The Deep and Wide Appeal of Rev. Matt Harrison: Mercy, Missions, Management and More… by Pr. Rossow

The nomination numbers for the LCMS presidential election this summer portray the deep and  wide appeal of Matt Harrison.  

His appeal is deep. His writings demonstrate a rich  understanding of theology and church history that goes deep into the scriptures, the Book of Concord and the historical archives of the LCMS.

His appeal is also wide. Matt Harrison is not simply the “conservative candidate” for the LCMS presidency. His experience and vision  appeal to lots of different folks with lots of different priorities for the synod. Here are few that stand out.

Mercy – Many folks in the LCMS put a high priority on taking care of the poor and downtrodden. Rev. Harrison has spent the last several years heading up the service area of the synod that attends to just those needs, LCMS World Relief and Human Care. He understands the pain, grief and sorrow of the suffering and has led that group to new highs in levels of care and compassion. Matt Harrison has tasted the mercy of Christ and has made it a priority to share that mercy with others.

Missions – Many LCMS folks would rank mission work as the highest priority for the church. Rev. Harrison’s vast work overseas with World Relief has brought him in direct contact with our mission fields. He understands the importance of placing word and sacrament, ordained missionaries in the field. He would stop the rapid decline in our  mission work and make it a priority once again.

Management – Many people want their pastors and church bureaucrats to be good businessmen. The church is not a business it is a family. Rev. Harrison treats the church like a family (reading his reaction to the nominations demonstrates his love and affection for people as family members) but if it is management skills that you are looking for, Harrison does not dissapoint. He has established  LCMS World Relief and Human Care as one of the most efficient and fiscally viable service areas in the synod. As a matter of fact, the synod under President Kieschnick has actually had to borrow cash from World Relief reserves to stay solvent in some months.

One does not fully capture Rev. Harrison’s resume if he is classified as the conservative’s choice. His appeal is wide and that is one of the reasons he got an unprecedented number of nominations. But let us not forget that his appeal is also deep. We here at the Brothers of John the Steadfast and the Sisters of Katy Luther think that he would be a president that supports our goals of promoting and teaching the Lutheran Confessions to the laity, supporting the historic and traditional liturgy and upholding Biblical vocations of men and women. Rev. Harrison’s appeal is deep. Like C. F. W. Walther, his appeal goes deeply into the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions. The congregations of the synod have noticed.

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.


The Deep and Wide Appeal of Rev. Matt Harrison: Mercy, Missions, Management and More… by Pr. Rossow — 7 Comments

  1. Amen! I also wonder if the majority of LC-MS churches are sending a signal that “It’s Time” to consider term limits? After 9 years in office by the incumbent SP, maybe the majority of congregations want to give Pastor Harrison the opportunity to lead our Synod?

  2. But then again, if a Harrison or Walther were in the office, wouldn’t you want to keep him a while? I wouldn’t have any problem with Dps having term limits, though.


  3. I think there are a couple of district that still have term limitations. I have often thought that it would be great if a synodical president could serve only one term of 5 years and DP’s could only serve one term of 5 years. While in some sense the unlimited terms may bode well, I also think is causes some inbreeding. While I am sure no DP would agree, it is my humble opinion that long terms tend to allow a DP to forget what it was like to face a congregation each week with Word and Sacrament. I also think they forget what voters’ meetings do and what can happen in them either for the good or for the bad. Now, should we change it so that a DP had to be in a congregation also–then maybe it would be different. The COP has taken on a life of its own not always to the bad, but also not always to the good. I have always been curious as to what is contained in their manual of arms such that it is deemed not available for the general public of the LCMS. I have asked a couple of different presidents if I could see their manual but was denied access. I am not saying that it would be impossible to see it, just that I was not allowed to when it was requested. I suppose there are those who feel that the DP’s are doing a great job and that is okay. But I wonder if some of their items i.e. the “Divine Disposal and Dismissal from the Ordained Ministry” [title not exactly right] had to go through doctrinal review before it was put into use. Enough said.

  4. “The congregations of the synod have noticed”,

    Unfortunately, in this case, the congregations don’t vote, delegates vote.

    If you are a delegate, send some of this info, or links to these articles, to the other delegate(s) that you know of.

    I’m afraid that there are still a lot of members/delegates that see what is happening in their congregation as what must be happening in the church at large. If everything at their congregation is going “smoothly”, then everything at district and synod level must be going smoothly, which extrapolates to “let’s not rock the boat by changing synod president”. Likewise, “all leaders (including the SP) serve at God’s will”, so if SP wants the BR proposals, how could we go against God’s will?

    Trust me, I’ve heard this more than once from members of my own congregation!!

    The work has just begun !!

  5. In the LCMS, are congregations within a circuit told and given opportunity to meet with those delegates serving them for the coming convention? I know in WELS, we have a meeting that pastors and lay people attend a month or so prior to the convention. Then afterward, the delegates travel the circuit of congregations to give a report at a potluck or after church for those in the congregation who wish to listen.

    This past 2009 WELS convention was entirely online via video feed. (Well, the main meeting during the day; sub-committees were not taped). You could listen to papers presented, listen to comments from the delegates, and watch the proceedings overall. That made the process of asking our own delegate easier, since many of us were aware of the discussions, etc…


  6. @Perry Lund #6
    In the circuit to which I belong, we have given the laity the opportunity to come to hear and see. Unfortunately, I think their pastors don’t consider things that important. At our first meeting most of the people were from my congregation–everyone else was absent save two from the host pastor’s congregation. None of the men in the circuit bothered to really advertize the meeting and yet, we are considered to be one of the conservative districts. So, perhaps since it is going so well, they don’t want to rock the boat in their own congregations where they appear to have no problems. But then again–there always appears to be some kind of excuse for not attending most things on the circuit level!!

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