A Great Resolution on “Lay Pastors” from the Northern Illinois District Convention that other Districts Ought to Pass, by Pr. Rossow

The Northern Illinois District is not what I would call a liberal district but it is certainly a Church Growth district. That is why it was surprising that the convention passed a clear motion regarding the Mathew Becker case. Here is another pleasing result. A call to address the licensed lay “pastor” issue in the synod was passed with 70% approval. We hope other districts will pass this or a similar resolution

The 58th Convention of The Northern Illinois District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod 40 March 6-7, 2015

Resolution 2-12B To Address Licensed Lay Administration of Word and Sacrament


WHEREAS Article 14 of the Augsburg Confession says, “Our churches teach that no one should publicly teach in the church or administer the Sacraments, without a rightly orderedcall” (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions: A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord);” and

WHEREAS in 1989 our Synod at Wichita adopted Resolution 3-05B, regularizing under particular circumstances that the following be done by men who do not hold the Office of the Public Ministry: composing and delivering sermons, leading public worship services, and administering Holy Baptism and Holy Communion (1989 Convention Proceedings, 111- 2 113); and

WHEREAS there has been tension over this issue for the past 25 years; and

WHEREAS in 2007 the Synod established the “Specific Ministry Pastor Program” in which men are trained, examined, certified, called, and ordained in order to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments (Res. 5-01B, 2007 Convention Proceedings, 133 ff.); and

WHEREAS this program was designed to meet the objective, among others, of providing pastoral ministry where full-time ministry cannot be maintained and does so without conflicting  with Article 14 of the Augsburg Confession; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Northern Illinois District respectfully request the Synod to discontinue the new licensing of laymen to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments (1989 Res. 3- 16 05B); and be it further

RESOLVED that those who are currently licensed be encouraged to enroll in the regular or SMP track leading to ordination; and be it further

RESOLVED that those who are currently licensed but not enrolled in the regular (i.e., residential seminary) or SMP track discontinue publically preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments within three years of the adoption of this resolution by the Synod in convention; and be it further

RESOLVED that an extension of the above deadline for those currently licensed can be granted by the appropriate District President in extreme circumstance, and that upon consultation with and the agreement of the President of the Synod; and be it finally

RESOLVED that the Northern Illinois District in convention submit this resolution as an overture to the Synod for consideration at the 2016 convention of Synod.

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.


A Great Resolution on “Lay Pastors” from the Northern Illinois District Convention that other Districts Ought to Pass, by Pr. Rossow — 6 Comments

  1. The problem I see is that when a “lay pastor” has to cease preaching is very loose. A date certain should be established and stuck to. You know DP’s who like this stuff will find one “special” reason or another to make an exception. If this is not ended on a date certain, it will be around for the next 25 years.

  2. Is it true that if we didn’t have a district president problem, we wouldn’t have a “lay pastor” problem? Seems to me this will put a patch on but really, somehow, we have to fix the heterodoxy of some of our district presidents.

  3. @Heather #2

    Yes, basically that is where it started back in 1989. So the synod task force report is to come out late summer. That won’t make district convention, but if circuits have their forums, they can submit overtures based on what they read. And with what may happen at the remaining district conventions (there are still most of them to go) it will be interesting to see the mood, and what kind of detailed direction synod is being asked to go. Ultimately, a lot will depend on which floor committee gets all this and what its composition is.

    And don’t forget, at some time Wichita 89 must be rescinded. It happened before, only to be undone at a later convention by emotional appeal from the floor (a substitute motion won the day). So getting good delegates elected to synod convention is goo, too.

    I encourage a full court press. 🙂 Delegates, overtures, resolutions, conventions (district and synodcial), catechesis in congregations and at Winkles, solid DP’s….

  4. PASTOR Rossow … Have you received/read my 2 emails regarding the sister church in Denmark looking for pastors? I wrote from my gmail to you gmail rosso w. [email protected] gmail.

    Please write any correspondence to præst Leif G. Jensen. Blessings.

    og god Påske! Kristus er opstanden!

  5. I attended service at our sister church in Copenhagen (Kobenhavn), while there on business. They are a small, faithful congregation. Very much appreciated the pastor translating the sermon in English for me. They are also conveniently located near a Metro stop. Great city too.

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