New Feature: Invited Guests from Around the Synod Take the BRTFSSG Survey and Share their Responses with Commentary ““ Today’s Guest: The Rev. Dr. Steven Hein

We have invited over thirty people from around the synod to take the BRTFSSG survey and share with us their responses and comments. (You can take the survey yourself by clicking here.) Our list of invitees includes seminary professors, congregation chairs, lay elders, men, women, and even the top positions in the synod (yes, all the way to the top). The responses are starting to come in. We do not know how many will take us up on the invitation but hope it will be a good sampling of LCMS notables and regular folks. If you are interested in sharing your responses with commentary please e-mail me. We may not be able to post all responses but we would love to hear from you.

Our first guest surveyor is the Rev. Dr. Steven Hein who earned his doctorate in historical theology from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, taught theology at Concordia Chicago for two decades, is currently Associate Pastor at Shepherd of the Springs in Colorado Springs and is on the board of the Augustana Ministerium. You can read his full resume here.

Dr. Hein’s commentary is written in the blue font on the survey below.

Pastor Rossow

The Survey on
The Blue Ribbon Task Force’s Proposals
Rev., Dr. Steven A. Hein

1) Affirm in our governing documents the mission and purpose of Synod Strongly Disagree
The objectives of the Synod and its confessional commitments should not be changed for current secular business language. We are a Church, not a business.
2.1) Doctrinal resolutions of special significance and doctrinal statements will require a two-thirds vote at Synod convention. Strongly Disagree
2.2) Reaffirm, clarify, amplify and strengthen constitution (Art VIII) and bylaws to enhance doctrinal unity. Strongly Disagree
3.1) Congregations are the voting members of the Synod. Agree
3.2) Ministers of Religion (ordained and commissioned) are members of the Synod who are eligible to serve as delegates of congregations to conventions of the Synod and in districts. Strongly Disagree
3.3) Lay people, though not rostered members of the Synod itself, are closely linked to the Synod through their affiliation with member congregations of the Synod. Agree
4) Consider a New Name for Our Synod Strongly Disagree
Trashes the heritage and recognition of the history of our Synod
5) Voting delegates at conventions shall be one of the called pastors of the congregation and one lay person or minister of religion-commissioned of the congregation. Disagree
6.1) Multiple-congregation parishes being served by one or more pastors are entitled to one pastoral vote, with each congregation in the parish having one non-ordained vote. Not Sure
6.2) Congregations with a pastoral vacancy are entitled to a vote by the vacancy pastor and one non-ordained vote. Disagree
6.3) Congregations with more than 1000 confirmed members are entitled to two additional votes, at least one being a lay person. Strongly Disagree
This proposal would compromise the fundamental voice of the Synod as an expression of its member congregations.
7.1) Establish a fixed number of total voting delegates to the national convention at approximately 650. Strongly Disagree
Centralization of power
7.2) Amend the bylaws to delete the “advisory delegate” category from national conventions and reduce the number of “advisory representatives”. Strongly Disagree
8.1) Determine each district’s number of delegates according to that district’s percentage of the total number of congregations and confirmed members in Synod. Strongly Disagree
8.2) Allow each district to determine how delegates would be selected. Strongly Disagree
Makes the Synod a federation of Districts and compromises our congregational polity. Removes uniformity of representation criteria.
8.3) Whichever method or system a district uses to choose its delegates, it would choose an equal number of ordained and non-ordained delegates. Disagree
9.1) Encourage the submission of overtures from congregations to their district conventions through circuit forums. Strongly Disagree
9.2) Encourage the submission of overtures from congregations to the national convention through their district conventions. Strongly Disagree
Diminishes the voice of congregations and centralizes power
9.3) While all overtures submitted would still be considered, resolutions from circuit forums and district conventions would receive priority at district and Synod conventions, respectively. Strongly Disagree
Diminishes the voice of congregations and centralizes power
10) Hold district and national conventions in a four year cycle. Strongly Disagree
Diminishes the oversight of Synod’s membership with its administrative constituencies
11) Allow Flexibility of Circuit Structure Strongly Disagree
12) Consider future district configurations (give the job to the COP to report to the 2013 convention) Disagree
13) Establish Five Regions in Our Synod Strongly Disagree
Centralization of power
14.1) Implement process for quadrennial Synod Priorities Agree
14.2) Realign national Synod ministries into two Mission Advisory Councils Disagree
Centralization of power
14.21) International Missionary Advisory Council and National Mission Advisory Council. Strongly Disagree
Centralization of power
14.22) Council staff execs report to Synod President Strongly Disagree
Tremendous centralization of power
14.3) Provide coordination with districts for certain ministries. Not Sure
14.4) Transfer some responsibilities to districts Not Sure
14.5) Transfer most BUE and BPE responsibilities to regents and BOD (CUS would continue with certain responsiblities) . Strongly Disagree
15.1) Involve the totality of congregations in selecting candidates for the Synod President and First Vice President Disagree
15.2) President and First Vice President elected as a team. Strongly Disagree
16) Election of Synod Vice-Presidents Regionally Strongly Disagree
17.1) The Board of Directors composed of 17 voting members, as defined in the presentation. Strongly Disagree
17.2) First Vice President, Secretary and VP-Finance/Treasure are non-voting members. Strongly Disagree
18.1) Elect or appoint all Synod and district officers and board members to four year terms. Strongly Disagree
18.2) Have no term limits for district presidents Strongly Disagree
18.3) Have no term limits for any national board and commission members. Strongly Disagree
19) Expand the certification process for pastoral candidates. Strongly Disagree

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.


New Feature: Invited Guests from Around the Synod Take the BRTFSSG Survey and Share their Responses with Commentary ““ Today’s Guest: The Rev. Dr. Steven Hein — 4 Comments

  1. I can’t help but connect what the synod is doing here with what Scott Diekmann has written concerning the “Transforming Church Network” tactics. It really looks like Synod, Inc. has created a problem of “mission” and are using urgency around that problem to force a change which grants them more power, paving the way for the adoption of more church growth, seeker sensitive, or whatever other new growth fad comes our way.

  2. I have not had the pleasure of meeting Rev. Hein although I have listened to him on several Issues.Etc broadcasts. When his responses were posted, I decided to compare and contrast our answers. As I worked my way through the survey, I came to the conclusion we should thank God we’re not in a class together. Out of thirty nine proposals, our answers differed only once (14.21 = not sure/strongly disagree). I’m convinced we’d be trouped down to the principal’s office for cheating.

    My question is why or how can this be? How can two people far removed geographically respond so similary to proposals which bear the full weight and support of our Synodical headquarters? Neither Dr. Hein nor myself used the response “strongly agree” to any proposal; Dr. Hein surpassed me in “strongly disagree” by a count of three. Overall, this was the answer I’ve struggled with until seeing these responses. To stand so far removed from the intent of our Synod is not a pleasant reality, yet the reality of Synod.Inc is clear in these proposals – and my most common response is to strongly disagree. Where do we go from here? (PS – We had our regional conference in preparation for the District – Five minutes was allotted for examination and/or discussion on the BRTFSSG. Takes me longer to shave in the morning but I’m sure I’ll shed less blood when I shave than when Synod really does confront these proposals.)

  3. Is there still room in the Synod for a small parish? Or do we now stress social programs 1st, Word and Sacrement 2nd (at best)?
    Going all the way back to the Levites, the office of high preist rotated annually. The Lord knows that his sinful children crave power so He commanded them to share it.

    What we have here is a blueprint to flood the delegation from large parishes (and maybe they’ll be some Ablaze grant money in it to open that new coffee/donut shop next to the lobby….I mean narthex.) Synod leadership will then be free to go on developing its megachurch to compete with the Willow Creeks and Harvest Bible Chapels of the world.

    I pray there are enough voices such as Dr. Hein’s.

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