I just read the article about the debt study in the January Reporter. I found the first sentence interesting: “While three out of four LCMS-rostered workers are comfortable with their current levels of debt, about one-third of them say debt has negatively affected their personal lives or ministries sometime during their careers.”
I wonder if the results hold true for the pastors of our Synod. Just yesterday at our monthly circuit pastors meeting, we got into a discussion of leadership and congregational support. Of the six pastors there, it was apparent that three were suffering deeply with financial problems because of the poor pay from the congregations they serve.
I’ll bet if you were to check with former LCMS pastors, you would find that many of them left the ministry because of the lack of financial resources when they served as pastors.
The December 2006 issue of both Reporter and its “Pastoral Education” insert had articles that dealt with recruiting students for our seminaries. “Pastoral Education” asked specifically, “Where does the recruitment task begin?”
My answer is relatively simple: primarily with the local pastor.
I contend that every pastor should at least recruit one man, young or older, to replace him when he retires or dies. And if the church is to expand and grow in mission outreach, he ought to try to recruit up to three more for the future of our church.
We should be thankful for the dedicated professors and other seminary staff members who are avid about going out into the field to hold recruitment seminars, retreats, workshops, whatever. But they have to depend on the local pastors or other back-home folks to bring the prospects to them.
We can do it, if we all work at it. God bless our efforts and the future of our church.
Dr. Arnold E. Kromphardt
New Port Richey, Fla.
In January’s “Pressure Points,” Dr. Hartung is asked about using a deaconess to support the Office of the Holy Ministry because “it is said that there is a clergy shortage in our LCMS.”
I have no issue with using deaconesses, since these women provide broad-ranging service to our church body. However, I was disappointed that the answer to the question did not reveal whether or not there is a clergy shortage in the LCMS.
In the December Reporter story about the most recent Council of Presidents meeting, the following was stated: “District presidents reported a total of 814 pastoral vacancies in LCMS congregations. Of those, 371 are in congregations that are not calling men to fill those vacancies, and 443 are in congregations that are calling. The category breakdown for the calling congregations is for 328 sole pastors, 54 senior pastors, and 61 associate or assistant pastors.”
I would like to know how many pastors are not working in congregations right now. How many pastors have calls as librarians, professors, and other jobs that are necessary but not part of parish ministry? Also, how many pastors are serving as intentional interim pastors? How many are on CRM status — pastors who are willing and able to serve congregations, but who for some reason are not currently serving?
I was told by one former district president that there weren’t a lot of openings for pastors right now because “the market is very tight.”
Perhaps Reporter can crunch the numbers and tell us whether or not there is actually a clergy shortage in the LCMS right now.
Rev. Alan Kornacki Jr.
Morgan City, La.
We like Rev. Kornacki’s suggestion and will pursue a story that would “… crunch the numbers” as it addresses whether “there is actually a clergy shortage in the LCMS right now.” — Ed.
Reading about the upcoming LCMS convention in the January issue, I wondered if any serious discussion will be broached on the long overdue need for a synodical name change.
The Synod adopted the current name in 1947, seeing the wisdom in retiring “The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States.” The LCMS is a national body affiliated on an international level with bodies bearing national names. Prudence seems to indicate that the regional “Missouri” should be replaced to reflect this reality. Workable alternatives abound that would help identify the denomination more easily and clearly, and the Missouri connection would remain intact through the location of the headquarters.
This 160th anniversary year of the Synod is a reasonable year to initiate such a minor but significant adjustment.
Rev. Joel R. Kurz
Please send letters via e-mail to REPORTER@lcms.org or by mail to REPORTER Letters, 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295. Please include your name, postal address, and phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. — Ed.
Posted Feb. 5, 2007