By Paula Schlueter Ross
LCMS World Mission is sponsoring four events this summer in conjunction with the Synod’s convention, July 10-15 in St. Louis.
All of the events are “driven” by the mission board’s Ablaze! initiative to reach 100 million people with the Gospel, according to planners, and will involve current missionaries, former missionaries, Lutheran leaders from other countries and U.S. Lutherans.
Here’s a brief description of each event:
- “One Mission Ablaze!: Lighting the Flame Summit … Around the World” is the theme of a June 28 (noon) to July 2 (noon) event at the St. Louis Airport Marriott that will bring together “career” missionaries (those who are “called” or appointed to career service) for spiritual nurture, study and fellowship.
Most of the 70 or so missionary “units,” or families, now serving LCMS World Mission are expected to attend the first-ever gathering, according to planners. Also attending will be LCMS World Mission Executive Director Robert Roegner, U.S. and overseas regional directors and other administrative staff, and North America Task Force representatives — all will be available to answer questions about the mission board’s new structure, budget issues, strategic plans and other topics related to the Synod’s world-mission endeavors.
- The Ablaze! International Summit, July 7 (9 a.m.) to July 9 (noon), will bring together leaders of LCMS World Mission and overseas partner churches for the express purpose of focusing on world-wide mission. The first two days
will be spent at the Drury Inn, and participants will gather the morning of July 9 at America’s Center.
Led by an outside consultant, the international gathering of Lutheran leaders will look at case studies of “what works” in mission, discuss strategic planning and brainstorm plans for the future. Dr. Allan Buckman, chairman of the Ablaze! International Steering Committee, described the meeting as “a first step in forming a global association of Lutheran representatives that will be focusing on mission initiatives.”
- “One People — Many Faces,” the Pentecost 2000+ celebration July 9-10 at America’s Center, will bring current and former missionaries, local and national mission leaders and Lutherans from a variety of ethnic backgrounds together for worship and study. Pentecost 2000+ and its predecessor, Pentecost 2000, were launched by LCMS World Mission to encourage congregations to start ministries among their immigrant neighbors. More than 1,000 cross-cultural ministries have been started in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod since 1999, and all of them are listed on the P2K Web site (see below) as a resource for others.
The P2K celebration begins July 9 with registration at 4 p.m., followed by special presentations and a worship service featuring Synod President Gerald Kieschnick as preacher. Activities continue the next day from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with videos of P2K ministries, testimonies and advice from those who have been involved in the effort, and inspirational messages from a host of past and current Lutheran leaders. Speakers include LCMS President Emeritus Ralph A. Bohlmann; Dr. Dale A. Meyer, the Gregg H. Benidt Memorial Chair Professor of Homiletics and Literature at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and former speaker of “The Lutheran Hour”; Jotham Johann Jhang, executive director of the Center for Asian Missions and Evangelism in Alexandria, Va.; Dr. Ken Behnken, former director of the Center for U.S. Missions, Irvine, Calif.; Dr. Robert Scudieri, associate executive director of LCMS World Mission’s National Mission Team; Rev. John A. Nunes, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Dallas; Dr. Paul Fynn, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana; and Dr. Edward A. Westcott Jr., executive director of the Synod’s Board for Mission Services from 1978 to 1989.
At 3:30, P2K participants will process into the main convention hall to take part in a “Mission Festival Celebration,” featuring LCMS missionaries and representatives from the Synod’s partner churches worldwide. That event will serve as the official kickoff of Ablaze!
P2K activities require registration, which is $50 per person. Registration materials were mailed earlier this year to every LCMS congregation, and also are available online at www.pentecost2000.com. For more information, contact Pentecost 2000+ Director Marie Biesenthal at (800) 433-3954, Ext. 1180.
- The Missionary Alumni Reunion on July 11 will bring together hundreds of former LCMS missionaries. Activities include a luncheon at noon at the convention center, at which eight veteran missionary couples will be recognized, and a reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The former missionaries represent “oceans of cross-cultural mission experience” and have “lots to share,” said Buckman. Participants will be encouraged to take part in an “interactive network” that would serve as a mission resource in the Synod, he said.
Posted May 28, 2004