To Restore a Biblical Pastoral Office in the LCMS

Whereas, the “Specific Ministry Pastor” (hereafter SMP) program was adopted in 2007 with the claim that it would produce “church planters and missionaries” (2007 Convention Proceedings, p. 133); and

Whereas, the SMP program to-date has produced few “church planters” or “missionaries,” but rather 70% of the students in the program are identified as “staff pastors” of large congregations (2010-11 enrollment statistics); and

Whereas, the SMP program altered the pastoral training admissions process, so that the district offices are heavily involved in the admissions process with the seminaries, and this inhibits the seminary admissions offices from
fulfilling their vocation of ensuring that candidates for seminary
admission meet the biblical requirements for admission to the pastoral ministry in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9; and

Whereas, there continues to be concern about the fact that SMP students receive about one- third the amount of training as M.Div. students, and also do not have to be graduates of a college or high school; therefore, be it

Resolved, that the admissions process for the SMP program be immediately turned over to the sole authority of the seminaries, so that all students received for the pastoral ministry, in any program, have the same process and same rigorous examination of fitness for ministry; and be it further

Resolved, that any duties held by district offices in the pastoral training admissions process be reduced to whatever they presently have in the M.Div. program; and be it finally

Resolved, that the President of the Synod appoint a Task Force from faculty members of both seminaries and members of the Council of Presidents, to review the SMP program, assess its graduates, and to report its findings and recommendations to the 2016 synodical convention.

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