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Recently Pastor Todd Wilken interviewed Dr. Martin Noland about a new program put out by the LCMS Mission Department called Transforming Churches Network or as I will refer to it TCN. Dr. Noland is a
Lutheran Pastor and former President of Concordia Historical Institute.
Dr. Noland noted that the TCN is an organization within the LCMS Mission Department whose objective is to address the lack of statistical growth in congregations that have reached a plateau or have declining statistics. They say this indicates an inward focused congregation and being inward focused is the problem, so they need to make them outward focused.
The TCN remedy in a nutshell has two parts.
- A representative from TCN or a consultant will look around the congregation and make recommendation.
- Congregations are to dump their by laws and constitution and turn their congregation from a voters assembly type polity to a three member board of directors, which is chosen by the pastor, and which will legally control everything.
Pastor Wilken asked why the LCMS Mission Department is worried about congregation’s constitutions. Dr. Noland views this as major problem and said he has not seen evidence that TCN has passed through the proper channels of the CCM, CST, CTCR or the Council of Presidents.
The fathers of the LCMS had the wisdom to realize that everyone is sinful and so it is not a good idea to put too much power in the hands of one person or a small group within a congregation. That is why our congregations were set up with a polity which allows for accountability and checks and balances between voters and congregational leadership. Should we give up our present polity and replace it with the model put forward by Transforming Churches Network for the sake of the possibility of more statistical growth, or should we stick with our tried and true methods of working together as a congregation? I think if you listen to this program you will better be able answer this question.