Concordia Seminary, St. Louis – Board of Regents – May and July Minutes

I asked for the minutes from the secretary of the Board of Regents and here they are.

May 2018 Board of Regents Meeting Minutes

July 2018 Board of Regents Phone Meeting Minutes

Go ahead and take a read – make a comment as to anything you see that is notable.

Here are my notables which may or may not be actually significant:

May 2018 Notables:

Provost search – The minutes reflect that the Regents had very little time to prepare to call a Provost.  This is not to say Dr. Rutt is not a good candidate, but just it doesn’t seem that the Regents were involved much before the meeting to actually bring him on.

Reconciliation between Faculty and Regents – Besides the costs ($6,900 plus $175/hr) this seems strange to be needed in this situation.  If you are able, track the back and forth that lasted throughout the meeting on this topic.

LWML at CSL – The LWML was offered space at the Seminary.  I think this is a wise use of space to start consolidating resources from all of our organizations feeling the demographic and financial decline of the Synod.

CSL-Wyoming/South Wisconsin Relations (Concordia Journal, Evolution, etc.) – The required actions of the Regents from their March meeting were not done by Pres. Meyer.  There was much discussion it appears from the minutes.

Salaries – The President of CSL has a $216,500 per year cash salary.  This is a larger issue across synod (including the office of the President) and I wonder how much the Concordia University Presidents make in their offices.  At a time when church workers are struggling to make ends meet and congregations struggle to keep up with guidelines (which are meant to be minimums), $200K+ salaries can certainly be offensive (Remember when Confessionals went after Pres. Kieschnick’s salary?).

July 2018 Notables:

New Library Dedication Speaker Controversy – It appears like the original speaker for the dedication of the new library at CSL was Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer, a professor of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School of Deerfield, IL.  The Board of Regents directed the Seminary President to disinvite him in favor of an LCMS speaker (preference for Pres. Harrison or a member of the Praesidium).  Here is the program from the dedication in which Dr. Rosin, a former faculty member of CSL was the speaker.

Dr. Vanhoozer’s information can be found here.  He is not a Lutheran.  Here are his selected works from that biography page:

Biblical Narrative in the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur (Cambridge University Press, 1990

Is There a Meaning in this Text? The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge(Zondervan, 1998; Christianity Today Book Award, 1999)

First Theology: God, Scripture, and Hermeneutics (InterVarsity Press, 2002)

The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology (Westminster John Knox, 2005; Christianity Today Best Theology Book of the Year, 2006)

Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion and Authorship (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

CSL-Wyoming/South Wisconsin Relations (Concordia Journal, Evolution, etc.) – The meeting did not discuss the matter even though it was on the agenda.  They ran out of time for their meeting. Synod Vice President Daniel Preus encouraged the regents to make it the top item on the August 2018 Regents meeting agenda.

I don’t know anymore because no other information has come my way on the topic since even August (as a pastor in the Wyoming District I would have received a note or something if the Regent resolutions of March 2018 were followed).  We will have to wait until the official minutes are released from that meeting I guess.



About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.


Concordia Seminary, St. Louis – Board of Regents – May and July Minutes — 9 Comments

  1. I hardly think this is the most important issue discussed, but it’s the only one on which I feel like commenting on: There is NO purpose in the Seminary President receiving a $215,000/year salary. This is not a commentary on CSL or its president per se. I likewise don’t know what CTS president, or CU presidents, or actually Synod officials make in salary, but if it’s similar it’s not good.

    The reasons given for paying CEOs, other business execs, nonprofit execs, and secular university presidents a lot of money (and, I might add way more than $215,000/year) is that the market demands it. That is, these men and women will get paid by someone else, so if you want a competent CEO, CFO, university president, etc. then you need to pay someone enough that they won’t get hired away from you. This is fine, and I have no problem with capitalism in the world.

    However, CSL (CTS, CU, Synod, etc.) is NOT the world. The worker is worthy of his wages, but also disciples of Christ who are studying for the ministry and churches supporting the seminary (or university or synod) have limited resources and must be good stewards of the money entrusted to them. To wit, as noted in the article, there are MANY underpaid pastors in the synod. Although from a dollars point of view, bringing a few officials’ salaries down by even $100,000/year would hardly solve this problem, there’s no good reason to exacerbate an already-difficult situation.

    The other reasons given for high salaries in the secular world involve increased responsibility and increased risk. These issues are likewise not really applicable. Although the president of Synod or a university indeed has awesome responsibility, so do parish pastors. Moreover, Church officials bear no particular risk of job loss and financial hardship. If a Church official is elected out of office or removed by the board of regents, there are no doubt going to be congregations willing to call them as pastors (assuming they are not suspended from the roster). In fact, as the evidence shows, the greatest risk is borne by parish pastors who are not well connected within the synod and therefore subject to blackballing by those who control call lists.

    Even in an economic sense, this is silly. Does anyone believe that there is a large market clamoring for the services of LCMS, seminary, university, or district officials? Is a rostered LCMS pastor likely to decline the position of seminary (or synod, etc) president because he doesn’t receive a 50 or 100% (or for many pastors a 400%+ raise)?

    I am all for fairness, and I do not begrudge officials of the synod and its entities a fair salary. Indeed for some positions within Concordia Plans etc. which are essentially secular — lawyers, actuaries, investment managers, etc. the above doesn’t apply. We need good people and will have to pay commensurate salaries. But for an ordained minister, I make the following generalized suggestion: The base salary for any synod (or university/seminary) official should be the district pay scale. On top of that, if housing is provided, a housing equity stipend may be added as well as technology/travel expenses. Also, some of Concordia plan perks most parish pastors could wish for could be added — matching contributions to a 403(b), supplemental life insurance, etc. Finally, the seminary/synod should keep some money aside for severance payments to help these men bridge a year’s gap if they are ousted in an election or removed for performance reasons not leading to suspension from the roster.

    I can’t see any reason that the above wouldn’t be fair.

  2. Thanks for posting these. Exec Sessions for plausible deniability drives me crazy. Thanks for running this down.

  3. Here are the salaries of top LCMS officials, per The Reporter of November 2017:

    First Vice-President
    Chief Administrative Officer
    Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer
    Chief Mission Officer

    Here’s the figures from the October 2015 issue of The Reporter:

    President: $210,156
    First Vice-President: $177,498
    Secretary: $184,338
    Chief Administrative Officer: $184,117
    Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer: $177,498
    Chief Mission Officer: $164,000

    Here’s the numbers from The Reporter on September 27, 2007:

    President: $165,225
    First Vice President: $139,697
    Secretary: $153,059
    Vice President/Treasurer: $153,059
    Chief Administrative Officer: $139,697

    Executive officers of major legal entities (Corporate Synod, CPH, CHI, Church Extension Fund, Foundation) — Actual Low: $86,893; Actual High: $166,321; Actual or Average: $121,925

    Executive Directors of Corporate Synod, CPS, other boards, commissions and departments (including LCEF and LCMS Foundation) and CPH VP and other officers — Actual Low: $86,046; Actual High: $148,359; Actual or Average: $122,276

    Other managerial, technical and supervisory staff of Corporate Synod, CPS, other boards, commissions, and departments (including LCEF and LCMS Foundation — Actual Low: $32,000; Actual High: $122,266; Actual or Average: $64,691

    In 10 years the LCMS President’s cash salary went from $165, 225 to $252,573. That’s an increase of $87,348 or 53%. None of the other listed offices are anywhere near that kind of increase.

  4. Wow. If I got paid even half or a 1/3 of that, I could actually pay off my debts and put money away for the future.

  5. These facts are helpful. One point of clarification, please: do the salaries at the bottom of the table (Executive officers of legal entities etc.) pertain to 2007 or 2017?

    I can certainly look at these numbers and be jealous. I can covet my neighbor’s house, as it were. The important thing for our synod to consider — not that it seems likely it would get brought up at a synod convention — is whether we want to take salaries of rostered synod officials out of the hands of the board of directors (re: board of regents) and/or put caps on cash salaries and guidelines for benefits.

    The purpose, by the way, is not to make sure that certain people don’t make more money than I do. The purpose, as I see it now, would be twofold.
    1) This is somewhat scandalous (not in the technical sense) and suggests that the officers of synod are worth more than parish pastors. The appearance of excessive spending on officer salaries is never good, even in the secular world.
    2) Huge differences in salary encourage people to seek these offices who love money. This is not to imply that the current officeholders are in this way breaking the first commandment — just that this pay structure encourages it.

    Moreover, as I said above, I consider it wholly unnecessary from an economic point of view. Finally, none of this pertains to unordained executive or financial offices. That’s a whole different issue which could also be discussed, but fits into a whole different realm.

  6. George,

    1. I cut and pasted the information from The Reporter articles as it was published and then tried to make the breaks between each year more clear by putting in a dashed line at the end of each quotation. So, to answer your question, the table mentioning executive officers of legal entities, etc was from the 2007 article (I believe it would be for 2008 salaries).

    2. I believe the synod has some sort of formula it uses in establishing these salaries, not that they are developed by boards for each entity. Here is a link to last year’s notice in The Reporter about how salaries are determined:

    3. It is not only the disparity between these officers and parish pastors that causes scandal, or jealousy. When the typical parishioner hears these numbers, then hears the plea for increased offerings, they often turn a deaf ear. And it hurts the mission of the Church.

  7. “When the typical parishioner hears these numbers, then hears the plea for increased offerings, they often turn a deaf ear. And it hurts the mission of the Church.”

    Exactly. My own pastor, and a few underpaid friends in small congregations need anything I can give more than triple digit officers do.

  8. Perhaps a resolution for Synod convention might read something like:
    Whereas, giving and trust in the Synod are negatively impacted by large salaries of some Synodical officials,
    Therefore be it resolved that, All boards of directors and boards of regents of Synod are required by 2021 to change their compensation philosophy guidelines for fair salaries so that all pay for ordained clergy be limited to 200% of the district salary guidelines for a parish pastor in the district where any employee is based.

    Most officials are in Missouri and so their hiring boards would be working off of that scale ( I think this would likely bring all salaries back down below $200K, but would still allow flexibility in other executive hires as suggested.

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