College Graduate

Two Overtures on Concordia Regents Selection

Our Concordia’s are asking for support from LCMS congregations.  They want Synod to change the governance model of our university system to allow greater flexibility in the selection of members of their Boards of Regents.  Congregations Matter also believes our university system will benefit from more regional regent representation. As a result, Congregations Matter proposes two overtures for your District Convention to consider.  They address changes to the way members of Boards of Regents are chosen.  Both support local governance.  Both oppose the current model which gives more centralized control to the Synod President and a St. Louis hierarchy. First, An Overture for Localized Control of Regent Size All nine Concordia University System (CUS) schools endorse these changes to their outdated 1992 governance model.  Click here to download the overture “To Modify the Governance of the Colleges and Universities of the Concordia University System.” In November, Congregations Matter introduced an

Concordia President Asks for Regent Selection Flexibility

“The growth and development of our Concordia University System (CUS) is one of the most remarkable stories in all of U. S. higher education,” writes Concordia St. Paul President, Rev. Dr. Tom Ries. (For a full copy of Ries’ article, click here or the link at the bottom.) Our Concordia’s are asking for support from LCMS congregations.  They want Synod to change the governance model of our university system to allow greater flexibility in the selection of members of their Boards of Regents.  They ask that we pass a CUS overture at 2018 District Conventions and again in Tampa in 2019  (the CUS overture will be the subject of a future Congregations Matter article).  As Ries writes: “The greatest need for help from the church at the Concordia institutions today is a change in the governance model, specifically the formation and responsibilities of the boards of regents….Approval by the Synod in convention

Big arm pulling pastor back using Ecclesiastical Supervision

Ecclesiastical Supervision: What’s the Big Deal?

In the past months, several District presidents wrote powerful pastoral letters in opposition to the recent Ecclesiastical Supervision contrived and enacted by the Harrison administration.  Use these links to review each of their letters. Council of Presidents Chairman, Rev. Ken Hennings, President of the Texas District. Past Council of Presidents Chair, Rev. Larry Stoterau, Current President of the Pacific Southwest District Rev. John Denninger, President of the Southeastern District  Other District Presidents have done the same.  More and more LCMS leaders are voicing their opposition to the unconstitutional change to Bylaw 2.14.  President Harrison sought this power.  But Harrison couldn’t do it alone.  With the support of the United List majority of the Synod Board of Directors (BOD), President Harrison and Secretary Sias bypassed the Council of Presidents and the expressed will of the Milwaukee Synodical convention.

Denninger Stands with COP Chair

SE District President Denninger Also Opposes Dangerous Bylaw Change

With a letter to the congregations and rostered members of his district,  District President (DP) John Denninger of the Southeastern District joined the growing number of LCMS leaders voicing their opposition to recent and unconstitutional bylaw changes giving final ecclesiastical supervision to President Harrison.  At President Harrison’s request and Secretary Sias’ hand, the United List majority of the Synod Board of Directors (BOD) wrested the constitutional, historic responsibility of ecclesiastical supervision from District Presidents.  Without vote or action of the Milwaukee Convention, the BOD gave this responsibility to one man. The President of Synod now is the de facto ecclesiastical supervisor of the LCMS.  Harrison has taken ecclesiastical supervisory decisions away from our 35 District Presidents.  He relocated those life-changing decisions to his own desk inside the secretive International Center in St. Louis. Wrested Power Over Congregations First, Council of Presidents Chair, Texas DP Hennings stood his ground against this dangerous

Writing A Letter

COP Chair Challenges Ecclesiastical Supervision Decision

Last Friday District President (DP) Ken Hennings sent an unprecedented, public letter to the rostered members of his district. The letter explains the drastic change that the United List majority of the Synod Board of Directors adopted in May regarding ecclesiastical supervision. But Hennings did more. The letter explains why District Presidents in Synod are no longer the final ecclesiastical supervisors of churches, pastors, teachers, DCEs and other church workers.  Our new, changed reality? Synod President Harrison has taken that job for himself. District President Hennings clearly warns of the consequence this bylaw change brings: “It is necessary that I personally make you aware of the significant changes to the process of ecclesiastical supervision in our church body. The board of directors of the Synod has adopted bylaw changes that give the ultimate responsibility for your (and your congregation’s) ecclesiastical supervision to the President of the Synod. In other words, if

Cathedral Crucifix

Power and Politics Meet Jesus

“Among You It Will Be Different”    It was a simple request.  A mother asking for positions of power and influence for her sons.  Then it all broke loose.  “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said.  The other disciples became indignant with James and John.  And the Master settles the issue with these words: 25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 (NLT) Jesus does not need political posturing.  He needs

Guest Essay: Are We a Top-Down Or Bottom-Up Synod?

From the beginning of our Synod, we struggled with big questions of relationships and governance polity.  Should the laity have authority over the clergy?  Should the clergy have authority over the laity?  Should a “bishop” have authority over the congregations? Questions like those formed the chaotic beginning of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod!  This essay will follow the decisions our Synod has made from its beginnings with quotes from C.F.W. Walther and our own LCMS Constitution. Top-down or bottom-up?  What is right-side up?

Candidates for Office

Congregations Matter© is a movement of laypeople, congregations, pastors and other church workers within the LCMS trying to return our Synod to its historic polity of the national Synod supporting congregations in their work for the Kingdom.  Congregations are the Synod — and they matter. Because we believe this so strongly, in the coming days you will find names of men and women listed on these pages we believe you should consider for nomination and election by our Synod.  If we are to change our Synod for the better, it is time to change our leaders — either in name or in attitude and spirit. Why?  Because not everyone in our Synod believes and acts on our historic, Scriptural and Confessional stance that congregations truly matter — not Presidents, not Secretaries, not International Centers and national offices, not National or International Boards or Boards of Directors.  The LCMS is not a denomination with

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Watch the Future of Concordia Unfold May 17

All of us are concerned about the future of our Synod.  That’s why we need to be concerned about what’s happening at our seminaries.  Especially now, as the seminary’s annual goals and budget are being considered by the Board of Regents of Concordia Seminary, we who believe Congregations Matter© need to understand and carefully watch their decisions and actions. Why Is This Happening? In the past few months, Dr. Dale Meyer, President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, received a number of requests from pastors for an update on how seminary education is funded.  They wonder how the St. Louis Seminary is strategically working to address the future needs of theological education.  In response to these requests, Concordia Seminary will be hosting a live webcast of a Convocation on May 17, 2017 from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m CDT.  The webcast will originate from Werner Auditorium on campus and is open to the public.  The live