ST. LOUIS – A new Board for Pastoral Education was directed to “undertake as its immediate first task a systemic study” of funding models for theological education within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and put a plan in place within the next three years.
Delegates to Synod’s the 62nd LCMS Regular Convention, in adopting Resolution 4-02A by 846-313, noted that the financial assistance needed for seminaries is in addition to development and “third source” income. The resolution was adopted with little discussion July 13..
The action asks the new Board for Pastoral Education to engage church counsel and support for “resolving this crisis.” The delegates also said, “that interim funding be secured” to guarantee financial solvency of the seminaries until a plan is implemented and proven successful.
In a separate action, delegates adopted Resolution 4-01, which calls for promotion of “Stewardship Ablaze,” a unified stewardship education initiative, beginning in 2006. The resolution was adopted 678-446. Debate began July 12 and was completed July 13.
The stewardship program is intended to “raise awareness of faithful stewardship” in all LCMS congregations, according to the resolution. It encourages each district to conduct Stewardship Ablaze education conferences. It also asks the Synod’s Board for District and Congregational Services to collaborate with the Council of Presidents to implement the initiative.
Giving to the Synod has “fallen short” because more funds are being kept for district programs, said Brian Hughes, lay delegate, New Berlin, Wis., during debate. Hughes, arguing against the proposal, suggested the Council of Presidents should learn about stewardship before congregations should be asked.
Speaking for the proposal, Rev. Gerhard C. Michael Jr., president of the Florida-Georgia District, said the resolution was about Biblical stewardship. “It’s not all about money, but stewardship includes money,” Michael said. “The heart of it all is Jesus Christ. Freely we have received, and freely we should give.”
Posted July 14, 2004