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?
President Harrison sent handwritten postcards on January 3rd and 4th from the President’s Office at Synod expense to the pastors of select congregations. Because he advised them to circumvent their Voter’s Assemblies if they could, are his nominations valid?
Despite all the happy talk, it is clear that not all is “joyful” in the LCMS. Several district conventions, representing hundreds of congregations, adopted overtures asking the 2019 Synod convention to remedy some of the monumental leadership failures of President Harrison and his United List allies.
In an address delivered in August to LCMS national leaders, Pastor David Maier gave an inspiring speech answered with a standing ovation. It was clear to all in attendance David Maier is ready to lead our Synod.
In October each LCMS congregation received a nomination packet containing official ballots from Synod. What we do next is important.
Either we will nominate those who will centralize power in Synod — or new leadership will serve congregations and the mission of Christ’s Church. It’s time for a change…and nominations start our needed change.
Congregations Matter has searched Synod, seeking Godly men ready and able to lead our beloved Church. We are excited to start introducing these men to you, beginning with Pastor David Maier. A proven leader regionally and nationally, Congregations Matter believes he is one such man prepared by God to lead the LCMS as Synod President.
After consulting with hundreds of lay and clergy leaders across the LCMS, Congregations Matter proposes candidates for First Vice President and Regional Vice Presidents. They are proven leaders with experience — servants determined to lead us forward again into a congregation-serving, Gospel- and mission-focused Synod.
On June 15, Synod President Matt Harrison was called to task by a staggering 79% margin of delegates at the Texas District Convention. Delegates adopted a resolution criticizing Harrison for ignoring a resolution brought to the 2016 Milwaukee Convention to overrule a CCM opinion restricting congregations in foreign mission work. But Texas wasn’t done.
The History, Theology and Practice of Congregational Self-Governance in the LCMS In terms of governance and order, the Missouri Synod has throughout its history balanced power between the baptized and the ordained. We have made our decisions at conventions through votes mediated by an equal representation of clergy and laity. These votes were not to be viewed as mandates, but as carefully crafted and thoroughly dialogued advice. In a fun, tongue-in-cheek essay, the Editorial Staff of Congregations Matter has provided another brief history of the LCMS on one issue: Congregational Self-Governance as opposed to the current Synod trend towards hierarchialism. The essay reviews our history, theology, and the unfortunate, current tendency of our Synod to move from prizing the Priesthood of All Believers and Congregational Polity toward a foreign, non-Lutheran emphasis on maintaining and growing the structure itself and fulfilling its needs at the expense of the our “first love”:
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