The Lutheran Society for Missiology has launched a five-year project to research all former LCMS missionaries — living and deceased — as the first step in producing a comprehensive “biographical dictionary” of Lutheran missionaries.
Information gathered also will be shared on Web sites and in a variety of print pieces to “celebrate and encourage [LCMS] mission efforts,” according to Tara Mulder, project manager.
The project is dubbed “Facing Missiology” because “it seeks to put a ‘face’ on the study of missions and promote discussion of the issues missionaries ‘face’ in spreading the Gospel,” Mulder said. The project was suggested by Dr. Robert Scudieri, chairman of the Lutheran Society for Missiology board of directors and associate executive director of LCMS World Mission’s National Mission Team.
Organizers already have a list of 814 former LCMS missionaries, and they are seeking input from missionaries who have completed their service — as well as their relatives and friends — in order to complete the list and provide information on each individual. Eligible missionaries are those who served ministries on behalf of the Synod’s mission board and “its predecessors” — prior LCMS mission bodies or agencies.
“[Our] partnership with LCMS World Mission and Concordia Historical Institute makes much of the research possible, but we also need missionaries, their families, and mission history buffs to supply missing and additional information,” Mulder said.
In addition to providing information about missionaries and their work, the project is intended to promote “mission consciousness” throughout the Synod and share “learnings from the past” that may be useful to current and future missionaries as they plan strategies in various mission fields.
Organizers envision the finished project as a resource for mission agencies, professors, students, missionaries and their families, and Lutherans interested in mission history.
“We want to make the Lutheran Society for Missiology the first stop in Lutheran mission research and this serves as a major component,” said Dr. Allan Buckman, executive director of the Lutheran Society for Missiology.
Buckman encouraged anyone with missionary information to visit the project’s Web site at http://lcmsmissionaryalumni.blogspot.com/.
“Look at it and if something is inaccurate, let us know and we’ll straighten it out,” he said.
Organizers hope that, in addition to biographical information on each missionary, the finished directory will include details on “how their ministries affected the work on that field,” according to Buckman.
The Lutheran Society for Missiology (LSFM) is funding the “Facing Missiology” project, which it hopes to complete by 2010. The St. Louis-based LSFM, located on the Concordia Seminary campus, provides a forum for missiological research and critical reflection from a Lutheran perspective.
The society publishes twice a year Missio Apostolica, a journal of mission-related articles, and The Communicator, a newsletter with timely information about U.S. and overseas mission fields. Both are free to members.
Three books also have been published by the LSFM:
- Reaching 100 Million: International Lutheran Leaders Speak Out ($7.50), edited by Buckman, offers eight articles on church planting, leadership formation, and human-care ministry by Lutheran leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States.
- The Lutherans in Mission ($12.50), edited by Dr. Eugene Bunkowske and Alan D. Scott, is a collection of essays on Lutheran missiology, published in honor of the ministry of Dr. Won Yong Ji, professor emeritus at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
- The Apostolic Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Missionary ($12.50), by Scudieri, explores the term “apostolic” in Scripture and in the writings of early church leaders, pointing out that “a truly apostolic church is a missionary church, sent to take the Gospel into the world.”
For more information about the Lutheran Society for Missiology, or to order any of its materials, call (314) 505-7114 or visit its Web site at www.lsfmissiology.org. (Prices quoted above do not include a shipping charge of $2.50 per item.)
Posted Aug. 14, 2006