The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Office of National Mission (ONM) recently filled two director-level positions.
The Rev. Mark A. Wood of Brandon, Fla., started serving June 16 as full-time director of LCMS Witness & Outreach Ministry. In that position, he works with the Rev. Al Tormoehlen, who continues to serve part-time as coordinator of The 72.
Wood brings to his position 30 years of experience in evangelism as both a pastor and lay leader. For the past nine years, he served as the founding pastor of Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Lithia, Fla., a mission congregation of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Brandon. Prior to becoming a pastor, Wood served in the U.S. Air Force and worked at aerospace and defense companies.
“While the changing attitudes in our culture about religion and church involvement are, in many ways, lamentable, I see tremendous opportunities for us as Lutheran Christians to break through the shallow forms of Christianity rejected by our culture by actively and creatively sharing the depth of our confession of the faith,” Wood said.
“In my new role, I intend to focus on identifying, developing and promoting the resources that already exist so that we can learn from one another how to meet the challenges of being effective in witness and outreach.”
“The Synod must have a stronger voice in witness and outreach as a part of revitalizing congregations, schools and workers,” said ONM Executive Director Rev. Bart Day. “Rev. Mark Wood is a successful church planter who knows how to engage the world with the Gospel in winsome ways. His faithfulness to Lutheran identity balanced with encouraging each person to witness in their daily vocation will be a welcome voice of leadership in the LCMS.”
The Rev. Marcus T. Zill, most recently of Laramie, Wyo., also is joining the ONM team in a full-time capacity, effective July 1. Zill originally joined the Synod staff in August 2012 as the part-time coordinator of LCMS Campus Ministry. In May, he accepted the call to serve as the full-time director of LCMS Campus Ministry and LCMS U, the Synod’s campus-ministry initiative. Zill will oversee LCMS U, which has some 175 chapters at universities and colleges around the U.S. He is based in Albuquerque, N.M.
Zill brings to the position 15 years of experience as pastor of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and Campus Center in Laramie, Wyo., where he also served as campus pastor at the University of Wyoming. In addition, Zill is one of the founders of Higher Things, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization that works with youth.
“While giving the best support possible to all those engaged in campus ministry, I am excited to help our church also lead the way in pioneering the development of campus ministry in urban campus settings and at our nation’s community colleges,” Zill said. “These are new frontiers in campus ministry and the opportunities are endless.”
“We are thrilled that ONM is now able to go full-time into the work of campus ministry with LCMS U and even more excited that Rev. Marcus Zill will be leading those efforts,” said Day. “Over the last two years, Pastor Zill has done a tremendous job re-energizing the Synod’s work in campus ministry and bringing several groups together for great collaboration. We look forward to great things in the future.”
These two positions are in line with the Synod’s restructure and are covered in the Synod’s budget.
Posted June 25, 2014
Wonderful to have more emphasis on campus ministry. However, I have a concern about the bulletin insert for November. It is quite negative, speaking how hostile the campus is. (Of course, this is true, although most highschools also are not friendly to Christian teachings. Are you just addressing youth who have gone to parochial schools?) Parents will either be frightened or conclude that it is an exageration without a follow-on discussion. The message should be more positive and offer practical help to the student. The insert states hat the new student should be “bold” in proclaiming the faith. That actually is a negative message, too. Most students want to fit into the new culture, To be told they need to be “bold” does not help at all. Then there is the term “cathesize” – please can we get off the formal church-speak? I hope you will have time to re-vamp the bulletin insert. As part of my congregational Mission responsibilties I am trying to help our parents and youth to find practical ways they can strengthen their faith in the new environment. This insert does not help me.
Dear Richard Merschel,
Cathesize. Do you mean catechize? I don’t consider that really a formal word, and I’m an uneducated layman.
I find it strange that an LCMS Lutheran does not think “catechize” is a common word. It is at my church. Catechism. Catechize. Catechesis. Catechumen, etc. Catechize is the “teach” part of Baptize -and- Teach in the Great Commission.
I think the BOLD reference was supposed to be a reference to Acts 4:29, also found in the Small Catechism Explanations (Question 213):
C. use us to extend His kingdom of grace;
Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness.