Rev. Matt Harrison reacts to nomination totals

Earlier this week I shared some reports about how President Gerald Kieschnick reacted to the nomination totals. I also have news on how LCMS World Relief and Human Care Executive Director Matt Harrison responded to those nomination totals. Here is the text of an email he sent out to his staff today:

Subject: Message to staff

Dear LCMS World Relief and Human Care Staff,

Grace and peace in Jesus.

I’m writing this note in light of the recent publication of the nominations numbers for the presidential and vice presidential ballots. I’ve not said or written anything publicly about this matter, but wanted to express a few thoughts to you.

The results were and remain for me, shocking. They also are deeply humbling. I think of all my many sins, faults and weaknesses. Yet in and through these the Lord sees fit to care for and lead his church. “Yet by the grace of God I am what I am.”

We don’t know what the future holds. But all of us have long known that there are no guarantees for us individually or for the continued existence of this department after this summer’s convention. Yet, I am optimistic about the future. I always have been. And come what may, I am so proud of, and thankful for, the work you have done. I have learned so much from you. I’ve been so profoundly struck by your selflessness, your service in dangerous situations, your kindness in the office, your love for the worst, the lowest, the least, your tireless efforts to help, and your integrity. I am profoundly thankful for all of you. In you I have witnessed the very best in the church’s corporate life. You wear the love of Jesus on your sleeve, and that sleeve is always rolled up, at work. What has been accomplished through you in the name of Jesus is simply beyond belief.

Today I ask you to continue your kindness to all. When negative things come, redouble your kindness. “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) When unkind words are printed, be charitable none-the-less. We are all plagued by our wretched sinfulness, and deeply in need of Jesus every moment. Lord Jesus, have mercy upon us and upon your church.

Thank you for the privilege of serving Christ and his church along with you.

Matt

Tuesday of Easter II, 2010


Comments

Rev. Matt Harrison reacts to nomination totals — 17 Comments

  1. So vastly different from Kieschnick’s “I WILL win, I have a plan.” This deserves widespread circulation.

  2. What an absolute class act and a humble and devout man of God. Pr. Harrison has always, ALWAYS been willing and available to answer some of my questions and give good and sound pastoral advice to me, who he hardly even knows! Can you imagine trying to chat with Pr. Kieschnick on Facebook? Asking him advice? But Pr. Harrison has always made time for me, a little peon of a pastor in a church with fewer than 100 people in a little out of the way village in Western Michigan. The only feeling I get from Synod, under Pr. Kieschnick’s leadership, is that I am doing something terribly wrong to be so small and that the only good thing for me to do is assimilate with the church-growthers rather than be a simple pastor, faithfully, with our good Lord’s help, preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments. I pray daily that the Lord of the Church would smite Pr. Harrison with the burden of Synodical President and relieve our dear brother Pr. Kieschnick from the curse (and I am not being snarky here, I honestly think Pr. Kieschnick would be blessed to step away from the power and burden of the office of Synodical President for his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.)

  3. An appropriate and truly reflective response. A Godly understanding that his life and work are determined by Him who saved him, rather than by political manuvering. May the Lord guide us to unity around His Word and nothing else.

  4. I don’t think you should ever refer to yourself as a little “peon” pastor of only 100 people. People travel all the way to Africa to visit a village of 20 or so people to share God’s love and after only a few days leave the village and its problems behind. You have to deal with these 100 people day in and day out and they would be lost without you I am sure. There are so few LCMS congregations in little towns that sometimes those Lutherans have to attend a different denomination or drive a long way to find a congregation and then in this day and age may not find a Lutheran Confessional body but only a happy clappy group. You are probably where God needs you the most right now. 🙂

  5. God knows his heart. If this is a true reflection of what is in his heart, I pray that God would grant us a new Synodical President, who does not seek greatness or position, but recognizes his need and the satisfaction for his need in Christ Jesus our Lord. “Neverthe less, not my will, but Thy will be done.”

    “I WILL win, I have a plan” is noticably absent on the lips of Pastor Harrison. Let our focus be on God’s Word, not what other denominations around us are doing. God will provide wisdom and direction.

  6. califiowan :So vastly different from Kieschnick’s “I WILL win, I have a plan.” This deserves widespread circulation.

    Thanks for stating what I was going to say. Great comments all. The requests continue in asking all to please pray for our beloved synod (as I know you are) and to circulate “Lutheran Clarion” newsletters to your pastoral and lay delegates if they are not receiving comp issues. Please find out, as they are getting comp newsletters from the CG/CW-types.

  7. I am truly amazed at the humility shown by Pastor Harrison and his desire to seek God ‘s good, pleasing and perfect will. This I have not seen by Pres Kieschnick but only his desire to retain his president’s position no matter what the cost. We do have an excellent candidate in Pastor Harrison and I do pray that God’s will is done in this next election.

    To the pastor in the small congregation in Western Michigan. There are no insignificant congregations no matter how small the church and we will definitely keep you in our prayers.

  8. Thank you for the words of encouragement, Terry. I know there are no insignificant congregations and I am indeed blessed to serve at a congregation where even one person desires the Gospel and the Sacrament at least twice a week, and I have several that hunger and thirst for God’s blessed gifts! Unfortunately, all that I see from the current leadership of our synod says that our little congregation is not “doing” it right. There is precious little encouragement from the church growth leaning bent of official synodical publications and from the office of the president. But, I am not a pastor to be encouraged by Pr. Kieschnick or even Pr. Harrison (although Pr. Harrison has given me more encouragement that I could ever imagine!) We all must learn to find our comfort and hope solely in the Word of God, made flesh, crucified for our sins, risen for our justification and given to God’s faithful people as often as they need it in the Sacrament of the Altar, in the daily remembrance of their baptism and in the blessed assurance of Holy Absolution. Continue to pray for all faithful congregations, no matter their size, and for Pr. Harrison and Pr. Kieschnick.

  9. @Rev. Jim Roemke #4

    > I pray daily that the Lord of the Church would smite Pr. Harrison with the burden of Synodical President and relieve our dear brother Pr. Kieschnick from the curse (and I am not being snarky here, I honestly think Pr. Kieschnick would be blessed to step away from the power and burden of the office of Synodical President for his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.)

    Amen

  10. @Rev. Jim Roemke #4

    Pastor Roemke,

    “The only feeling I get from Synod, under Pr. Kieschnick’s leadership, is that I am doing something terribly wrong to be so small and that the only good thing for me to do is assimilate with the church-growthers rather than be a simple pastor, faithfully, with our good Lord’s help, preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments.”

    This is the sad result of the CG/theology of glory mentality which has pervaded the LCMS. If you don’t have the “numbers” your faith or faithfulness gets called into question. It is no different than Satan’s lie perpetuated by faith healers that if you only had enough faith you would be healed of your disease. Church leaders who use a law centered approach to marginalize half (or any) of the people they seek to lead are no leaders?

    Keep up the good fight living under the Cross and the Gospel of Christ.

  11. I am profoundly grateful to God for this prospect of change in our synod’s direction.

  12. This is the kind of statement a confessional Lutheran leader makes. No fluff. Full of sincerity. Law and Gospel rightly divided. Soli Deo Gloria!

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