The LCMS Board for International Mission (BIM) met in St. Louis Sept. 22–23 to issue missionary calls, hear presentations from LCMS leaders and conduct other business.
The board took several actions during its meeting, including approving:
- A solemn appointment to Samuel Borgwardt as regional business manager for the Asia region;
- A call to the Rev. Jason Steffenson as theological educator in Tanzania; and
- A solemn appointment to William (Cody) Mock as information technology project manager for the Eurasia region.
The board also gave solemn appointments to Anna Marie Steffenson and Aurelie Mock, who will accompany their husbands on the mission field.
The BIM welcomed two new members appointed by the LCMS Board of Directors to fill two vacancies:
- The Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus, individual member of Synod from the Great Plains region; and
- The Rev. James Gier, individual member of Synod, Central region.
One vacancy on the BIM, a layperson from the Central region, has yet to be filled.
Christian Boehlke, interim executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM), spoke to the board about the OIM’s work.
Boehlke reported on several upcoming retirements among LCMS mission staff, as well the hiring of a new manager of global safety and security, Jay Kuczynski. “He has tremendous experience, tremendous understanding of the theological implications of our approach to safety and security. … As we work to take the necessary steps to protect our people, to go into situations with awareness … having somebody who can attend to that and provide reports to the executive staff and others will be extremely helpful,” said Boehlke.
Boehlke described a recent meeting with leaders from the Brazilian Lutheran church to discuss alliance missionary partnerships. Alliance missionaries are sent from partner church bodies to work alongside LCMS missionaries in their service. Currently there are 11 alliance missionaries serving from Brazil, and the OIM hopes to add more.
Boehlke also provided updates on ongoing missionary recruitment efforts on the part of the Rev. Mark Rabe, OIM director of missionary recruitment. Through Rabe’s work visiting various universities, retreats and more, Boehlke expects “to see a much larger group of individuals to review for calls, and we are certainly looking forward to that.”
In his presentation to the board, the Rev. Kevin Robson, LCMS chief mission officer, gave an overview of work throughout the Synod, including:
- Recent interactions with the LCMS Council of Presidents, including an orientation for incoming new district presidents elected in recent district conventions;
- Progress on the LCMS church-planting initiative, including the development of a training curriculum for church planters and a church-planting grant program; and
- The ongoing work of the Set Apart to Serve church work recruitment initiative out of the LCMS Office of Pastoral Education, which is “not a recruitment program per se, but a cultural shift.”
The board also heard a presentation from the Rev. Ted Krey, regional director of the LCMS Latin America and the Caribbean region. Krey updated the BIM on the work of 33 LCMS missionaries with 46 family members, along with 12 alliance missionaries from six partner churches, serving in nine countries throughout the region. He also provided updates on the VDMA translation team, 24 translators who are working to create an electronic library of theological resources for pastors and students in Spanish. (VDMA is an abbreviation for a Latin phrase meaning “the Word of the Lord endures forever.”) So far, this project has translated 40 online books, academic journals and daily devotionals into Spanish.
Krey also reviewed recent work to host workshops for congregations and discussed the theology of mission work, emphasizing how the proclamation of the Gospel must always be at its heart.
“Mission always involves an oral witness. ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.’ So, very strictly speaking, there must always be an oral witness if something is to be considered mission, because one cannot come to faith unless they hear.”
Posted Nov. 3, 2022