipated income, to have those doubts must be hellish, indeed. (Most good pastors are prone to such doubts without being CRM; that’s why we hang the Call document (“Diploma of Vocation”) on our walls, to remind us that our Lord wants us here…to have to live without that reassurance…the devil must find that a wonderful playground where the mind doesn’t have that consolation to embrace.

    I want you to consider the last of your questions carefully: “What options do I have?” In the LCMS, very, very few. Thus, I suggest that CRM pastors start looking elsewhere…and that they (and all Confessional Lutheran pastors) begin to reckon that serving a parish without holding a secular job or serving a single-point parish are going to become the oddities among us and not the norm that most of us have known throughout our lives. But that may well be a GOOD thing! When we are working with that understanding, we become both more willing and more able to teach the truth purely, because we’re not worried about preserving our ‘cushy’ situation…and we become more willing to do what our predecessors a hundred years ago did instead of what those of fifty years ago did: we get out and drive that extra hundred miles on a Sunday to serve in a second location. More, we look away from institutionalism to the confession of faith with those with whom we are truly aligned doctrinally.

    When you are looking at your options, I encourage you not to limit them needlessly by the thinking of Missourian institutionalism. If Missouri doesn’t seem to want you to do anything because of how you confess, perhaps those who confess the same as you do will see where Christ wants to use you…thought they may see Him as wanting to use you in a bi-vocational (etc.) way that doesn’t fit in with the big church (not even mega, but just big) model.

    (Someone will say, “What, you mean there’s a bunch of independent or ACLC or ELDoNA parishes waiting to Call guys leaving Missouri? Yeah, right!” but that’s not what I said. For a guy with little to no prospects in Missouri, one would think that going where one’s confession leads him and letting the chips fall where they may would be a very freeing thing [whereas perpetual CRM can be very embittering]…and I know that ELDoNA, at least, loves to start orthodox Lutheran mission congregations…and I know that The Augustana Ministerium would rather supplement a guy’s income while he is carrying out the Holy Office than while he is not: we want pastors to stay in/get back into the pulpit. At any rate, I’m just stealing Apple’s old semi-grammatical tagline: Think Different.)

    EJG

  19. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before more and more congregations have to leave fellowship with the LCMS in order to stay confessional. I imagine there could also be a great need for confessional pastors to serve new parishes in locations which already have an LCMS congregation, but need and desire a truly Lutheran Church.

  20. I would rather that my TAC membership fee go to the aid fund, not to fund the meetings (that I won’t be attending) or newsletter printing/postage (that I can download).

    Comment by Timothy C. Schenks — October 1, 2008 @ 9:09 am

    The Administrative Council of The Augustana Ministerium just finished its monthly phone conference a couple of hours ago and is in agreement with what I stated, above, with reference to Mr. Schenks’ comment: we will determine in our phone conference next month what amount/percentage of TAC members’ dues will be re-directed away from administration to the emergency aid and mission aid account, and will establish this as an annual task. A couple of things to note:

    1. This money was collected for administrative needs and was clearly indicated as such up front…but we know that our TAM and TAC members would rather see their money go to direct assistance to pastors, so, as indicated above, unlike synodical bureaucracies that divert mission money to administration, we will be diverting administration money to our actual mission of helping pastors and keeping them serving God’s people.
    2. Our phone meetings are done without any administrative cost.

    Thought y’all might like the update; I will update your further (or Dr. Hein will) next month when we have an actual figure…but I will be so bold as to state in advance that I believe that at least the majority of your dues will be turned away from administration to the actual work of the Ministerium.

    EJG

  21. Another Update:

    In the course of commenting on the original article, I had reported on the Self Evaluation Tool forms as follows:

    “What?” someone says. Yes, that’s what it amounts to: the Council of (District) Presidents requires all SET forms to be submitted in a computerized format…but they haven’t updated their Macintosh Version in this millennium, so that anybody running Apple’s system software is unable to use this SET program…and they won’t simply allow this pastor to print off his answers so they can send the printed document to the congregation.”

    The fact is, a newer version has been released, but the district president of the pastor who related his dilemma to me did not realize this and neither provided him with a copy of it on disk nor a link to the following URI:

    COP Resources on Minnesota South website

    I’m glad to be able to update this information. Unfortunately, no, there still is not a Linux version. 😉

    Seriously, the electronic SET has historically been one of the worst-designed things I have ever used. All that it does could be easily handled in other, less clunky, ways.

    EJG

  22. I would rather that my TAC membership fee go to the aid fund, not to fund the meetings (that I won’t be attending) or newsletter printing/postage (that I can download).

    Comment by Timothy C. Schenks — October 1, 2008 @ 9:09 am

    The Administrative Council of The Augustana Ministerium just finished its monthly phone conference a couple of hours ago and is in agreement with what I stated, above, with reference to Mr. Schenks’ comment: we will determine in our phone conference next month what amount/percentage of TAC member dues will be re-directed away from administration to the emergency aid and mission aid account, and will establish this as an annual task.

    Okay, folks, here is what I have to report: The Augustana Ministerium collected $40.00 as dues from each member of The Augustana Confraternity. This $40 was specifically collected to pay for administrative needs—paying for the mailing of the Confraternity’s newsletter (so that members would have something to show others who might be interested in TAM’s/TAC’s support of pastors and congregations) and funding the theological conference. In return, TAC members had free admission to the Theological Conference and Plenary, the newsletter (promised as a quarterly, but so far a bi-monthly), and various ‘intangibles’.

    As of this afternoon, it was determined that ONLY $5.00 of each member’s dues would be needed for such administrative purposes, so that $35.00 of each member’s dues would be redirected to the mission and emergency aid fund.

    How’s that for guys who don’t know how to function as bureaucrats?!? Instead of, e.g., using the interest from undistributed disaster aid to fund synodical flunkies’ salaries instead of directing it back to the Human Care and World Relief account as decent ethics would demand, the Ministerium’s Administrative Council is saying, “We’ve been able to function on less than 15% of what you’ve given for us to use, so we’re going to put that 85+% where you really wanted it to go, anyway: the direct support of pastors so that they can continue to bring the Gospel to the lambs and sheep of Christ.”

    The Administrative Council wishes to express its thanks to Mr. Schenks and all the other members of the Confraternity for having trusted us to ‘get the most bang for your buck’, and we ask you to pray with us that the Lord would grant it that we may always be so blessed as to operate in this way.

    The Administrative Council also approved our 2009 Spending Guideline today, which calls for $20,000.00 in direct aid to pastors of missions and struggling congregations and $30,000.00 in emergency aid to pastors—double what we were able to give in 2008. We hope that you will consider supporting this effort to take care of God’s servants so that they are able to take care of His flock. Please visit us at our website…and also at our blog, where you can find our latest news and other articles of interest.

    EJG

  23. I believe an Inner City Lutheran Church such as Gospel does not have to close if the Districts of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod would work to clean up this non Lutheran theology and attitude by a handful of people who do not want to promote Lutheranism.
    I would appreciate a reply.

  24. I believe an Inner City Lutheran Church such as Gospel does not have to close if the Districts of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod would work to clean up this non Lutheran theology and attitude by a handful of people who do not want to promote Lutheranism.

  25. @ralph luedtke #26
    Sometimes even churches with good theology can shut down (and the ones with bad theology thrive), but you are right in pointing out a need in the LCMS at District level to clean up non-Lutheran theology (by throwing it back where it came from – hell).

  26. Let us make sure our votes always reflect faithfulness in preaching and practice.God Bless the pastors and their families who will ward off paycheck threats and stand firm with HIM and in HIM

  27. What are the false teachings and practices being tolerated in the LCMS? What or who fights against such things in the LCMS?It’s all about Jesus’ LOVE for us-let us be thankful and thus faithful with joy and love for His truth.

    Christ motivated Faithfulness is not to include cares for money and politics and PC

  28. does the LCMS accept liberation theology and attacks on the Office as well as Close Communion? Is there a movement to phase out the Lutheran hymnbook in some/many churches? The answer is yes! What is being done about this?

  29. is it just me? Archbishop Timothy stands with the Catholic FALSE teachings and practice-while we have the truth on every level and betray it,deny it,reject it for money and politics and power.I hope it problem is just me,but I fear that God’s heart is being broken by way of what is expedient-and will not rock the boat–on every level in the LCMS to some degree.Shame.

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