Sadly, on February 21, Concordia College Alabama announced it will close its doors at the end of the spring 2018 Semester. This tragedy puts an exclamation mark on the ineffectiveness of our current Synodical leadership.
Our Synod’s only historically black college is shutting down.
The closing of Selma is heart-breaking to tens of thousands of faithful people in the LCMS who faithfully supported Concordia Alabama for generations.
The problems that led to Selma’s closing — and Concordia Portland’s problems with student clubs and their community — can be traced back to the United Lister leadership that currently controls our Synod.
Selma’s Closure Happened during this Synod Leadership’s Watch
Who is responsible for the loss of one of our Concordia’s? Fingers will be pointed at many people for the closure of Selma.
Current LCMS leadership has had many years of responsibility for Selma’s problems but did not solve them.
We Can’t Afford More United List Leadership Failures
For almost a decade, LCMS Boards have been dominated by Members elected off the infamous United List. This insular leadership group has failed to effectively lead our CUS schools.
The closure happened on the United List watch.
….. meanwhile …..
Where Have Synod’s President and His Boards Been While Concordia Portland’s Problems Developed?
Selma is not the only Concordia poorly-led by Synod’s current administration.
Concordia University Portland has approved a student club which serves students who practice a non-Biblical sexual lifestyle. Concordia Portland has had an outspoken gay student movement on campus for over five years. The situation came to a crisis when these students filed a Title IX complaint and the local public schools refused to receive Concordia Portland student teachers.
Why didn’t the United-Listers find a solution to Portland’s problem before it became a crisis? United-Listers hold the majority of Synod boards AND the President’s office. They’ve had many years of ultimate responsibility for what is happening at Concordia Portland. Where was their leadership?
The current Synod administration has failed to give organizational, spiritual, and theological leadership to our institutions and churches seeking to declare a Biblical witness to people who aren’t interested in listening at first. These people are the object of God’s mission, too, and require our best efforts.
In the end, Portland’s challenges are due to failed leadership at the top of our Synod.
Both Problems Were Years in the Making
Congregations Matter opposes what has happened at Portland and Selma. These problems developed over MANY years.
Congregations Matter believes the Word of God and opposes all unbiblical sexual relations — heterosexual and homosexual. The Bible calls it sin. We agree.
New Synodical Leadership Is Needed — Desperately
We need LCMS leadership with the humility to collaboratively work with our CU leaders to solve issues facing them.
We cannot passively wait for the next crisis to happen. We need change now.
Current Synod Leaders Can’t Have It Both Ways
The United Listers have been taking greater control of our CUS schools. Synod’s Presidium appoints more local CU Board members from inside the International Center (IC). Yet, these same IC leaders have not accepted responsibility for local CU problems.
A pattern has developed during the past three Synod election cycles. In each, a majority of United List nominees were elected to office. Here’s the pattern.
First, the United Lister majority leadership pretends local CU Boards of Regents are in charge until problems happen.
Then, the United Lister-dominated Boards swoop in and demand quick and easy answers. There is little strategizing for the future, far less cooperation, and no communication from the IC to congregations that any problems exist.
Finally, it happens. When it gets bad enough, Synod leaders pretend to be hands-off and judge the “poor leadership of the locals.” They print something about the problem in blogs or national publications, blame the local leadership and bring a overture to convention that leads to greater centralization of control.
Examples? They let a Selma suddenly fail. Or, they secretly try to push a Portland to leave the CUS.
Local CU Boards and administrators are caught in the middle without sufficient authority to prevent and solve problems, with no assistance from Synod leadership.
Our local Concordia Universities — geographically near our LCMS families including their young adult children — really matter.
Will More Concordia’s Close or Be Sold?
Synod’s current President wants to sell our remaining Concordia’s and retreat onto one campus in Wisconsin. One campus would remove our Synod’s ability to provide geographically close-by Christian higher education to LCMS families. Far worse, this would curtail our evangelistic impact on tens of thousands of local, non-LCMS families nation-wide who send their children to our Concordia’s.
We Can’t Wait for New Leadership
Synod leadership should not stand by playing the ukulele while watching Concordia’s fail.
The rescue of Concordia Ann Arbor in 2012, led in great part by Michigan District President David Maier, shows what can be done when real leaders determine to rescue a CUS campus in trouble.
We need our Concordia’s to be locally-led by Boards of Regents populated with the best hearts and minds in our Lutheran Church, not the top-down, hierarchical control the current United-Lister leadership exhibits.
Our Concordia’s: On the Front Lines of Mission
Our Concordia Universities are a crown jewel of our Synod.
The closure of Selma is heartbreaking. The current situation at Portland is not right.
Congregations — AND our Concordia’s — matter!