President Harrison Demonstrates Creativity and Unity in the “Raabe-Mission War Room,” by Pr. Rossow

Al Colver has a very informative and inspiring post over on his blog ABC3’s of Miscellany about President Harrison’s new, creative and unifying approach to LCMS missions.

I encourage you to read the entire post but here is a summary. Dr. Paul Raabe from Concordia Seminary responded to a recent Harrison talk with an idea that we need a missions war room so that we can coordinate all of our efforts. That’s all Harrison and his team needed. They set to work creating just such a war room and beyond that, they brought in folks from both seminaries and key missions positions to get everyone working together.

We are looking forward to the efforts of President Harrison to unite our synod in doctrine and practice but in the meantime, just as we reported last week, we are pleased with his work on addressing the hard budget questions in our synod, so too, we here at the Brothers of John the Steadfast are pleased to see Harrison being so creative in addressing the need for the LCMS to “rock the Lutheran world” (a new favorite Harrison quote). Unity in doctrine and practice is going to take quite a while but in the meantime, creative unity in effort on missions and smart, tough budget decisions are going to serve the Gospel well and lay the groundwork to unite us in doctrine and practice.

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

President Harrison Demonstrates Creativity and Unity in the “Raabe-Mission War Room,” by Pr. Rossow — 31 Comments

  1. Does this mean there will be consequences for errant Pastors? Does this mean we will treat the CG mess as Marquart and others have suggested? If so we will rock the world all right and dealing with offenders will be seen as “legalistic” and draconian. When these kinds of actions begin to happen then we will know that Harrison is serious because there is no other way but to root out those in the Synod who contradict our Confessions with their actions and writings.

  2. Personally, I think this meeting is an excellent idea. It will be interesting to see if all these entities can truly work together.

  3. Mames, part of the process is repenting if ones own shortcomings and forgiving others for theirs. Even errant pastors that harmed you and your congregation.

  4. Mames is on to something, in that many of these errant pastors do not repent, in part because ecclesiastical supervisors never hold them accountable.

    I like bringing the missions together. Knowing theirs doctrines are not all in sync, if they need to work together and more closely, a certain forced unity in practice will draw out the differences into the open. Part of the whole Seminex issue was what had started maybe around the Staement of the 44. Reading all these different blogs, it sounded like the strategy was to begin new thinking in the missions deptartment. New people/converts coming in with new ideas would eventually overwhelm the voting at convention. And after these two major crises went with very little defrocking, the LC-MS hasn’t proven to stand up for her doctrines all that well. Even now we have confessinal and missional camps, and is it really coincidental that one side has chosen a particular name? I think this is a good starting point to correct our divergences. I would hope next would be youth ministry. (poor catechesis because we don’t use the SC, NYG, etc.)

  5. @Jason #4
    “…many of these errant pastors do not repent, in part because ecclesiastical supervisors never hold them accountable.”

    Jason has hit on an important issue–the task of ecclesiastical supervisors, especially with respect to doctrine. The DP’s job is daunting–but it must be done. For one thing, just reading the congregations’ newsletters can be very revealing. At the very least, a pastor who is publishing what seems to be errant teaching ought to get a call. Communion policy is another area where error can be readily observed–and dealt with. However, the problems that DP’s have with the pastors in their districts go into behavior, relationships, and other areas that, in my experience, give the DP’s fits–lots of fires to fight, besides those on the doctrine/practice front.

    Johannes

  6. I would love to see the LCMS encourage graduates of Hispanic Lutheran seminaries to come to the USA and plant churches in predominantly Spanish-speaking areas.

    http://www.seminarioconcordia.com.ar/

    Or maybe it could encourage graduates from the LCC Nicaragua Seminary. The Nicaragua Seminary does not have a website, so I will assume that it is not yet ready to send missionaries abroad.

    Who better to use for Hispanic ministry in the USA than someone who identifies with the culture and language?

  7. This is further good news from the Harrison administration to gladden the heart. Pastor Rossow is quite correct in his summary. Keep working on unity in doctrine and practice, be creative in doing mission work, and make the tough budget decisions. This will ever lay the groundwork to unite us in doctrine and practice. The devil will keep inspiring oddballs if that will keep us from helping Christians–who are asking for our theological help–around the world.

  8. James :
    I would love to see the LCMS encourage graduates of Hispanic Lutheran seminaries to come to the USA and plant churches in predominantly Spanish-speaking areas.
    http://www.seminarioconcordia.com.ar/
    Or maybe it could encourage graduates from the LCC Nicaragua Seminary. The Nicaragua Seminary does not have a website, so I will assume that it is not yet ready to send missionaries abroad.
    Who better to use for Hispanic ministry in the USA than someone who identifies with the culture and language?

  9. @Johannes #5

    IF the Pastor repents and changes his tune we are seeing God’s process at work. I am talking about the expansive practices that contradict the Confessions and in spite of being told to change their tune (IF, YES, IF you can find a DP with any stones to move in to correct) they do not. Do not fool yourself we are now in many respects a heterodox body because of a lack of requirement to stay in alignment with our confessions. A large number of our pastors would be just as happy in the church of Rick Warren or Hybels and even now engage in open communion, women on the board, distributing communion or chairing the Elders.

    Also my experience with not just one but many Pastors who fall into this camp serves only as an example and hopefully illustrates what a true mess we are in. I and mine can deal with a jackass pastor whose practices deserve to be “crapped on by dogs” as Luther would say but what about those thousands of baby Christians out there being affected by these wolves in sheep clothing? It is hard for me to get excited about a kumbya war room because I know how deceitful these “men of God” are and how timid their supervisors. They are masters of church speak all the while doing what they please knowing full well their DP doesn’t have the guts to confront them or worse yet is in alignment with their heterodoxy. Please understand that most of the CGM activity is openly supported and encouraged by our DPs. Also I have been through war rooms in corporate america and can’t remember one that worked. What is needed is accountability and stern leadership. What is needed is informed laymen as with the Augsburg confession to tell these Pastors to take a hike. Again I say this for the sake of the body. The Pastoral office carries with it a powerful assumption, that the guy filling it is for real…that is a very bad assumption to make anymore inside the LCMS. Test the Pastoral/leadership spirits to see if they are of God or as Luther would say “another spirit”.

  10. @Johannes #5 BOO HOO if you cant stand the heat…Look let’s get real; many of our DPs are in support of the errors of the Pastors. Heines as President of COP endorsed an book on CG with no repercussions for crying out loud. IF I had my way I would fire the lot of these unrepentant CG folks. BTW confessional IS about the mission we just believe in centering on The Means of Grace instead of vacant “worship” and CG/calvinistic/decision theology. WE CANNOT CUT THESE PASTORS SLACK. THEY SPENT YEARS STUDYING THEOLOGY AND OUR CONFESSIONS. THEY SHOULD HAVE not BECOME PART OF THE lcms IF THEY COULD NOT STAY COMMITTED. Be a man, either your in or your out.

  11. @mames #10

    > war rooms in corporate America

    They are for crisis management and can be used in project recovery. They are not necessarily a good orderly long-term approach. To the extent that we have an off-track ‘project’ here, or a crisis, they can help.

  12. Dear Pastor Rossow,

    Thanks very much for this news! This is truly heartening, for those of us who know how the synod has actually been operating for the last decade or so. And, no, I am not putting this particular problem on the back of the previous president.

    What this means is that FINALLY the various departments and agencies of the synod that work with our partner churches and missions will have a coordinating center, to reduce conflict, reduce duplication, and increase efficiency of our varied mission operations. It will also lead to more efficiency in the use of the “missions” dollar.

    I can see nothing but good coming from this. Dr. Raabe, who is a great “central thinker,” is to be commended for suggesting this; and President Harrison, who is a great “negotiator” (how do you think he succeeded at LCMS World Relief?), is to be commended for supporting it and enacting it.

    Keep sending us good news when you find it, Pastor Rossow, and just ignore that little guy spinning in circles above this comment. 🙂 His concerns will be met in due time. We all need patience (Proverbs 19:11), patience (Proverbs 25:15), patience (Galatians 5:22), and more patience (Titus 2:2, Titus 2:6).

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  13. How does Lutheran Heritage Foundation, which follows up its extensive translation work with intensive short courses for overseas Pastors, (taught by US parish Pastors quite often), fit into this?
    Daniel Preus’s “Luther Academy” also sends teachers overseas in mission areas.

  14. @helen #14

    Extremely good points. Please write to Dr. Raabe and the others about this. I am sure they appreciate Luther Academy and LHF. I was privileged to attend a reception when Dr. Robert Preus was just starting to talk about Luther Academy.

  15. helen :How does Lutheran Heritage Foundation, which follows up its extensive translation work with intensive short courses for overseas Pastors, (taught by US parish Pastors quite often), fit into this?Daniel Preus’s “Luther Academy” also sends teachers overseas in mission areas.

    I agree. Many of the RSOs were established to provide a more conservative missionary alternative to LCMS World Missions. Lutheran Heritage Foundation, Lutheran Bible Translators, etc. Also organizations such as Lutherans in Africa and Luther Academy. And the LCMS official Auxiliaries (LWML, LLL/LHM). They all need to be included in this.

  16. @James #6

    The biggest flaw in the idea of having graduates of Latin American seminaries plant churches for the LCMS is that those Latin American churches need all the pastors they can train. A while back I looked at a few of the churches with which we are in fellowship, and noticed that many of them have far fewer pastors than they have congregations. As it is, we have a couple programs already for training Spanish-speaking pastors; someone above posted a link to the Center for Hispanic Studies which is currently housed at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, which trains Hispanic people to become pastors and deaconesses.

  17. Dr. Rossow,

    Could you expand on this last sentence in your article a little. Though I can see how it will take some time to regain unity in doctrine and practice, it escapes me at the moment as to how “creative unity in effort on missions and smart, tough budget decisions” will lay the groundwork to unite us in doctrine and practice. I do understand that some things that make the synod more efficient can help in the work of the Church to advance the Gospel, but am lost a little on how they serve to unite us “in doctrine and practice.” No trick question here. Just a sincere inquiry. Thank you.

    J. Gier

  18. I look forward to Pr. Rossow’s reply.

    Meanwhile, IMO, a good deal of what is divisive in Synod in the last decade (perhaps longer) seems to have come from “missions”, e.g. TCN, most recently, so if we can move back to Lutheran standards there, perhaps doctrine and practice will benefit?

  19. “Coffeehouses” and other activities not even Lutheran in name (they avoid that) are termed “mission starts” which is another reason for getting “missions” on the same page, (with the Confessions, hopefully, and the “official positions” of Synod, where those have not wandered off the mark).

    [Maybe MN So will reconsider trading ULC for a collection of “Alleys” (or less)!]

  20. helen :

    [Maybe MN So will reconsider trading ULC for a collection of “Alleys” (or less)!]

    Speaking of which, any new news? I did send a handwritten letter to the BOD. Have not received a response, but I didn’t really expect one. Still, I thought that there would be some news by now.

  21. @Concerned Seminarian #18

    Better to have a graduate of a Latin American seminary plant and grow a church in a dirt poor neighborhood in the USA. At least that pastor would be starting out with very little debt.

    I was not aware of the pastor shortage in Latin America. Seems strange that there is a glut of seminary graduates in the USA without calls, but a shortage of pastors in Latin America!

    Student loans function as a ball and chain for many graduates. I wish there were a better way to fund the seminaries…….

  22. “LLL/LHM seemed to be there. That is why I asked about the others.”

    Helen, whether the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, the Luther Academy, and the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League are included with other synodically-related organizations in such a “Global Impact” meeting and noted with a colored icon on a map of the world is a decision that may need the creation of some kind of “war room” group, or at least the naming of a LCMS resources “czar” to handle such organizational questions.

  23. Unity in doctrine and practice is going to take quite a while but in the meantime, creative unity in effort on missions –opening article

    @Carl Vehse #24
    If the IC “war room” ends up exporting our divisions of doctrine and practice, perhaps the groups who provide materials and teach the Confessions are better off “left out.”

    [I didn’t mention LWML; I’ve been out of the loop for some time but my impression was that they were getting their ideas for projects from the synodical bureaucracy, e.g. “world mission”? So they would already be decorating the map.]

  24. helen :Unity in doctrine and practice is going to take quite a while but in the meantime, creative unity in effort on missions –opening article
    @Carl Vehse #24 If the IC “war room” ends up exporting our divisions of doctrine and practice, perhaps the groups who provide materials and teach the Confessions are better off “left out.”
    [I didn’t mention LWML; I’ve been out of the loop for some time but my impression was that they were getting their ideas for projects from the synodical bureaucracy, e.g. “world mission”? So they would already be decorating the map.]

    I figured LWML was guided by those pastoral advisors they elect. Who guides them?

  25. (was at the recent convention in Peoria) From what I remember, they get grant requests or something. It is very naturally that being a MISSIONARY league that many projects they fund would come out of World MISSIONS. LWML has a website and facebook page. I am sure the full listing of supported endeavors are listed.

    And they have two national pastoral advisors, as well as district advisors. These are NOT the SP or DP’s.

    What bugs me (and my wife a bit) is how some congregations do not want to plug into being Lutheran, in thatI know of two pastors in my district that have kille doff the congregational group and will not let it reform. Or at least the one is not sympathetic an dwill not help it start up, and he work sa lot with our urban mission guy, who receives district LWML money. So there is all kinds of brokeness and disunity that needs help. We have a new thread about cooperation of externals, and I see where we could use help in cooperation of internals.

  26. I have a couple of issues with LWML as a mission group.

    One is their pledge, which says, “we pledge Him our willing service wherever and whenever He has need of us.” Believe it or not, God doesn’t NEED us or our work!

    The second is their grant support for groups that are not in altar and pulpit fellowship with LCMS, which they fail to tell the mite-box-fillers.

  27. @Jason #28
    And they have two national pastoral advisors, as well as district advisors. These are NOT the SP or DP’s.

    I am aware of that. I thought someone asked me who guided the Pastoral counselors.

    @Redeemed #29
    The second is their grant support for groups that are not in altar and pulpit fellowship with LCMS, which they fail to tell the mite-box-fillers.

    Wonder how they get those “grant requests”.

    I contribute to the local, when I can get there.
    In lieu of “mite box” contributions, I give to the RSO’s I’m comfortable with.
    revfisk’s Philadelphia missionary is liable to come up the next time I have money.
    (I may recommend that to the local LWML/church mission board, too.)

  28. helen :</strongrevfisk’s Philadelphia missionary is liable to come up the next time I have money.(I may recommend that to the local LWML/church mission board, too.)

    Please do so! Across the river our district has tried to help a mission statup and is giving to our urban mission guy. Maybe sometimes the LWML women are actually looking for LC-MS endeavors. Rev. Fisk is a great option. Awesome idea. (kinda wish we still had him)

    And about the pastoral counselors, I don’t know if the seek or are given ecclesiastical guidance. I tend to think they may be a bit independant there.

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