By Kevin Armbrust
TAMPA, Fla. — “What a joy it is when God sends His servants among us,” said the Rev. John E. Hill, president of the LCMS Wyoming District and chairman of Committee 6, Pastoral Ministry and Seminaries. “What joy it is when God’s Word is taught to us.”
Thus Committee 6 began its initial time before the 67th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).
Lutheran Confessions teach, “So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given [John 20:22]. He works faith, when and where it pleases God [John 3:8], in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake” (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, AC V).
On Sunday, July 21, Committee 6 presented three resolutions, all of which were passed:
- 6-01, “To Support and Participate in the Comprehensive Church Worker Recruitment Initiative”;
- 6-02, “To Promote Residential Seminary Education as the Preferred Option for the Preparation of Men for Pastoral Ministry”; and
- 6-05, “To Thank Those Involved in Rostering Licensed Lay Deacons.”
Resolution 6-05 echoed the sentiment of thanksgiving for LCMS First Vice-President Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller Jr. and his years of service to the Synod. This resolution specifically acknowledged his great efforts and care along with that of the Colloquy Committee implementing the directive of the previous convention’s adopted Res. 13-02A, “To Regularize Status of Licensed Lay Deacons Involved in Word and Sacrament Ministry.”
Hill noted, “It’s just great to acknowledge that and to rejoice with it and celebrate with the men who have been ordained or are in the process.”
Resolution 6-01 initiates an intensive and full church-work recruitment program.
“It’s forward-looking down the line in good ways; it really addresses a very important need in the church,” said Hill. “And so the Synod is already in action to put the substance of the resolution into motion.”
Resolution 6-02, which designates the traditional, residential seminary training as the preferred route to ordination, passed after discussion from the convention floor.
Both the Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer, president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast Jr., president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW), spoke in favor of the resolution while also acknowledging their ongoing support of the Specific Ministry Pastor program and other routes currently available through the seminaries.
“All things being equal, we want our pastors to go through the residential route. But all things are not always equal,” commented Hill. “Then the other routes … become preferred, because that’s what’s needed at the time and at the place.”
Committee 6 presented further resolutions before the convention Tuesday afternoon.
Two resolutions were presented and passed:
- Res. 6-06, “To Give God Praise and Glory for Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne’s 175th Anniversary,” and
- Res. 6-07, “To Support and Utilize Preach the Word.”
The committee also read Res. 6-03A, “To Enhance the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program.” The orders of the day, however, did not allow any discussion or a vote on this resolution.
Upon the vocal affirmation of Res. 6-06, those present stood and sang the Common Doxology. Following the singing, Rast addressed the assembly.
After extending appreciation from CTSFW, Rast continued, “The Synod loves its seminaries, and we are blessed to have two robust, healthy and sound seminaries. … Anniversaries are really about the future. For while they recognize what God has done, they are actually about what God will do. And what God will do is be faithful to His beloved children. He will strengthen and preserve them, for the Gospel promise is clear: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever; and He has promised to be us always to the very end of the age.”
Through all the discussion on the convention floor, through the work of the committee and through the overtures submitted, the Synod loudly reflected the importance of the pastoral ministry and the seminaries. And this reflects the centrality of God’s Word for His people.
Posted July 23, 2019
The 67th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod met July 20–25 in Tampa, Fla., at the Tampa Convention Center under the theme “Joy:fully Lutheran.” For more convention news: