Crumbling explanations at Synod, Inc., by Mollie

Remember the various explanations developed by Board for Communication Services Executive Director David Strand as to why Issues, Etc. was canceled?

Remember how he scrambled to come up with some numbers after the immediate outcry regarding the situation?

The Board for Communications Services minutes from the August 4 and 5 meeting have two devastating pieces of information.

One is that standard practice in Synod is for the treasurer to be consulted regarding any potential variance in revenue when a Board — or its executive director acting secretly from the board — is considering making a decision with financial consequences.

That wasn’t done.

Now remember that David Strand claims that he canceled Issues, Etc. for financial and programmatic reasons? Well, guess who doesn’t agree with him.

The treasurer. Here’s the revealing line from the minutes:

In T. Kuchta’s view the decision to cancel Issues, Etc. was programmatic rather than financial.

Now if you’re going to claim money concerns caused the move and the money guy doesn’t agree with you. And if you hid your decision from the money guy as well as your board . . . well, I guess no one here is surprised.


Crumbling explanations at Synod, Inc., by Mollie — 23 Comments

  1. Mollie,

    Can you or anyone else provide a commentary on the printed story on the synod’s budget. There are so many twists and turns in that article that it is difficult to make heads or tails of it.

    Speaking of statistics, not surprisingly, the LCMS lost members again. Looks like Ablaze is not working.

    Pastor Rossow

  2. Based on Todd & Jeff’s open lines regarding the cancellation and other things such as minutes of meetings, etc. it has become clear to me that Synod Inc. believes it can say whatever it wants to say, regardless of the truth, and folks will just buy it because it comes from Synod. I feel betrayed by the people in power.

  3. Mollie-I don’t see these minutes on the BCS website yet. Are they publicly available anywhere?

  4. Pastor Rossow:

    Here’s an update on the progress of Ablaze!

    LCMS World Mission Purpose Statement:
    Praying to the Lord of the Harvest, LCMS World Mission, in collaboration with its North American and worldwide partners, will share the Good News of Jesus with 100 million unreached or uncommitted people by the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

    Total World Population: 6,742,000,000 people
    Total LCMS Population: 2,463,747 people
    Ablaze Goal: 100,000,000 people, 1.5 % of total world population, 40.6 times the membership of the LCMS
    Dates: July 10, 2004 to October 31, 2017
    Total Ablaze Days: 4862 days
    People per Day: 20,568 people/day

    Ablaze Days as of 10/9/08: 1553 days
    Ablaze Goal for 10/9/08: 31,941,580 people
    Ablaze Actual for 9/1/08: 9,358,295 people, 29.3 % of the 10/9/08 goal

  5. Rev. Thompson,

    Can you explain what the “people per day” means?

    Pastor Rossow

  6. It will be interesting to see how gimmicks, programs and the theology of glory hold up during the potentially difficult days ahead. How long will people trust a leadership which cannot keep its story straight or His story straight?

    As for me and my house we will put our trust in Christ and His cross, and His Word and Sacraments.

  7. Pay no attention to the statistics that indicate the synod continues to lose members – we’re ABLAZE! Besides, we’ll doctor the figures next year and they will look much better.

    Pay no attention to the statement of the Treasurer of the Synod about Issues being “cut” for “programmatic rather than financial” reasons – we’re ABLAZE! We’ll replace him at the next convention for saying such a truthful thing.

    Pay no attention to those who say synod has stepped outside of its confessional subscription in approving “lay ministers” – we’re ABLAZE! We’ll get the seminaries to approve it in a joint resolution and who could question their “Lutheran-ness?”

    Pay no attention to those who say that Ablaze is a non Lutheran movement which isn’t a movement at all, but a top down directed program of the Lutheran pope – we’re ABLAZE.

    Shucks – the list could go on – but pay no attention to the Elijah’s, Elisha’s and John the Baptizer’s of today – we’re ABLAZE.

    Another great article, Mollie. Many thanks!

  8. Pr Rossow,
    People per day=100,000,000 people goal divided by the number of days (4862…7/10/04-10/31/17) the campaign is to run.

  9. Elnathan,
    Indeed. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, Dorothy.
    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  10. Thanks Califiowan,

    Thanks for your helpfulness. I get that though. I am trying to draw out a description of what exactly counts as a “person per day” becuase I believe that in many cases it is not what Billy Graham would count as “sharing one’s faith.” For instance, in my district the used clothing shop that was opened with Ablaze offerings counts each shopper in the store as a contact????

    Pastor Rossow

  11. Pr. Rossow,
    Sorry, I didn’t intend to imply you were mathematically deficient!
    Seems to me that “people” can mean anything that the man behind the curtain chooses it to mean.
    Attention ABLAZE shoppers………blue light specials?
    Kyrie Eleison

  12. Pr. Rossow:

    As you might suspect, the Synod will probably need to lower the bar on who gets counted if it’s ever going to reach its goal. It does not surprise me that they’re counting customers at a clothing shop. The members of Synod that are participating in the movement are already 70% behind their goal for the period of 2004-2008. How will they ever catch up? At the current rate, the counter will reach 100,000,000 in the year 2049.

  13. Califiowan – Blue light specials, I love it 🙂 and thank you Rev. Thompson for the explanation.

    Pastor Rossow

  14. So what were the programatic reasons? I don’t think I really want to know because the reasons given would be too depressing.

  15. Can we get some budget numbers somewhere?

    I seem to recall reading that LCMS Inc contributes approximately $8,000,000 to the Concordia system and the Seminaries. I also remember reading that “Ablaze!” consultants were recently contracted to the tune of $10,000,000.

    Are either or both of these figures close to reality?

    I’d like some numbers in black and white to take to our church council when we work on our budget for next year.

  16. Ref #16
    Take a good look at this hokum.
    Particularly, almost buried near the end…a statement from Rev. Scott Snow, Director of Outreach for World Mission.
    “We want to change the culture of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.” “One of the ways is to start with the smallest children…..”
    A twist indeed on “bring up a child in the way he should go.”

  17. Jim Claybourn:

    You know, $10,000,000, would go a long way if it was used to actually start a whole bunch of simple, traditional, Lutheran missions in the United States. We don’t really need consultants so much as we need pastors, bibles, hymnals, and catechisms.

  18. Why stop back-dating Ablaze encounters to the 2004-2005 school year? That seems rather arbitrary. If we count back to October, 1517, we are most likely already over the 10,000,000 mark.

    Certainly few would argue that Luther was not Ablaze…and the Pope wanted to set Luther Ablaze, literally! It all fits in such a nice package if you think about it that way!

  19. Rev. Thompson:

    Right on! We could use the $’s to start a simple, traditional, Lutheran confessional mission church right here in Orange County, CA, just minutes from Saddleback Church! Think about the possibilities there!!! We could actually “fan” folks to the Gospel, without pulling the ol’ bait-n-switch with the theology of glory… and “burn” them. It’s been amazing out here to see how many “burned-out” evangelicals are thirsty for the Gospel.

    Blazes! What a mission field is just right there in front of us if we would just be faithful and clear w/ Law & Gospel.

  20. Why are WE counting in the first place? It is God who is the only One who counts or has the right to count because it is God WHo righteously discerns who is worthy of being counted. Is Ablaze! ™ going to award some sort of merit badge or certificate to the organization or group who has turned in the highest count? And so what? While I am at it, why are we not focusing on making Lutherans if that is what we believe is the way? There are Christian evangelists all over the world making all brands of Christians. Do we join the fray and leave the shared message of Christ without leading them to the true faith and practice we believe in?

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