What should concern delegates?
Pastoral formation is important. Everyone wants a well-formed pastor and can support this resolution in concept. However, the details of the resolution continue the top-down, centralized authority trend of leadership in the LCMS. Without ever describing the problem (the Pastoral Formation Committee did not report which Districts are preparing men for the ordained ministry and how (Workbook R60, Pages 124-137)), Resolution 6-02 declares an answer before we’ve discussed the merits and disadvantages of dispersed pastoral formation as a Synod and why Districts would determine they needed to prepare a program of pastoral formation.
What can be done about it?
Ask to receive a report of the alternate programs of pastoral formation from the Districts and in which congregations pastors who have completed them are serving before delegates vote on the resolution — or is this just a “straw man” argument?
Ask the District Presidents who have instituted these programs to give their reasons for starting them.
Move to amend by deleting the declaratory quote in the last two lines of the second Whereas (Page 130, lines 31-32). The opinion of President Harrison is just that — opinion. Conventions decide what is and what isn’t the prerogative of individual districts. Presidents don’t make policy by fiat.
Move to amend by removing the final Resolve (Page 131, lines 26-29). Shared efforts toward pastoral formation are just that — shared. “Shared” means everyone has a piece of the responsibility as well as the accountability. “Shared” doesn’t mean “exclusive.” And “shared” doesn’t mean congregations and districts turn over all of the responsibility and direction to the International Center and what they believe is best for everyone else. Having seminary faculties “certify” candidates doesn’t mean they have the sole responsibility for preparing men for service. If that were true, why have a vicarage experience?
This is the same logic that was used to try to eliminate the Pastoral Leadership Institute.