Also note if you are looking for currently convention information, the people over at Cross-Focused Leadership for Missouri have a live tweet from the floor on their site.
Matt Harrison: Bold New Leadership for Bold New Structure
Now that we have voted for new structure to address some of our financial problems, it is even more important that we choose a leader who can bring us forward with a vision and energy for the future.
This is the moment for the Rev. Matthew Harrison. The Synod has been blessed with wonderful presidents throughout our history. And this year, we have an incredible opportunity to elect another. Harrison will be a president with proven success as a pastor, a missionary, and a Synodical executive.
THE HEART OF A PASTOR
Matt Harrison has been running Synod’s World Relief and Human Care efforts for nearly a decade. The Synod’s mercy arm has thrived under his leadership. As an inner-city parish pastor, he helped his congregation reach out the community.
When a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, Pastor Harrison didn’t show up for a photo op and a hotel room. He was on the ground—literally sleeping on the ground for days on end—providing pastoral care to the sick and wounded by the Word of God and prayer.
He has also successfully communicated the Synod’s theology of mercy—in fact, helped us rediscover our theology of mercy. Now the LCMS is upheld around the world for its mercy work.
As we rapidly approach 2017, we see a world increasingly turning to the LCMS for confessional Lutheranism. In Pastor Harrison we have a leader who can winningly articulate what it is and who we are, and what it is that we believe as Lutherans, and how to show love to our neighbor.
EXPERIENCE AT ALL LEVELS
Harrison grew up on a farm in Iowa and pastored a parish in a blighted urban area. He was a missionary to the indigenous tribes of Northern Canada, 100 miles past the end of the road. And yet he has effectively run and energized the multi-million dollar charitable arm of Synod for years. He’s a superb theologian who has translated countless works of our church fathers, and yet he can easily explain our doctrines to people who have never been touched by the love and mercy of our Savior. He has effectively used new media to reach the younger people of our church, leading the way for Synodical outreach to the larger community. Matt Harrison is at home wherever the Gospel leads.
The new structure calls for the President of Synod to oversee significantly larger budgets than under the previous structure—from less than $2 million to over $50 million a year. Matt Harrison has already managed budgets of $10-$20 million a year. In fact, over the past 8 years, Harrison has overseen $108 million in funds from Synodical congregations and donors and has always kept his budget in the black—unique among larger Synodical boards. And these moneys have been used for the poor, for the sake of the neighbor, in service of the neighbor. What Matt Harrison has done with LCMS World Relief and Human Care, he can now do for the LCMS as its president.
Pastor Harrison is one man who is uniquely qualified to implement the new structure of the LCMS in a way that will make a profound impact on reaching others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the director of WR/HC for the last decade, Harrison has worked to bring together a lively theology of mission and a vigorous mission of mercy. If you elect Matt Harrison, you will ensure that the desperately needed work of mercy to the suffering will thrive throughout our church body.
CONGREGATIONS ?HAVE SPOKEN
Take a look at the congregational nominations for President. Rev. Matthew Harrison received 1,332 nominations to President Kieschnick’s 755 nominations. Yesterday the convention voted to have congregations directly elect the president. If that rule were already in effect, Matt Harrison would be president right now. Delegates should listen to what the congregations of Synod are saying. This is true grassroots support to unite the Synod behind a vital and effective leader.
A LEADER FOR ALL OF US
For too many years, our Synod has been limited by division. Resolutions about the direction of Synod pass or fail by only a few votes. Isn’t it time to move beyond the 48% to 52% margins we’ve been seeing again and again at this convention and in the previous few conventions? Are you satisfied with this kind of division on extremely weighty and important matters?
Matt Harrison is a uniter. He reaches out across the aisle, welcoming any and all LCMS groups—whether they are on the left or right of Synod. He works with them to have a true conversation, to go past their differences, and to get to work. Many districts and their presidents have worked with him to support mercy projects throughout the country and around world. Harrison has developed fantastic relationships with church leaders in Kenya, South Africa, Haiti, Latin America, and South Asia. Harrison is truly a leader who can unite those around him.
A WINNING TEAM
The new structure requires a united team with complementary gifts. Rev. Herb Mueller has been Southern Illinois District President for over 15 years, one of the longest serving in Synod. He is respected by his colleagues on the Council of Presidents. With a combination of administrative experience at the congregational, district and Synodical level, this is the team to move us forward.
Words From? Matt Harrison
“The key to exploding upon the world in mission and mercy is this: Courage through repentance and renewal by the mighty Word of God.”
“I can tell you from experience, the quality of pastoral care in smaller congregations is quite often phenomenal. The LCMS has some of the best-trained clergy in the nation. The vast majority of our pastors and teachers serve parishes with small numbers with “full-scale” commitment. This blessing has marked the existence of our Synod from her earliest days and will continue to mark our existence well into the future.”
“Faithful Lutheran doctrine is missional and true Lutheran mission is doctrinal.”
“Walther kept ‘pure doctrine’ and ‘mission’ together … and the church actually grew and grew steadily while it maintained doctrinal unity and clarity of confession.”
“No one group in the Synod has moral hegemony or superiority. We are all pure sinners, in need of pure grace. Our fundamental problem is unbelief. We do not believe the Word of God actually can and does unite us.”
“The Synod will never be united by political means. But we have the Word of God, and that Word unites. The Word can bring us together, again.”