Where should congregations look for guidance when their electors select their choice for the next President of the Synod? How about a list of 16 veteran district presidents, three of whom were recognized for their leadership ability by their peers and served as chairmen of the Synod’s Council of Presidents?
In an open letter to current District Presidents and their peers, these former district presidents agree. President Harrison has had enough time to address Synod’s challenges and has failed to do so. It’s time for new leadership in the LCMS from President Maier or Pastor Klinkenberg.
Harrison’s Lack of Leadership
The former DPs point out the Harrison’s lack of leadership in addressing the decline of the LCMS. He even suggested our decline is inevitable. These 16 veteran district presidents should know about Harrison’s leadership. Most of the signatories had direct experience working with President Harrison.
Here’s how these veteran LCMS leaders view our current situation:
“Today we are worse off than we were when he [Harrison] was elected. Additional changes under President Harrison’s leadership are increased clericalism and more authority in the office of the president.
We, the undersigned, are former District Presidents who have worked with President Kieschnick and/or President Harrison and believe President Harrison has had his opportunity to lead our synod and are convinced It is time for a change in leadership for our church body.”
Strong Support for Maier and Klinkenberg
These men firmly stand behind the confessional, outreach-oriented leadership that Dr. David Maier and Rev. Tim Klinkenberg and ready to provide the Synod. These wise leaders believe that congregations matter and that Maier or Klinkenberg would serve them well.
We encourage you to support and vote for David Maier, President of the Michigan District or Tim Klinkenberg, Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Orange, CA.
Both men are confessional pastors and leaders who are committed to the mission of reaching all people with the Gospel. They have a long history in the LCMS and come from a long heritage of pastors and leaders in the LCMS.
Read the Q&A from the candidates
A simple read of the LCMS Presidential Election: Candidate Q&A from the LCMS Reporter will identify the issue. Here’s an example from the question “What is the most (and least) important thing a Synod president does?”
KLINKENBERG: “The least important thing a Synod president does is run for re-election. Results and ongoing inertia of resources and unity should drive perpetuity of position.
The most important work of the Synod president is to be a messenger of hope. It’s not enough to identify a problem/challenge and then have no plan; that is demoralizing. It’s like pointing to a house fire and not calling the fire department.
My sense is that we bring hope to our church when we speak the truth in love, even when speaking it is painful. Second, we operate in the light of Christ. Transparency builds trust in an organization; secret meetings and executive sessions that obfuscate work and double down on secrecy make us suspicious of leadership. Bringing hope in each context through careful preparation could change the trajectory of our denomination.” [emphasis added]
MAIER: Above all the Synod president must lead by example. He must model the familiar characteristics listed in 1 Timothy. I believe that personal character persuades more effectively than an assertion of authority. Relationships matter. The Synod president must lead through servanthood seeking to build Christ-centered relationships with elected leaders, congregations, called workers, faculties and staff. All duties stipulated in the Constitution must be carried out with a view toward love.
Travel should be limited. The Synod president does not need to be pictured at every event that happens throughout the Synod. [emphasis added]
We Agree with the Veteran DPs
Local congregational leaders from across the Synod seek new leadership to face our Synod’s new challenges.
The open letter of these fifteen former district presidents speak their hearts: it’s time for a change of leadership!
Synod electors gave President Harrison three terms to effect a positive change in our Synod. Instead of unifying and strengthening our Synod’s outreach and evangelism efforts, Harrison’s history of centralizing control in St. Louis and increased clericalism — and his ever-increasing salary — has not served our Synod well.
Congregations — and new Synod President leadership — matters!