Why President Kieschnick’s Numbers are Down

This is the fourth and final post analyzing why President Kieschnick showed so poorly in nominations. Perhaps his greatest weakness is that President Kieschnick has a very difficult time working with people who do not agree with him. Before I continue please answer the following question.

What do Wallace Schulz, Daniel Preus and Todd Wilken have in common?

You might have answered: All three used to be employed by the Synod and were busy promoting the gospel of Christ in ways which reflected the rich mission diversity of our church. Wallace Schulz was the assistant Lutheran Hour Speaker. Daniel Preus was the executive director of Concordia Historical Institute and then the first vice president of the synod. Todd Wilken was the host of Issue Etc. one of the most successful radio outreach ministries in the history of the Synod.

What do Wallace Schulz, Daniel Preus and Todd Wilken have in common?

Or you might have said: All three lost their jobs working for the synod because they disagreed with President Kieschnick. Wallace was fired immediately after he made a decision to suspend the Atlantic District President David Benke in the aftermath of the Yankee Stadium worship service. Benke, you recall, had been supported by President Kieschnick. Daniel Preus was defeated at the 2004 convention. He had disagreed with President Kieschnick in an Email to a friend which had subsequently become public. The President campaigned strongly against Pastor Preus. Todd Wilken’s demise occurred more recently. He was fired as host of Issues etc. about two yeas ago. Rev. Wilken was known as a critic of certain planks of President Kieschnick’s platform.  

What do Wallace Schulz, Daniel Preus and Todd Wilken have in common?

Or you might have said: All three now work outside the synod in areas which carry out innovative outreach with the gospel into the world. Wallace is one of the prime movers behind the Good News Magazine and is employed full time by Lutheran Heritage Foundation a parachurch group which translates Lutheran theological works into many languages throughout the world. Daniel Preus is Executive Director of the Luther Academy a parachurch group which plans and resources educational opportunities for pastors all over the world. These pastors learn theology and become better pastors. I am especially excited about the Lutheran Academy’s “Indonesia Project.” Almost 100 pastors are transported to a common site and taught theology for a week by an American Professor. These third world pastors then reach out into their country, a country dominated by Islamic influence, more fervently with the Gospel. Todd Wilken is still the host of Issues etc. which was forced to go independent. Unencumbered by synodical, administrative expectations Pastor Wilken is even more effective in communicating the gospel to a new generation of Christians.

One last question: What is the greatest resource of the LCMS besides the Gospel and the Sacraments? It’s people. Without people nothing gets done. Without wholly dedicated, extensively trained, highly motivated, mission-hearted pastors our mission efforts grind to a stop. And all of us kind of suspect that mission work has grinded to a stop in Missouri.      

Here’s the problem. President Kieschnick has a very difficult time working with people who do not agree with him. Men with full time positions end up losing their jobs. These talented and hardworking men are then lost to the synod. Oh, they all still serve in congregations. And they serve the church. They are missionaries. They don’t just go away. They continue to serve. But the synod does not benefit from their hard work. When President Kieschnick is elected by 52% of the delegates and he makes it obvious that he will not work with those who don’t agree with him then almost half of the people of the synod are disqualified from service. That is a huge loss of our greatest resource. That is why the synod has slowed down and that is why President Kieschnick showed poorly in the nominations.  

And it’s not just these three. These are just the ones that made headlines in the church. Look at the appointments of synodical commissions and boards or to convention committees. You don’t see the Wallace Schulzes, Daniel Preuses or Todd Wilkens sitting across the table from those who support President Kieschnick. It’s typically only his men who are trusted.  

Of course we all know how tough it is work with those you don’t agree with. I don’t like it. But most of us who serve the church have learned to do so. Even most of those whose vocation is outside the church need to learn to work with talented people who may not always be compliant.  

What is needed is a president who is willing to work with the vast majority of those in the synod – even those who may not always agree with him.

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