Overture to Amend Synod Bylaw

Overture to Amend Synod Bylaw

WHEREAS Synod Bylaw as worded in the 2013 Handbook does not explicitly grant the ability for a Minister of Religion on Candidate status to remain on Candidate status beyond the stated four-year window; and

WHEREAS such Ministers of Religion may still wish to receive a call and be considered candidates; therefore be it

Resolved that Synod Bylaw be amended as follows: “A candidate may continue on the roster for an indefinite period of time by act of the president of the district through which the person holds membership.”


Overture to Amend Synod Bylaw — 38 Comments

  1. They need to 1.) Remove the District Presidents from having any AUTHORITY or DISCREPANCIES to the Extension of the Candidate 2.) Grandfather in all Prior Ordained Clergy who were removed by the expiration of ROSTERED LIMITS !

  2. Rev. Tuttle,
    Your two points are excellent! The DP’s have their fingers in too many things already. It is the DP’s in many cases who have kept men on CRM status and have not actively tried to place these men.

  3. You do realize that this overture would have allowed Matthew Becker to remain on the roles indefinitely?
    And, to Tuttle’s comment, the DP’s are there to do what they are – be bishops. Which means in some instances not allowing petulant congregations call a pastor after they ran the last guy out of town. It also means keeping out of a congregation the jerk that had no business being a pastor. Take DP’s out of the equation and who oversees the call process? Synod? Who wants to vote in that increased budget? Also, as a congregationalist church that is giving a lot of power to an advisory body. Or, should we drop it on the Circuit Visitor’s lap? Really, if the DP’s are not overseeing call processes then what exactly would they be doing?

    One last question, what happens when a new DP comes in? Does the last DP’s act to extend a guy indefinitely stay or does the new DP have to reinstate it?

    And, yes, I recognize that not every DP out there is a super outstanding guy who is just great at being DP. I am just suggesting that you take a breath before you throw the baby out with the bath water.

  4. @Rev. Daniel Ross #3: “And, to Tuttle’s comment, the DP’s are there to do what they are – be bishops”

    While DPs are there to do, tautologically, what they are, the DP is NOT a bishop. The office of a District President is NOT that of a Bishop. The DP does NOT have a title or the authority of a Bishop. The Missouri Synod does NOT mention the term, ”Bishop,” in its Constitution. This has been explained previously by Synodical Resolution and several CCM opinions, which are noted and linked here. The DPs are corporate executive officers with ecclesiastical surpervision responsibilities dealing with synodical membership of its individual and congregational members as described in the LCMS Constitution.

  5. Dear BJS,
    I think I would vote this down. At best, perhaps to go past the 4 year window, the COP should vote on this, to extend past the 4 year window.

    To go past 4 years, no matter what the case, extenuating circumstances must be part of the situation, and this should be handled by a larger board.

  6. Matthew Becker would not have stayed on indefinitely. What little has been shared is the Montana Pres. Forke had been in discussions for about 2 years, with Becker and NOW Pres. Linneman. Charges were being brought up again, but at least this time by someone with enough weight that Linnemann could no longer shelter the situation.

    By saying that “well, Becker’s time was exhausted, so it is automatic dropping” is a lazy and incompetent excuse for the DP to not do his job, i.e. supervision. AND REMOVAL OF FALSE TEACHING. I have a similar concern that at the synodical convention some will try to scuttle DRP and supervisory reform because Becker is no longer a problem. But he is not the only problem person out there, and the structure is objectively terrible and should be fixed in its own right.

    I am not sure this is the best way of going about our issues, but I give it better credence than what exists. Currently a DP can just use this faceless mechanism to remove people from the roster. But then they can claim ‘innocence’ in that it was out of their hands. However, that means the DP’s are failing to monitor, visit, reprove, problems. Or to lead, teach and mentor pastors and congregations into a better understanding of Scripture, Confessions and fellowship. And if not that, then how can true reconciliation happen without a sense of change and forgiveness?

    I personally do not see any healthy RECONCILIATION promoted in our current DRP. Maybe this will help us get there.

  7. @ #5
    The COP should not be involved in this. They are the problem not the solution. If the individual members of the COP had been doing their jobs, this whole issue of CRM would be largely mute. Those who are on CRM and are eligible for a call should be given top placement priority. If they are not fit for a call they they should not be on CRM. (In fact, no one should be on CRM unless they are fit for a call.) If the DP’s had been doing their job, this business about the four year window would not be an issue.

  8. @GaiusKurios #7
    Dead Gais,
    I hear your frustration, but I also toss this out.

    01) All Pastors should refuse to take a call until CRM is 0. Stay put.

    02) I know where that would go. Because many would say they are not heeding the will of the Holy Spirit.

    As for the COP, yes, perhaps you see some DP’s as bad, but many good…that is our highest Council.

  9. That is a false alternative you suggest. Not all pastors should refuse to take a call until CRM is 0. The DP’s need to do their job of finding calls for these men which means actually offering up the names of men on CRM to calling congregations. I have been on several call committees over the years in various districts and not once has a CRM candidate been on the call list. I have also talked with members of other calling congregations and they report the same story, no CRM candidates are ever offered up on a list of names to call. I have known a few CRM’s over the years. They were at least as qualified if not more so than many of the names I have seen appear on call lists.

  10. @GaiusKurios #10
    I disagree, if all pastors refuse, the call list must extend to CRM, or as many would say, “well, SMP, DELTO, etc. would fill the slots.” It would not matter.

    Now we get into some of the meat. When we get to CRM, some are on for the wrong reasons, some should be on the list.

    I could counter with this, I have been burned by men taken off CRM, or have had “a problem”. One never knows, unti the same problem rears its ugly head and almost destroys a congregation.

    Problem is, we are NOT transparent and much of the errors, problems are kept “under the covers.” Only know by COP knows (or should). At best, they must in some method arbitrate problems.

  11. The suggestion that nobody accept a call until every CRM is placed is creating a problem where none exists. The problem is not pastors accepting calls. The problem is DP’s not putting CRM on call lists. If someone is fit for a call they should be on the CRM list. Nobody on the CRM list should be on it if they are not fit for a call. Is every CRM candidate perfect for every situation? No Is every pastor with a current call perfect for every situation? Is every SMP or DELTO, etc perfect for every situation? No. Because some have been burned by men taken off CRM does not mean you don’t call CRM men. Some have been burned by men who have already had calls. Should we then refuse to consider these men? Some have been burned by men who have been SMP and Delto. Should we then refuse to consider these men?

  12. @GaiusKurios #13
    Dear Gaius,
    OK, now as I want to think this through more, need information:
    01) Is the CRM list available?
    02) Is the reason for going on CRM public?
    03) Technically, all “eligible” pastors can make it on the call list for a congregation, with or without DP approval.

    If there is a problem, then the DP best make it public.


    In reality, you and anyone here can name a man and give it to a calling congregation and say “please consider this man.” Now they may ask questions, let the CRM man speak.

  13. Dear BJS,
    Now one thing I may consider is this. If a man is on CRM, he should be invited to local Winkels, the local pastors conference, etc. Why? So he can keep current and keep “in the mix”.

    Is a man on CRM listed as CRM “at large”, or within a district boundary?

  14. @Pastor Prentice #5

    I could counter with this, I have been burned by men taken off CRM, or have had “a problem”.

    You’ve said that. How many? One?
    And how? You generously donated money and decided he hadn’t needed it?
    [God will reward you!]

    I haven’t met a CA who didn’t need money, but you may have.
    Or it may have been, “in your opinion”.

    [I’ve been done like that but not by a CA!]

  15. @helen #16
    Dear Helen,
    OK, lets chat:
    01) Burned? Specifically, a couple! But I cannot share details
    02) Known a few “bad apples”. but some may consider me one too.

    In the end, YES, God knows the heart, and all will be sorted out…

    If you help a man out, and he is a bust, or turned on you…all you can do is sitg back and know “you did the right thing.”

    The problem with CRM, we never know all the details.

    If a man came to me as I sit now, I want to know details of what happened, how they got there, what will they do to correct the error (“if” error occurred.) Or were they the victim of a congregation.

    BUT, you need details as you move forward. Because the Church ultimately issues the call to that man, they should have all information on the table.

  16. @Pastor Prentice #12

    In line with this, is the CRM list available to the public? Not the reason why, but the fact a man is on it?

    IF there were such a list for synod, it might be obvious where the trouble districts were. I think the DP’s might be more embarrassed than the men on it.

    But… if there were such a list… would you like to see your name published?

    Will you have the congregation’s name published, too? Because I know at least one congregation that “eats preachers”… several in a row have rapidly come and gone.

    [One Pastor I know was a good man and did very well in his next call; one I know even better, may not have been as good, IMO, but I could be wrong.]

    You want their names, given your attitude that, if they were forced out, they (not the congregation!) “must have done something wrong”. [Not an uncommon attitude, unless you’ve “been there” or been there with a friend.]

    Would a scarlet “C” satisfy you?

  17. @helen #18
    Dear Helen,
    I guess my answer is ‘yes’. We have public calls, and by nature of that, we are open to false accusations, scorn, blessing, etc.

    I believe in being transparent, yet confession / forgiveness is part of all.

    If I had a problem, that did not cross boundaries of dragging my family or children in, then it needs to be part of the public record. Yes, I should have the ability to defend myself, etc.

    That letter can we washed away. As our sins are washed away regularly.

    The problem is we still live in a society where the dreaded “lawsuit” can arise. Sad.

  18. @Pastor Prentice #5

    Pastor Prentice,

    I am utterly confused as to your objection to this overture. All this is asking for is making it possible for an individual who wants to remain a candidate for more than four years to be able to remain a candidate for more than four years. If there are extenuating circumstances then those should be handled on a case-by-case basis with the individual’s district president. Otherwise, anyone who is perfectly suited to be called, certified by the synod to receive a call, and desirous of a call should be classified as a candidate, regardless of how long that individual has been on candidate status.

    And no, the C.O.P. should not have a say in this. The C.O.P. is not a legislating body. They aren’t really even a body with that much authority (or at least they’re not supposed to be). They are supposed to serve synod, not legislate it. What this is calling for does not affect the C.O.P. in the slightest.


    Rev. Josh Osbun

  19. @Pastor Prentice #14

    Pastor Prentice,

    It would be helpful for discussion purposes if you used our current terminology. “CRM” doesn’t exist anymore. We now have ACTIVE members (those with calls) and INACTIVE members (those without calls). Inactive members are either EMERITUS, CANDIDATE, or NON-CANDIDATE. Non-Candidates can still receive calls, but they have either requested to be not considered or they have been automatically placed on Non-Candidate status due to the bureaucratic pitfall that this overture seeks to correct.

    If an individual is not eligible to receive a call–regardless of being Active or Inactive–then that individual is on RESTRICTED status.

    I hope this helps to clarify what’s going on and what’s being asked for.


    Rev. Josh Osbun

  20. @helen #18


    As a man on Candidate Status, yes, I would love it if that list were published.

    But it also takes our leadership not treating us like lepers. To a certain extent, I believe this is starting to happen. It will take time, yes, but to me it appears that we are headed in a positive direction.

    Part of the reason for that is that we as a synod are talking about this. I believe we could have (and should have) done more at the last convention, but at least some positive things were accomplished.

    So yes, please publish my name as a candidate. I would be most appreciative.


    Rev. Josh Osbun

  21. @Pastor Prentice #17

    Pastor Prentice,

    The details aren’t your concern. Sometimes they are private and personal. Regardless, it involves matters that you were not involved in. So don’t worry about it.

    That’s why these classifications are important. If a man is on candidate status then you should put the best construction on that and trust that he is perfectly qualified to receive a call. You don’t need to know anything else.


    Rev. Josh Osbun

  22. @Pastor Prentice #15

    Pastor Prentice,

    Inactive pastors are still part of the circuit in which they reside, so yes, they are still invited to winkels. The problem is that many of them have full-time jobs that don’t permit them to go.

    The inactive pastor (provided he is not on restricted status) is not limited to a certain location or territory. He is no different than a man on active status, except that he doesn’t have a call. He can serve anywhere in the synod.

    Again, this is why it would be helpful if you learned and used the correct terminology.


    Rev. Josh Osbun

  23. @Rev. Josh Osbun #22

    As a man on Candidate Status, yes, I would love it if that list were published.

    Thank you for your replies, Pastor Osbun!
    I have grown cynical! As I first read the “whereas” it seemed that it was lumping three categories together and the effect would be to further conceal the numbers of Candidates… (and, IMO, some in leadership would love to do that!

    Let’s face it. Can you name a “church growth”/”praise band” Candidate? I can’t (although some have “progressed” in that direction in hope of getting placed on a call list by a DP enamored of “entertainment church”).

    Getting the numbers out makes the laity aware that their long vacancies are not necessary. That, by itself, should help the matter.

    And if that means a decrease in “alt. routes” and elimination of DP licensed “Lay ministers”, the LCMS will be more Lutheran for it.

  24. @helen #25

    Don’t understand. Why are “trad route” folks more Lutheran than “alt route”? Don’t they both have the same professors?
    Is there any evidence more heterodox pastors come from “alt route”?

  25. @John Rixe #26

    Don’t they both have the same professors?

    Same professors, maybe some of them. Same courses/number of courses?
    Some with a minimum of course work do have an interest in continuing their education, which is commendable.

    Luther taught in Latin and was familiar with Greek and Hebrew, besides his German, which it would benefit our Pastors to know, as well. If you know more, you can teach more.

    With more languages, you have more resources for study than your own version of what a passage means… [It appears that no one has translated Luther’s Bible into English, since we go (officially) from one reformed translation to another. I wonder why not!]

    I currently sit under a Pastor who regularly refers to his Greek NT in expanding on the meaning of the day’s Gospel. It’s helpful.
    I regularly listen to a former Pastor as well, who uses his Greek and his German as the occasion warrants.

    In all fairness, I also know that many “trad route” pastors, as you call them, have let a good deal of dust overlay their languages and in that way are not particularly “stellar” in the pulpit.

    I would not equate “heterodoxy” with ignorance! Where would that leave the majority of parishioners who closed their catechisms at 14 and thought they were done with learning!?
    On second thought…maybe…for Lutherans!

  26. @Rev. Josh Osbun #21
    Hello pastor Osbun,
    Thank you for the information, you bring up good information.

    01) Granted, stay on the roster, OK…
    02) We as you state, appear to have differing ways we handle things…
    03) As for why a candidate, there is still some reason for a “senior pastor” knowing the reason. Now, that allows to make some proper determinations for a possible call of the assistant nature.

    Let me digest, thanks for the information.

  27. @Rev. Josh Osbun #24
    Dear Pastor Osbun,
    OK, perhaps I want some action at the 4 year limit is to do this:
    01) Ask why?
    02) Act on it…if you are available and willing, why are we not calling you? Have we as brothers and sisters, the Church failed you?

    So maybe another Resolved?

    Resolved: That a “review panel” review the current status and actively engage all opportunities to find and engage the Church to place the candidate.

    Not sure what that would be, but we need to do something.

  28. @Rev. Josh Osbun #20
    Dear Pastor Osbun,

    More I think about it, I hope you did not get the idea that I do not care about the men without a call, on candidate status.

    I think this falls short. Many men play lip service to helping these men out. I have tried in many ways to help, provided monies, opened up positions, lobbied best I can.

    Even this DELTO boy, I understand the hard work you all did, the hours, the toil, to be shunned. The Lord has blessed this worker/priest with a good living, and I serve a tiny, tiny parish that would, could not provide a “living wage” for a man…yet I am content. Stop by my parish, I can certainly provide some work.

    I will do my best to try and make a solid effort to get pastors off candidate status and into the parish. I have actively done that in practice, would do it again (and again).

  29. @helen #27
    Dear Helen,
    Trad route pastors? I love your comments, as I guess I am one in your eyes. I had the same profs, did the same course work (modified some)…yes, not up to the languages, but my vicarage with Pastor Heimsoth was long and hard 3 years??
    And I hope many pastors, alternate or not continue to learn and be educated more. I toil on, 1/2 way through my MA at Wheaton College. (It is killing me time wise).

  30. @Pastor Prentice #30

    Pastor Prentice,

    Yes, this falls short. But it attempts to do something simple, easy, non-controversial.

    In the realm of politics it is important that we make judicious moves. Yes, we could try to fix the problem in one convention. It won’t happen. Whatever we try would fail.

    Or we can try to fix it a little bit at a time. It’s far from perfect, but at least it moves us in the right direction.


    Rev. Josh Osbun

  31. @Rev. Josh Osbun #32
    Dear Rev. Osbun,
    I know, small steps, but this one I think can be acted on better. I can go slow, got a good job, a nice parish…God is good…many in candidate are struggling, day by day and we need to act, faster.
    There is no reason that every DP could not encourage a review of the “list” and make recommendations…and if a man must travel across the country, so be it. And perhaps we help out?
    I want us to ask, why?
    After 4 years, why is a man on this?
    01) If good to go (and that is a loaded comment)…this man should be in a parish.
    02) If there is a problem, what is it? And is it being addressed, in some way, public or private.
    You know what, my NID has Rev. Haney as the District Call Coordinator, I will ask him, “do we consider men on CRM?” If yes, good, “any placed”?
    If not, “why brother?”

  32. @Pastor Prentice #33

    After 4 years, why is a man on this?

    If he is a confessional liturgical Pastor in a district which is doing only
    “praise band” mission starts, and will attempt to push any vacancy in that direction, …well, does that answer your question?

  33. @helen #34
    Dear Helen,
    Then (sad) if a man is on candidate status for 4 years, it should be reviewed and a call anywhere should be discussed and planned…in fact, all along.

    Hmmm, you are a candidate in the entire Synod, right? Yes, you may have been placed on it from a district, but you can take a call, anywhere…albeit, moving across country, etc. has its own hardships.

    OK, long story short, “if” we had a review process mandated along the way, candidates should be actively recommended everywhere.

    In the NID, plenty of places to go.

  34. Does this arrogant attitude represent the
    LCMS church in a loving Christian manner? Is this attitude encouraged? Is this how we grow our shrinking LCMS church? How can we responsibility place these people in a congregation and expect it to grow? Knowledge without proper application is useless.

  35. My previous statement was not posted so I need to clarify my previous comment. I am a simple minded lifelong member of the LCMS church and a fairly new member of a church. I have average knowledge of my faith and would like to learn more through activities in my church. My church has many seminarians and they’re families who attend. My wife and I sense a very arrogant and aloof attitude
    Towards those of us who aren’t in ‘the club’. I was rudely snapped at over a very minor situation and backed out of the activity. How is this prevalent attitude
    Going to encourage Christians to learn more in they’re faith? How this arrogance considered Christian behavior? I shudder to think that these people represent LCMS values. Should they even be placed in a church unless they come ‘down to earth’ like the rest of us? I apologize to you professionals because this comment is off topic. I don’t know where else to ask these questions in a private setting.

  36. Overture to Amend Synod Bylaw

    WHEREAS Synod Bylaw as worded in the 2013 Handbook does not explicitly grant the ability for a Minister of Religion on Candidate status to remain on Candidate status beyond the stated four-year window; and

    WHEREAS such Ministers of Religion may still wish to receive a divine call and be considered candidates; therefore be it

    Resolved that Synod Bylaw be amended as follows: “A candidate in good standing will continue on the active candidate status roster in the District in which the person holds membership as long as that candidate remains in good standing, unless that candidate himself requests a change of status through his District President.”

    And be it furthered Resolved that all prior ordained clergy who had been in good standing and yet were removed from active candidate status only because of this mandated expiration, be notified in writing by Synod that they will be reinstated on the active candidate status as soon as such a person confirms one’s desire writing to their current District President within 6 months of the notification.

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