Proposed Resolutions: Committee 1, Missions (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

Believe it or not, there will be more business to conduct in Houston than electing a new president and dealing with restructuring proposals. Other elections and other resolutions are on the agenda, as well. So in this series of articles, I plan to look at the 106 proposed resolutions put forward by the eight floor committees, as found in “Today’s Business.”

Now I am just one delegate among 1200, and this will be just one man’s take on these many resolutions. It will not necessarily represent how I will finally vote on these things, since I may be missing something that I’m not seeing right now, and I’m open to being persuaded by good arguments–plus, some resolutions may end up being amended. But this can be a helpful exercise for us in “thinking out loud,” and I invite your conversation here as we consider the proposed resolutions together.

So let’s go! We start with the resolutions proposed by Floor Committee 1, on Missions:


1-01: To Celebrate Fan into Flame Blessings and Commit to Its Completion

Where has the Fan into Flame money gone? We’re not told. What sorts of Ablaze! and other projects has it supported? For example, I know of a $25,000 Ablaze! grant that went to a church plant that is very questionable, theologically. Is that what we want to “celebrate”? I don’t.

1-02: To Provide Guidance for Future Direction of Ablaze!

While of course no one is against mission, that does not mean we give a free pass to the Ablaze! program, which has objectionable aspects (e.g., the scoreboard for “critical events”) that make it hard for me to “commend” it. Also, if Ablaze! were a spontaneous “movement,” as claimed, how did a convention “establish” it and how does a board “plan its future”?

1-03: To Increase Outreach to Immigrants at Congregation Level

Outreach to immigrants is a good thing. The only question I have concerns the programs used for outreach to, and education of, immigrants and ethnic groups. Will they be theologically sound and substantive, or will they be weak and watered down?

1-04: To Respond to Opportunities for Outreach to Muslims

Outreach to Muslims–great. But again, my question concerns the specific program mentioned, POBLO. I would need to know more about POBLO, that it is a worthwhile program, before I could commend it.

1-05: To Affirm and Encourage our Military Chaplains

I have known a number of our fine LCMS military chaplains. I think they do a great job. I certainly want to “affirm and encourage” them to carry on faithfully.

1-06: To Encourage Participation in Operation Barnabas

This has to do with ministry to the families of our armed forces. Unless there is some problem with Operation Barnabas in particular, I will vote for this resolution.

1-07: To Encourage Inter-District Dialogue in the Establishment of New Church Starts, Satellite Worship Sites, and Specialized Ministries Across Geographic District Lines

This could be a helpful resolution. I know of cases where church starts and satellite sites have “invaded” existing parish territories–even across district lines–causing problems. This resolution would better regulate and supervise such actions, it looks like.

1-08: To Encourage the “Wittenberg Project” as a Gospel Witness Opportunity

Good idea, if it is run well–particularly, as we head toward the Reformation anniversary in 2017.

1-09: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

One overture from the Convention Workbook that the committee is declining, but which I would favor to be brought up and passed, is Ov. 1-11, “Ask CTCR and Seminaries to Evaluate Transforming Churches Network” (CW, pp. 151-152). From what I know of TCN, it is a theologically very poor program, which–unless it is itself “transformed”–ought to be discouraged.

Next time: Committee 2, District and Congregational Services.


Proposed Resolutions: Committee 1, Missions (by Pr. Charles Henrickson) — 15 Comments

  1. I was curious also why they declined the overture to look @ TCN. Certainly no harm can come from having seminaries and CTCR look at programs from a theological perspective.

  2. 1-02: To Provide Guidance for Future Direction of Ablaze!

    My hope that the direction it is guided is into non-existence.

  3. This is great, Pr. Henrickson! As a voting lay delegate, it helps to comb through the enormous amounts of information.

    Kiley Campbell
    Wyoming Lay Delegate

  4. thanks, Pastor

    I’m sure that some of the resolution titles and “whereases” don’t necessarily reflect the true intent and/or effect of the “resolved s”.

    My brain is spinning from all the reading in Today’s Business.

    These summaries should really be helpful

  5. One of the things that puzzles me is the rationale for declining overtures in the Omnibus resolutions. I mean, don’t you think that people know about previous convention action when they cite that action in the rationale of their resolution? Does it make sense to decline an overture because of the resolution cited in the overture, which the overture asserts is not being followed? (I’m thinking in particular of Overture 1-12, which I had authored.)

    But then again, this is the same bureaucracy that referred Overture 8-80 to the Commission on Structure to see whether it is an appropriate amendment to the bylaws and to put into appropriate language. (Oh, yeah – Overture 8-80 was an amendment to the bylaws with the language written by the Commission on Structure!)

  6. “1-09: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

    One overture from the Convention Workbook that the committee is declining, but which I would favor to be brought up and passed, is Ov. 1-11, “Ask CTCR and Seminaries to Evaluate Transforming Churches Network” (CW, pp. 151-152). From what I know of TCN, it is a theologically very poor program, which–unless it is itself “transformed”–ought to be discouraged.”

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  7. @Krusty Kraut #1
    The harm that can come from having seminaries and CTCR look at programs from a theological perspective is that the seminaries and CTCR will find TCN to be less-than-Lutheran, i.e. based on non-Lutheran theology. That would be embarassing to those who push TCN, to many districts that have unquestioningly embraced it, and would be counterproductive for the powers-that-be who condone the Law-driven approach to church growth. The program has its foot in the door, and unless someone puts a stop to it, it will continue to suck the “Lutheran” out of the LCMS. Until then, our material principle will fade from view as more and more pastors are turned into CEO’s, the parishioners are turned into ministers, and the Gospel is turned on its head.

  8. I wish we could rethink things like 1-06. Obviously it is important to care for the families of military personnel in our congregations, but does it require the sponsorship of the national church body? My feeling is that RSOs (properly vetted) would be a better route for this type of program. I’d be happy to hear why I’m wrong.

  9. As you look at Resolution 1-01, the second to last “Resolved” line 43-45, they want to make sure that “…the remaining districts and congregations of our Synod complete their campaign efforts and all pending gift requests have been closed”.
    They just want to make sure they get all their money before they quit ABLAZE.
    The only other Resolution from committee 1 I’m looking at closely is Resolution 1-02 which resolves the Synod to “give thanks, encourage, commends, evaluates, and encourages”. The Board for Mission Services wants to move on, but Ablaze wants its money.
    Lord willing, we will be able to move on in the next trienium with a Biblical and Confessional Study of God’s mission for the church.

  10. @Scott Diekmann #7
    Things like TCN is one reason why this old pastor is looking forward to retirement in about 10 years. What a shame that the one church body that has such a glorious history of great theology and teaching now turns to those not even Lutheran to teach us!! To be sure one day the LCMS will become less than it is even now–but as Klemet says elsewhere–keep things in perspective!!

  11. @Scott Diekmann #7

    @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #10

    TCN rears its ugly head again. There is absolutely no way TCN will ever be reviewed by our seminaries. LCMS has too much invested in it. It was passed in ’07 in a stealth resolution encouraging “Revitalization” and we’ll have to wait for it to fail of its own weight. If anyone wants to investigate a genuinely Lutheran revitalization program get hold of Pr. Geoff Robinson of the Indiana District.


  12. In case anyone was wondering, POBLO is People of the Book Lutheran Outreach. It is a mission society of the LCMS. Established in 1993, it started in Michigan but has expanded to countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and — not so surprising — Canada.

  13. Regarding 1-07, whereas #2: I think “satellite worship sites” and “specialized mininstries” need to be defined. Perhaps the Council of Presidents, Department of Rosters and Statistics, LCMS World Mission and Secretary of the Synod have done so. It would be good to see what they define these as. “new church starts” is obvious.
    Also, I don’t think this resolution addresses an even bigger problem and that is congregations setting up shop in another circuit of the same district without even consulting congregations and/or DP. Maybe I missed this.

  14. @Matt #13

    LOL. I’m one of the missionaries. I have been with POBLO since…err…let me think. Since 2004. I cannot express how important it is to work with Muslims. That is why I came aboard and have spent the last six years of my life with POBLO. Even though I work under the heading of POBLO, I believe enough in what we do that I give monthly to the main organization. If you have questions, I can talk. Although, I am starting the think that I might type faster than I can talk.

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