Great Stuff Found on the Web — Fixing CRM

Another great post over on Musings of a Country Preacher by Pastor Lincoln Winter:

 

countryPreacherOverture 7-17, “To Provide Process for Placement of Candidates” is an attempt to fix a long-standing, and increasing, problem: Men who serve faithfully are removed from office, and then languish in CRM status (The LCMS term for purgatory) until the time limits for CRM run out and they are removed from the roster. As of the 2013 annual, we have 217 men who have been trained, judged fit to serve, have been ordained into the office of the holy ministry, are willing to serve, but are not serving a congregation. It seems strange that our Lord says, “…Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,” but our synod is telling 217 men, “never mind.” This overture attempts to correct that oversight by doing several things:

If a man is on CRM status and has problems that would affect his suitability for ministry, then his District President must give concrete steps for him to take to resolve these problems. Currently there is no requirement that a man on CRM be given any sort of guidance for resolving outstanding issues.

If a District President is simply being obstinate and refusing to designate as fit to serve one who is indeed fit to serve, it allows for the pastor in question to request Dispute Resolution to determine whether he is indeed fit for service. This holds the District President accountable for determining who is fit to serve. Currently, a District President is not required to ever agree that a man on CRM status is fit to serve, and he needs to give no reason for such a determination.

If a man is indeed fit to serve, it provides a process for receiving a call into a congregation, through the regular placement process. It also provides congregations a way to call these men, should they choose to do so.

In order to make sure that such a process does not short-circuit our already-in-place training and placement of pastors, candidates receiving their initial placement are given priority.

A short letter to the Synod’s Secretary, noting the importance of this resolution, could help 217 men who are willing to serve, but not at this time given to serve. It helps them, their families and the church. We need to do a better job of taking care of our own, and this resolution, while perhaps not perfect, at least makes an attempt to try and fix this scandal. So, here is the Bleg: Please Contact the Secretary of Synod and tell him that you think this resolution should be brought to the floor of the convention.

[email protected] or, if you really want to impress, use paper:

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod,
Office of Secretary.
1333 S. Kirkwood Rd,
St Louis, MO 63122-7226

PS. Don’t forget to send a copy to the office of the President, as well:[email protected]

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, LCMSsermons.com, 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 KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff Found on the Web — Fixing CRM — 114 Comments

  1. Debbie Harris :
    Wow. Personality tests?? My son did mention he had to take lots of personality tests and he is very much an introvert. Hard to believe this sort of thing would keep a person from being sent to the mission field. Do DP’s truly have this power? So, did this congregation call you – or bow to the DP?

    The congregation did extend the Call to me. The only thing that would have kept me from accepting the Call would have been the inability to find employment to supplement what they could offer me. After 8 weeks–they gave me extra time to consider the Call–I couldn’t find a job for which I was qualified. They were able to find a retiring pastor who was willing to take the Call to serve there.

    As for personality tests, I was sent to an ELCA health facility in Minnesota by the DP who had helped wrangle me onto CRM, where I was subjected to two very long personality tests–one of which took me upwards of three hours to finish. The test showed that I’m not an introvert–at least, not by a psychiatric definition. Sadly, some who have risen to the highest echelons of LCMS ecclesiastical authority think introversion is an impediment to effective ministry. It makes one wonder if they’ve ever read the Pastoral Epistles. Poor Moses wouldn’t have qualified in their districts, but what did God know? He’s not a DP.

    Trusting in personality tests as an indication of how a man will do as a pastor or missionary exhibits a profound lack of trust in God. After all, if God calls a man to serve, He will equip that man as He sees fit.

    I was afraid when the current head of International Missions took the position that the trends of his DP past would continue. Seldom do I like it when my cynicism reflects reality, and this is no exception. On the bright side, at least now I know not to apply for a missionary position with the LCMS.

    Oh, and I don’t recall which personality tests I took for the now-former Rocky Mountain DP. However, for the now-former DP of the Ohio District, I took the MMPI-2 and T-JTA tests.

  2. Debbie HarrisWow. Personality tests?? My son did mention he had to take lots of personality tests and he is very much an introvert. Hard to believe this sort of thing would keep a person from being sent to the mission field. Do DP’s truly have this power?

    Oh, no. According to the LCMS Constitution, synod is but advisory and districts are but synod in a specific locale.

    (But then again, many DPs didn’t get that memo. 🙂 )

  3. The thoughts below are not mine. I found this blog today and thought this particular post was comforting. It changes nothing, but the scripture does help a bit to soothe my very sad heart.
    http://anorthernobserver.wordpress.com/

    CRM is a unique place in synodical politics, where a man who’se trained years to serve as a pastor can find themselves ousted from a call, placed on the CRM list, and then sit and languish for ages waiting for another call.

    I know it’s not going to make much difference, but I’ll feel better posting some pertinent Scripture citations here:

    Pastors are sometimes referred to Christ’s Ambassadors through whom He makes His appeal (2 Corinthians 5:20). Therefor, the way pastors are treated should be given special consideration:

    And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Mt 25:40

    What makes this a fundamental offense in Christiandom is that when such men wind up CRM’d, not because of some wrong they did, but because of some wrong someone else did, which was then either ineffectually opposed, or perpetuated by the “powers that be”:

    He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the LORD require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?
    Mic 6:8

    Some will say “Wait for God – He will provide”, as if this relieves Synod and the pastor’s fellow believers of the responsibility to their brothers in ministry. Such was the doctrine of the “religious authorities” of Christ’s time who used their traditions to invalidate the responsibility children had towards their parents, while sounding high-minded and pius in the process:

    For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban” ’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

    Mk 7:10–13

    Such neglect and dismissal certainly isn’t the fruits of love, which implies….

    If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
    1 Jn 4:20–21

    I think this is most damning of all citations:

    What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
    Jas 2:14–17

    Could it be that the lack of fruit of all the “evangelism” and “mission” programs is in part because God knows that a church that can’t properly care for it’s own pastors will not take good care of a harvest of new believers? And that, in the end, “The church” would drive them away, and their final state would be worse than how they are now?

    One has to wonder….
    .

  4. Carl Vehse :
    Yesterday I received a response from LCMS 1VP Herbert Mueller, Chairman of the Colloquy Committee for Pastoral Ministry. He thanked me for alerting the colloquy committee to the past history of Mose Henney, and noted that the colloquy application materials the committee received had nothing about that history.
    Vice-President Mueller also wrote, “I have also consulted with the district president of the congregation where he has most recently been located. I ask you to please be assured that his application is being handled in an appropriate manner according to the Word of God in 1 Timothy 3.”

    This is truly disturbing to me – that someone who has been defrocked from ELCA (or anywhere!) for clergy sexual misconduct/abuse would be allowed to serve as pastor of an LCMS congregation and perhaps even be allowed to colloquy 🙁 I thought we had a zero tolerance policy? So disturbing. Ten years ago, my pastor was defrocked after admitting to sexual misconduct and my nightmare is learning he is out somewhere else abusing women. Clergy Sexual Misconduct is NEVER an affair NEVER! In some states such as Minnesota it is a felony. Carl Vehse – could you possibly respond to me about this? Have you heard any more assurances that this situation will be corrected and that this ex-pastor will not be allowed again into a situation where he can harm congregants? Forum Administrators certainly have my permission to give you my email.

  5. @Debbie Harris #6: Have you heard any more assurances that this situation will be corrected and that this ex-pastor will not be allowed again into a situation where he can harm congregants?

    I don’t know anything more about the Mose Henney case other than I’ve noted here or on Post #47 in another BJS thread. I have not received any other information from 1SVP Mueller or anyone from Wisconsin or elsewhere. I have not been told whether 1SVP Mueller and the Synod Colloquy Committee will approve Henney’s application to be a pastor, which, unexplained by Mueller, Henney has already been at Lamb of God Lutheran (?) Church for over a year. Laymen will just have to check future Notices in the Witness or Reporter to find out.

    I have no idea why Larry Stoterau has not yet been suspended as President of the Pacific Southwest District and Chairman of the Council of Presidents (perhaps Mueller has not yet told Harrison about the FUBAR).

  6. Thank you for the response and for reporting what you saw in the notices. I check them often myself because of our past defrocked pastor…have already found out about him teaching Bible Class to college students using his title. Maybe nobody in authority cares but I do. I hope your own reports are heeded and acted on before that defrocked pastor harms another congregant. Guess we are off the topic of this thread….talking about CRM and perverts as if there is any connection 🙁

  7. The March, 2013, Lutheran Witness Notices noted that Richard L. Ramirez had submitted his application for the Pastoral Colloquy Program through The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

    The June, 2013, Lutheran Witness Notices noted that Richard L. Ramirez has completed the Pastoral Colloquy Program of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and is therefore, eligible for a call.

    Messiah Lutheran Church , Fairview Park, OH, still has Rev. Ramirez listed as pastor. Messiah began as a mission of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s English District. In the 1960s and 70s, Rev. Bertwin Frey was pastor of Messiah and served for a time as president of the English District. In the 1970s he congregation left the LCMS and joined the AELC, and in 1988 became part of the XXXA, affiliated with the Northeastern Ohio Synod headquartered in Cuyahoga Falls.

    According to this Messiah Lutheran Church website:

    Rev. Richard L. Ramirez STS, has been a part of Messiah’s pastoral staff since 2000. He is a 1980 graduate of Christ Seminary-Seminex (M. Div) and a 1973 graduate of Concordia Teachers College (Seward NE) (B.S. Ed). He currently serves on the Northeastern Ohio Synod’s Ministry Committee and as the dean of the Northern Ohio chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity (STS), which is a ministerium of Lutheran pastors intent on the renewal of the Church.

    Rev. Ramirez is not listed in the XXXA’s roster of pastors. Rev. Ramirez is still listed as STS Dean of the Northern Ohio Chapter.

  8. @Debbie Harris #45

    From Randy Golter in the OIM ‘Reporter’ insert: “The triune God’s chosen way is to send His church, pastors and laity, into this world. ‘You are the salt of the earth’ (Matt. 5:13). It is how it is, the Lord’s way; so it is ours. How about you? Serving? Pastor? Deaconess? Teacher? Doctor? Overseas? We want the best. Sound doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16). Steeped in love. ‘Fervent in Spirit’ (Rom. 12:11). You.”

    Unless, of course, you are on CRM or don’t score right on your personality profile tests. Sickens me to see this corporate model crap. What horrible mistrust of the Holy Spirit!

  9. @Rev. Alan Kornacki #10
    Pr Kornacki you were exactly right as was my son. This man in his high position has effectively halted Jason’s hope to serve as a full-time missionary. It makes me sick. I suspect that all of my letter writing has reached this man’s ears because he finally manned up and called my son yesterday – flatly told him he was not even considered because of his CRM status and that was the end of it. All because he landed on CRM because his church went broke? This prejudice must have been in play for at least the last six months while Jason had every reason to make his plans to serve as a missionary. What a cowardly act to mislead him in this way.

    My one hope is that he now has a new DP and hopefully he will once again receive a call. I am clinging to that hope. His new district is Indiana (worker priest at Trinity Westville) and maybe being there in Fort Wayne they will be more likely to follow the official stance on CRM as published on the LCMS.org website in the FAQ section. Each man should be considered individually and my own pastor has told me his new DP is a good man. Maybe I am totally naive. Time will tell and I have hope.

    Those of you who have posted here – perhaps some of you can be instrumental in putting in a good word for my son. I know that some of you know him – he has posted here on this thread back in the weeks when he was still so hopeful about his mission call and that his years of struggle were about to end. If anyone knows of secular employment in the Westville area, I know he is willing to move to be close to his calling congregation but he needs a job as does his wife. I do not know how he keeps up his hope and desire to serve but that is all he has wanted since he was a teenager. He put all of his trust in an organization that is broken and I often feel I have led him wrong by raising him up with so much trust and hope. I expect such mistreatment from private corporations but stupidly expected and hoped for something more from a religious organization who claims to follow Christ, offering witness, mercy and life together.

    This experience has completely shaken my faith – not in the triune God, but in the LC-MS. I cannot in good conscience allow any more of my tithes to support the synod. For now, they must go to support my son to get him through the next few months.

    There has been some discussion about CRM being afraid of making themselves known and that may be true. Jason has no idea I am even writing all of this. At this point, how can he be hurt any more than he already is?? So I am taking that chance.

  10. I found this letter http://priestlyrant.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/dear-calling-congregations/ several months ago and at the time I was still learning more and more about what CRM is and is not. I think the letter is an excellent one and wish that all of our DPs would read it. Maybe just understanding the reality of the problem and looking at each man individually could go a long way towards “Fixing CRM” Have some of the BJS readers seen this letter and what do you think?

  11. From the LCMS.org FAQ – these questions and answers do not seem to agree with what I have learned most recently about CRM. Why is this? Are these FAQ outdated, unknown or just ignored?

    Q: For a pastor, what does the abbreviation CRM mean? What causes a pastor to be in CRM status? Is
    this a self-determined status, or is this imposed by Synod, Districts, etc? Or mutual agreement? Is the
    reason for CRM status available to congregations? Individuals? How is a pastor removed from CRM
    status? Are there specific steps for the pastor, or for a calling congregation? Are there any cautions
    that a congregation should exercise when considering a call to a pastor now on CRM? Generally
    speaking, I have always associated CRM status with a ‘troubled’ pastor. Is this a correct association?
    A: As the LCMS uses and applies the term “CRM status,” the following can be said:
    1. “For a pastor, what does the abbreviation CRM mean?”
    CRM is the abbreviation for “candidatus reverendi ministerii,” that is, “candidate for the reverend
    ministry.” It is generally referred to as “candidate status” and basically means that this pastor is a
    member of the Synod and is a candidate, that is, is available and open to receive a call. Under this
    general classification, the Synod also provides a category called “non-candidate” for those pastors who
    wish to remain on the roster to do pulpit supply, etc., but are not open to receiving a call to full-time
    ministry.
    2. “What causes a pastor to be in CRM status?”
    A pastor may be placed on CRM status by his district president for any number of reasons. He may have
    decided to continue his education for a while, or the congregation he has been serving may have gone
    out of existence, or he may have had a health or family problem which has caused him to take some
    time off, etc. In a limited number of cases, a pastor is on CRM status because he has resigned his
    previous call due to difficulties in his ministry or in the congregation he has been serving. District
    presidents place pastors on CRM status to keep them on the roster of the Synod while they are without
    a call. The pastors themselves decide whether they are available for a call (“candidate”) or whether they
    wish to take some time away from the pastoral ministry (“non-candidate”).
    3. “Is this a self-determined status, or is this imposed by Synod, Districts, etc.? Or mutual agreement?”
    Pastors on CRM status have in the past served under a call of a congregation or other entity eligible to
    extend a call. They have resigned their calls for any of the above reasons and have requested and
    received from their district president CRM status. It is generally a matter of mutual agreement.
    4. “Is the reason for CRM status available to congregations? Individuals?”
    The reason for CRM status is available to District Presidents who generally are free and willing to provide
    this information to congregations during the call process. The exception would be if there are
    requirements of confidentiality. Personal information regarding church workers is not ordinarily
    provided to individuals.
    Page 4 of 23
    5. “How is a pastor removed from CRM status? Are there specific steps for the pastor, or for a calling
    congregation?”
    A pastor is removed from CRM status, generally speaking, when he receives and accepts a call. He is
    then no longer a candidate for the ministry. He is a called pastor. A candidate can remain on the
    candidate list for two years in order to provide opportunity to receive a call. Congregations do well to
    consider these pastors since they are obviously available. Such pastors will also want to be very open to
    consideration of any calls they receive. Non-candidate CRM pastors, who only wish to remain on the
    roster of the Synod but are not interested in a call at the present time, may remain on the roster as noncandidate
    CRM for eight years, renewable once.
    The Bylaws of the Synod do provide for a status called “restricted status.” Sometimes CRM pastors are
    also on restricted status. This is imposed upon them by their district president to provide time to work
    through some things, such as personal problems. During the time a CRM pastor is on restricted status,
    he is not available for a call. The pastor may request removal of restricted status, for which the Synod
    has provided an appeal process in its Bylaws.
    6. “Are there any cautions that a congregation should exercise when considering a call to a pastor now
    on CRM?”
    When a congregation considers a call list that includes the names of pastors that are currently CRM, it
    should consider the names of CRM pastors with the same care and prayer with which it considers the
    other names on the list. Of course there will be interest in knowing why a pastor is currently without a
    call (CRM). It may even be that he has resigned his call from his most recent parish. It is of course quite
    possible that the cause behind his resignation lays with circumstances in the congregation rather than
    any concerns or shortcomings on his part. In any case, his district president by granting to him CRM
    status is saying that this pastor is fit for the ministry and may be considered a candidate to receive
    consideration and a call.
    Unfortunately, CRM status is at times associated with trouble. This is not a correct general association
    for reasons already given. As a matter of fact, a congregation that passes quickly over pastors on a call
    list that are on CRM status are doing an injustice to those pastors and to themselves. Many such pastors
    come from very positive past call situations.
    Usage: We urge you to contact an LCMS pastor in your area for more in-depth discussion.
    Published by: LCMS Church Information Center
    ©The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
    1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
    888-843-5267 • [email protected]http://www.lcms.org/faqs

  12. I had lunch this weekend with my own pastor , his wife and about 12 other church members. The discussion turned to the recent graduates of seminary and how happy everyone was that each man now has a call. I had to ruin the joyful mood by speaking about my own son and the reality of CRM. The comments were pretty consistent in attitude that they understood that this list of pastors contained all of the problem men, perverts and rejects. I hope that my comments changed their attitudes and thankfully my pastor was there to agree with most of what I said. I do not know where these stereotypes come from but it is my hope to do all that I can to help this very sad situation. I am just one layperson, a mother, who has had to learn so much about this mistreatment of some very wounded shepherds in the past year. I hope I am not over using this forum but I am very very disheartened the more I learn about it and am glad to read that some people are willing to discuss it and hopefully come up with ways to fix it.

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