Packets of “homework” have been sent to more than 225 individuals who will participate in the Model Theological Conference focusing on the theme of “The Congregation’s Ministry and Mission: Who’s in Charge Here?” The conference will be held Aug. 23-25 in Phoenix.
In late July, the participants received five articles plus readings they can access on the Internet and in their church libraries. The “homework” offers background for the focus on the application of Scripture to the roles of pastor and laity in the ministry and mission of the congregation.
The conference will serve as a model for similar conferences in LCMS districts. To prepare, each district was invited to send three to five representatives — including a parish pastor, district president, layperson and a commissioned minister — who will serve as planning groups in their home districts. The model conference was planned by a committee of five representatives from the Council of Presidents and five from the Commission on Theology and Church Relations.
The background materials also will prepare the participants to share their thoughts and questions in small groups following plenary presentations.
Two essays will keynote the conference. Rev. Ralph Blomenberg, senior pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Seymour, Ind., and first vice president of the Indiana District, will focus on the role of the pastor. Presenting on the role of laity will be Peter Hessler, a member of Bethany Lutheran Church, Parma, Ohio, and a member of the CTCR.
Another plenary session will consist of a panel discussion by Dr. David Buegler, Avon, Ohio, a staff member at Cleveland Lutheran High School and LCMS fifth vice president; Deaconess Sally Hiller, Alexandria, Va., mission and ministry executive in the Southeastern District; Linda Reiser, Grand Island, Neb., LWML president; and Dr. George Wollenburg, Billings, Mont., Montana District president.
The conference will include daily Bible study led by Dr. Andrew Bartelt, professor and vice president of academic services at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Dr. Dean Wenthe, president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, will serve as chaplain.
In 2002, a theological conference served as a model for district conferences. Noting the success of that process, the 2004 LCMS convention urged the CTCR and COP to plan similar conferences during this triennium.
Posted July 29, 2005