Great Stuff — Missional Moments?

Found on Pastor Messer’s Abide in My Word:


The Minnesota South District Convention will occur later this week. In reading the agenda, I notice that there is time allotted for eight “Missional Moments” throughout the convention. What in the world are “Missional Moments”?

If I had to guess, I’d say that these will be five minute videos or testimonials of some sort, showing how this or that congregation or these or those individuals are “sharing their faith” in some fashion. If I’m right, these videos or testimonials will probably be accompanied by emotionally-manipulative music playing in the background as the convention witnesses how the lost are being reached (have your hankies ready!).

I’m basing this guess on a couple of factors: 1) I have seen this sort of thing personally in the past at my own district conventions. I think they were called “Ablaze!(tm) Moments” or “Great Commission Moments” or “Faith-Sharing Moments” or something like that. They were cheesy and not at all in line with our Lutheran Confession of the faith (of course, saying that these days is seen by many as being akin to kicking puppies, but so be it), but they had just the right amount of emotional manipulation to cast a spell over many in the assembly, leading them to believe that these sorts of “___________ Moments” was what the Church was all about, the real “ministry” and “mission” happening not via the preaching of the pure Gospel and right administration of the Holy Sacraments in the Divine Service, but out there in the world whenever a Christian has a “critical moment” with an unbeliever unchurched person and makes a “gospel contact.” 2) The “Guiding Principles” of the MNS District, which sees its mission as “developing missional leaders in congregations and schools” and wants all Christians in their district to see themselves as Missionaries, who “fervently seek opportunities to speak of Jesus with friends and neighbors,” and wants congregations in their district to see themselves as “mission outposts.” This, of course, comes with all sorts of goal-setting, since it is important to keep track of how well this “everyone a missionary” strategy is working (i.e. how many souls are being saved by the Missionaries – all Christians – in the district). Plus, if all those Missionaries are not being as fervent as they ought, these goals can be referenced to guilt motivate them to get out there with more fervency to reach the lost (after all, as our former synodical president often quipped, “Every time I snap my fingers, someone goes to Hell!”). So, I’m guessing that these “Missional Moments” will be used in the spirit of these Guiding Principles – opportunities to reinforce the idea that everyone is a Missionary and to motivate all to get out there and save the lost, already!

The irony in all of this is that those who follow the “everyone a minister/missionary” philosophy (which comes from decidedly un-Lutheran sources – just sayin’) think that, in doing so, they are fulfilling the so-called “Great Commission.” Really, though, what they are fulfilling is what I like to call the “Great Omission,” since, well, they actually omit the things Jesus Himself says makes disciples in their missional, Jesus-follower-making model. The things that actually make disciples (Baptism, catechesis, absolution, preaching, reception of the Lord’s Supper – all under the authority of Jesus in the Church He established and in which He continues to be Present) are secondary to the real “ministry” and “mission,” which happens whenever a Christian Missionary confesses the Gospel shares his/her faith with an unbeliever unchurched person out in the world. In the “Great Omission,” what is really important are the “gospel contacts” all the Missionaries (all people) make. The real “Gospel Contacts” (Baptism, catechesis, absolution, preaching, reception of the Lord’s Supper) are often not even counted in the goals of those who follow the “Great Omission” (e.g. none of these actual “Gospel Contacts” were important enough to be counted in the running tally of soul-saving that used to stain grace our synodical website in the “Ablaze!(tm) Ticker”).

But, I know, I’m just a nasty, polarizing “confessional,” who doesn’t care about saving the lost. If I did, I would jump on board with the program and start teaching the people I am blessed to serve that they are Missionaries, who need to get out there in the world and start saving the lost – pronto! But, alas, I love them too much to burden them with the guilt of allowing so many people go to Hell because of their obvious laziness. Plus, I still hold the crazy belief that saving the lost is something best left to the Holy Spirit, who does that lost-saving work via the means of grace (Holy Word and Sacraments), which He Himself established for this purpose. So, I teach the people I serve to live out their God-given vocations and to always be ready to confess the faith if and when the Holy Spirit presents the opportunity, but to also be comforted by the fact that they are not “missionaries” and that saving the lost is not their job, which, of course, means that neither myself nor the congregation I serve will ever be featured in a district’s “Missional Moments” at a convention. Oh well, I suppose I’ll have to learn to live with that.

Whatever these “Missional Moments” turn out to be at the upcoming MNS District Convention, I think it is safe to conclude, based on the actions of the MNS BoD toward University Lutheran Chapel, that none of the following pics would be considered by them to be “Missional Moments.” On the contrary, what you see depicted in the pics below has to be eliminated so that they can fulfill the “Great Omission” by selling and destroying ULC to make way for students to be raised up as Missionaries, so that more “gospel contacts” can be made and less people will have to go to Hell whenever we snap our fingers.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff — Missional Moments? — 2 Comments

  1. I got the sense that this use of the term “Missional” was meant as a skewer for those who are not buzzword or hype-driven.

    This was a face slap after the last convention when the conservatives took a big hit….. they were basically saying “nanner nanner boo boo” We are in charge! “Missional! Missional! Missional! Missional!

    They have become a parody unto themselves! I’m reminded of the knights who say nee! “We will say ‘missional’ to you if you do not appease us!”

    But wait, there’s more, On the Biographical data to be sent in by candidates there was a section which said:

    “The Minnesota South District’s Mission Statement is: Developing Missional Leaders in Congregations and Schools”

    followed by the statement “Are you supportive of the District’s mission statement?” Yes or No

    See how much fun we have here in MNS?

  2. Conventioneer,

    Can you fill us in with some of the details? Who was elected to the new BOD? Who gave speeches and what were the reactions? Any interesting resolutions? Any drama or humor? Thanks so much.

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