From the Disk of the Pastor August 2010
Dear Friends in Christ,
What a difference a month makes. Beginning September 1, a new leadership team takes the reigns of the LCMS. It’s not just the election of Rev. Matthew Harrison, but all the elections. Very few incumbents were reelected. We now have a new and markedly younger set of leaders. Dr. Wohlrabe went from being by far the youngest VP to be right in the middle of the pack.
Where will this new leadership try to take us? Actually the bigger question, the more important question is how will it take us there. Pr. Harrison is determined to lead on the basis of the Word of God. He will draw people together around the Word and let the Word lead us forward. This is a marked contrast from nine years of bylaws and marketing programs. Pr. Harrison in a unifier. He will seek to draw people together.
What does this mean for us? Well, it means that if we receive some document from the president’s office we know that it was properly examined in light of our theology. If we are asked for money, there is the assurance that the synod will use it wisely and in ways that are in accord with our teachings. It also means that we also will be encouraged to be people of the Word. Scripture first in all things. It also means good public relations. People will know that the Missouri Synod is a church with integrity. It also means that we will again be a church that display its accomplishments. We will again be able to point to our mission work as a real jewel of our church.
Education will be a major theme under Pr. Harrison. It is his desire to rebuild our system of colleges. I think that the number of his supporters elected to the various boards of regents will certainly add weight to this task. Pr. Harrison sees our schools as central to our mission. He will work closely with both seminaries. This is important because our seminaries train not only our pastors, but many pastors from around the world. The next generation of Lutheranism is formed in those classrooms in Fort Wayne and St. Louis. Pr. Harrison will see that they remain strong voices forming the next generation around the Scriptures and the Lutheran confessions.
What does Pr. Harrison need from us? First our prayers. Second, he needs our patience. Many are already complaining that he isn’t moving fast enough. The man is not even officially in office, yet. We didn’t get into the mess we are in today overnight. It took a half-century of mistakes, mismanagement, bad theology and the like. We won’t get out of this situation over night. Pr. Harrison and his 1st Vice President, Pr. Mueller, have a monumental task to reform the Missouri Synod. They are determined to do it. But they must have the time and support to do it. Rapid changes would cause damage. Congregations might be forced to choose to stay or leave before they have had a chance to study God’s Word in the matters before us. Thus, Pr. Harrison would rather take the patient approach. We need to be patient with him, as he tries to draw all the synod together around the Word of God.
Rev. Jody R. Walter
Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:104-105