At its Aug. 25–26 meeting in St. Louis, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Board of Directors took up a number of important issues regarding the Synod’s finances and staffing. It was the first meeting in two years that every Board member was able to attend in person, and it kicked off with a reception that gave the Board the opportunity to get to know a diverse group of LCMS International Center staff — the first time an event like this has been held.
The next day, on Aug. 26, LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison began the meeting by reminding the Board of the church’s “unconditional duty” to speak the Gospel no matter what.
“We are not to go out there speaking our own nonsense,” Harrison said. “We have an apostolic mission, which is above all to speak on behalf of Christ. Our gift is to speak the Gospel with the absolute clarity that few other churches can speak it. …
“We are committed, we’re going to carry on the church’s task with integrity, and we’ll do it with joy.”
Later that morning, LCMS Chief Financial Officer Nathan Haak gave a favorable report on the state of the Synod’s performance against the FY22 budget, which ended June 30 but was still in the process of being closed out by the accounting department. Haak reported that net assets without donor restrictions continue to increase, as does cash on hand — two indicators of a healthy financial position.
The Board also discussed the upcoming search for a new chief administrative officer (CAO), which will begin in earnest in January 2023. Current CAO Frank Simek recently announced plans to retire next September, following the 2023 LCMS convention set for July 29–Aug. 3 in Milwaukee. The Board will seek candidates for the position according to a similar process that was used to find Haak, with the goal of having the successful candidate in place in time to observe the convention.
During the meeting, Simek reviewed the total budget for the 2023 convention, which is now expected to be just under $2.9 million due to the impact of recent inflationary pressure. Since the majority of the convention costs are typically covered by the district levy, the Board resolved to apply $400,000 of its available board-designated funds toward this cost in an effort to ease the burden on districts and congregations.
Later in the day, the Board filled two vacancies on the LCMS Board for International Mission (BIM). The Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus of Grand Marais, Minn., was appointed as ordained/commissioned member for the Great Plains region, and Michael Hawk of Fort Wayne, Ind., was appointed as layperson for the Central region. Preus and Hawk fill vacancies created by the death of former BIM Chairman Rev. Bernhard M. Seter and the resignation of member Kristine Bruss, who accepted a job that precludes her from serving on the board.
BOD Chairman Rev. Dr. Michael L. Kumm said, “It was very good to have the entire Board together face-to-face for the first time in a great long while. This Board has exceptional members, dedicated to the work and mission of the LCMS. We had a very full schedule at this meeting and worked through the business at hand in an exceptional manner.
“I am most grateful for the members’ dedication and tenacity in ensuring the business side of Synod is handled in a way that best supports the mission and needs of our church at-large.”
Full minutes from the meeting will be posted at lcms.org/bod.
Posted on Oct. 5, 2022/Updated Oct. 10, 2022