Do you have “a heart” for missions?

Back in February, The Reporter ran a story headlined “World Mission seeks 200-plus missionaries.”

There is a major confusion in the church today over the difference between serving others and mission work. Both are very important. One deals with temporal concerns and one deals with Word and Sacrament ministry. For some reason, the LCMS is pulling almost all of our Word and Sacrament missionaries from the field and replacing them with laymen who can serve as teachers, nurses and computer technicians.

Anyway, apart from that confusion, there’s something else I’ve noticed in how we talk about this service. From that most recent story:

If you have a “heart for service” and you can speak English, LCMS World Mission would love to talk to you about missionary service. …

“Anyone can serve,” says Jennifer Mustard, placement counselor for short-term service with LCMS World Mission. Having “a heart for service” and “a heart for people” is “the main thing,” she says.

Or note this Reporter story from a few years ago:

LCMS World Mission staff say they can place more than 250 people as missionaries right now — all they need are the people.

“People who have a love for people, people who love adventure, who have a love for other cultures and a willingess to be uncomfortable, an openness to change, and a heart for the lost, a heart for the Lord” are ideal candidates for missionary missionaries – classroomservice, according to Erin Alter, placement counselor with the Synod’s mission board.

The phrase “a heart for . . .” is repeated several times. Again, this is a horrible confusion. These hundreds of people sought for short-term service work are not doing Word and Sacrament ministry. They’re doing important service work. But if people abroad need the Word preached and the Sacraments administered properly, recent college grads with a “heart” for teaching English are not going to be providing that, obviously.

Anyway, I bring all this up to note how FCD Wyneken, one of the first presidents of the LCMS, described in 1842 the “heart” he had for coming to America to do actual mission work:

“Sadly, I have to confess to you, that, as far as I know, neither love for the Lord, nor love for the orphaned brothers drove me to America. I didn’t even want to go. I went there against my will, fighting it. I went because my conscience compelled me, because it was my duty. It grieved me then — and still grieves me, that I didn’t — still don’t love the Lord more and that He had to drive me out to work like a slave.”

From H.C. Wyneken, LEBENSLAUF VON A. F. C. BIEWEND (St. Louis: CPH, 1896), p. 28.

I wonder what The Reporter would have done with a quote like that!


Do you have “a heart” for missions? — 55 Comments

  1. @Tilly M. #50

    Don’t have to drive at all…
    E.g. Here’s a link to a blogsite about Pastor Kurt Hering’s grandaughter, who (it says) will have the last of 33 radiation treatments on Monday. She had brain surgery to remove a rather large tumor (see blog). She is three years old.
    “Uncovered medical expenses” were about $30K back in mid January already.
    They won’t end on Monday.

    If you are able to help in legal tender, go here for an address:

    If not, prayers help, too.

  2. Thank you, Helen. Due to a missed treament, Tuesday is now the last treatment with a “clinic” on Wednesday to debrief and instruct on further protocol.

    The good news financially is that it looks like insurance will cover more than first indicated. But you are right, expenses will contiinue. I will have an updated report on the financial situation as soon as we get all the numbers together following treatments next week.

    Bumpa Pastor Hering

  3. Question: How can one find out how money in spent by Synod, specifically in the area of missions. . .and how much and for which missions it is spent? Can one get that information from the Synod treasurer’s office?

  4. Helen,

    I will check out the blog asap. Certainly I will send up prayers and try to donate as well. My husband has been unemployed for a few months, but has recently found a job. The start date is mid-April, so things are still tight.

    I know this is going to go down like a lead balloon, but this is the exact reason that people like Herring’s granddaughter need universal healthcare. Actually, this is why we all need it. No one should have to lose hard-earned financial stability in order to manage a loved one’s medical condition. We cannot forget that unlimited profit drives much of the “costs” we face in healthcare — not just from insurance companies, but also from pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, in addition to some doctors.

    You would never want to pay $30 for a gallon of milk. We would all be suspicious of such high-priced cows (greedy dairy farmers). Why shouldn’t we demand that exorbitant costs be brought into reason?

    As a Christian, I would feel guilty thinking that when it comes to healthcare, I should not pay more in taxes because I want to pocket more of my income, knowing that myself and everyone around me need healthcare at some time in their lives. I do not think it is right that I am now lucky to benefit from good insurance (hubby’s new policy) and nod my head sadly as other people experience financial destruction because they do not.

    This is what Christian sacrifice and burden is about — trusting God to take care of us, as we all work together to care of each other. If that’s socialism, I guess I am a socialist. Like education, public roads, policemen and fire stations — some things ARE necessity, universal.

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