Please Support the Overture Project

We are requesting the support of LCMS members for a KickStarter project to raise a modest $3,000 to build a build an online, open-access database to process all overtures submitted to the 2015 District Conventions. Subsequently, overtures submitted to the national Convention in 2016 will be subject to the same analysis. It would also be easily repurposed for future conventions.

The Overture Project

The Overtures will be categorized, tagged, and classified in order to provide a high level overview of trends within the LCMS as reflected in the aggregated content and outcomes. If we exceed our fund raising goal we will be able to add visualization tools to better interpret the data.

The primary reason for pursuing an independent project is to confirm whether or not the Floor Committees are doing an adequate job reflecting the will of the members of the LCMS.

As part of the project we intend to build a parallel service that examines the relationships and credentials of individuals nominated for offices throughout the Synod.

This will be an independent project without official recognition from, or ties to, the Synod. We believe that it will be the most powerful tool available to members of the LCMS to better assess what is going on in their Districts and Synod. It should also prove valuable for Convention attendees wanting access to Overtures without having to rely on exclusively on Synod publications.

The project will initially rely on crowdsourcing to help input the Overtures.

Fantastic rewards are available for those pledging $25 or more. Your pledge will only be taken up if the full $3,000 goal is met.

Please help by contributing and spreading the link to your social media networks using this link:


Please Support the Overture Project — 18 Comments

  1. What an excellent idea! I have always been a skeptic of what overtures make it to the floor of my district and synod. If nothing else, this may make the higher ups aware that we are holding them accountable.

  2. Just donated $25!

    Easy to do with my amazon acccount.

    Great idea Tim. Keep up the great work although I fear this is just an exercise in seeing how hopeless the LCMS beauracracy is. Hope I’m wrong. It is useful either way.

  3. Resolutions have had the originating entity…congregation, district, whatever… attached, even if the originating party didn’t recognize their “contribution”.
    It would be interesting to see the original alongside the output of the floor committee.
    It would be interesting, too, to see which floor committees let the resolutions out in a version reflecting what went in.

    [And if not, why not?]

  4. I kinda like the idea. And I was curious to see how this would play out. Past commenter aletheist shared the news, and I just knew Pres. Benke would not like it. 😀 Should be fun to see how much is shared, and what push back/resistance Tim will encounter.

  5. Thought overtures had to have the stamp of approval of the District Presidents before they could be submitted to the floor committees of the synodical conventions to be even considered.

  6. @Ralph #6

    No, I think since circuits and congregations can submit, a lot can get to Ray Hartwig (or whoever) to get divided into whatever floor committees. Of course, since DP’s chair those floor committees, that’s where the massive changes happen to see what actually does see the light of day.

  7. Any way we could get Term Limits for DPs on the agenda? DPs no longer serve as “presidents” within the LCMS, but instead act as kings (and many are Heterodox Kings) who are accountable to no one. We should limit their “Empire Building” as much as possible.

    AND, for those “confessional DPs” out there, not so fast. A true leader would make a public stand against the actions of his fellow brothers who have publically strayed. Otherwise, the sheep, and other shepherds, are left to believe that your doctrine is the same as theirs. One more thing for those “confessional DPs” caught in the mess: How can you sleep at night knowing what you’re allowing? Seriously, how? Character, Integrity, Honor: where is it?

  8. @Randy #8

    Lately it seems like a district or two every cycle eliminates term limits. The trend is not in your favor.

    As for acting like kings, I think the COP needs to be curtailed. Part of that is overhauling the DRP. While I am not overly cynical of the CTCR (I like the cross representation with a few laity on board), that the COP gets to (again) appoint a few people there….

  9. And I have ways to get some juicy details to Tim first hand. I will try to hook up with him when the time comes. Getting resolutions should be easy. A lot of districts do stuff online, so you can see workbooks. Watch their websites for news to see what passes. Might be after the fact. I would very much like to see submitted overtures at the district level. Sometimes they may show up in workbooks.

    And yes, supporting this would be great, so that Tim can launch his site.

  10. Overtures to the synodical convention can come from congregations, districts, or circuits. These original versions are printed in the convention workbook in advance of the convention, and can be studied online as well. (I believe that there might be some limits on this, like slanderous ‘whereases’ might not be printed, but am not sure about that.)

    Then they are assigned to specific floor committees. Each floor committee is required to address each of the overtures that are assigned to them. Some are tabled completely, some are combined, some are sent on into omnibus resolutions, but none may be ignored.
    The floor committees work very intensely on preparing the resolutions that they bring to the floor of the convention, and often modify them somewhat during the convention itself. Some resolutions that the floor committee wants to bring forward never make it to the floor because of time limitations, which are quite severe.

    My impression from participating in the last convention and serving on a floor committee is that the time limitations effect the final resolutions more than I had realized. Wording resolutions in such a way that they will be acted on without a lot of debate increases the number of resolutions that actually make it to the floor at all. I think that our conventions should be longer to allow more time for discussions on the convention floor and to ease the pressure toward ‘bland’ resolutions.

  11. Will the originator of this project please tell us if this project is still alive? Seems there would be ample time to “get it going,” even though we may have missed the original deadline.

  12. Hi Robert

    Unfortunately, we fell short: this message was sent to all those who pledged:

    Dear Friends

    Thank you for your support and generosity in being willing to back the Overture Project on KickStarter. Unfortunately, we fell far short of our goal so we will not be proceeding. The project received wide exposure so it was not for a lack of reach that we did not reach the finish line. Rather, we believe that we underestimated how little most members of the LCMS know about the Convention process. As a result, it was probably difficult to make the connection between a database and what goes on at the Conventions, and how it affects individual churches and members. That’s a long way of saying that we failed to properly educate around the classic “WIIFM” – what’s in it for me.

    However, we are investigating alternative options since we remain convinced of the necessity of this service to the health and well-being of the LCMS.

    Thank you again. We appreciate your willingness to step forward.

    Grace + Truth

    Tim Wood for the Overture Project

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