The Huge Price of District Bureaucracy

Reclaim News published an alarming analysis of the cost of district offices in the LCMS. The Blue Ribbon Task Force has focused primarily on the restructuring of the synod office. Maybe they are looking in the wrong place for cost savings. Here is a part of the post from Reclaim News list e-mail this morning.

 

Are LCMS Delegates Concerned about Future of LCMS?

Question: Why didn’t 32 of the 2010 LCMS seminary graduates receive a call to LCMS congregations?

Answer: There aren’t enough churches.

Question: Why aren’t there enough churches?

Answer:   The LCMS hasn’t increased in the number of churches for over ten years no matter what is says about Ablaze!

Question: Why do 35 LCMS district offices consume $50,000,000 a year in administrative costs?

Answer: They have more than 700 employees with benefits like pensions, healthcare, etc, including building costs, travel expenses, and debt service.

Question: Why don’t the delegates close down the district offices and open more churches?

Answer: The delegates are handpicked by the clergy to preserve the high-priced, profligate, money-consuming LCMS district aristocracy.

Question: Why hasn’t the $56,000,000 for Ablaze! increased the number of churches?

Answer:   Support of the district offices and their staff are considered mission work.

Question: How much of the $56,000,000 was used for administrative expenses?

Answer: The laymen will never find out because they don’t have a detailed report of where the $56,000,000 went.

 


 

Reclaim News is on their list website, or to subscribe send an email to [email protected]

Reclaim invites you to discuss these issues on LutherQuest.

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

The Huge Price of District Bureaucracy — 47 Comments

  1. LCMS Administrative structures seem to grow and consume dollars much like the government. And people seem to accept it has necessary. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of all 35 districts, their facilities, number of employees and total cost for each. I am familiar with Iowa West since I grew up there and Iowa East since I used to belong to a church in that district and visited their C.Rapids office once. Not sure the district office needs to be all that extravagant.

  2. What I find “alarming” is that you are reprinting this from Reclaim News. I wish you would stop using this as a source.

  3. I agree, the Districts are a huge part of the overall problem. There is a very helpful chart in Appendix E of Pres. K’s book “Waking the Sleeping Giant.” It lists receipts by District from Congregations and District to Synod in both 2007 and 1973.

    In 1973 congregations gave $41.809 million to District. Of that $41.809 the Districts gave $23,701 to Synod or 56.69% of the total.

    In 2003 congregations gave $67.459 million to District. Of that $67.459 million, just $19.428 was remitted to Synod or 28.8% of the total.

    The Districts are siphoning off an ever-increasing amount for themselves.

    Since the Districts are autonomous, I’m not sure what there is to do about it. I’m sure HQ doesn’t want to pressure the Districts too much — you are then biting the hand that feeds you.

  4. Anthony Bertram :What I find “alarming” is that you are reprinting this from Reclaim News. I wish you would stop using this as a source.

    I appreciate you posting this here. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  5. If it is useful and accurate information I do not care from what souce it came. Even if JesusFirst publishes information that is accurate and informative then by all mean post it. I would only refuse to reprint infromation from Reclaim News if it was false.

  6. “What I find “alarming” is that you are reprinting this from Reclaim News. I wish you would stop using this as a source.”

    We need to be careful and evaluate every news source. Once Reclaim News very incorrectly named me as a source of an item from this site; I had no luck in getting it to correct it. I apologized to everyone involved. (I think Pastor Rossow got tired of my e-mails.) But in defense of Reclaim News, there are some who use it as a source to get news out but who feel they need to remain anonymous. I know, many feel that is the greater sin. But I just read in my devotions about the spies who hid in Rahab’s house; I have always wondered a bit about that. Some of Jack’s best writing may not be done by Jack.

    The Synod’s lawsuit against the ladies–I have been assured–is real. Where else would we hear that it is even occurring.

  7. Conv. Delegate :The Districts are siphoning off an ever-increasing amount for themselves.

    Be careful with how broad of a brushstroke you paint the districts. Several districts do everything they can to keep costs down and forward everything they are able to Synod. A few years ago, a proposal was being kicked around to “assess” districts based on communicant membership. Our DP didn’t like the idea (for many and various reasons) and apparently emphasized just how bad an idea it was by doing the math and stating, “Sure, that’s OK, we can cut back our contribution to Synod to that amount.”

    He mentioned at the time that the districts that were causing a ruckous at that time were contributing mere pennies per communicant yet demanding all of these broad-reaching changes in Synod.

    One thing to keep in mind is that if Recommendation #18 passes, this will only get worse, because a lot of Synodical functions will be handled at the district level or coordinated regionally.

  8. Anthony B @32,

    What part of the post do you think is disputable. As others have said above, if it is true, it is true. We did not post the second half of the article that dealt with the lawsuit in California. I think that Cascione has done some good reporting on this matter and is doing the church a service but until we have someone who can research the matter in full, we are stearing clear of passing on those matters from Reclaim news becuase there is so much opinion intertwined with the reporting and early on in the story, there were some important facts not known that needed to be reported (and evnetually were).

    Pastor Wheeler – I am sorry if I have not repsonded to your e-mails. I get hundreds of e-mails a day and just cannot keep up with them all.

    TR

  9. While I appreciate how Cassione digs up and publishes scandalous info, I don’t appreciate what I believe to be his fairly regular breaking of the Eighth Commandment, which I find in this Q & A of the post:

    “Question: Why don’t the delegates close down the district offices and open more churches?
    Answer: The delegates are handpicked by the clergy to preserve the high-priced, profligate, money-consuming LCMS district aristocracy.”

    Where does this hand-picking occur? I’ve never seen it in my circuits, not once. When is “the preservation of high-priced, profligate, money-consuming LCMS district aristocracy” discussed among this clergy who are supposed to be hand-picking these delegates? I’ve never heard it.

    Cassione always leaves a bad taste in my mouth with his stuff that feels so much like I’m back on the middle-school playground.

  10. To speak to the “accuracy” of the report, see #11 above.

    Also,

    “Question: Why didn’t 32 of the 2010 LCMS seminary graduates receive a call to LCMS congregations?
    Answer: There aren’t enough churches.”

    This is about as helpful as asking and answering: “Why did the check bounce? Because there wasn’t enough money in the account.” If you want real information on the situation, go to the recent Issues,Etc. program that discussed the situation in detail with a sem placement officer and district president.

    “Question: Why hasn’t the $56,000,000 for Ablaze! increased the number of churches?
    Answer: Support of the district offices and their staff are considered mission work.

    Question: How much of the $56,000,000 was used for administrative expenses?
    Answer: The laymen will never find out because they don’t have a detailed report of where the $56,000,000 went.”

    I love this pair of gems. The first says that Ablaze! money goes to support districts. The second says we don’t know where Ablaze! money goes. Which is true, we know or we don’t know?

    If the policy of this blog is, “The enemy of our enemy is our friend,” then there’s a problem. If this blog is about reasonable people seeking the best for the church, then it won’t promote scandalmongering.

  11. I’d like to address some misinformation:
    “Question: Why don’t the delegates close down the district offices and open more churches?

    Answer: The delegates are handpicked by the clergy to preserve the high-priced, profligate, money-consuming LCMS district aristocracy.”

    There is no truth to this statement whatsoever. Congregational delegates are picked by the voter’s assembly (or Church Council acting on the congregation’s behalf depending on the constitution). While a pastor may recommend someone, that decision is in the hands of the congregation.
    Furthermore, I’d like to take issue with the “to…” Delegates are elected “to” represent the congregation at District and Synodical conventions.
    This makes up half of the picture (the other half being pastoral delegates). Now the question is what can a delegate do to address District bloat? Pretty much nothing. Any overture from the congregations/circuits to trim the District down would be silenced by subcommittee. Only resolutions originating from Districts would even be considered (I’m willing to be proven wrong on this though).

    For years (as both a layperson and now a pastor), I’ve questioned the need for anything more than a full time administrative assistant working for the District as the DP serves a congregation and an LCEF coordinator. We could sell off District buildings as DPs serve congregations (maybe as an associate pastor) and cut 90% of District positions (of course we should do everything we can to help those whose job gets cut find employment). Yes this is drastic… but even the leading Church Growth voices are calling for streamlining: ie. Thomas Reiner’s _Simple Church_.

  12. Where does this hand-picking occur? I’ve never seen it in my circuits, not once.

    Such nad-0picking did occur in my Texas congregation’s circuit. There was no congregational announcement or voters’ assembly meeting to nominate pastoral and lay delegates for the synodical convention. Instead, last year the circuit pastors and representatives got together during the district convention in Addison, TX, and simply elected synodical convention delegates there. I only found out more than a month later when I happened to ask a pastor what the schedule would be for congregations to nominate and the circuit to select delegates for the convention.

    Whether or not this “backroom” choosing of convention delegates has been done in other circuits, I wonder how many congregational members are aware of who their delegates are, and how many delegates will seek the views of circuit congregations before the convention or report back on how they voted in the convention. Again, based on experience in this Texas circuit, I suspect the number is probably close to zero, zip, or zilch.

  13. Pastor rossow,

    Thank you for your integrity. Defining opinion and fact is a difficult task and often facts and truth can come from the mouth of a jackass too.

  14. Having been honored to serve as delegate a few times, I can add a bit to the subject of delegate selection on this thread. In my experience, and from listening to delegates from other circuits, I think it’s safe to say that in some circuits there doesn’t seem to be much interest in the convention, let alone the delegate selection process. I have attended four successive delegate selection circuit forums. Typically some pastors show no interest, having not attened at all. Some pastors have attended faithfully. THe pastors usually outnumber the laypersons. Many congregations do not nominate lay delegate candidates. Some always do , it seems. I know of one pastor (not in my circuit, but in my district) who actively campaigned among his brothers to be a delegate to the 2010 convention. Overall, it just seems that too few congregations, pastors, and laypersons take much interest in the process. And it would seem to follow that the laity are simply unaware, in most cases. At any rate, I certainly cannot agree with Reclaim’s claim, but the situation is not very good either.

    I also wonder how many circuits sponsor circuit forums to present and discuss the issues/resolutions/etc. that will come before the convention.

    johannes (delegate emeritus)

  15. @Purple Kooaid #10
    what’s reclaim news?? I googled it and didn’t get anything.

    It’s a newsletter put out at intervals by Pastor Jack Cascione, who followed his congregation out of LCMS some time ago, but keeps informed and attempts to inform others. YMMV

    (What’s Purple Kooaid?) 🙂

  16. Carl, it seems you are confused about Synodical polity. Delegates from each congregation are chosen (either by the voters or by church council) to represent the congregation to the circuit forum. It is at the circuit forum where Synodical Convention delegates are chosen. Here are the relevant bylaws:
    5.3.2 The circuit forum consists of a pastor of each congregation and one
    member of each congregation designated by the congregation.
    (note “designated by the congregation” infers that unless the pastor is delegated this responsibility by the congregation… he doesn’t do the picking)
    5.3.3 The circuit forum will meet at least once triennially to elect circuit
    delegates to the national convention. It shall elect the pastoral and
    lay delegates and their alternates to the national convention of the
    Synod according to the regulations of the Synod. The lay delegate
    shall, upon election, serve through the triennium following the next
    convention as an advisory member of the circuit forum.

    District Conventions are a different matter… each district has its own bylaws. No “congregational announcement or voters’ assembly meeting” is held to nominate pastoral or lay delegates to the synodical convention… again… that’s what happens at the triannual circuit forum.

  17. To Pr. Lorfeld and Herr Vehse: Pastor Lorfeld–yes, this is what the by-laws say. Nevertheless, I have heard of circuits that “kill 2 birds with one stone” by having their “circuit forum” *while* they have pastor and lay delegates at the district convention. This *could* be within the letter of the by-laws of synod. *I* don’t think it really fulfills the real purpose of a circuit forum, but we don’t do a *lot* of things that we ought to according to our by-laws. One could, I suppose, challenge delegates’ legitimacy if they were chosen this way as in the case Vehse describes.

  18. Rev. Lorfeld,
    In a couple of congregations I was previously a member I have seen the delegate to the district convention hand picked. In one of those congregations, I expressed interest in running for the position of delegate to district convention. I was told by the pastor that “X” was running for the postion as delegate to the district and he did not want anyone to run against him. When I asked why nobody else should run, I was told that “X” would do the best job of representing the congregation. I might have bought that arguement if “X” was knowledgeable about the Scriptures and the Confession and was active in the life of the congregation. But the truth was, “X” was not involved in bible study or congregational activities. “X” was only in worship less than 25% of the time. So hand picking the delegates does occur as I have experienced first hand.

  19. Oh, and, lest we forget, one of the BRTF proposals *would* take the selection of synodical convention delegates out of the hands of the circuits and put it into the hands of the district convention (which *could* choose to give it *back* to the circuits, to be sure, but wouldn’t *have* to). The proposal is both “centralizing” and *burdensome*. I have laymen who *are* willing to go to a 2-3 day district convention, such that we have a larger pool from which to choose our dist. convention lay delegate, but if you told that lay delegate that they would automatically be eligible to have to serve as a delegate again the next summer for a 5-7 day synodical convention, my potential *district* convention lay delegate list would dry up. Thus, the lay representation at both district and synodical conventions would be *hurt*. I don’t think it’s at all far-fetched to think that there would be *many* more circuits that would simply not have a lay delegate to the synodical convention, because the potential pool had been so drastically reduced. *Then* the logical next step would be for the district itself to change its own rules and process for choosing delegates to the synodical convention, disconnecting even further from the local congregations.

  20. Rev. Lorfeld: “It is at the circuit forum where Synodical Convention delegates are chosen.

    Yes, you are correct. The circuit forum selects the synodical delegates. In this case the circuit forum was held during the district convention at Addison, TX. I do not know who the congregational lay representative was at the circuit forum. And until I happened to ask afterwards, there was no information provided about the circuit forum meeting and its selection of delegates to the synodical convention. Having the circuit forum meet at the district convention in Addison doesn’t encourage congregational observation or awareness of circuit forum activities. It is analogous to holding a city council meeting at the state capital 200 miles away.

  21. Helen, slight adjustment to your explanation re: Pastor Cascione. His congregation voted to leave synod, and then the MI district pres removed his name from the synodical clergy roster, because he was now serving a congregation outside of the synod.

  22. The entire Mid-South District has its circuit forums at the district convention & elects national delegates there. I was our congregation’s (Cross of Christ, Chattanooga) lay delegate to the district convention, and I will be the Chattanooga Circuit’s delegate to the national convention.

    That being said, I saw no evidence of any hand-picking going on at the congregational level for the district convention, or at the circuit level for the national convention. In fact, nobody else at my church expressed any interest in going to the district convention, and one person at the voter’s assembly even commented that “we’d better go ahead and vote on this before he changes his mind.” At the circuit form, I was one of three people (if I remember right) nominated for the lay delegate position, and nobody asked me a single question before the votes were taken.

    Frankly, I was quite disturbed that nobody wanted to question me about my views, etc., even though I’m fairly certain it would have meant I wouldn’t have been elected. In any case, if there was hand-picking going on at either level I wouldn’t have made the cut.

    That’s not to say it isn’t happening elsewhere, of course.

    As far as folks in our circuit knowing who their delegates are … if they don’t, it’s there own fault. Next month there will be two informational meetings in our circuit that folks can attend where we’ll talk about the convention and they can ask questions, etc. These things are publicized several weeks in advance at all the churches. However, if things are like the 2007 cycle … few people will attend. There were less than 10 people (counting me) at the meeting I attended before that convention. People in this circuit are just apathetic …

  23. @Johannes #16
    Johannes,

    I have been in circuits where the pastor chosen was the one whose “congregation’s turn had come.” They had some years before set a schedule for which pastor would go and who would be next. Of course, then a lay delegate could not be elected from that congregation.

    In one circuit a pastor stated he did not want to go, but was elected anyway. He never read the conventions workbook and never even attempted to make any kind of report to the circuit. His reasoning–he did not want to go, said he would not serve, yet they sent him anyway. There were three in the circuit who would have happily gone.

    I am a firm believer that whoever is elected a delegate whether pastor or lay should have an interest in going, an interest in doing the hard work necessary to prepare, and an interest in reporting either by going to individual congregations or having a circuit forum for discussion.

    I think the comment about lack of interest is important. I will be going to my now third convention. You would not believe [well maybe some would] the number of workbooks still in the plastic wrapping that showed up at the two that I have already attended.

    Going to the convention is hard work and it will be even harder this time around. we will be spending 2 1/2 days on just the Blue Ribbon farce! In some ways I think this convention has ever possibility of being like our national picture. The general public does not want something done, the Congress passes it anyway and then tells us we have to pay for it.

  24. @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #25

    Hmmmm. I wonder how many “Amens'” we’re allowed to post here. I have not witnessed the type of un-interest you reference among the pastoral delegates. The pastors who have served with me were most diligent in their preparation. So I guess it’s safe to say that those pastors who are interested attend the forums. You’re correct–it is hard work, and those who are honored to be chosen ought to be willing to invest time and energy in the preparation. There is usually a large percentage of first-time delegates (around 50% in my experience), so that means the task is that much more difficult for them. The very idea of rotating pastors is distasteful to me. I also wonder about the wisdom of holding the circuit electoral forum at the district convention. That short-circuits the process. I was given to understand that all lay nominees ought to attend these forums. The more I read about the way this process is “administered” the more uneasy I become.
    The delegates this year do indeed have a daunting task–you are all to be commended for serving. The delegates need our prayers, and it would not be a bad idea to lift them up in our prayers each day of the convention–even if the circuit counselors just send out an email each day, reminding the pastors and their congregations to do so that day.
    In fact, we ought to begin right now.

    johannes

  25. From the May BOD Briefs:

    As a result, along with adjusting salary ranges “by approximately 2.5 percent to reflect compliance with the 2006 Board of Directors philosophy,” the board determined to set the “salary increase budget” at “two percent, with distribution at the discretion of each corporate organization,” also resolving, as noted earlier, that the bonus budget
    continue to “be set at zero percent of the [2010/2011] salary budget.”

    The board believed this action to be the best it could do for the coming year (given current economic conditions and continually reduced unrestricted income) to meet its
    salary administration goals, “to attract competent employees; retain qualified, highly skilled employees; and provide competitive incentives for performance and personal development.”

    BONUS BUDGET?? Our execs are eligible for BONUSES? I’m dumbfounded.

    Anyone know more about this?

  26. Thank you, Johannes – we are all in dire need of prayer. I am preparing a paper on the issues coming before this convention, and each congregation in our circuit will get one this coming week. Congregations or individuals can comment by letter, phone, e-mail, or I will go to a meeting at their church. After the convention, another paper will go out, this time urging them to set up a time with the pastoral delegate and me for a “q & a” time. (Would that dispel your “zero, zilch, zip” fear, Carl Vehse?)

  27. @LS – Conv Delegate #28

    You’re very welcome. I’m thinking that our circuit’s delegates might find your paper interesting and helpful. If you care to share it, you can get my email address from Norm. I’d like very much to read it and share it with them.

    In return, I’ll send you our delegates’ spreadsheet re: Overtures, and some more rather interesting files that you may find useful.

    Gee, y’all–we’ve gone down one of our customary rabbit trails….

    Johannes

  28. Michael, I’ve read that before. It is really disheartening and disturbing. There is no discussion of ministry or servant leadership from the BOD regarding our Synodical leaders. Our leaders are supposed to be called servants of the church, but instead the expectation by the BOD is that they are corporate exectutives that are motivated and attracted by money.

    In the Convention Workbook under the Human Resources report (page 81) it says, “The department has a direct relationship to the LCMS Board of Directors and endeavors to support the board’s philosophy “to be good stewards of the dollars entrusted to us, pay fair salaries, and reward performance in order to be able to attract, motivate, and retain employees.”

    How does that look to teachers who are making half of their public school counterparts? Or the numerous church volunteers? Or the pastors whose wives have to work to make ends meet? They are all told its servanthood, their motivation is service to the Lord.

    I am sure there are good servants in St. Louis, but given what is written and released, there is a disconnect between leadership in St. Louis and the field that is very disturbing. We are asked to give more to St. Louis, is that so next year the bonus pool will no longer be zero?

    It is sad, I wish our leaders could understand how statements like that are percieved in the congregations. It doesn’t engender unity and trust.

  29. Would that dispel your “zero, zilch, zip” fear, Carl Vehse?

    “Fear” is your word. “Suspect” was mine. But it is good that you are willing to meet with congregations and communicate with them about the position you took on the elections and other convention votes. That’s one checkmark in the positive column. And I have also talked with my synodical delegates in the past regarding upcoming issues at the convention.

  30. ‘In the Convention Workbook under the Human Resources report (page 81) it says, “The department has a direct relationship to the LCMS Board of Directors and endeavors to support the board’s philosophy “to be good stewards of the dollars entrusted to us, pay fair salaries, and reward performance in order to be able to attract, motivate, and retain employees.”

    It is sad, I wish our leaders could understand how statements like that are percieved in the congregations. It doesn’t engender unity and trust.” #30

    It is sad–but the statements are true. Does anyone “see” the work that is done? Does it benefit congregations? Is there a lot of waste that should be cleaned up? Or, do we just keep adding to it and maintaining? How can this work be measured? Is it fair to use the word “mission” to describe all of this “bureaucracy?”

    “Financial corruption ran rampant in the outer courts of the temple. Some of the gains that were realized from this profiteering probably went to the family of the high priest. The money changers exchanged coins with pagan symbols on them for acceptable coins to be used in the temple. They charged a premium for this ‘service.’ Those who sold doves sold them at top prices.” (Notes re: Jesus’ cleansing the Temple; from the Thomas Nelson Bible, NKJV, pg. 1612) The Temple has not been in business for a couple thousand years. Instead, Jesus left His work of teaching, preaching, and baptizing in the hands of individual men. And yet, have we have re-developed “Temples?”

    Fundraising letters go out, over and over, to the same lists of thousands of LCMS elderly people. Are the young people of our church going to support this level of giving in the future? They will ask, as we do, for what?

  31. Our SP hates the blogs. Why? Anyone who is willing to learn minimal computer skills can learn things not mentioned in the Witness or Reporter,which they need to know.
    Will the younger people of our church deprive themselves, as some of our elderly have, for “unser geliebte Synod”? I doubt it! [All the more unlikely because it is no longer “unser” “geliebte” or a “Synod”.]
    Even those of us who are not so young have learned enough about the Violet Vatican to say, “I don’t owe it to this man to support him and his consultants in the manner to which he was not born but would like to become accustomed!”

  32. @michael #27
    As a result, along with adjusting salary ranges “by approximately 2.5 percent to reflect compliance with the 2006 Board of Directors philosophy,” the board determined to set the “salary increase budget” at “two percent,

    “Along with…” would you read that as one or the other, or both?

    Where is the money expected to come from?
    Oh, from people whose salaries were frozen, if they still have a job; people whose hours were cut 20%; people who work for the church at less than a fair wage but are expected to tithe that!; people who are laid off; people whose savings for retirement are returning less the 0%, (inflation adjusted).

    May I suggest that a lot of things have happened since 2006 that the IC and the BOD might take note of, unless they expect to be subsidized by Goldman Sachs executives, which I rather doubt will happen.

  33. “Along with..” it sounds like there will be a 2.5% cost of living across the board with an additional 2% that may be more discretionary. A possible 4.5% increase in these tight times . . . . Again, its sad that someone in the International Center isn’t cognizent of how this reads in the field.

    Below is from the Oct. 2008 Reporter (nothing was posted in 2009 in regard to salaries),

    “The average actual salary for the four elected officers of the Synod, the chief administrative officer and the chief executives at Lutheran Church Extension Fund, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Foundation, and Concordia Publishing House equals 137 percent of the average salaries of the 150 highest-paid parish pastors and 150 highest-paid executives of agencies and institutions of the Synod participating in the Concordia Retirement Plan.”

    Perhaps if we could pay 100 percent of the average of the highest paid pastors and use the additional 37% for the seminaries or missionaries in the field. Additionally, I am quite certain that a dollar stretches a lot farther in St. Louis than it does on the coasts. Its hard to see how additional giving to the corporate structure is necessary.

  34. Or you could use that 37% to subsidize the salaries of 15% of the lowest paid full time pastors? eh? 🙂 I mean…welfare is nice and all….

  35. How does the Violet Vatican get information on the salaries congregations pay pastors?

    Do the “salaries of the 150 highest-paid parish pastors” include housing and car allowances?

    Are the “salaries of the 150 highest-paid parish pastors and 150 highest-paid executives of agencies and institutions of the Synod” adjusted for cost-of-living difference across the country before being used in the calculation?

    In addition to this average, is the SP’s salary tied to any kind of performance standards, like increases in total LCMS membership, meeting synodical goals set by the convention, meeting Ablaze milestones, etc.?

  36. Congregations participating in Concordia Benefit Plans annually report compensation information for retirement and disability purposes. It includes salary and housing, I’m not sure about other expenses.

  37. If delegates are really serious about controlling the bloated budgets within synod they will need to control the “golden parachutes” for departing synodical presidents. This means that the election of BOD members will also be important.

  38. Was there a “golden parachute” before Bohlman?
    Or an office in the IC for a departing Prez, to undermine the successor?
    I was told there was not, but I do not remember the source.

  39. @Helen #40
    As far as I know Bohlman’s was the first golden parachute given along with the title as Synodical President Emitus. However, one must also remember that the BOD at that time was very pro Bohlman and there was some noise about this being done. It was for a certain time [perhaps one year]. A Distirct president who is not re-elected will also receive his salary for one year or until he is called to another congregation. One might be able to understand this is the same policy was held for pastors whose congregation’s close, or teachers who have schools closed around them.

  40. Thanks, Pastor Sterle!
    Yes, there was some noise. 🙁
    Who pays the salary for Pastors whose congregations close? (I can understand that District might since they sometimes send a Pastor out with instructions to close a congregation, but do they?)
    And schools?

  41. ” its sad that someone in the International Center isn’t cognizent of how this reads in the field.”

    Or not! Even if – to put the best construction on things – even if the potential raise is less than 4.5%, the mis-writing motivates people to ask questions, which they should.

    I find the concept of “executive retention” pretty laughable at this point in 2010. Who is going to pay premium to lure an LCMS bureaucrat away to their own bureaucracy? What skill sets and experience do the garden-variety executives on Kirkwood Road have, that sets any one of them so far above their counterparts in corporate America, that they’d be such must-have recruits?

    I mean … I haven’t seen that all the activity at the Indigo Intersection has improved things for missions (Kieschnick’s big reason for scrapping liturgies and the word LUTHERAN), nor for congregations or clergy or members.

    Friends in Saint Louis tell me that they danced around identifying themselves as Lutheran after the announcement of the final sale of Classic 99 to the insipid music and highly questionable theology of Joy Radio. What irreplaceable corporate minds at the VV thought that one up, again?

    I know, I don’t mean to derail this into a radio discussion. I’m just saying, not a lot of good has come out of the PP that I can see.

  42. @Helen #42
    Some years ago when a congregation in the Rocky Mountain District was sold, property, bulding and all–that money was placed into a fund which was suppose to help those pastor’s whose congregations closed. I only know of one time that it was used and only to the extent that Concordia plans were continued. In another case the deaf worker was “dismissed” and had no call to which he would go, so many of us fought to have him returned to proper status so that his insurances would kick in again. He had contracted cancer and then was without insurance. But, as far as I know with any degree of certianly there are no funds for pastors or teachers should a congregation or school close–especially in the middle of the year!!!

    My most humble opinion is that this should be the norm for DP and SP as well–although many would argue that they did not know they were not going to be re-elected. However, my answer is that since they receive such high salaries [I believe the SP gets around 175,000 although it may be lower] they should be able to save enough for one year’s salary until they either retire or obtain a call to a new congregation[this for the Pastor types]. I

  43. A distinction should be evident between the office of public ministry in which men are called to congregations, some of which may eventually end up closing, and corporate synodical offices to which men who allow their names to be put into nomination and, perhaps after campaigning, are periodically elected.

    Beside the doctrinal distinctions, there is no Christian or ethical obligation in the latter case for delegates to re-elect even competent corporate office holders.

  44. At the 2007 Convention one of the reasons for the BRTF restructuring and changes to the constitution was the “financial crisis” in unrestricted funds for Corp Synod. I have yet to hear how much money is projected will be saved, or how many staff positions can be eliminated through these changes.

    My simple solution to the $$$ shortfall in St. Louis was to have each Dist. be required to pass on to to St. Louis just 20% mininum of their total offerings. If you look at the Lutheran Annual you can quickly see that offerings have increased substantially over the years. However, Districts have passed on less and less over the years because of the growth in their staff, like MMFs.

  45. @Loren Zell #46
    “My simple solution to the $$$ shortfall in St. Louis was to have each Dist. be required to pass on to to St. Louis just 20% mininum of their total offerings.”

    Very modest. LWML forwards 25% of its “mite” collection to the national organization.
    (It’s interesting to see what some of those national projects are, BTW.)

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