Large Suburban Chicago Church Votes to Nominate Harrison and Mueller, by Pr. Rossow

The church that I serve, Bethany Lutheran Church and School in Naperville, Illinois decided at its voters assembly last night to nominate Matt Harrison for president of the LCMS and Herb Mueller for vice president. We did not consider any offices beyond that because, believe it or not, this is the first time in recent history that this congregation has nominated anyone for synodical office. We have been politically inactive in the synod for years but have finally come to realize that the church is so quickly forsaking its traditional, liturgical roots that it is time to get involved.

The elders and pastors have taken a close look at these two candidates and decided that like our congregation, these two candidates rightly discern that  the Gospel is best served in a traditional, liturgical, and compassionate church. In other words, they are interested in restoring the traditional church of our grandfathers without ignoring the practical needs to communicate the Gospel of Christ in the twenty-first century. The elders and pastors were pleased that the voters approved the recommendation of Harrison and Mueller unanimously.

We are finding that there are at least two different sorts of churches in the LCMS today: those that are trying to assimilate the practice of the church into the form of pop culture (which runs the very real risk of losing the pure Gospel) and those which are trying to maintain the 2,000 year old traditions and practices of the church that actully help preserve the Gospel from popular compromise. Harrison and Mueller favor the latter.

Concerning the office of the presidency our pastors and elders are convinced that it is time for Matt Harrison. In presenting these motions to  our voters I  acknowledged  that President Kieschnick has a certain amount of leadership prowess but that he has used it to move the LCMS to be more like the pop culture churches than like the traditional church. I also told the congregation that Matt Harrison has every bit as much leadership ability as President Kieschnick and that he has demonstrated such through several successful years of heading up the World Relief and Human  Care department of the synod. I also told the voters that the LCMS has shrunk during the tenure of President Kieshcnick and that one of the most poignant facts of recent LCMS history is that the Synod, under the leadership of President Kieschnick, in order to  pay the bills,  has had to borrow money from the World Relief cash reserves which of course is under the leadership of Rev. Harrison.

Others at the voters assembly spoke in favor of Matt Harrison. One voter asserted  that he may be the best candidate we have had for president of the LCMS in decades. He has the full package. He is a proven leader and administrator. He is a top notch theologian and language scholar. He is  compassionate and a healer. He is invested in  returning the LCMS to its worldwide  leadership as the shining light of confessional  and  Biblical Lutheranism.  

We had 80 voters  at the  meeting. This is not uncommon for us. For the last five years we have been averaging over 100 voters per meeting. (This is usually our least attended meeting because it is between the July budget meeting and the December election meeting.)  Since this was our first time in recent history to  nominate candidates for synodical office there were some good questions that arose from the assembly floor. Let me share some of them with you and the answers I gave on behalf of the pastors and elders.

  • What does it mean that we are nominating these men? Answer – Each parish has the right to nominate individuals for office. Delegates at the synodical convention who have not made up their mind for whom they will vote will be moved to some extent by the number of nominations a candidate gets.
  • Have these candidates agreed to run? Answer – I am quite certain that they are willing however, it is not until the balloting is complete that they will be asked if they want their names to stand.
  • Does a nomination obligate us as a congregation to do anything? What do you mean? For instance, do we have to campaign for the individual? Answer – No, there really is no formal campaigning but if you agree with what was spoken tonight in favor of these candidates it would be good to share this information with your LCMS friends and relatives.

We are a 2,000 member congregation. I mention that not because a larger congregation is better than a smaller congregation but because it is so often thought that larger congregations must have bought into the principles of church growth. That is not the case with us. As a matter of fact, I can think of numerous large  LCMS churches that have rejected the culture’s downward  gravitational pull. The ones that come to mind off the top of my head are St. John – Wheaton, Illinois, Our Saviour – Houston, Texas, and Memorial – Houston, Texas.

Our elders had decided to nominate Harrison and Mueller before the United List came out. I was glad to see that there are others who are thinking along the same lines. No candidate is perfect but as some have commented on our United List post yesterday, it seems like a good thing for confessional Lutherans to unite around a common effort. Now I am  sure that with an infinite amount of time for study some of our voters would support other candidates. What matters though is that they listened to comprehensive recommendation from the pastors and elders and voted in unanimity for Harrison and Mueller.

I encourage everyone reading this to get their congregation involved in this process. I would also encourage you, unlike us, to submit a full list of vice presidential candidates. If you go to the LCMS website you can see all of the regulations for doing so. Here are the motions we brought before our voters. Feel free to use them, amend them, etc. (We got the bios from their respective offices. Norm Fisher has talked about making the bios of the other United List candidates available on our companion site LCMSpolitics.org later this month.)

Motion to Nominate Rev. Matthew Harrison

for President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

 

Whereas the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod will meet in convention in July 2010 and

Whereas elections will take place at that convention for Synodical officers and

Whereas the pastors and elders of Bethany Lutheran Church and School have determined that Reverend Matthew Harrison would serve God and the Missouri Synod well as President of the Synod,

Be it resolved that the Voters Assembly of Bethany Lutheran Church and School nominate Reverend Matthew Harrison for President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

 

Rev. Matthew Harrison is the Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Baptized in a small town/rural Lutheran church and raised in a large suburban congregation, he has served parishes in Iowa(rural) and Indiana (inner city). He and his wife Kathy also spent a year as missionaries in a remote Canadian Cree Indian village. In addition to his frequent contributions to periodicals, he has previously published translations of Hermann Sasse (The Lonely Way vols. 1&2, CPH) and Johann Gerhard (Meditations on Divine Mercy, CPH), and is author of Christ Have Mercy: How to Put Your Faith in Action, CPH 2008.

Motion to Nominate Rev. Herbert C. Mueller, Jr.

for Vice President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

 

Whereas the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod will meet in convention in July 2010 and

Whereas elections will take place at that convention for Synodical officers and

Whereas the pastors and elders of Bethany Lutheran Church and School have determined that Reverend Herbert C. Mueller, Jr. would serve God and the Missouri Synod well as Vice President of the Synod,

Be it resolved that the Voters Assembly of Bethany Lutheran Church and School nominate Reverend Herbert C. Mueller, Jr. for Vice President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

 

Rev. Herbert C. Mueller, Jr., is President of the Southern Illinois District of the LCMS.   He was born in Grand Forks, ND.   Rev. Mueller received an AA degree from Concordia College, Ann Arbor, MI; a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia Senior College, Ft. Wayne, IN; and the Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO (1979).   Rev. Mueller and his wife, Faith, have three adult children and currently reside in Waterloo, IL.   Rev. Mueller has served as pastor of Mt. Calvary, Chicago, Zion, Bethalto, IL, and Immanuel, Waterloo, IL.   He is now serving in his fifth term as District President of the Southern Illinois District.President Herbert Mueller has served on the Synod’s Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support, the Program Committee of the Council of Presidents, the Concordia Pulpit Resources Advisory Committee and the Synod’s Colloquy Committee.   President Mueller has made five “mission” trips to Southern Africa and developed a partnership between the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa and the Southern Illinois District.

Bethany is a large congregation. We voted in a united effort with one voice to support Harrison and Mueller to bring healing, unity, and doctrinal purity to this synod. The faithful  leadership of these two men  will help the LCMS  to fulfill Christ’s commission to  teach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

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.

Comments

Large Suburban Chicago Church Votes to Nominate Harrison and Mueller, by Pr. Rossow — 5 Comments

  1. PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!!
    How brave you all are, & you have paved the way for a turn back to what is good, right, & true!!! I pray Pastor Harrison accepts, and with & in God’s Will, he is used for great things indeed!!!
    How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time, oh, this is a big bite!!!
    Run, run as far & as fast as the Lord allows, & that is far indeed!!!!
    In Christ Pastor Rossow,
    Dutch

  2. Wow… this is joyous and concerns me at the same time.

    The problem I see with not nominating someone every time is that many times the mushy middle will go with who gets the most nominations.
    Please note I am not trying to be critical just pointing out an observation, or am I missing something?
    I’m glad you all jumped in with a statement.

    John Hooss

    John

  3. I agree; from what I understand (Thanks to Pastor Henrickson’s article on the nomination procedure), the critical thing is the number of nominations for each position.

    (As others have said,) if I were a delegate one thing that would sway me is the number of nominations each man gets .. so not filling out names for the additional positions means that your church is not taking advantage of all avenues to promote the person(s).

  4. So, Pr. Rossow, will you be having a meeting sometime in the near future to determine what to do with your other nomination for each of these offices? (I am not asking what has been asked above–i.e., whether you will be nominating for 2nd-5th VP–but whether you plan to use your remaining SP and 1 VP nominations, since you get TWO of each.

    EJG

  5. EJG,

    Good question. I suppose that we should. As I mentioned in the post, this is the first time we have become politically involved as a congregation and so I am pleased we have come this far.

    TR

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