HOUSTON – Delegates to the 63rd Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod adopted a resolution July 15 that calls for “revitalization” of at least 2,000 existing congregations by 2017 in an effort to make them more outreach-focused.
The resolution describes revitalized congregations as “regularly and consistently making new disciples and renewing their members in order that they make new disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The Synod has 6,100 congregations with 2.5 million members. Like many mainline church bodies, it has seen membership decline during the past two decades.
Mission revitalization of LCMS congregations with static or declining memberships is among the North American goals of Ablaze! – the Synod’s worldwide initiative to share the Gospel with 100 million “unreached and uncommitted people” by 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Other domestic goals of the effort include starting 2,000 congregations and encouraging Lutherans to share their faith with 50 million people in North America.
The resolution notes that 67 LCMS congregations are taking part in a pilot program to test mission-revitalization strategies. It asks the Synod to “pray and work” for mission revitalization through its districts, congregations, Lutheran Hour Ministries, Lutheran Church Extension Fund, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, and LCMS World Mission.
The theme of the July 14-19 convention is “One Message: Christ! His Love is Here for You!”