Resolution 2-06

Resolution 2-06 (Today’s Business 1, Pages 94-95) To Study Synod Membership for International Lutheran Congregations

What should concern delegates?

No serious LCMS member should be against fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission and encouraging congregations to connect with the LCMS nationally and internationally.  This resolution comes from one sentence in the President’s Report, Part 2 (TB1, Page 24), where he asks for an “international circuit” for LCMS congregations we plant internationally.

Doing this may seem a simple response to a need, but creating individual fellowship with individual international congregations we plant on foreign soil undermines the work of our International Lutheran Council partner churches.  Creating LCMS congregations in other countries will disrupt the work of our partner churches.    At least that seems to be the case throughout much of the mission history of the LCMS.

Doing this shifts our missiology from supporting local, indigenous congregations to creating LCMS international churches “around them.”  

In the U.S., we can’t plant a church across district lines without the agreement of the two districts.  Why would we want to do this by working around our international partners?

Finally, this resolution doesn’t come from districts and congregations — it is a “top-down” resolution from one line in the Synod President’s report rather than a “bottom-up” response based on a need of LCMS congregations.  It comes from a desire to plant LCMS churches internationally rather than helping our international partner churches to plant congregations in their own countries.  Can’t our international partner churches respond to this need without creating an “International Circuit”?


What can be done about it? 

Ask to hear from our Partner Churches in attendance at the Convention how allowing congregations in their countries to affiliate directly with the LCMS will affect their work.  There are plenty of them visiting.  

Ask them about the effect of the LCMS planting separate congregations in their countries – and how, their having access to money and services from LCMS corporate entities will change relationships between local congregations. 

Ask if this is something our foreign partner churches requested.   What problem and who’s problem are we solving?  Is this just a workaround for other issues with partner churches in the foreign mission field?  A workaround for fellowship issues? 

Ask if the LCMS is looking for opportunities to lend money internationally from the LCEF or cover employees with Concordia Plan Services. Or is this more just an opportunity to plant expatriate churches in major foreign cities as the LCMS did years ago with Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, Germany?

Ask how ecclesiastical supervision of the church workers would be set up.

Would we allow this for individual churches in Haiti?  Guatemala?  India?  In the countries of our new partner churches in Uganda or Finland?  How about individual fellowship with congregations in Japan or Australia (if any would care to do so)?  Or is this meant for somewhere else?

Ask why we would want to do this by working around our international partner churches — especially since we can’t plant a church across district lines without the agreement of the two districts.  ?

Ask if this resolution isn’t built on a false pretense:  as individual congregations, foreign partner churches in fellowship with the LCMS may already call LCMS rostered pastors and teachers to serve them. 

This resolution should be defeated.



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