Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison says a vicar at his home congregation who “loved the work of the ministry for which he was training” strongly influenced his decision to study for the pastoral ministry.
He recalls that vicar’s influence and urges pastors, teachers and others to also encourage potential church workers in a new video titled “Encourage.” Debuting this month, this is the first of three videos featuring Harrison which support the What a Way initiative to recruit and retain professional church workers in the Synod.
All three videos — ranging in length from just under four minutes to barely more than five — are being made available at http://video.lcms.org/archives/tag/what-a-way.
Titled “Explore” and due to be available by Oct. 1, the second video will be directed primarily toward young people, inviting them to consider service in a church-work vocation. And “Embrace,” the third video (due to be up by Nov. 1), emphasizes worker wellness and is primarily meant for those already serving in church-work vocations.
In September’s “Encourage” video, Harrison reminds viewers that “right now the age of our church workers, especially our pastors, is in the upper range. And, therefore, over the next number of years — in fact, more than a decade — we are going to have large retiring classes. So, the need for the future is going to be significant.
“It’s time to go to the seminary or to consider another church work vocation and go to one of our Concordias,” he suggests.
Harrison draws attention to Matt. 9:38, where Jesus urges His disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (ESV).
“That’s our prayer right now,” Harrison says. “That’s the prayer of the church every Sunday. That’s my personal prayer daily. And that means that’s a prayer for you to consider how you can pray and also encourage people — especially young people — to go into the service of the church in its various ministries.”
He reminds viewers that the LCMS is “a missionary church … a sending church, and a sending church must send those trained to speak God’s Word and to serve Christ.
“Please join us all in encouraging young people, noticing young people and their gifts, helping them consider a vocation in church work, getting them to a Concordia University or to a seminary for a visit, taking advantage of opportunities for young people É to meet the faculty and enjoy time there,” Harrison urges as the first video ends. “It will make a huge difference in the life of that young person and because of the service that person will provide, to Christ and His saints. It will make an eternal difference.”
The Rev. Dr. Glen Thomas, executive director of LCMS Pastoral Education and a member of the What a Way steering committee, told Reporter that the initiative “keeps before the church the necessity of identifying, informing and encouraging appropriate candidates for service in church-work vocations.”
“President Harrison has consistently reminded the Synod that a mission-minded church is a sending church,” said Thomas. “A sending church needs gifted and prepared young people who desire to serve our Lord in church-work vocations.”
For more information about What a Way, visit its website at www.whataway.org.
Posted Sept. 7, 2011