FYI — Dr. Robert Roegner, the executive director of the LCMS Board for Mission Services, announced his retirement yesterday, effective Sunday. This is the board that has overseen world outreach under Ablaze!(tm) as well as actual missionary efforts — which have not fared well, as we’ve discussed earlier.
President Kieschnick issued the following memo in response to the resignation.
To: Leaders of The Lutheran Churchâ€”Missouri Synod
From: Gerald B. Kieschnick
Subject: Dr. Robert Roegner’s Resignation
Date: November 10, 2008
Dear Friends in Christ:
Grace and peace be with you, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
By now many but possibly not all of you have received this morning’s notice (included in the attachments above) from Dr. Robert Roegner announcing his resignation as Executive Director of the LCMS Board for Mission Services, effective Sunday, November 16, 2008. While the statement from Bob announcing his decision is clear and self explanatory, I believe it is appropriate for me to add a few words regarding his service to the Synod and LCMS World Mission through this memo. Several points are pertinent:
- When Bob was called as LCMS World Mission Executive Director, approximately 6 ½ years ago, World Mission was in a transition period with respect to a number of issues/items:
- World Mission’s budget was in the process of significant increase from the mid-to-late 1990s to the early-to-mid 2000s, almost doubling during that period of time.
- World Mission was transitioning from a form of operational governance best described as an Executive Leadership organization with limited sharing of authority (mostly retained in St. Louis) to a form of operational governance best described as Team-based Leadership with shared authority and accountability transferred from St. Louis to regional directors in the world mission field and associate directors in St. Louis.
- World Mission was transitioning from an operational concept of sending missionaries to plant churches and serve them through Word and Sacrament ministry to the sending of missionaries who would plant churches and simultaneously identify, train, and supervise local and indigenous pastors who would themselves assume responsibility for Word and Sacrament ministry, freeing the missionaries to replicate the process in other mission field locations.
- This led to the development and implementation of a strategic plan for mission outreachâ€”both in North America and with our Partner churches around the worldâ€”that our Synod has identified and in convention has affirmed as the Ablaze! movement, supported by its Fan Into Flame $100 million fundraising effort, also initiated and affirmed by Synod in convention.
- During this period of time World Mission also faced a significant change in how operational revenue was generated to fund the mission from a paradigm where 80% of the funds raised came through Sunday morning offerings from congregations through the 35 districts of the Synod, with only 20% raised through direct/designated gifts to World Mission, to a new paradigm today where approximately 90% of the funds are raised through direct/designated gifts with only approximately 10% coming through Sunday morning offerings from congregations through the districts of the Synod.
- Also during this period of time World Mission was faced with a dramatic revenue shortfall requiring a significant number of missionaries to be brought home from the mission field. It is my understanding that today World Mission has been able to recover that lost number of missionaries in the mission field.
- Bob Roegner filled the role of Executive Director of LCMS World Mission during this time of both growth and challenge. He was instrumental in the development and implementation of the outreach strategy and worldwide movement our Synod and others around the world have come to know as Ablaze!
Suffice it to say that our Synod will miss Bob Roegner’s presence and leadership of LCMS World Mission. His ministry will be remembered in many ways, especially his deep concern for and commitment to reach with the Gospel those who are lost, without Christ, as a response to and motivated by God’s love in Christ. I know you join me in praying for our Lord’s leading, guiding, and directing in Bob’s future life and ministry and in expressing to Bob and his dear wife Kristi our sincere love, appreciation, and affection for their faithful service among us.
Blessings in Christ to all of you!