(The Augustana Ministerium is one of many confessional groups that reports regularly here on the Brothers of John the Steadfast website. For a complete list see our Regular Columns page.)

The Fourth Annual Theological Conference and Plenary Session of The Augustana Ministerium will be held May 11-13, 2009, and hosted again by Trinity Lutheran Church, Kearney, MO and her pastor, the Rev. Drew Newman.

This year’s conference will continue a discussion begun at last year’s TAM conference concerning challenges of a confessional Lutheran ministry in a post-synodical age. A timely theological agenda, open to all—pastors and laity—is being planned that will explore several important aspects of pastoral supervision under the general theme:   Pastoral Supervision in a Post-synodical Age.   Some Lutheran bodies in North America are exercising pastoral supervision that is increasingly being shaped by legal considerations, Church Growth thinking, and disregard for the divinely mandated nature of the Pastoral Office. In response to these distressing and challenging conditions, how can Lutheran pastors who serve faithfully in the Office be supported and supervised?   What would such supervision require and how might it be carried out with attention to matters of polity that can best serve the Gospel? Four aspects of these questions will be slated for discussion as follows:   1.) Ecclesiastical Supervision in a Post-Synodical Age, Pr. James Heiser, facilitator; 2.) The Confessional in a Post-synodical Age, Pr. William Weedon, facilitator; 3.) Church Fellowship in a Post-Synodical Age, Pr. Eric Stefanski, facilitator; and 4.) Various Models of Church Polity and How They May Shape Ecclesiastical Supervision in a Post-synodical Age, Pr. Kent Heimbigner, facilitator.

As has well served TAM theological conferences in the past, these topics will not be covered by formal papers per se. Rather, topics will explored by an open general discussion format with a facilitator moderating each session.   Topic facilitators will also be responsible for researching and preparing pertinent background information on each topic, identifying appropriate issues, questions, and additional reading resources. A listing of these materials will be made available via The Augustana Ministerium website well in advance of the conference for individual preparation for the discussions at the conference. Such advance preparation by attendees is strongly encouraged for informative and beneficial discussion at the conference.   This year’s facilitators are very talented and knowledgeable, promising very stimulating and informative consideration of these important issues.

The scheduled theological portion of the program is open to members and non-members, clergy and laity alike. The Plenary Session of the TAM will be open to all attendees, except during an executive session, should one be called. The cost of the conference will be $30. That cost is included in the paid 2009 dues for Ministerium and Confraternity members.

Dr. Steven A. Hein, Dean of Education

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.



  1. Adino the E,

    “Post-synodical” is a new term. Given that it probably means different things to different people. Here is my best attempt at defining it. (If anyone out there has a better definition please chime in.)

    It basically refers to the failure of denominations to attract and keep people’s respect and adherence. In other words, people are no longer loyal to a denomination and as we are seeing in the LCMS denominations are no longer committed to being their grandfather’s church.

    One could broaden the term and say that we are in a post-institutional world. People are less committed to institutions simply because of loyalty. In our consumer age, people will chase after whatever pleases them and whatever delivers the most bang for their buck.

    This can be a good thing if it means that people will end up being true to basic principles rather than just simply being loyal for loyalty’s sake. But of course it can also be a disastrous thing if people are just following thier selfish whims.

    I think the folks at TAM are trying to keep up with or even stay ahead of this trend and try to figure out what this cultural deal means for a church that wants to remain true to the scriptural mandate to maintain doctrinal purity. How do you do that when in general people will not committ to an institution.

    Hope this helps.

    Pastor Rossow

  2. It basically refers to the failure of denominations to attract and keep people’s respect and adherence. In other words, people are no longer loyal to a denomination and as we are seeing in the LCMS denominations are no longer committed to being their grandfather’s church.

    That is a pretty good shot, Pr. Rossow, the emphasis being mainly on the second part in our usage, because 1) that fact explains the first part and 2) we seek to help our members ‘navigate’ this reality.

    For example, we Confessional Lutherans now live in a situation in which none of the major bodies is able fully to be trusted…where there are some really solid guys in Missouri, in WELS, in ELS, and yet, some squirrelly stuff gets produced as well as the gems, so that new resources have to be found and cultivated to feed Christ’s flock under our care (examples: replace Lutheran Hour with Issues, Etc., replace NPH SS material or CPH VBS material with Pax Domini, etc.).

    Also, we find that there are in our church bodies guys with whom we really shouldn’t be in fellowship and guys in other church bodies with whom we should be, but can’t be, lest we be guilty of the same selective fellowship that we accuse the JFers, etc., of when they exchange pulpits with ELCA guys for Advent and Lent, etc…so, how do we rightly relate to one another, both today and as the synodical structures continue to crumble?

    It is to this latter point that this year’s conference pays special attention. Over all, our consideration of this situation is a matter of serving guys in the various bodies in such a way that they can best serve Christ’s flock, helping them to reform their bodies if possible, and preparing them/providing for them so that if things keep getting worse they’re not scrambling for bulletin covers, etc. (; free, easy, good art), as well as simply trying to prevent splintering as synods fail, recognizing that there is work to be done that will serve Christ’s Church whether the synods fail or not and seeking to meet those needs both now and for the future.

    Along with such things, I remember my pastor telling me how when he was younger if a pastor had some major expense or calamity that was devastating his family–or if the congregation simply couldn’t pay him–that the district would step in and help. Such has not been most of our experience, so in this era that is post district aid, the Ministerium steps in and provides financial resources to enable a pastor to keep serving.

    All of these things combined are a beginning of the sketch of what a post-synodical era is. It’s a time wherein the former trust in the institution/fellowship has been destroyed by doctrinal infidelity, so that those who are faithful must band together to get done what synods used to do…yet must do so in a way that also remains doctrinally faithful and contributes to each member’s life within his current fellowship, as well as allowing a network through which such things may be done even if one determines that leaving a church body is his only faithful course. (Thus, we are in no way political and in no way dictate either the leaving of any church body or the remaining in one to ‘fight’; we simply seek to provide or coordinate resources and support to those who see a need for them.)

    Really, the Steadfast Lutherans website is, itself, evidence of and participant in the post-synodical reality: you bring together the various groups, bloggers, and what have you…not in a generic, pan-Lutheran way, as some sites do, but in a way definitely intended to be faithful to Scripture. What you are doing by providing this venue is, basically, fulfilling part of the reasoning for the establishment of a synod. That is, this site and the direction that it heads are actually something that should be providing, but isn’t…sort of like the Lutheran Witness and its predecessor used to be in the ‘glory days’ of Missourianism.

    I hope that helps,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.