HOUSTON—Delegates to the 64th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod here voted overwhelmingly July 16 to “encourage the ‘Wittenberg project’ as a Gospel witness opportunity.”
Rev. David L. Mahsman, an LCMS missionary and managing director of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (ILSW), addressed delegates before the vote, urging them to adopt Resolution 1-08. They did, with a vote of 947 to 48, or 95 percent.
Plans are under way, Mahsman said, to establish an “interactive, immersive attraction” in Wittenberg, Germany, that would proclaim the Gospel through the life and teachings of Martin Luther. It is expected to draw Wittenberg-area residents and visitors, as well as tourists from around the world, he said, particularly as we approach 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Wittenberg is the city most closely associated with Luther. Today, only about 15 percent of Wittenberg’s residents “profess to be Christian,” according to Mahsman, and the city hosts some 500,000 visitors a year — many of them Germans. The Wittenberg project, he added, is an unprecedented “opportunity to share the Gospel with hundreds of thousands of people.”
The resolution also asks LCMS members on the ILSW board and the LCMS president, Board of Directors and Council of Presidents to “inform the Synod” of the project’s progress and opportunities to participate in and support the project.
Delegates also adopted three other resolutions presented by Floor Committee 1, Missions:
- Resolution 1-03, “to increase outreach to immigrants at congregation level,” which thanks God for congregations that are meeting the needs of immigrants; urges districts and the Synod’s national mission office to “find ways to strengthen their commitment to and increase the effectiveness of LCMS congregations, schools and members” among immigrants; encourages Concordia University System schools to recruit, train and send immigrants as leaders and church workers in immigrant communities; and urges the two LCMS seminaries to continue the expansion and development of the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology, the Center for Hispanic Studies, and other distance education-based programs for immigrants.
- Resolution 1-10, “to make a concerted effort to reach Generation X [born in the late ’60s through the late ’70s] and the Millennials [born after 1980 and coming of age in the early 2000s] in the U.S. with the Gospel of Jesus.” The resolution asks congregations to “strive to better understand these generations and [develop] effective means to reach them,” and to “actively communicate the Gospel message in a manner that connects with these generations.” It also asks the Synod’s national mission board to “spearhead the effort” to help congregations reach these generations with the Gospel.
- Resolution 1-07A, “to encourage inter-district dialogue in the establishment of new church starts, satellite worship sites and specialized ministries across geographic district lines,” which encourages communication between those who are starting such ministries and the district’s president and mission board, and determines that that district president would provide ecclesiastical supervision of the new ministry within his district’s borders.
The convention is meeting July 10-17 under the theme “ONE People—Forgiven.” Among the approximately 3,000 participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.
Posted July 16, 2010