Lutheran Week 2018
The Holy Spirit Calling | Gathering | Enlightening | Sanctifying
Mission Festival & Convocation “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” –Acts 1:8
Table of Contents The Holy Spirit: Calling, Gathering, Enlightening, Sanctifying ............................................ 4 Core Values..................................................................................................................................... 6 Leadership ...................................................................................................................................... 7 Plenary Session Speakers & Preachers ..................................................................................11 Chaplain ........................................................................................................................................14 Musical Worship Leader ............................................................................................................15 Lutheran Week Planning Team ................................................................................................15 Ministry Expo ...............................................................................................................................16
Introduction..................................................................................................................................18 Schedule........................................................................................................................................20 Global Workers ............................................................................................................................22 Breakout Session Leaders .........................................................................................................25 Breakout Sessions .......................................................................................................................31 Session I Information, Table Talk & Notes .............................................................................36 Panel Q & A Notes ......................................................................................................................37 Instructions for Panel Q & A.....................................................................................................38 Mission District Meeting Information & Directions ............................................................39 Session II Information, Table Talk & Notes ............................................................................46 Breakout Session Notes ............................................................................................................48 Session III Information, Table Talk & Notes ...........................................................................49 Action Steps .................................................................................................................................50
Proposed Convocation Agenda ...............................................................................................52 Proposed Rules of Procedure ...................................................................................................55 Staff Reports ................................................................................................................................57 Report of the Bishop ..........................................................................................................58 Report of the General Secretary.......................................................................................69 Report of the Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry & Ecumenism................................75 Report of the Assistant to the Bishop for Missions........................................................80 Report of the Director of Communications ....................................................................84 Report of the Treasurer......................................................................................................88 2018-2019 Budget .....................................................................................................................94 2
Committee, Program & Task Force Reports ..........................................................................98 Report of the Board of Regents of the North American Lutheran Seminary ..............99 Report of the NALC Canada Section ............................................................................ 101 Report of the Candidacy Committee ............................................................................ 104 Report of the Church & Ministry Task Force ................................................................ 107 Report of the Court of Adjudication ............................................................................. 109 Report of the Commission on Theology & Doctrine ................................................... 110 Report of the Disaster Response Task Force ................................................................ 112 Report from Youth & Family Ministry ........................................................................... 115 Report of the Life-to-Life Discipleship Team ............................................................... 117 Report of the President of the North American Lutheran Seminary ........................ 120 Report of the Nominating Committee .......................................................................... 123 Report of the Living & Giving Stewardship Team ........................................................ 125 Report of the Task Force on Structure .......................................................................... 127 Report of the Women of the NALC ............................................................................... 129 Resolutions ................................................................................................................................ 131 Convocation Bible Study ........................................................................................................ 134
Upcoming Events .................................................................................................................... 138 Resources ................................................................................................................................... 139 Prayer: The Fuel for Mission by the Rev. Brad Hales........................................................... 143 Promotional Flyers ................................................................................................................... 153 Notes .......................................................................................................................................... 158
The Holy Spirit:
Calling, Gathering, Enlightening, Sanctifying Every year, the North American Lutheran Church gathers for Lutheran Week! The week is more than a conference, more than a church festival and much more than a business meeting. The NALC Lutheran Week is all of that and more! In 2018, the theme for Lutheran Week is “Holy Spirit: Calling, Gathering, Enlightening, Sanctifying.” These words are from Dr. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. There, in explaining the third article of the Apostle’s Creed on the Holy Spirit, Luther states: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise me up, and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.” Lutherans are often accused of ignoring the person and work of the Holy Spirit, focusing more intently on Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior. In 2018, the Lutheran Week will give time and attention to the third person of the Holy Trinity, through this theme. In 2019, the focus of Lutheran Week will be the work of the Holy Spirit. This follows two years in which we have focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ (2016-2017) and two years to come with the focus on the person and work of God the Father (2020-2021). These themes help us to live out the third core value of the NALC, that we are “Traditionally Grounded.” We are grounded in Scripture, the creeds and confessions of the ancient and historic Christian Church—beginning with our belief in the one true God in three persons. Lutheran Week 2018 is built upon the scriptural verse, Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 4
Because the Holy Spirit “calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies” me and the whole Christian Church on earth, we are empowered and sent to go, make disciples, being witnesses to the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” Jesus commissions his disciples, sending them forth, but telling them to wait until they have been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). It is the Holy Spirit who is poured out upon the disciples at Pentecost, giving them mouths to speak the Gospel to all nations and peoples. The 2018 Lutheran Week will again pray, “Come, Holy Spirit!” The NALC will gather to learn, share, pray, praise and prepare to be disciples and witnesses of Jesus Christ to the end of the earth!
Core Values Christ Centered
We confess the apostolic faith in Jesus Christ according to the Holy Scriptures. We affirm the authority of the Scriptures as the authoritative source and norm, “according to which all doctrines should and must be judged” (Formula of Concord). We accept the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran Confessions as true witnesses to the Word of God.
We believe that the mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples for Christ. We believe that making disciples—in our congregations, in our communities and nations, and around the world—must be a priority of the Church in the present age.
We affirm the ecumenical creeds and the faithful witness of the Church across time and space. We endorse the form and practices of the universal Church that are consistent with Scripture, particularly the office of the ministry and the tradition of worship under Word and Sacrament. We seek dialogue and fellowship with other Lutheran churches and with faithful Christians of other confessions.
We strive to be a church that is organized to facilitate the ministries of local congregations in a posture of servant-hood and a spirit of partnership, through the provision of resources, connections and information.
Leadership BISHOP & STAFF
Executive Staff The Rev. John F. Bradosky Bishop The Rev. Mark C. Chavez General Secretary The Rev. Dr. David Wendel Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry & Ecumenism The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba Assistant to the Bishop for Missions Andrew S. Fuller Director of Communications Program Staff The Rev. Dr. Amy C. Schifrin President, North American Lutheran Seminary The Rev. Brad Hales Director of Domestic Mission Gary & Laurie Pecuch Youth & Family Ministry Coaches Mary Bates Disaster Response Coordinator The Rev. Dr. David Baer Newsletter Editor Administrative Staff Anne Gleason Financial Administrator Becky Seifert Assistant to the Executive Staff Jennifer Brockman Assistant for Missions Joan Corniea Financial Assistant Maddie Benson Communications Specialist
Executive Council The Rev. Mark Braaten Richard Jansak Rosemary Johnson The Rev. Melinda Jones, Recording Secretary 7
Lynn Kickingbird The Rev. Kenneth Kimball The Rev. Carl Rasmussen Ryan Schwarz, Treasurer Brian Sutton Court of Adjudication James Gale The Rev. K. Glen Johnson Carolyn Nestingen The Rev. Marty Ramey The Rev. David Schafer The Rev. Jeffray S. Greene Lyle Hollander
Inquiry Panel The Rev. Jim Bangsund The Rev. K. Glen Johnson The Rev. Ralph Kempski The Rev. Solveig Zamzow Vic Stevens
MISSION DISTRICT DEANS Convener of the Deans The Rev. Daniel M. Powell Springfield, Ohio
Atlantic Mission District The Rev. David McGettigan Atlantic City, New Jersey
Northwest Mission District The Rev. Jack Richards Everett, Washington
Canadian Mission District The Rev. Malcolm (Mac) de Waal Medicine Hat, Alberta
OHIO MISSION REGION North West Ohio Mission District The Rev. William Maki Saint Marys, Ohio
Caribbean & Spanish-Speaking Mission District Vacant
North Central Ohio Mission District The Rev. Paul Larson Mansfield, Ohio 8
Carolinas Mission District The Rev. Dr. Nathan Howard Yoder Maiden, North Carolina
North Eastern Ohio Mission District The Rev. Robert Quaintance Youngstown, Ohio
Central Pacific Mission District The Rev. Daniel Selbo San Jose, California
South Eastern Ohio Mission District The Rev. Jeffrey Morlock Galloway, Ohio
Eastern South Dakota Mission District The Rev. Randy Eisenbeisz Hayti, South Dakota
South West Ohio Mission District The Rev. Mark Daniels Centerville, Ohio
Great Plains Mission District The Rev. Dennis Beckmann Mankato, Kansas
Rocky Mountain Mission District The Rev. Ken Hohag Colorado Springs, Colorado
Great Rivers Mission District The Rev. Preston Foster Metropolis, Illinois
Sonshine Mission District of Florida Vacant
Heartland Mission District The Rev. Pamela Thorson Elizabethtown, Kentucky
South Texas Mission District The Rev. B.A. (Tim) Christ Richmond, Texas
Iowa Mission District The Rev. Marshall Hahn St. Olaf, Iowa
Southwest Pacific Mission District The Rev. Marvin Combs Huntington Beach, California
Michigan Mission District The Rev. Philip Nordstrand Grand Rapids, Michigan
Virginia Mission District The Rev. Bradley Hales Culpeper, Virginia
Mid-Northeast Mission District The Rev. Carl Johnson Kittanning, Pennsylvania
Western Dakotas, Montana & Wyoming Mission District The Rev. Dr. David Baer Whitewood, South Dakota
Mid-South Mission District The Rev. Trina Petersen Lithonia, Georgia
Wisconsin & Upper Michigan Mission District The Rev. Craig Nehring Caroline, Wisconsin
Minkota Mission District The Rev. Lyle Belleque Devils Lake, North Dakota North Texas Mission District The Rev. John Scheusner Arlington, Texas
Plenary Session Speakers & Preachers JOHN BRADOSKY
Bishop of the North American Lutheran Church The Rev. John Bradosky has over 30 years of pastoral experience with diverse experience in organization and administration. He has served in urban, suburban and multicultural settings. Previously he served as the NALCâ€™s General Secretary, and senior pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Dayton, Ohio. He has also served St. John Lutheran Church in Springfield, Ohio; Trinity Lutheran Church in Canton, Ohio; and Grace Lutheran Church in Huntington Beach, California. Bishop Bradosky is a graduate of Hamma School of Theology at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Assistant to the Bishop for Missions, North American Lutheran Church The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba currently serves as Assistant to the Bishop for Missions for the North American Lutheran Church. He is originally from Ethiopia and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and three children. In addition to academic study and ordained ministry, Dr. Buba participates in multiple international ministries through speaking, leading revivals, leadership development conventions and evangelical mission events.
Called & Gifted Coordinator, Catherine of Siena Institute Katherine Coolidge joined the Catherine of Siena Institute staff as the Called & Gifted Coordinator in 2014 after two decades of parish ministry as catechist, program coordinator, youth minister, director of evangelization, liturgist and pastoral associate. She is a recognized master catechist in two dioceses and possesses a Masters of Arts in Pastoral Studies from St. 11
Joseph College of Maine. On her off time, she enjoys quilting, gardening and hanging out with her husband, Michael and cat, Lady, on her 2.5 acres of heaven in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Director of Domestic Mission, North American Lutheran Church; Senior Pastor, Reformation Lutheran Church The Rev. Brad Hales is the Director of Domestic Mission for the NALC and senior pastor at Reformation Lutheran Church in Culpeper, West Virginia. Previously, Pastor Hales served as the chair of the Renewal Team, New Starts Team and Dean of the Virginia Mission District of the North American Lutheran Church. Through the power of Jesus, Pastor Hales has helped to renew several older congregations in discipleship, outreach and mission. In 2009, his present congregation was given the “Best Practices Award in Senior Adult Ministry” by the National Council on Aging. Pastor Hales has also authored multiple Bible studies and resources, including, A Covenant of Aging, published by Sola Publishing.
Minister of Evangelism & Small Groups, Redeemer Lutheran Church; Associate Staff, The Navigators Valerie Hobbs serves on the staff of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Damascus, Maryland. Her job responsibilities include the support and encouragement of lay leaders of Redeemer’s Bible studies and small groups. Her passion is to see God’s Word change lives as individuals learn to pray and to hear God speak through Scripture. She also works part time with Church Discipleship Ministries, a branch of The Navigators dedicated to helping church leadership live out their disciple-making mission.
Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Network in Canada, Anglican Church in North America The Rt. Rev. Charlie Masters was consecrated a bishop in the Church of God on November 12, 2009 in St. Catharines, Ontario and became Area Bishop for Ontario and Eastern Canada in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). In November 2012, he was elected coadjutor bishop and succeeded Bishop Donald Harvey as diocesan bishop on June 29, 2014. He also serves the ACNA as a member of the Archbishop’s cabinet. Until June 1, 2008 when he became the Anglican Network in Canada’s (ANiC) national director, Charlie was rector of St. George’s Lowville in the Diocese of Niagara—a parish he served for most of his ministry. Evangelism is Charlie’s passion and the thrust of a booklet he authored, The Gospel Still Works. Charlie and Judy make their home in Milton, Ontario and are the proud parents of two adult children and enthusiastic grandparents.
SHERRY ANNE WEDDELL
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Catherine of Siena Institute Sherry Anne Weddell created the first charism discernment process specifically designed for Catholics in 1993. In 1997, she co-founded the Catherine of Siena Institute, an affiliated international ministry of the Western Dominican Province, and currently serves as executive director. She has trained and helps lead an international team that has worked directly with over 130,000 lay, religious and ordained Catholics in hundreds of parishes, in 150 archdioceses, on five continents. Sherry’s recent publication, Fruitful Discipleship: Living the Mission of Jesus in the Church and in the World, is now available and describes how the Holy Spirit is at work in all the baptized — calling and gifting us to “say yes” in ways that will be the longed-for answer to someone else’s prayers and fuel the mission of the whole Church. When not hanging around airports, Sherry enjoys tending her high-altitude Tuscan garden in the Colorado Rockies. For more information, please visit: siena.org.
Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry & Ecumenism, North American Lutheran Church The Rev. Dr. David Wendel graduated from Indiana University with a bachelorâ€™s degree in speech communication. He is a 1981 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and served his internship at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He served as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hobbs, New Mexico, before being called to Saint Lukeâ€™s Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs in 1986. He earned a doctor of ministry in preaching from the Association of Chicago Theological Schools in 2001. In 30 years of parish ministry, Pastor Wendel gained valuable hands-on experience serving as pastor to two congregations that had suffered under unhealthy relationships, lack of vision and impaired mission and ministry. He now assists many congregations in the NALC with visioning, healing and renewal, especially focusing on pastor/parish relationships. He addresses these topics regularly in his NALC News column. Pastor Wendel and his wife, Susan Riches, have two adult children, two grandsons and two granddaughters.
Chaplain KEN HOHAG
Pastor, Black Forest Lutheran Church The Rev. Ken Hohag has been the pastor of Black Forest Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado for 28 years. He is also the Dean of the Rocky Mountain Mission District of the NALC.
Kathy Berrill, Deaconess at Saint Luke's Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Musical Worship Leader MISSIE BONSER
Associate for Youth & Worship; Deacon, Trinity Lutheran Church Missie has served with the folks in Monument for exactly 24 years this week! Their mission is to live a life of discipleship that pours out from a place of recognizing identity and gifting through being touched by the hand of God and living a life of purpose and passionâ€”always heads up to touch the lives of others. Discipling high school youth, being a catalyst for mission and leading worship with the Trinity family fills out her days.
Sophie Artley (cello), Pete Gorder (vocals and bass), Jason Ortis (drums) and Sue Ross (keys)
Lutheran Week Planning Team WILL HARTFELDER
Chair, Lutheran Week Planning Team The Rev. Will Hartfelder retired in June after 31 years of ordained ministry. He most recently served as senior pastor at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Westerville, Ohio, from 20032018. His experience includes parish, campus, ecumenical and hospital settings. He continues to serve as a chaplain for the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police. He looks forward to discerning Godâ€™s call in this next chapter of life and service to our Lord and his Church knowing the life of Christian discipleship never ends. Many thanks to the many individuals who took time out of their busy schedules to plan for this gathering of our Church: Jenny Brockman, Linda Brower, Mark Chavez, Tony Ede, Jacqui El Toro, Andrew Fuller, Anne Gleason, Mark Graham, Ken Hohag, Ron Hoyum, Miles Olson, Gary Pecuch, Becky Seifert, Nathan Yoder & many others! 15
Ministry Expo Each year, many parachurch ministries, seminaries, publishers and mission organizations attend Lutheran Week to provide a wealth of resources and partnership opportunities for our churches and leaders. Here is a list of some of our partners in attendance this year. 1517. The Legacy Project
Lutheran Lay Renewal of America
American Lutheran Publicity Bureau
Lutheran Military Veterans and Families Ministries, Inc.
Awakening Lives to World Missions Baker Academic and Brazos Press Bethesda Lutheran Communities Call, Inc. China Service Ventures Commission Expeditions Concordia Publishing House Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch East European Missions Network faithwebbing.com
Lutheran World Relief Lutherans for Life Malawi Orphan Care Project MOTIF NALC Disaster Response Services NALC Executive Council NALC Life Ministries NALC Lutheran Benefits North American Lutheran Seminary
Friends of Madagascar Mission
Saint Paul Lutheran Seminary
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Department of Lutheran Studies
Sola Publishing Sundouloi Ministries Inc (SMI Haiti)
Great Commission Society
Institute of Lutheran Theology
Living and Giving Stewardship Team
Women of the NALC (WNALC)
Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute (LCBI) World Mission Prayer League (WMPL) High School Lutheran CORE 16
Introduction to Mission Festival Final words are usually quite important. Before he died, Joshua instructed the Israelites to follow God’s Law and not to chase after false gods and idols. Before he was picked up in a chariot of fire, the prophet Elijah asked his protégé, Elisha, what he desired. Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and it was granted to him as he watched his mentor whisked up to heaven. And then there were the final words of Jesus before his ascension into heaven. In Acts 1:8 it is written: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Christ’s final words are of utmost importance for the Church, as the Lord is giving clear instructions about what he wants accomplished. Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, the Church is being compelled to witness to Jesus locally, regionally, nationally and globally. It’s the Holy Spirit which drives mission throughout the world. The Holy Spirit, who is a person of the Trinity, was present at creation when God’s breath moved over the waters (Genesis 1:2). The power of the Spirit will be poured out on both men and women, as they will have dreams and visions (Joel 2:28-29). It was the Spirit who came upon Jesus in the form of a dove at his Baptism (Matthew 3:16). It’s the Spirit who sent Jesus into the wilderness to tangle with the devil (Mark 1:12). Only through water and the Spirit can we be born again (John 3:6). The Helper, the Spirit, will teach us and assist us in remembering Jesus’ words (John 14:26). Through tongues of fire and wind the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost (Acts 2:14). The Holy Spirit provides us with gifts (I Corinthians 12:1-11) and fruits (Galatians 5:22). And we are told not to quench the Spirit (I Thessalonians 4:19). The Holy Spirit is the ignition that makes mission happen. As our hearts are touched by the Holy Spirit, we are sent into the world to share the Good News and make disciples of Jesus. And this is done through our vocations. Martin Luther believed that we are all called to vocations, stations in our lives. Whether we’re a spouse, parent, friend, neighbor, associate, or possess a particular skill or career, the Spirit provides us with the opportunities to build relationships, serve others, and glorify the living God. This is vocational discipleship. In our daily living we have the opportunity to make and be disciples of Jesus. 18
Through our varied vocations, the Holy Spirit enables us to begin and nurture relationships, share Jesus, and be the Lord’s living examples out in the world. As it is written in I Peter 4:10-11: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. The Holy Spirit is the initiator, incubator and inciter for missions. As the Church, let us be open to the Spirit’s prodding and power, as we are sent out of our “comfort zones” to plant new churches and renew congregations across our country and world!
Mission Festival Schedule Wednesday, August 15 1:30pm
Service of the Word Convention Center B & C Preacher: The Rev. John Bradosky, Bishop of the North American Lutheran Church
Plenary Session I Convention Center B & C - Introduction - Keynote Address I Speakers: Sherry Weddell & Katherine Coolidge - Panel Q & A with Table Talk Moderator: The Rev. Patti Morlock Panelists: The Rev. John Bradosky Katherine Coolidge Valerie Hobbs Sherry Weddell The Rev. Dr. David Wendel
Conclusion of Session I
Dinner (Included in Registration Fee)
Mission District Meetings (Bible Study Connected with Keynote Address)
Thursday, August 16 8:00am
Plenary Session II Convention Center B & C - Introduction - Keynote Address II Speakers: Sherry Weddell & Katherine Coolidge - Table Talk
Convention Center B & C
Plenary Session III Convention Center B & C - Keynote Address III Speaker: The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba - Closing Prayer
Mission Festival Concludes
The Rev. Neeraj Ekka & The Rev. Nijhar Minz-Ekka
Ranchi, Jharkhand, India with World Mission Prayer League (WMPL) Serving at: North Western Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church/ Navin Doman Theological College
The Rev. Valery Hryhoryk
Belarus with East European Missions Network (EEMN) Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org // www.eemn.org
The Rev. Charles & Anita Jackson
Canada with World Mission Prayer League (WMPL) Contact Info: email@example.com
Mbeya, Tanzania with Wycliffe Bible Translators Wife: Rachel; Children: Hope and Scott Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org // stephenandrachelintanzania.blogspot.com
The Rev. Dr. Jeff & Miriam (Mim) Nellermoe
Henan, China with China Service Ventures Contact Info: email@example.com // firstname.lastname@example.org // www.bamboopilgrim.com
The Rev. Didi & Serafina Panzo
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with World Mission Prayer League Serving at: Christian Community Development Network Children: Nicole and Sarah Contact Info: email@example.com 23
Shanxi, China with World Mission Prayer League Serving at: Evergreen Family Friendship Service
Breakout Session Leaders GEMECHIS BUBA
Assistant to the Bishop for Missions, North American Lutheran Church The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba currently serves as Assistant to the Bishop for Missions for the North American Lutheran Church. He is originally from Ethiopia and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and three children. In addition to academic study and ordained ministry, Dr. Buba participates in multiple international ministries through speaking, leading revivals, leadership development conventions and evangelical mission events.
Called & Gifted Coordinator, Catherine of Siena Institute Katherine Coolidge joined the Institute staff as the Called & Gifted Coordinator in 2014 after two decades of parish ministry as catechist, program coordinator, youth minister, director of evangelization, liturgist and pastoral associate. She is a recognized master catechist in two dioceses and possesses a Masters of Arts in Pastoral Studies from St. Joseph College of Maine. On her off time, she enjoys quilting, gardening and hanging out with her husband, Michael and cat, Lady, on her 2.5 acres of heaven in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Senior Pastor, First Evangelical Lutheran Church The Rev. Tony Ede graduated from Waldorf College, where he earned an associate of arts in electronic communications and a bachelor of arts in multimedia communications. Graduating from Luther Seminary in 2006, Tony worked as a graduate teaching assistant in the homiletics department, helping to teach classes on using media and technology in worship and preaching. Pastor 25
Ede has served at Bethany Lutheran Churches in the Danish Village of Kimballton, Iowa; as the teaching pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Webster City, Iowa; and currently serves as the senior pastor at First Evangelical Lutheran in Manchester, Iowa. As part of his commitment to lifelong learning, Tony earned an MBA in 2017 from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, with a concentration in organizational development. Following a long family tradition, Tony is a nationally certified firefighter and EMT and has used these skills to serve in the community, as well as in disaster response statewide. Tony was married to LeAnn at Trinity Lutheran Church, New Hampton, Iowa, on August 17th, 2002. They have three sons that keep them busy: Carver, Liam and Burke.
Executive Director, GG (Give-Get) Life Prompts Gwynne Gonnerman delights in time spent with the precious people in her life. Gwynne became an advocate for herself and others and seeks safe, affirming community to release “ex”periences of abandonment and “re”lease a new life of abandon. She is honored to partner with others to share Jesus’ love, hope and encouragement to needy children, women, families and communities. She is a national presenter on a variety of topics, including grandparenting as a means of discipleship.
PAUL & PRIS GOSSMAN
Director, World Mission Prayer League The Rev. Dr. Paul and Pris Gossman have long understood themselves to be called to mission. After Paul’s graduation from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, they served as missionaries in the tribal highlands of the Philippines, training leaders and planting churches. Along with their daughter Sarah, they later served with WMPL in Peru, doing similar work among the poor in the city of Chiclayo. Since their return to the U.S. in 2000, the Gossmans have served in bilingual and multiethnic parish and parachurch ministries in Illinois, Washington and Oregon. Paul also holds a Ph.D. in intercultural studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He 26
headed that department at Trinity Lutheran College from 2005-2008 and has been an independent instructor and consultant in a wide variety of countries and settings, currently serving as Director of World Mission Prayer League.
Chief Executive Officer, New Digital Group David Hahn is a fifth-generation Nebraskan, graduate and continuing participating member of the MIT Sloan School, licensed to practice law in the State of Nebraska, the Eighth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court, and a life-long Lutheran. Hahn was a trendsetter among legal professionals, using computer technology to generate “virtual” communication tactics years before the Internet was generally recognized as a communication tool. While now splitting his time between New York and his home state of Nebraska, Hahn’s interest in computer technology led him into more direct work in emerging technologies. Hahn’s companies have been involved in broadcasting, e-commerce, core code development, mobile publishing, and more. But when asked what is the driving force behind his passion for his work and his family—Ruth Davidson Hahn, his three children, and grandchildren— he will not skip a beat in sharing that the Good News of Jesus Christ is what drives it all. Hahn finds deep satisfaction in the vocation that God has gifted him, finding ways and new technologies to help share the Gospel. But he will be the first to tell you: the means and methods might grow and change, but the message stays the same.
Director of Domestic Mission, North American Lutheran Church; Senior Pastor, Reformation Lutheran Church The Rev. Brad Hales is the Director of Domestic Mission for the NALC and senior pastor at Reformation Lutheran Church in Culpeper, Virginia. Previously, Pastor Hales served as the chair of the Renewal Team, New Starts Team and Dean of the Virginia Mission District of the North American Lutheran Church. Through the power of Jesus, Pastor Hales has helped to renew 27
several older congregations in discipleship, outreach and mission. In 2009, his present congregation was given the “Best Practices Award in Senior Adult Ministry” by the National Council on Aging. Pastor Hales has also authored multiple Bible studies and resources, including, A Covenant of Aging, published by Sola Publishing.
JEFF & MIM NELLERMOE
Global Workers, China Service Ventures The Rev. Dr. Jeff and Mim Nellermoe serve with China Service Ventures’ “Bo Ai” summer youth camps in Henan, China, where they work primarily to mentor CSV’s Chinese leaders and equip them for lives of service. Pastor Jeff is a called NALC pastor. Jeff graduated with a bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, from Texas Lutheran College (Seguin, TX), and a master of divinity, with honors, from Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN). He completed his doctorate in integrated marketing communication at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City). His recreational pursuits include motorcycles, horses, skiing, archery, golf, and biking. Aside from sports, he loves to play guitar and sing, watch movies, and read good fiction novels. Mim graduated with a bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, from Texas Lutheran College, and a master of arts in education from Augustana Lutheran College (Sioux Falls, SD). Most recently she coached and taught at Another Way School in Park City, UT. Mim loves all sports and animals. She grew up in Salt Lake City.
Pastor, Tuscaloosa Lutheran Church The Rev. Jim Palan is enjoying his retirement by continuing to care for his family, as well as planting a church in Alabama. Having served as a parish pastor, assistant to the bishop, and in a variety of other capacities, Pastor Jim is passionate about the Gospel in the context of relationships. Originally graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, Pastor Jim then received his master of divinity from Luther Theological Seminary and continued his education at North Dakota State, earning an advanced degree in marriage and family therapy. In his “retirement,” 28
Pastor Jim is also choosing to focus his time, energy and gifts on working to prevent burnout amongst leadership in the church.
GARY & LAURIE PECUCH
Youth & Family Ministry Coaches, FaithWebbing.com Gary and Laurie Pecuch originated a congregational youth and family consultation ministry named faithwebbing.com at St. Johnâ€™s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Grove City, Ohio. In 2016, the NALC entered into an agreement with faithwebbing.com to provide youth and family ministry consultation for NALC congregations. Gary and Laurie created faithwebbing.com because of the requests they received asking for advice on youth ministry. Their vision is to wrap our children and youth in a web of faith so loving and so caring that they will know Jesus and always want to a part of a local congregation.
Founding Pastor, A New Thing Christian Church The Rev. Trina M. Petersen is pastor of A New Thing Christian Church, Lithonia, GA, a ministry entrusted to her by God, focused on the deliverance, healing and wholeness of his people. Pastor Trina was baptized as an infant, confirmed as a teenager and served as an adult in the Lutheran Church prior to becoming an ordained pastor in the NALC. Most recently, she published two books, Irresistible and The Adventures of Clayoton (a childrenâ€™s book) and became a certified coach of the John Maxwell Team. Being Kingdom minded, Pastor Petersen serves in the position of pastor, operates with an apostolic anointing, and speaks in a prophetic voice as she helps the people of God heal from their pasts, live in the now, and walk in the power and authority given to them by God!
SHERRY ANNE WEDDELL
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Catherine of Siena Institute Sherry Anne Weddell created the first charism discernment process specifically designed for Catholics in 1993. In 1997, she co-founded the Catherine of Siena Institute, an affiliated international ministry of the Western Dominican Province, and currently serves as executive director. She has trained and helps lead an international team that has worked directly with over 130,000 lay, religious, and ordained Catholics in hundreds of parishes, in 150 archdioceses, on five continents. Sherry’s recent publication, Fruitful Discipleship: Living the Mission of Jesus in the Church and in the World, is now available and describes how the Holy Spirit is at work in all the baptized — calling and gifting us to “say yes” in ways that will be the longed-for answer to someone else’s prayers and fuel the mission of the whole Church. When not hanging around airports, Sherry enjoys tending her high-altitude Tuscan garden in the Colorado Rockies. For more information, please visit: siena.org.
Breakout Sessions Be Visionary
Leader: The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba; Location: Main Ballroom Nehemiah, chapter one, tells the story of a visionary. Nehemiah had been living in exile all his life and had never known anything but captivity. He began to hear that the Jews were starting to return to the Promised Land, but the news coming back was not good. Nehemiah wanted so much to be a part of the restoration of Israel. Nehemiah got to work—for if he ever had a chance to return to Israel, he would be prepared. Sharpening your vision and defining your mission requires strategic planning and preparation. This is not just a breakout time for pastors; it is for all people as we learn to develop “go” thinking.
The Priesthood of All Believers Gets Practical
Leader: The Rev. Tony Ede; Location: Aspen Amphitheatre In a day and age where it’s difficult to get people involved because of our busy schedules and theirs, we want to help people connect to use their God-given talents and gifts. It’s not just about another thing on the “to-do” list, but inviting people into the mission field. We have good news! There are tools that make it a lot easier! Yes, it is easier to just do it yourself sometimes, but we are not called to be the lonely voice in the desert crying for help. We are called into the Body of Christ. This breakout could also be entitled “The Digital World – Part 2.” How do I create a PowerPoint? Do I need a license for that? Other random tools in a digital world that can be helpful for everyday life will be discussed/presented.
Spend Time With People The Way Jesus Did
Leader: Gwynne Gonnerman; Location: Copper Mountain American culture is characterized by the word “busy.” There is never enough time, burnout seems inevitable and the challenge of developing deep relationships is real. To what good things do we say “no” so we can say “yes” to better things? This is a key element in life-to-life discipleship. The real question is: “What are you going to do about it?” Jesus faced this challenge in even greater ways than we do. Relationships are key not just to ministry, but in life. This breakout session will not just have 31
presentation time, but also provide discussion and practical resources.
Spiritual Groanings: Maximize Your Congregation’s Global Impact Leaders: The Rev. Dr. Paul & Pris Gossman; Location: Crested Butte
When we take a good look at the world today, we groan! So does the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:22-26). What would the Lord have us do about the global millions, even billions, who are hurting and lost? Sending and supporting overseas workers and going on short-term service trips are great ways to be engaged in the Lord’s mission, but there’s something even better. Before Jesus said “go” (Matthew 28:19), he said “pray” (Matthew 9:37-38). Prayer is the first and most essential work of mission! You and the members of your congregation may or may not travel to some faraway place where people have yet to hear the Gospel, but the Holy Spirit can help you “go there in prayer.” We’d like to show you some exciting and creative ways he does that, and help you extend your outreach to the “uttermost parts of the earth.”
Technology in the Tool Bag
Leader: David Hahn; Location: Breckenridge The printing press was on the leading edge and frontier of technology, revolutionizing communication and paving the way to put the Word of God in the hands of people. Today, we are on the edge of a digital reformation. In the USA, the average person spends over 50% of their digital time on their smartphone. In Africa, there are more phones than toothbrushes. Take advantage of the fact that your phone has more power and technology available than the first few Apollo space shuttles! David Hahn will share how technology can be an amazing tool for both mission and discipleship, and make the mission easier for you as a leader!
Small and Rural Churches: The Hope of the Future
Leader: The Rev. Brad Hales; Location: Convention Center A It’s not about the size, but the relationships. And the small, rural church is truly vital today because of these relationships. Come and experience how these congregations can grow and witness even more by deepening their relationships with Jesus, one another and the community. 32
Cross Cultural Discipleship: Learning to Bridge the Gap
Leaders: The Rev. Dr. Jeff & Miriam (Mim) Nellermoe; Location: Vail Culture is the result of language values, shared experiences and meaning, and bonds of identity. Learning to bridge cultural divides is an important aspect to discipleship making. Shared positive experiences through purposeful “play” helps to bridge language gaps and create liminal spaces for new discoveries. This is a “hands-on” breakout: theory and practice to teach biblical values used overseas.
Burnout: How To Avoid It & Tools To Assist
Leader: The Rev. Jim Palan; Location: Beaver Creek Pastors and lay leaders who experience disasters in their communities are also community members and leaders with deeply caring hearts. They are stuck in the quagmire of lost homes (sometimes their own), significantly damaged worship centers, parishioners whose homes are beyond repair, jobs and livelihoods that are lost because many businesses are destroyed, and massive financial stress for the entire community. To say that pastors spend months feeling significantly overwhelmed is likely an understatement. But there are other disasters pastors struggle to resolve: death of a spouse or family member, chemical dependency, moral failure, personal financial stress, personal or family illness, diminishing volunteers in their congregation(s), divorce, and chronic illness of a family member, to name a few. In these kinds of disasters, pastors experience spiritual, mental, physical and social exhaustion. They feel lost, inadequate, and even hopeless. A crisis of faith may even ensue. There is no purple heart for burnout. Join Pastor Jim as he provides a safe place to discuss tools that can be of assistance to followers of Jesus.
The Kingdom Mosaic: A Leader or a Manager? Leader: Gary & Laurie Pecuch; Location: Silverton
Not all people are called to be leaders; some are called to be managers. Management is the art of achieving desired results through people. What would it look like to help equip others and deploy the gifts that God has given them, putting together the puzzle pieces in this mosaic that God has designed? God has gifted the Body of Christ with unique gifts. Regardless of our vocation, what would intentionally living into the purpose based in Luke 2:52 of “growing physically, growing spiritually, 33
earning the respect of others, and pleasing God” look like? Our personal mission is “to equip God’s people with the necessary faith skills to live out their personal calling in life.” Join us for this hands-on breakout to focus on how you can help equip others and allow them to use their gifts for the sake of the Gospel!
Leader: The Rev. Trina Petersen; Location: Telluride The NALC is committed to the renewal of all our congregations, working to develop and deliver resources that challenge and open the NALC to the work of the Holy Spirit in our ministry and mission. Why undertake this topic? There are so many leaders that discuss their struggles sharing: “People just don’t come to church anymore, and I don’t know what to do.” We hear that Sunday mornings are no longer a “sacred” time, as so many sports teams or music competitions schedule mandatory practice time for students on Sunday mornings. We also hear leaders ask: “How do I get people to show up or to think that faith is important?” “Your mission, should you choose/decide to accept it...” You have chosen to accept the Great Commission. Now, you need to know how to fulfill it. Do you have a clear vision? Do you know where you’re going? Do you have a mission? Do you know how to get there? Sharpening your vision and defining your mission require strategic planning and preparation. Your plan may be good, but God’s plan is better. A God plan is a “now” plan that requires “now” faith! Need help finding your way? Looking for hands-on tools to help prepare your team? If you are ready to embark on a fabulous adventure in trusting him, this is the place for you!
Fruitful Discipleship: Living the Mission of Jesus in the Church and the World Leaders: Sherry Weddell & Katherine Coolidge; Location: Steamboat
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”(John 15:8) How does God’s grace change our individual lives, families, neighborhoods, parish communities, and cities? In Fruitful Discipleship: Living the Mission of Jesus in the Church and the World, Sherry Weddell and Katherine Coolidge will focus on how the Holy Spirit is at work in all the baptized—calling and gifting us to “say yes” in ways that will be the longed-for answer to someone else’s prayers and fuel the mission of the whole Church. God has chosen to be present in this world 34
through the faith and obedience of missionary disciples who witness to Jesus Christ and bear abundant fruit.
Session Information & Workshop Notes Plenary Session I
Keynote Address I Speakers: Sherry Weddell & Katherine Coolidge Speaker Notes:
Key Action Item from Keynote Address I: (transfer to act on steps on page 50)
Panel Q&A: Moderator: The Rev. Patti Morlock; Panelists: The Rev. John Bradosky, Katherine Coolidge, Valerie Hobbs, Sherry Weddell, The Rev. Dr. David Wendel Panel Notes:
Key Action Item from Panel: (transfer to act on steps on page 50) 37
Mission District Meetings (7:30-9:00pm)
Directions: Mission District meetings are key to the success of our time together, where the rubber meets the road. Specific breakout room information will be available at the registration area and listed in the main gathering room. Once your Mission District has gathered, your Mission District dean will act as a facilitator. You will spend the first hour working through an activity related to today’s keynote presentation. The additional time provided will be used for administrative Mission District business (this varies from Mission District to Mission District). Supplies Needed: Bible, Mission Festival booklet (print or digital Copy), writing utensil, newsprint and markers (provided to Mission District dean), large copy of SWOT form (provided to Mission District dean) OVERVIEW It is the goal of the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) to inspire congregations to be truly “mission driven.” If we went around the room, or asked people in our congregations, it is likely we would hear many different definitions of mission. Mission is lived out through our congregations and our lives in ever-maturing ways as we grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. For the purpose of creating a Vision for Mission for your Mission District, this is one definition that may be helpful: “Mission is sharing the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, bringing the kingdom near, making disciples, together, following all that Jesus has commanded us.” In her book Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell discusses the importance of discipleship: “No matter how many institutions we sustain or how much activity goes on in our parish or diocese, if new intentional disciples are not regularly emerging in our midst, our ministry is not bearing its most essential fruit.” This point also applies to each of our lives. No matter how many parish activities we are involved in, if we are not intentional disciples, we will not bear much fruit. In order to sharpen our focus on reaching out to others with the Good News of Jesus Christ, it’s important that we take a realistic assessment of where we are at the present time. To aid us in this endeavor, the first part of this exercise will focus on personal discipleship journeys. As we then shift our focus to the congregational and Mission District level, the second portion will focus on using a SPOT/SWOT analysis, a tool that can be helpful for any ministry. This analysis identifies the strengths/ assets, problems/weaknesses and threats that impact a ministry. 39
Here are some questions to consider: • Did you connect with some of what was shared by our keynote presenters or the challenges the panel presenters talked about this afternoon? • Are there other obstacles that get in the way of your congregation or Mission District engaging in Christ’s Great Commission? • Are there some congregations doing things that can be lifted up as examples for others in your Mission District? • Could these congregations provide mentors for other congregations in need of assistance? These questions cover and help us to consider the S, P/W and T of SWOT/SPOT. Because the power of the Holy Spirit is available to us, however, these questions can work for good and amazing opportunities. So, in doing a SPOT or SWOT analysis, new ideas and opportunities present themselves and, for this exercise, as many as possible should be considered. Let the juices run, and then prune back as you get further into the visioning and action planning stage. Even though you approach the second portion of this exercise from a personal or individual point of view, stay at the broad level…your focus is your Mission District within the context of its immediate region, nation, and world. Activity • Open with prayer. • Begin by reading Matthew 28:16-20. • Divide into dyads (2 people) or triads (3 people) and work through the following questions (20 minutes): 1. Each person in the Body of Christ has a unique story, gifting, and call. On the next page, quietly and alone, each person should spend up to 5 minutes drawing a “discipleship faith map” Use pictures, symbols, and key words to illustrate your personal discipleship journey.
Some maps may turn out to be a straight line, while others may be filled with ups and downs. Individuals may choose to include their First Communion, confirmation, or Baptism. Others may find that moments of difficulty have been the most impactful on their faith. Each personâ€™s journey will be unique, with some identifying specific calls to ministry, while others map out their everyday faithfulness and obedience as a disciple of Christ. It is possible to spend significant time working on this project but, for our purposes today, focus on the highlights.
DISCIPLESHIP FAITH MAP
2. Each Discipleship Faith Map will be as unique as the individual. Take the next 10 minutes to share highlights within your dyad/triad.
3. As you reflect on your group’s Discipleship Faith Maps, you may notice that there are commonalities. Make a list of approximately 2-3 things that are common across maps and 2-3 things that are unique.
4. Reflecting on your Discipleship Faith Map, do you think that you are an intentional disciple? In the past, what has fostered or hindered that intentionality?
• Return to the larger group and share key reflections from your dyad/triad’s discussion on question 4. (The facilitator will take notes on newsprint.) • Shifting focus from a personal perspective and moving to a congregational and Mission District focus, your Mission District dean/facilitator will lead the group through the following questions (20 minutes): – Strengths and Problems: Reflecting on what was shared in your dyads/triads, what strengths can you identify in your Mission District? 5. The facilitator will ask everyone to contribute one idea, going around the group several times and writing responses on the newsprint. Don’t duplicate an idea, share something that has not yet been shared. 6. After a list of 6-8 ideas has been generated, cluster those ideas that naturally go together (in other words, are really the same). 7. Have the group agree on the top three responses and “star” (*) them 43
Repeat steps 1, 2, 3 for “problems.” Transfer your top three strengths and problems to the large SWOT form. If you have extra time, for each major problem area, describe what would happen if no one acted? Write that down next to the problem. – Threats (2 minutes): Can the group identify one or two threats that could cause turbulence and prevent you from moving forward? Most threats are really problems. Note the threats you identified on the large SWOT form. – Opportunities (15 minutes): Study the lists of strengths, problems and threats. These can be turned into opportunities for ACTION. Be open and creative. This is an opportunity to dream; you are not creating specific action steps at this point. 1. Each person should take 2-3 minutes to jot down a word or phrase that describes future opportunities for your Mission District. 2. Share each word or phrase with the group, and cluster ideas. It doesn’t have to be perfectly planned out yet . . . next steps will take prayer and consideration. 3. The six or so opportunities that get the most mentions should be placed in the stars on the SWOT form. You can state a concept and list a couple of components or actions under it if you like, but not all ideas lend themselves to this. NOTE: Even though we are not ready for it yet, some people may have generated a nice list of action steps. Save these for the next steps in the visioning process. • Report Out: Keep one copy of the large SWOT form for yourself and the second copy will be collected and posted for others to view. Next steps in this process will be provided at this time for continued work upon returning home from Lutheran Week. Please agree on a scheduled meeting time to begin working on the next step. If no other Mission District business is scheduled, close with prayer.
Plenary Session II
Keynote Address II Speakers: Sherry Weddell & Katherine Coolidge Speaker Notes:
Key Action Item from Keynote Address II: (transfer to act on steps on page 50)
Table Talk: 1. Individually look back at your notes from the keynote address. Individually and silently, in the space provided, write your answers to the question, “What is God saying to you?”
2. Go around the table and share ideas from question 1. Write down highlights in the space below.
3. Individually look at your notes from the first keynote address, the Q & A panel, Mission District meetings, and this second keynote address from Sherry Weddell and Katherine Coolidge. In the space provided, write key ideas, questions, and reflections.
4. Which ideas do you think are most important to share with your home congregation and ministry teams? Discuss.
5. Wrap-Up: Take a brief moment to reflect individually. Then go around the group sharing: (a) What is the “one small step” you will take before leaving Lutheran Week? (b) And the first step you will take when returning home?
Breakout Session Speaker:
Key Action Item from Breakout Session: (transfer to act on steps on page 50) 48
Plenary Session III
Keynote Address III Speaker: The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba Speaker Notes:
Key Action Item from Keynote Address III: (transfer to act on steps on page 50)
Action Steps Session
Session 1 Sherry Weddell & Katherine Coolidge
Session 2 Sherry Weddell & Katherine Coolidge
Session 3 The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba
Name: Email Address: Phone Number: Congregation/Mission District: 50
Actions Items & Next Steps
Proposed Convocation Agenda Thursday, August 16 1:30pm
Festival Eucharist Convention Center B & C Presider: The Rev. John Bradosky, Bishop of the North American Lutheran Church Preacher: The Rt. Rev. Charles Masters, Bishop of the Anglican Network in Canada (a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America)
Convocation Session I Convention Center B & C - Call to Order - Adoption of Rules of Procedure - Approval of Agenda - Introduction of Lutheran Week Planning Team - Introduction of the Committee on Reference & Counsel - Introduction of Staff - Introduction of Executive Council - Introduction of Deans - Report of Nominating Committee Court of Adjudication, Board of Regents & Executive Council Elections; Canada Section Elections - First Ballot - Approval of Nominating Committee - Report from Lutheran World Relief - Report from Youth & Family Ministry - Report on Lutheran Benefits Plan - Introduction of Ecumenical & Inter-Lutheran Guests - Report of the Bishop - Report of the Life-to-Life Discipleship Team
Bible Study – “The Holy Spirit: Calling, Convention Center B & C Gathering, Enlightening, and Sanctifying” Speaker: The Rev. Brad Hales, Director of Domestic Mission
5:00pm Convocation Session I (continued) Convention Center B & C - Recognition of Ordination Anniversaries - Recognition of Military Chaplains, Personnel & their Families - Recognition of Chaplains Serving in Other Contexts - Introduction of Seminarians - Greeting from the North American Lutheran Seminary - Introduction of Newly Ordained Pastors - Recognition of Congregational Anniversaries - Report of First Ballot - Second Ballot (if needed) 6:30pm
Dinner (This is a free evening, with dinner on your own; dinner is provided for international & ecumenical guests)
Friday, August 17 6:00am
Convention Center B & C
8:30am Convocation Session II Convention Center B & C - Report of the Committee on Reference & Counsel - Greetings from Ecumenical & Inter-Lutheran Guests - Report of the Treasurer - 2019 Budget Proposal - Report of the Church & Ministry Task Force - Presentation from the Bishop Election Task Force - Greetings from Ecumenical & Inter-Lutheran Guests - Report of the Task Force on Structure - Report of the Living & Giving Stewardship Team - Report from Lutherans for Life - Report of Second Ballot - Third Ballot (if needed) 10:45am Break 11:15am
Convocation Session II (continued) 53
Convention Center B & C
1:30pm Convocation Session III Convention Center B & C - Report of Third Ballot (if needed) - Report of the Women of the NALC - Report of the Disaster Response Team - Report on Missions - Report from Water Mission International - Announcement of 2019 Pastor's Conference - Announcement of 2019 Canadian Rockies Theological â€‰Conference - Announcement of Location for 2019 Convocation 5:00pm
Installation of Elected Officers & Close of Convocation
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Proposed Rules of Procedure
1. The business of this Convocation shall be as outlined in the official agenda distributed to the convocation. 2. The rules set forth in the current edition of Robertâ€™s Rules of Order, newly revised shall govern this Convocation in all applicable cases and to the extent consistent with the rules and agenda adopted by this Convocation, and according to the constitution of the North American Lutheran Church. 3. Once adopted, the rules shall not be amended or suspended except by a twothirds vote of those present and voting at this Convocation. 4. The voting body for this Convocation will include all ordained ministers of the North American Lutheran Church, who are properly registered to attend; and those laypersons who have been elected as delegates by congregations of the North American Lutheran Church, who are properly registered to attend. The quorum for conducting business shall be such registered delegates who are in attendance. 5. If not a delegate, each NALC officer and each person serving in a position subject to election by a Convocation will have the right of voice but not vote at this Convocation. 6. Unless otherwise determined by a majority of the Convocation, all speeches during discussion shall be limited to three minutes. A signal shall be given one minute before the speakerâ€™s time ends. 7. All elections shall follow the procedures outlined in the Constitution. (The Constitution specifies that except for the office of Bishop, nominations must be submitted to the Nominating Committee no later than 45 days prior to the Convocation.) 8. A majority of the legal votes cast shall be necessary for election. Should a first ballot not result in an election, a second ballot shall be cast. The nominees for a second ballot shall include the names of the two persons who have received the highest vote on the first ballot, plus ties. 55
9. A Committee on Reference and Counsel will serve during this Convocation. On this Committee will be the General Secretary, a member of the Court of Adjudication, a member of the Executive Council, and two additional delegates to the Convocation, one clergy and one lay, appointed by the Bishop. All suggested items for consideration by the Convocation outside the adopted agenda, including amendments to the constitution, shall be presented to the Committee no later than 6:30pm on the first day of the Convocation. The Committee will review all proposed items in consultation with the person(s) presenting proposals. The committee will present a report to the Convocation in which the Committee will recommend a time for the Convocation to consider the proposals.
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Bishop
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Our theme for this year’s Lutheran Week is: “The Holy Spirit: Calling, Gathering, Enlightening, Sanctifying” Our text is Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Following his resurrection and prior to his ascension, Jesus manifests the work the Holy Spirit would continue to accomplish following Pentecost: calling, gathering, enlightening and sanctifying. During those 40 days, Jesus continued to “call” his disciples. On Pentecost there were not just the eleven disciples but a group of 120. Jesus “gathered” his followers together and presented himself to them with many “proofs” regarding his presence and power. Jesus “enlightened” them by continuing to speak about the Kingdom of God. He “sanctified” them by his presence and the promise of the Father in sending the Holy Spirit, commanding them to wait until they were baptized with the Holy Spirit. As is often the case, the disciples want to know only about the difference this will make in their immediate context. They ask Jesus, “Is this when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus reminds them that they can trust in the Father’s perfect timing. He pulls them away from their self-centered focus to a larger view of the Kingdom Jesus proclaimed. He tells them “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” This is not about passively waiting for the restoration of all things but of actively witnessing to the world. Between his incarnation and his return is the time for his Body, the Church, to witness to the world. If you have created a “Last Will and Testament” in order to appropriately deal with your estate, the legacy you leave behind for others, you know that it must be signed by witnesses. Luther suggests that we are witnesses of Jesus’ “Last Will and 58
Testament.” We are the witnesses of the legacy that he left behind for his Church to proclaim. Luther writes, Therefore, let us follow Chrysostom, who, investigating the distinguishing features of a testament writes, “For a testament is made when the day of death is near. Moreover, such a testament regards some as heirs but disinherits others. Again, a testament contains certain provisions on the part of the one who makes it and certain requirements to be met by the heirs, so that they receive certain things and do certain things. Again, a testament must have witnesses.” Let us look at these points in order. For Chrysostom says no more about the well-known fact that Christ made His testament when the day of His death was near. The evangelists, you see, relate unanimously that when Christ passed along the cup which had been blessed by him, he said: “This cup is the new testament in My blood” (Luke 22:20), and this at the Last Supper. But Chrysostom also touches too briefly on why He made a testament, on what was to be received. This should have been discussed most of all. Therefore, one should know that He made a will and left immeasurable blessings, namely, the remission of sins and eternal life when He made His completely trustworthy testament. Matt. 26:28–29 contains the clearest statement of all. There He said: “For this is My blood of the new testament, which will be shed for many for the remission of sins. But I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” With these most delightful words He bequeaths to us, not the riches or the glory of the world but once and for all absolutely all blessings, that is, as I have said, the remission of sins and possession of the future kingdom. … The witnesses of this testament are the Holy Spirit Himself and the apostles, as John 15:26 states: “The Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me, and you will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” Therefore, they said in Acts 3:15: “To this we are witnesses.” And in Acts 1:8 we read: “And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” In steering the disciples away from times and dates, Jesus was not rejecting the restoration of Israel, but “depoliticizing” it with his call to worldwide mission. In some ways the disciples were to be the restored Israel, fulfilling its mission to be a light for the Gentiles so that God’s salvation would reach the ends of the earth. 59
The image and the words of the angels at the Ascension created a vivid picture of Jesus returning on the clouds just as they saw him ascend (Acts 1:11). The Parousia (second coming) is not abandoned, but the direction Christ has set to that day is the evangelization of the world, making disciples of all nations. To that end Jesus makes two critical promises: “you will receive power” and “you will be my witnesses.” This power is not political power, or power derived from agreement on agendas. It is not the power of institutions or organizations. It is not personal power derived from what is within us. It is divine power that comes from the Holy Spirit. The word for “power” is the same word used in the Gospels to describe Jesus’ miracles. It is this power that is essential for being equipped for mission. Luke stresses this commission to be Christ’s witnesses at the end of his Gospel (Luke 24:47-49) and again in Acts 1:8. The disciples are to be his witnesses. It is as if we signed his “Last Will and Testament.” We have been entrusted with his estate, his legacy. We know the truth of his identity, the relational focus of his earthly ministry, the purpose of his sacrificial death and the hope of his glorious resurrection. We have already become heirs of his Kingdom through faith in him, trusting his promises. We are witnesses of the difference Jesus Christ has made in our lives, in the life of his Church and throughout the entire world for all time. The term for “witness” (martyr) is also appropriate. As death draws close we offer to the world our “Last Will and Testament.” What we have received in this life we pass on to others. We cling to only one possession — rather, to only one person — the Lord Jesus Christ. He is all we have and all we need. In him there is forgiveness, eternal life, unfathomable grace, love beyond measure, power, purpose and direction for living. He is our legacy and the only part of our estate that endures eternally. The gift we have received is the gift we pass on to others. This mission of being Christ’s witnesses is our daily endeavor and the nature of discipleship. It is clear from Scripture, the creeds and the confessions that no disciple can live faithfully apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. Throughout our time together we will be remembering Luther’s explanation to the third article of the Apostles Creed. I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins 60
and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true. The person and work of the Holy Spirit is essential to understanding the fullness of the Trinitarian nature of the God we worship and adore, the One God revealed in Holy Scripture. Throughout my ministry I have noticed a distinct resistance among some Lutherans to acknowledge, accept and utilize the gifts the Holy Spirit provides for building up and strengthening the ministry of both the individual to whom such gifts are given and, through those individuals, the entire Church. While serving as an international speaker for Alpha, I received the same basic question from hundreds of Lutheran pastors. While they affirmed the Alpha program, they consistently asked, “What do you do with the Holy Spirit?” Some wanted me to write a Lutheran Alpha that deleted or mitigated the presentations on the Holy Spirit. I constantly encouraged them to read what Scripture says about the Holy Spirit and then to read our creeds and confessions. Some have accused Lutherans of being unitarians of the second person of the Trinity. Unfortunately, some among us have embraced such criticism as an accurate description of our Lutheran identity. To do so is to abandon Scripture as the norm for our faith and life and to undermine our confessions as “true witnesses and faithful expositions” of those Scriptures. The Holy Spirit is essential to our life and faith, and without that power there is no Body of Christ but only the empty shell of a human organization. When I asked pastors about their concerns and fears regarding the work of the Holy Spirit, their answers were nearly the same. They feared no longer being in control. I believe that is the best place for us to be, no longer trying to control the Holy Spirit by our structures but conforming our structures and our lives to his control. It is the only way to utilize the gifts he gives for reform and renewal in the Church. Our life in Christ begins in Baptism. We acknowledge that by water and the Holy Spirit we are made members of the Church, the body of Christ. We affirm that it is the same Holy Spirit that moved over the waters at creation. It is by the same Holy Spirit that a person is given new life through the waters of Baptism and made an inheritor of God’s glorious kingdom. We confess our faith in the Holy Spirit in the Apostles’ Creed. We baptize the person in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We pray, “Pour your Holy Spirit upon this child: The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence.” We anoint the child with oil, making the sign of the cross and saying, “Child of God, you have been sealed by 61
the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.” I find it interesting that Luther’s original order for Holy Baptism (1523) included even more powerful expressions of the work of the Holy Spirit. One striking feature is the number of exorcisms and references to the work of the devil. The pastor began the baptismal liturgy by blowing three times under the child’s eyes saying, “Depart thou unclean spirit and give room to the Holy Spirit.” The opening prayer implores that God would “break all the snares of the devil with which he is bound.” Luther’s prayer added, “I adjure thee, thou unclean spirit, by the name of the + Father and of the + Son and of the + Holy Ghost that thou come out and depart from this servant of God, (Name), for he commands thee, thou miserable one, he who walked upon the sea and stretched forth his hand to sinking Peter.” In his preface to this order for Baptism, Luther emphasized the seriousness of the exorcisms, “Remember, therefore, that it is no joke to take sides against the devil and not only to drive him away from the little child, but to burden the child with such a mighty and lifelong enemy.” In a worldview that understands the presence and power of the devil, one can easily grasp the importance of being equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit. In a world that refuses to acknowledge the presence and power of evil it is easy to see why many today undervalue the power and work of the Holy Spirit. We affirm the work of the Holy Spirit during confirmation, ordination, every invocation and benediction, every order for confession and absolution. Our life in Christ is bathed and sustained by that same Holy Spirit. More than a name, the Holy Spirit is the person of God who is active, moving, filling and renewing the Body of Christ: calling, gathering, enlightening, sanctifying. It is my prayer that during our time together in this Lutheran Week 2018 and beyond we will be filled with more than ideas and theological concepts about the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will receive his power and will be Christ’s witnesses. In and through the Holy Spirit, Jesus fulfills his promise, “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Empowered by the Holy Spirit we press on. I have witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the individuals who are part of our NALC Life-to-Life Discipleship Team. That same Holy Spirit has been manifest in our meetings together throughout this year. Our Life-to-Life Discipleship Team recognizes that discipleship is not something new, but involves taking seriously what we already claim we believe. We must explore it at deeper levels of understanding and implement it in our own lives so that we become equipped — through the power of the Holy Spirit — to proclaim this faith in word and 62
deed, disciple others and prepare them to become disciple-makers. I am especially grateful for the excellent leadership of Pastor Eric Riesen, the chair of the Life-toLife Discipleship Team, in working with our pastors and theologians. We are making excellent progress. Increasing numbers of congregation are beginning the process. Pastors are signing up for coaching. We are training our own shepherds (coaches). Our cultural identity is reaching the “tipping point” of fully integrating discipleship into the fabric of our mission, ministry, the training of our pastors and the equipping of our laity. I commend to you their new PowerPoint presentation on this topic. In a recent presentation to both the Life-to-Life Discipleship Team, as well as the Carolinas Mission District Convocation, I spoke about the dangers of discipleship that is focused on ourselves and our own progress in the faith without manifesting Christ’s love for others. It is a form of self-deception to believe that we can grow closer to Christ by improving our lives and gaining an artificial form of spiritual superiority. Instead, discipleship is a process of discovering how close and readily available Christ already is. We cannot get any closer to him than he has already come to us! This truth we celebrate weekly in the Eucharist. While pointing out several other dangers, as well as positive suggestions, I concluded with these words: The greatest danger of all is to do nothing about discipleship. To make that choice is to live in direct disobedience to Jesus’ command to go and make disciples of all nations… (Matthew 28.) The greatest danger for the entire Body of Christ is to know what Jesus taught and modeled and then refuse to act. This is to live a self-centered life, relying on our own wisdom and attempts at self-justification through a variety of means but not his grace, no matter how many times we utter the word. Please give up on this notion that pursuing discipleship will cause a divide between an “inner group” and an “outer group.” Every congregation has been accused and convicted of having an inner group that causes others to feel like outsiders. Who is closest to the pastor or the council? That is the inner group because people believe that they are the ones who possess power and authority. It could be the choir, worship and music committee, executive council, small group or any number of other groups depending on the nature of the congregation’s history. When the mother of James and John asks Jesus to give her sons special status to sit on either side of Jesus’ throne in heaven, Jesus uses it as an opportunity to remind them that life in Christ is about serving others and giving one’s life, even to the point of death, loving others for the sake of his Kingdom. We must learn that same lesson, for that is the true nature of discipleship! The greatest danger of all is doing nothing! 63
The Holy Spirit provides the connective tissue for the Body of Christ, and I am blessed by the inspiration and wisdom of other faithful leaders through whom the Holy Spirit has continued to bless and guide my ministry this past year. Foremost among them is Bishop Emeritus Paull Spring. In addition to his treasured friendship and willingness to work through difficult issues by my side, he serves on the Commission for Theology and Doctrine as well as the Board of Regents for the NALS. I am also thankful for the faithful service and expertise of Bishop Ralph Kempski. The Holy Spirit has also been manifest in this church through the lives of our staff who serve so closely, addressing the needs of countless pastors, laity and congregations throughout the year. They have been using their spiritual gifts to build up and strengthen this Church daily. They are deserving of your appreciation and encouragement. Please pray for them as I do. Rev. Mark Chavez, General Secretary Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, Assistant to the Bishop for Missions Andrew Fuller, Director of Communications Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, NALS President Rev. Brad Hales, Director of Domestic Mission Gary & Laurie Pecuch, Youth and Family Ministry Coaches Mary Bates, Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Dr. David Baer, Newsletter Editor Anne Gleason, Financial Administrator Becky Seifert, Assistant to the Executive Staff Jenny Brockman, Assistant for Missions Joan Corniea, Financial Assistant Maddie Benson, Communications Specialist Your Executive Council has also trusted the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them throughout our meetings this year. Along with providing oversight and strategic direction for the entire North American Lutheran Church, they continue to read, study and grow in their faith and encourage our pastors and laity by their own example. They give graciously of their time and commitment to serve Christ. Our witness is stronger because of their service that keeps us moving forward faithfully and efficiently between our convocations.
The office of the Bishop can only be implemented across the NALC through the work of our Mission District deans. The level of creative and responsive leadership from our deans this past year has been amazing to behold. There are countless stories to be told regarding the growing commitment of our deans to lead their pastors and congregations in pursuing Christâ€™s mission. They have demonstrated their willingness to work cooperatively and are fully supportive of our work in the areas of discipleship, the Structure Task Force and the Vision for Pastors of the North American Lutheran Church. The Holy Spirit has not only been present when we gather together but throughout the year in every one of our Mission Districts. I am deeply grateful to the deansâ€™ congregations, who graciously provide them with the necessary time and opportunity to fulfill this important office. I am also especially thankful for the leadership of Pastor Dan Powell, the Convener and hub for communication for our deans. Please pray for them even as they offer themselves in ministry for our pastors and congregations in each of their respective Mission Districts. That same Holy Spirit is also at work in the North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS). He has been at work calling people to Word and Sacrament ministry. Our students are amazingly gifted by the Holy Spirit and are part of a community of faith shaped by the Holy Spirit. The inspiration of our NALS President, faculty and staff continues to prepare our students for effective ministry in this church. Each of us has a part to play in listening carefully to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to encourage many others to pursue this important life of serving Christ in Word and Sacrament ministry. At every opportunity, I remind our people that our pastors will come from our congregations. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work in your congregation and offer those words of encouragement as he guides you. In addition to our faculty and staff, I am grateful for the gifted leadership of our Board of Regents. Please pray for all of them, giving thanks for their faithful service. Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, NALS President; Director, NALS Seminary Center at Trinity School for Ministry; and Associate Professor of Liturgy and Homiletics Rev. Dr. David Yeago, Professor of Systematic Theology Rev. Dr. Mary Havens, Director, Lutheran House of Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Rev. Dr. James Nestingen, Professor at St. Paul Lutheran Seminary
Throughout this year others have been guided by the Holy Spirit to use their spiritual gifts serving on our committees, task forces and commissions. These include: Candidacy Committee Commission on Theology and Doctrine Lutheran Week Planning Team Holy Families Initiative Mission Teams Youth and Family Ministry Task Force
Church and Ministry Task Force Communications Team Court of Adjudication Life-to-Life Discipleship Team NALS Board of Regents Structure Task Force
Their work is helping us to advance our strategic objectives, supporting and strengthening the ministry of our congregations and pastors. Our strength is in the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of every disciple of Jesus who is a part of the North American Lutheran Church. Many have already heard me express it, but it is time to make it official: I will not seek nomination for another term to serve as your Bishop. With this Convocation I begin my final year in this office. Next year, you will be electing a new Bishop to serve you as we move forward. While I must admit that I am wrestling with my own grief as this chapter in my ministry concludes, I also believe this is the best decision for me and, of even greater importance, the best decision for the North American Lutheran Church. We are too young a church body to have a leader serve in this position for twelve years. Eight years is long enough. We must convince ourselves of our capacity to elect from within this body the next Bishop to continue to lead us into that future. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit will inspire, encourage and call our next Bishop. A team of leaders from within our Executive Council will be providing you with materials encouraging you to pray for that process throughout this year, so that we will be truly prepared for the election next August. Because your attention will be appropriately focused on your new Bishop next year, and my report will seem far less important, I want to use this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and deep appreciation for the honor you have bestowed upon me to serve as your Bishop. While the travel schedule can be overwhelming and exhausting, I love you, the people I am privileged to visit. Because of our time together, the unity of our faith, our mutual commitment to mission and ministry, and the bonds of love we share in Christ Jesus, I am always encouraged, strengthened and renewed. While it will be different as I depart from this office, serving as your Bishop and forming relationships with you over these past eight years are gifts that 66
I will treasure for the rest of my life. When I am privileged to represent you in the presence of other church bodies and organizations, I do so with both pride and joy in serving as your Bishop. Your witness continues to bring encouragement to many more people than you may ever see or know. Be assured of my continued prayers for each of our pastors and congregations far beyond the end of my term. Below is a list of some of the most significant ways I have used my time in serving you and discharging my responsibilities. • More than 35 weekends with congregations in the U.S. and Canada • Ordinations/Installations: David White Tom Hux Gary Braeuer Mark Ryman Roger Hull Jason Dampier Cassandra Boehringer Hans Tolpingrud Jacob Taxis Alan Aley Matthew Vatalare • Work with the Commission on Theology and Doctrine • Mission trip to Haiti and discipleship training for pastors • Canadian Rockies Theological Conference • Work with congregations leaving the ELCA • Meeting with Mission District Deans • Mission Festival presenter • Mission District convocations • Board of Regents meetings • NALC Pastors Conference • Ecumenical efforts: o Meetings with leaders of the Anglican Church of North America o Meetings with Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod leaders o Association for Church Renewal (now Common Ground Christian Network) o ELCA/ELCiC meeting • Gordon Conwell Advisory Committee • Executive Staff meetings • Full staff meetings 67
• • • • • • • • •
Hosting staff in our home Executive Council meetings Candidacy Committee Camp pastor for Wilderness Ranch Canada Funeral for Rev. Fred Smith Structure Task Force Dedication of the Columbus Oromo congregation building GAFCON Meeting in Jerusalem Congregational Celebrations o St. Paul’s Rosenberg, TX – 100 years o Mt. Zion Lucas, OH – 200 years o St. John’s Oshkosh, WI – 150 years o Hope Hubbard Lake, MI – 40 years o Trinity Landis, NC - Homecoming • Life Conference • March for Life – Washington, DC As I pray for you, I am grateful for your prayers and even more grateful for God’s faithful answer to your petitions on my behalf. I depend on his response. May his Holy Spirit continue to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify us on this journey of following Christ Jesus. It is good to be with you following Him,
The Rev. John F. Bradosky Bishop
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the General Secretary
NALC Staff and Office Changes We said farewell to two staff members and welcomed three new ones this past year. Our long-time administrative assistant in the Minnesota office, Kathy Jacobson, retired this past spring after ten years of service with Lutheran CORE and the NALC. She provided great assistance to Anne Gleason with all operations in the financial office, proofread all NALC documents and updated the website. Rev. Mark Ryman stepped down as communications coordinator at the beginning of the year to become the production editor for Sola Publishing, one of the NALC’s Ministry Partners. We are indebted to him for the fine work he did on redesigning the NALC website and editing daily devotions. His gifts and experience are a great addition to the Sola team, and already have enabled Sola to improve its capabilities. If you have not kept up with the expansion of Sola’s services, I encourage you to do so. A growing number of NALC congregations are turning to Sola for worship and educational resources. After Kathy Jacobson’s retirement, we welcomed Joan Corniea to the Minnesota office. She is an experienced administrative assistant, having worked in both secular and church offices. Andrew Fuller joined our staff as communications director in April. He previously served as communications director (and a lay pastor) at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church (UALC) in Ohio, and before that at a large Baptist church in Wheaton, IL. In addition to overseeing and directing all NALC communications, he is available for assisting congregations and Mission Districts with their communications. Rev. Brad Hales began serving part-time as the director of domestic mission this spring. His primary responsibilities are 1) to support church plants and new mission starts; and 2) to work with established congregations for renewal and revitalization. He is a gifted pastor and evangelist. He has successfully worked with congregations in a variety of different settings and locations for their renewal and revitalization. With these additions to our staff and Maddie Benson’s move to Nevada, we made changes to our office configuration and job responsibilities. 69
There have been virtually no visitors to the office at UALC, so there is no need for a receptionist in Ohio. Digital phone technology allows for having a receptionist anywhere. Therefore, we returned the space where Maddie had been working to UALC. The NALC now has a single office in New Brighton, MN. All correspondence and donations should be sent to the Minnesota office. All phone calls are going to the Minnesota office, where Joan Corniea is the primary receptionist. Maddie will be the back-up receptionist during busy times in the Minnesota office. Maddie’s new job title is communications specialist, working under Andrew’s supervision to update the website. She will continue to provide communications support for the Candidacy Committee, certification process, call process and missions. Our Lord has blessed the NALC with gifted staff members. It has also been a blessing not to have the high costs of having fixed office space. We have been able to be nimble and flexible in making staffing and office changes to accommodate the growth of the NALC. Discipline Procedures I am thankful to report I did not need to call upon our Inquiry Panel this past year. I appreciate the willingness of our volunteers to be on call. The members are: Rev. Jim Bangsund, Rev. K. Glen Johnson, Rev. Ralph Kempski, Vic Stevens and Rev. Solveig Zamzow. Legal Resources The NALC is blessed to have Martin Nussbaum, at Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP in Colorado Springs, CO, as its lead attorney. He and his office provide excellent support. If your congregation does not have an employee handbook or yours needs to be updated, I encourage you to make use of the excellent resource developed for the NALC by Joan Rennekamp, assistant to Martin Nussbaum. Contact our office at 888-551-7254 or 651-633-6004 to get connected with Joan. She will assist in developing an employee handbook to fit your congregation’s need and context. We also are thankful for the continuing assistance from the law firm of Trimble and Associates, LTD, in Minneapolis, MN, on matters related to the NALC’s 501(c)(3) status and immigration. Our volunteer team of legal experts continues to provide great assistance to congregations on legal and constitutional matters. I am thankful for James Gale, 70
Rev. Dr. Ron Hoyum, Ryan Schwarz and Matt Burkhart making themselves available. Contact me if you would like their assistance. Common Ground Christian Network The Common Ground Christian Network (CGCN), an organization of Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and other Reformed movements and churches, had a very helpful meeting in Atlanta in October. Experienced and gifted leaders made presentations in four areas: church planting, social witness, engaging the culture and leadership development. The content of the presentations was an important step in the direction of the original vision for CGCN, which was to work across denominational lines in these areas to make a common witness to Christ in a secular culture and to mutually build up the body of Christ in North America. The CGCN Board will be discussing the possibility of hiring a part-time director to advance the network. We have relied on board members to direct the organization, but we are all busy leaders in our denominations and movements. It is not realistic to expect the board members to be able to devote the time and energy needed to move the network forward. Certification of Pastors Pastors in other Lutheran and non-Lutheran churches continue to be interested in serving in the NALC. Most inquiries are from ELCA and LCMC pastors. I expect interest in serving in the NALC will remain steady for the foreseeable future. This, coupled with a steady number of candidates for ordained ministry, is a blessing for the NALC. All denominations are facing an impending shortfall of clergy when the baby boomer pastors retire. The NALC will be better able to weather the shortfall than most denominations. Pastors Ron Hoyum, Harvey Mozolak, Heidi Punt and Solveig Zamzow have served on the vetting panel that assists with the certification process. Rev. Punt stepped down earlier this year, and Rev. Beverly DeBord began serving in her place. Their assistance and advice have been immensely helpful. We are indebted to them for their service. Lutheran Benefits The NALC is blessed immensely to have the Hahn Financial Group, in Sioux Falls, SD, overseeing Lutheran Benefits, the NALCâ€™s health and retirement plans. Verlyn Hahn and his staff provide excellent personal service to our pastors and congregations. The 71
cost of the health insurance, even with the increase for the coming year, remains way below the average cost for denominational plans. The retirement plan continues to grow substantially. Rev. Paul Larson and Ryan Schwarz work with me on the review committee for Lutheran Benefits. Their expertise and service have been invaluable as we work with the Hahn Financial Group to strengthen and improve Lutheran Benefits. Verlyn Hahn will be reporting at this Convocation on Thursday afternoon, and he will be available throughout the Convocation to meet with individuals. Make an appointment at the Lutheran Benefits table in the Ministry Expo. Here is a summary of the status of Lutheran Benefits as of the end of June 2018: The Lutheran Benefits Health Plan • 198 employees (157 congregations) currently enrolled in the health plan • 69 employees (61 congregations) currently enrolled only in the ancillary (non-health) package • 267 total employees covered (489 including dependents) The Lutheran Benefits 403b Retirement Plan Employees • Total number of employees enrolled in the plan: 504 • Total number of active participants (with an account balance): 388 • Total number of participants (with balances): 438 Employers • Total number of enrolled churches: 282 divisions set up in the system • Total number of churches enrolled actively submitting dollars: 234 divisions submitted contributions during the period of 9/1/2017 to 6/30/2018 Transfers 13 new transfers were processed in the last year (9/1/2017 to 7/31/2018) totaling $2,155,149.66. Plan Assets Total plan funds under management: $84,607,859.20 as of 6/30/2018
The table below shows how the above figures compare with previous years: Lutheran Benefits Trends
Congregational Reports Again, I am disappointed at the number of congregations that do not submit annual reports. While the NALC slowly, but steadily grows in members (congregations and pastors), we do not have enough information to know the average trend in congregations. NALC congregations might be declining like the average Protestant congregation in North America, or perhaps not. Hopefully the NALCâ€™s focus on transforming the culture of our congregations into disciple-making cultures is making a difference. To assess our efforts, a greater percentage of congregations must submit annual reports. The statistics below are based on data submitted in congregational reports, supplemented with information in our database gathered by other means: Total number of congregations: 424 Total baptized membership: 142,000 Geographic Setting of NALC congregations Farming area: 101 73
Small town or rural: 214 Suburb of large city: 63 Metropolitan area: 46
Total clergy: 641 (449 Active, 172 Retired, 20 On leave from call) Candidates approved for ordination 8/1/2017 â€“ 7/31/2018: 9 Deaths of pastors 8/1/2017 â€“ 7/31/2018: 6 There are now 91 dual NALC/LCMC congregations and 165 dual NALC/LCMC pastors. Here is a comparison of the above figures with prior years:
The Rev. Mark C. Chavez General Secretary
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry & Ecumenism
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” -Acts 2:42 Often, when meeting with pastors and/or congregations, I recommend the book, Simple Church, by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger. After a major study of congregations, some of which were thriving and others that were declining due to burnout, frustration and exhaustion, what Rainer and Geiger found is that simpler is better when it comes to “Church.” In other words, being all things to all people, trying to do everything, heaping up program upon program, often leads to frustration and exhaustion. Being clear about the focus of your congregation in simple, straightforward terms that are easily grasped, understood and shared is the key to a thriving congregation. The goal is for each congregation to be so focused that every member knows and is ready to state the congregation’s mission and ministry. Acts 2:42 manifests that laser focus, as the life of the disciple is shaped by the Word of God, the Sacraments, prayer and worship. The disciple is to live out the Word, Sacraments and prayer in daily life in such a way that they are always ready to share that Word, invite people into the fellowship initiated in Baptism and nourished by the Lord’s Supper, and glorify God in community and individual devotion through worship and prayer. The early Church thrived with this focus, growing by leaps and bounds until the Gospel was proclaimed around the world! This focus also guides the work of ministry and ecumenism in the North American Lutheran Church. In each aspect of our life together, we should ask, “How are we responding to the Great Commission, keeping ourselves centered on the Triune God and Jesus’ command for us to ‘Go, baptize, make disciples, teach…’?” We hope and pray that you are keeping a laser focus on that as well, in your daily life, congregational ministry, home and family! Since the last NALC Convocation, much has happened as I continue to fulfill various responsibilities as Assistant to Bishop Bradosky, specifically with “Ministry and Ecumenism.” 75
As I trust all are aware, we have a call process in the NALC, and I facilitate and coordinate this process. If you are not aware, please take a look at the “Call Process” page on the NALC website (www.thenalc.org) to familiarize yourself with the NALC Call Process Manual, the Congregational Workshop Preparatory to Call Process, the Profile of Pastor Available for Call and the Congregational Profile. While you may not be “in need” of the call process now, sooner or later you may need some basic knowledge of where to find these resources, how the process works, and what is expected of congregations, call committees and pastors. At any given time, we have an average of 20-30 full-time vacancies and 8-12 congregations seeking pastors who may serve “part-time.” We usually have 110-120 pastors “available for call” should God call them to a new congregation. The call process can be completed in an average of 9-12 months, although each situation is different as we wait for the Lord to reveal his will regarding each congregation’s next pastor. I also continue to work with Bishop Bradosky, assisting with congregations and pastors who request help with planning, visioning, communication and, yes, tension and conflict. We have developed a strategy for each Mission District to have a Pastoral Care and Transition team (P-CAT team) to assist with the congregational workshop in preparation for the call process, as well as to serve as “first responders” when congregations and pastors may be in the first stages of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Although Mission Districts are still forming their P-CAT teams, the strategy is bearing fruit and we look forward to our first gathering of P-CAT teams in Columbus, OH, Sept. 11-12, 2018. In every aspect of this work, we are challenging pastors and congregations to consider what it means for them to be living and ministering together as disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, something often forgotten or ignored amid stress and struggle. As Assistant to the Bishop, I serve as his liaison to our various task forces, teams, committees and commissions. Because the bishop is not able to be everywhere at once, I am present and represent him in these meetings. These include involvement in the Life-to-Life Discipleship Team, the Commission on Theology and Doctrine, the NALS Board of Regents, the Candidacy Committee, the Living and Giving Stewardship Team, the Church and Ministry Task Force, and other ad hoc groups that are formed from time to time. I recently began, at the Bishop’s request, as facilitator of the NALC support team (read: support/administrative staff). Again, in each of our meetings and in our work together, we are laser focused on discipleship and the fact that our mission and ministry are shaped by the reality that, even as God comes to us “life-to-life” in Jesus Christ, our life together is to be all about relationships — 76
investing in each other and those we serve. Our ecumenical and inter-Lutheran relationships continue to be strong, as we are blessed by brothers and sisters in other faithful church bodies and reform movements. If you haven’t caught the theme yet, yes, these relationships are focused on discipleship as well! One of our primary ecumenical consultations has been with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Since our last Convocation, Four Pastoral and Educational Affirmations (with study guides) was published jointly by the NALC and ACNA. The affirmations presented agreement on Jesus Christ, the Gospel and justification; Holy Baptism; Holy Communion; and Holy Scripture. Based on this consensus, we are developing a fifth major affirmation on “discipleship and disciple-making.” We anticipate completion of this affirmation in late 2018. At the same time, we are working together to plan a major conference on discipleship, February 12-14, 2020, in Orlando, FL, in cooperation with our Anglican Church in North America brothers and sisters. It will be in conjunction with our annual NALC Pastors Conference, although it will not be for clergy only. Discussing the theme, we agreed Acts 2:42 is the appropriate biblical text. After Peter’s sermon, those who received his word were baptized, “and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). After receiving the Word and being baptized, what did the life of the newly converted disciples look like? They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship (the Word), to the breaking of bread (the Lord’s Supper) and the prayers (worship, devotion and prayer together with the Christian community). These disciples seemed to have a clear focus on the life of a follower of Jesus. We continue to be in relationship with representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In addition to our annual consultation, we were introduced to the writing of Pope Francis in his exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, building on the work of Popes John Paul II and Benedict. Francis writes engagingly about “missionary discipleship,” exhorting Roman Catholics to engage more fully in the Lord’s call to be disciples, but also to invite others into a personal relationship with Jesus, so that they, too, become disciples. This has led to the invitation to our speaker for the 2018 Lutheran Week Mission Festival, Sherry Weddell. She is a popular writer and facilitator leading individuals and parishes to take seriously the Great Commission. 77
Although we meet an average of twice a year with the USCCB and other biblically faithful church leaders, addressing common concerns regarding marriage, the sanctity of life, gender confusion and religious liberty, our Commission on Theology and Doctrine is recommending approval of a resolution inviting the USCCB into a more intentional consultation. The goal of this consultation would be to continue to discuss issues of common concern, focusing on our common work related to discipleship! The NALC is invested in it and the Roman Catholic Church is investing in it — as are others around the world. We are ready to engage in conversation and cooperation with anyone seeking to respond faithfully to Jesus’ commission to go! Our consultation with Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and Lutheran Church—Canada’s leadership has allowed us to share how our Church is built upon and being built up by our commitment to life-to-life discipleship! We believe this has been furthered by our common statement on “God’s Word Forever Will Abide,” affirming that it is only through the Word of God that we live our faith as disciples and followers of Jesus. At their invitation and as their guests, the members of our consultation were present in Wittenberg, Germany, for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It was fitting that representatives of the NALC be present in the place where Luther preached, taught and bore witness to the fact that “our consciences are captive to the Word of God.” We are pleased that the newly elected president of the Lutheran Church—Canada, Rev. Timothy Teuscher, will be with us for our 2018 Convocation, together with representatives of LCMS. We also continue our involvement in the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran Forum, which we initiated several years ago. This has been in conjunction with our Lutheran Week activities in the past, blessing our gatherings with a truly international Lutheran flavor. This year, we will meet outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, September 4-6, 2018. Our “confessional and missional” focus will be on discipleship and disciple-making in the east African context. Keynote speakers will be Rev. Dr. Lalissa Gemechis, of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and our own Rev. Dr. Nathan Howard Yoder. Finally, we are part of the Common Ground Christian Network, comprised of several orthodox Christian denominations (NALC, ACNA, Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), etc.) and reform movements within existing church bodies, such as Lutheran CORE. At the last meeting, October 2017 in Atlanta, we were challenged by exciting presentations on church planting and evangelism, discipleship, culture, etc. If nothing else, these meetings are great opportunities for biblically, theologically 78
conservative Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians and others to gather for conversation, support and to address issues of concern in the Church and culture. This is a glimpse of what a life-to-life discipleship focus looks like in our ministry and ecumenical work in the NALC, in 2018 and beyond. We invite each of our pastors and congregations, lay leaders, councils and others to become informed and involved as we take our Lordâ€™s Great Commission seriously and respond joyfully! It continues to be a blessing to serve alongside you in this NALC! I give thanks for Bishop John, our staff and those we serve. May God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, continue to challenge, encourage and strengthen us in this exciting ministry we share. Respectfully submitted,
The Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Assistant to the Bishop for Missions
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” –Habakkuk 2:2-3 While there are a variety of ongoing tasks in the NALC Mission Office, we have organized our work under the banner of Habakkuk 2:2-3. The NALC stands on the precipice of the next stage of organizational development. As such, the action steps we need to take in order to fulfill the Great Commission are critical to the continued movement of our church body. The major biblical influence on our time of reflection is the Book of James, whose focus is radical discipleship. As growing disciples of Christ, we find that James lists three marks that were the focus of his writing. These same marks will guide our work in the Mission Office for 2018: 1) A Controlled Tongue; 2) A Caring Ministry for those in Need; 3) Personal Holiness. 1. We are people of the Word. James expounds in detail what it means to have a “controlled tongue.” Oftentimes, we choose to think of a “controlled tongue” only in negative terms and use this to justify ourselves, simply focusing on the things we ought not to do: do not lie, gossip, speak angrily, etc. As we unpack the Book of James, we see that the key understanding of controlling the tongue is not simply a checklist, but truly focusing on proclaiming the Word of God—proclaiming Good News in the midst of bad news, and the terror that encompasses our everyday lives. We will continue to seek avenues to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as it is through his Word, that the Spirit stirs people up to embrace their calling and vocation. We can try to manufacture the “fire,” or we can let the Spirit do his work and then create the needed administrative systems to follow in his wake, rather than trying to prescribe his work and make it fit into our neat little boxes. 2. A driven focus on assisting those ministries that partner with the Great Commission Society, with a special emphasis on our multi-national ministries. These ministries and congregations are doing critical work. It is imperative that we help them tell their stories, as they reach out to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus 80
Christ holistically. 3. Developing resources to help our pastors, leaders, and congregations grow in radical discipleship and maturity. We live in a world where the average church member/family worships once per month. This seismic shift has occurred in one generation. We see the followers of Jesus who are struggling as our culture has shifted, and the need for our resources to make this shift, too. We can’t go about “doing church” the same way we used to. We must embrace those who have creative solutions and understand that there is no “one size fits all” fix. Our job is to facilitate the development of resources and connect the people who have resources and gifts to those in need. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to equip people to make the most of their time and resources. It’s not about “doing mission” but living a life “on mission,” that is, life-to-life discipleship, and equipping our disciples for relationship. Because this is a critical and imperative need, we share that we are blessed to welcome the Director of Domestic Mission who will be specifically working to assist our national and Mission District mission teams as we continue the journey. The NALC Mission Office has a primary focus of mobilizing congregations, leaders, and Mission Districts for mission. To achieve this, systematic organization is critically important.
It is vital that our national mission teams continue to work in these five categories to mobilize the entire denomination. Below are a few of the tangible resources produced by our national mission teams, as we continue to equip and resource our congregations for mission: • The Academy: The NALC is committed to the renewal of all our congregations, working to develop and deliver resources that challenge and open the NALC to the work of the Holy Spirit in our ministry and mission. Each month we host a free webinar based on needs expressed by NALC leaders, for NALC leaders. For details: missions.nalcnetwork.com/tag/academy • CROSS Talk: CROSS Talk is a weekly online lectionary study led by the Rev. Dr. James Nestingen in conjunction with St. Paul Seminary each Tuesday at 4:00 pm Eastern. For more information or to register, please visit: semlc.org/contact-us • Additional Featured Resources: Please see the Appendix for a variety of new and upcoming resources, including but not limited to, new Bible studies and resources focused on “Prayer – The Fuel for Mission,” the detailed work of mission starts and congregational renewal across the NALC, and additional training opportunities. • Senior Ministry Conference: Our first annual conference was held October 17–18, 2017, in Culpeper, Virginia. Resources, including details regarding this year’s conference, will continue to be made available on this topic at: missions. nalcnetwork.com/category/senior-ministry/ • Renewal Coach Training: This one-day training seminar was held in November 2017, with the goal of having one person from each Mission District in attendance, creating a network of leaders to assist in the renewal of NALC congregations. • Multi-National Leader Training: Joined together in 2018 with the NALC Pastors’ Conference focusing on “Discipleship, Leadership, and the NALC Pastor,” this training was critical in helping to equip our multi-national leaders and provided access to a variety of resources designed to assist in their unique situations.
• Mission Finder: Mission cannot be done in isolation. It is about relationships and building strategic mission networks. Find information about other hands-on mission and ministry projects in the NALC (including short-term mission trips): missions.nalcnetwork.com • Mission Grants: The NALC continues to offer short-term grants for mission starts, global workers, international mission projects, congregational renewal and emergency aid. This support comes from the NALC Great Commission Fund. • GCS Mission Partners: Short-term grants are only one piece of the puzzle. We invite mission starts, international projects, renewal projects, those seeking emergency aid and others to apply for our GCS vetting process. Approval of an application places the ministry on a special portion of the NALC’s website, comes with assistance in forming sustaining relationships and provides partners with an assurance that the ministry is supportive of the NALC’s Core Values, meets fiscal and ministry standards, etc. As we live into the NALC’s “1 x 1 x 1 Vision,” we would love for you to consider partnering with these ministries. For an application or to see approved ministries, please visit: thenalc.org/GCS • Mission Resources on NALC Website: Designed specifically to connect pastors, leaders and congregations to requested resources. Includes video teachings, “how to” and other administrative documents, past training events and more: thenalc. org/missionresources/ Respectfully submitted,
The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba Assistant to the Bishop for Missions
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Director of Communications Developing Shared Identity, Unity and Testimony Among the North American Lutheran Church My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. –Psalm 71:15-19 Speaking to a New World Jesus Christ has called every member of the North American Lutheran Church to share with others the most exciting and important Good News of all time. Therefore, communicating is at the very heart of our identity and calling as Christians. In the past, our ability to share this message of reconciliation and salvation was limited to our immediate family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. But we now live in a digital age where there is widespread access to mobile phones or the internet (or both in the same device) so that our circle of influence is limitless—beyond geography, class, and even language. This Information Age of ours has amplified the impact of more traditional media. It has facilitated cheaper, faster printing and has allowed the “average Joe” to publish news that can be consumed by millions around the world. Media has become social. Journalism is now done by citizens. This provides far greater opportunities, but also presents challenges as the number of messages in our world grows exponentially. Many in our churches look to us to present clarity and truth in a time of chaos. Sadly, the Church has not fully grasped what a historic opportunity this is for its mission or for strengthening and developing its bonds of unity. Strategic communication techniques and skills, and the sheer power of digital networking, are rarely taught in our seminaries and theological colleges. Too few Mission Districts have identified qualified communication professionals to support their regional work. Too few individual churches proactively include strategic communications as part of their day-to-day life and work. 84
One major reason for all this is that there has not been any recent attempt by Lutherans to consider what part communication plays in the theological and ecclesiological life of our faith tradition. Five hundred years ago the technological marvel of the printing press initiated a new era for the Church and helped support Martin Luther’s Reformation pragmatically and theologically. Today, a new era in technological innovation is present to allow the Church to further its mission. In fact, with the advent of social media, we are currently facing one of the largest shifts in human communication in the history of the world. Just as Luther challenged the Church to speak the vernacular language of individuals in his day, we must learn to speak the language of video, social media and other digital methods of our day. Another reason is that “communication” has been traditionally considered a support function rather than an essential component of all we do as a Church. What’s more, many lay and ordained church workers respond to strategic communications— particularly media relations and social media—with an unhelpful flight, fright or fight response. For these reasons our Church remains stuck in a decades-old paradigm of communications in which churches restrict their main communication channels to Sunday morning sermons, newsletters and episcopal pronouncements, rather than speaking to key audiences through the channels (and networks) that they actually use. As a Church in the modern era, we must urge our congregations to make communications a fundamental part of their mission. Congregations must speak in(to) the modern “marketplace” where the general public holds its conversations and learn to use current tools that are already mainstream within the secular culture. We must do this while maintaining our unique Lutheran emphasis of Word and Sacrament ministry—inviting those with whom we interact into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Keeping to the old paradigm means, at best, the Church will continue to promote the Kingdom of God through its immediate circles of influence. At worst, the most important message we have to offer the world, that of the Good News of Christ, will be drowned out by an increasingly anti-Christian world that better understands the power of effective communications than we do. Addressing These Challenges Since beginning this post as the Director of Communications in April, it has been such a blessing to meet and listen to the many pastors and lay leaders who have expressed ongoing challenges in their day-to-day ministries. It has also been imperative to meet with our executive staff, executive council, and many of our deans to learn 85
more about the identity and values of our Church, and how our congregations can better unite under one banner. For many, the role of “communications director” for the NALC should be focused on external public relations to other Lutheran groups, ecumenical relationships and non-Christian organizations. For others, this post should focus on internal communications between congregations, as well as between Church leaders and parishioners across the continent. While both are certainly goals on my priority list, perhaps a more pressing need is one of supporting and equipping our congregations to communicate the work of God to their own communities. With that in mind, it has been my joy to meet and support many pastors and churches these past few months with their communications needs. As many of you are aware, Pastor David Baer continues to do excellent work sharing news and highlights within the Church through the NALC News. David Hahn continues to support the Church by providing technological and web support to our congregations. Maddie Benson is now serving in our office as a communications specialist, managing much of our internal communications efforts through daily maintenance of our website and administrative tasks, as well as by providing assistance to many of our committees and task forces. As a team, we are also heavily invested in sharing stories of mission and discipleship nationally and globally. We are continually in the process of evaluating our communication methods and adjusting as necessary. Finally, it has been my pleasure to work with the NALC Communications Team—all communications professionals and experts in their own right—in setting the direction and goals for our communication strategies as a Church: The Rev. Dr. David Baer Maddie Benson The Rev. Mark Chavez Donna Evans
David Hahn The Rev. Bill Maki The Rev. Dr. Scott Ness Ryan Schwarz
If one had to state what drives our communications work within the NALC, it could be stated in three values and strategic purposes: identity (a continued emphasis on developing and communicating our unique identity and values as a Church), unity (an increased level of unity and affinity between our churches and parishioners across the continent) and testimony (an increased flow of testimony and proclamation of God at work and churches on mission in their communities—both within and outside of the NALC). 86
Jesus is the Ultimate Communicator In all of this we are reminded that as the logos, Jesus was God’s media to this world. Jesus’ communication with his audience reveals God’s communicative love to human beings and thus affirms life-giving communication to all. Jesus communicated God’s love in and through his life, words and action. In Jesus Christ, there is no distance or separation between the medium and the message. Jesus Christ is God’s communication in its clearest, costliest and most demanding form. Jesus told parables, performed miracles and other deeds. He announced the Good News about the reign of God. He taught the Great Commandments to his disciples. He gave the apostles the Great Commission to communicate God’s love, mercy, grace and redemption to all people. So, Jesus communicated through telling stories, announcing the Good News, sending disciples, serving the poor, healing the sick and liberating the oppressed. Like Christ, we are called to communicate the truth which set us free, and I firmly believe that true and credible communication is the need of the hour within and outside the Christian community. May we all take on this challenge together and heed the call. Respectfully submitted,
Andrew S. Fuller Director of Communications
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Treasurer
As the NALC completes its eighth year of existence, our church body remains on solid financial footing. Nonetheless, over the past few years, operating expenses have exceeded income. principally due to the addition of new resource persons to serve NALC congregations — domestic missions staff, a communications director and a youth and family ministry specialist, among others. While the NALC’s operating budget is not yet balanced, I am glad to report that significant progress has been made in reducing these deficits. A brief orientation to the NALC’s financial reporting: The NALC’s Operating Budget includes all the expenditures associated with the general operations of our church body, such as Convocation and conferences, communications, Executive Council, committees and task forces, missions events, staff compensation and general administrative expenses. The operating budget is funded primarily through congregational benevolence. In addition, the NALC has several dedicated funds which provide resources for key ministry priorities. Of these, the three largest are the Great Commission Fund (missions and evangelism), the Theological Education Fund (NALS and seminarian support) and the Disaster Response Fund (domestic disaster relief). These funds receive dedicated donations from congregations and individuals. The NALC’s dedicated funds are generally amply funded at present, particularly the Theological Education and Disaster Response Funds. Donations to the Great Commission Fund have not equaled expenditures in past years but appear to be on the rise. With regard to the operating budget, as discussed above, benevolence and other income have fallen below NALC operating expenses the past two years. These deficits were financed with surpluses accumulated in the early days of the NALC. While the NALC was fortunate to have those accumulated surpluses, they are not unlimited. With that in mind, the NALC Executive Council and staff believe it important to move towards a balanced budget in the near term. Fortunately, progress has already been made. For 2018, the NALC operating budget called for an operating deficit of almost ($145,000). Due to certain temporarily unfilled staff positions in the first part of 2018 and other expenditure savings, we now forecast that the actual deficit for 2018 will be approximately ($100,000). For 2019, the proposed operating budget includes a deficit which has been further reduced to less than ($50,000). This is the result 88
of decisions by the Executive Council and staff to prioritize spending around key ministry initiatives and reduce or eliminate certain other expenditures. The resulting deficit is relatively modest and certainly within reach of closure. 2017 Financial Results The fourth page of this report summarizes the NALCâ€™s audited financial statements for 2017. The full audit report with details on expenses by functional area is available on the NALC website at thenalc.org/financial-reports. Perhaps most significantly, congregational benevolence in 2017 totaled almost $1.62 million, a strong increase of 7.8% from the amount in 2016. Individual and other donations totaled just over $133,000, an increase of 30.4% over 2016 excluding a large one-time donation in that year. Other income totaled almost $195,000. Donations to the NALCâ€™s dedicated funds totaled almost $1.39 million, an increase of 51.9% from the prior year due to a very substantial bequest received by the Theological Education Fund and more than $400,000 in donations received by the Disaster Response Fund in the wake of the multiple major hurricanes in 2017. Total expenditures for 2017, including operating costs and grants from the dedicated funds, were almost $2.93 million. Of these expenditures, NALC staff compensation and benefits totaled just over $1.05 million and NALS operations totaled just over $300,000. Grants to mission start congregations, missionaries and NALC ministry partners, along with disaster relief expenditures and seminarian scholarships, totaled just over $650,000. Convocation and conference expense totaled close to $295,000, which included a net subsidy provided by the NALC towards the cost of Lutheran Week of approximately $118,000. While the NALC experienced an operating deficit in 2017 of approximately ($97,000), contributions to the dedicated funds were substantially above expenditures, generating a consolidated surplus of just over $420,000.
As of December 31, 2017, total balances in the NALCâ€™s dedicated funds and unrestricted general operating funds were: Fund Theological Education Fund Great Commission Fund Disaster Response Fund WNALC and Misc Restricted Funds
$ $ $ $
Reserves 1,307,748 229,094 436,856 64,268
General Operating Reserves
Total Financial Reserves at 12/31/17
General Operating Reserves includes $400K previously designated by the Executive Council as a Strategic Development Fund.
2018 Forecast Congregational benevolence to the NALC rose rapidly in 2017 compared to 2016, but that growth has not been sustained in 2018. Based on year-to-date amounts, we forecast total congregational benevolence of $1.66 million in 2018, which represents 2.6% growth over 2017. Total operating income is forecast at nearly $1.94 million, which is approximately $14,000 less than budget. Operating expenses are estimated to total $2.04 million. This amount is approximately $59,000 less than budget, chiefly due to certain staff positions which were temporarily unfilled in the first part of 2018, as well as below-budget expenditures for staff travel, committees and task forces. Accordingly, we presently forecast an operating deficit of approximately ($100,000) in 2018. Turning to the dedicated funds, we forecast total grants in 2018 from the Great Commission Fund of close to $107,500, which is roughly $58,000 less than budget due to fewer than anticipated grant proposals meeting approval criteria. We estimate total expenditures from the Theological Education Fund of almost $495,000, which is substantially below budget due mainly to NALS operations expenses. For the Disaster Response Fund, we forecast total expenditures of more than $136,000, including more than $95,000 of direct disaster relief. In all three cases, donations are running significantly ahead of budget. For the full year, we forecast a small deficit of roughly ($7,500) in the Great Commission Fund, a deficit of almost ($46,500) in the Disaster Response Fund, and a surplus of just over $42,000 in the Theological Education Fund. 90
2019 Proposed Budgets For 2019, the proposed budget calls for total growth in congregational benevolence of 2.4%, to an annual total of $1.7 million, based on average growth over the past several years. Total operating income is budgeted at just over $2.08 million, including a substantial projected increase in Convocation registrations given the election of a new NALC Bishop in 2019. Total operating expenditures are budgeted at almost $2.13 million for 2019, which is a 4.4% increase over the 2018 forecast but only a 1.5% increase over the 2018 budgeted amount. This small growth, despite unavoidable increases in expenses such as medical benefits and attendance-driven Convocation costs, reflects several important expenditure decisions. Proposed spending reductions include elimination of cost of living salary increases for the executive staff, decreased funding for the NALC-hosted Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran Forum of confessing Lutheran leaders, phase-out of the paper version of the NALC News, use of creative scheduling plans to reduce costs for task force and committee meetings, closure of the NALCâ€™s small Ohio office, and conclusion of the work of the Structure Task Force. As a result, we forecast a reduced operating deficit of approximately ($47,000) in 2019. While we are disappointed not to be able to propose a fully balanced budget, the Executive Council and staff believe that it is important to make significant progress toward a balanced budget and create room in the future for additional staff and capabilities to serve NALC congregations, pastors and laypeople. The Great Commission Fund budget for 2019 proposes total expenditures of $175,500, an increase of $10,000 from the 2018 budget level, to fund one additional NALC global worker in the mission field. Donations to this fund have been rising and are budgeted at $110,000 in 2018. Nonetheless, a significant increase in donations would be required to sustain the 2019 budgeted level of mission congregation seed grants and financial support for global workers in the mission field. The 2019 proposed Theological Education Fund budget calls for a significant increase in total expenditures to almost $589,000, primarily due to anticipated increases in the number of NALS student scholarships and the addition of a new teaching position at the NALS in fall 2019. The budget contemplates total donations to the NALS and Theological Education Fund of $445,000 in 2019, resulting in a substantial deficit which will be funded from the NALSâ€™s very considerable financial reserves accumulated from past bequests and other donations. 91
Finally, the 2019 proposed Disaster Response Fund budget contemplates donation income of $65,000 and expenditures of almost $89,000, of which $50,000 is direct disaster relief and the balance is disaster response team operations. Naturally, it is difficult to project the amount of disaster relief expenditures in any given year; the budgeted amount is an average of the past several years. The following pages provide a summary of the audited financials for 2017, as well as detail on the 2018 financial forecast and the proposed budgets for 2019. Significant additional information is available on the NALC website at thenalc.org/financialreports, including the Treasurerâ€™s presentation to the Convocation, the full 2017 audited financial statements and a memo providing disclosure of compensation information for the NALCâ€™s executive staff. Respectfully submitted,
Ryan M. Schwarz Treasurer
NORTH AMERICAN LUTHERAN CHURCH 2019 Operating Budget Income
Donations ‐ Congregations Donations ‐ Individuals, Mission Districts and Other Convocation and Conference Registrations Other Fees and Income Total Income
FOR CONVOCATION ACTION
$ 1,670,000 90,000 167,844 25,000 $ 1,952,844
$ 1,660,000 115,000 138,860 24,800 $ 1,938,660
$ 1,700,000 100,000 256,250 25,000 $ 2,081,250
$ 268,286 197,000 51,400 134,200 9,800 20,000 680,686
Organization and Programs Convocation and Conferences Staff Travel Executive Council Committees and Task Forces Stewardship Team Mission Teams Subtotal ‐ Organization and Programs Communications Digital Communications Newsletter and Postage Printing‐brochures/stationery Subtotal ‐ Communications
236,540 177,060 52,000 140,700 14,850 20,000 641,150
333,017 137,400 48,800 111,200 26,000 23,000 679,417
33,500 22,675 2,600 58,775
29,500 20,350 4,500 54,350
29,500 1,000 6,550 37,050
13,510 36,250 18,825 6,775 15,400 8,570 1,875 101,205
14,952 44,350 19,750 7,300 15,800 7,800 9,364 119,316
15,400 33,000 14,000 7,500 17,000 7,300 10,331 104,531
17,100 10,000 ‐ 90,000
25,700 10,000 ‐ 90,000
17,700 10,000 ‐ 90,000
Total Operating Expenses
Net Operating Surplus / (Deficit)
Administrative Expenses Rent Professional Fees Phone Insurance Software and IT support Office supplies and equipment Depreciation Subtotal ‐ Administrative Expenses Staff Salaries, Taxes and Benefits Miscellaneous Bishop's Discretionary Fund Placeholder ‐ New Regional Staff Support for Ministry Partners
NORTH AMERICAN LUTHERAN CHURCH 2019 Dedicated Funds Budgets: Missions and Disaster Response
FOR CONVOCATION ACTION
Expenditures Mission Congregations ‐ Seed Funding Congregational Revitalization and Renewal Missional Leadership Development Global Workers Global Mission Projects Total Expenditures
$ 85,000 10,000 10,500 50,000 10,000 $ 165,500
$ 56,400 1,500 4,332 36,000 9,300 $ 107,532
$ 244,049 (80,500) $ 163,549
$ 229,095 (7,532) $ 221,563
$ 221,563 (65,500) $ 156,063
Great Commission Fund
Fund Balance ‐ Beginning of Year Net Surplus/(Deficit) Fund Balance ‐ End of Year
85,000 10,000 10,500 60,000 10,000 $ 175,500
NOTE: Great Commission Fund (GCF) includes contributions to and grants by the Great Commission Society.
Disaster Response Fund Anticipated Donations
Expenditures Direct Disaster Relief Operations and Disaster Preparation: Stipend for Coordinator Task Force/Coordinator Travel Local Trainings Main Warehouse Rent Promotion Materials/Media Total Expenditures Net Surplus/(Deficit) Fund Balance ‐ Beginning of Year Net Surplus/(Deficit) Fund Balance ‐ End of Year
19,890 8,000 4,500 4,500 1,500 $ 63,890
19,890 10,800 4,500 4,500 1,500 $ 136,490
20,288 8,000 4,500 4,500 1,500 $ 88,788
$ 179,730 (3,890) $ 175,840
$ 436,927 (46,490) $ 390,437
$ 390,437 (23,788) $ 366,649
NOTE: Actual amount of Direct Disaster Relief expenditures will depend on occurence of disaster events during the year.
NORTH AMERICAN LUTHERAN CHURCH 2019 Dedicated Funds Budgets: Theological Education
FOR CONVOCATION ACTION
80,000 310,000 $ 390,000
$ 110,000 427,000 $ 537,000
$ 110,000 335,000 $ 445,000
Expenditures NALS ‐ Operations (see detail below) Scholarships for Seminarians Annual Seminarian Gathering Subsidies for Theological Conferences Global Exchange Programs Program Development Total Expenditures
$ 359,375 134,700 20,625 18,340 10,000 ‐ $ 543,040
$ 317,716 146,100 12,415 16,492 ‐ 2,200 $ 494,923
$ 362,032 169,900 21,715 22,742 10,000 2,500 $ 588,889
Fund Balance ‐ Beginning of Year Net Surplus/(Deficit) Fund Balance ‐ End of Year
$ 944,181 (153,040) $ 791,141
$ 1,307,717 42,077 $ 1,349,794
$ 1,349,794 (143,889) $ 1,205,905
Total NALS‐Specific Donations
Operating Expenses ‐ Seminary Center, Ambridge: Faculty and Staff Travel, Marketing and Miscellaneous Board of Regents Communications Development Contribution to TSM Overhead Total Expenditures
$ 283,375 17,500 10,500 20,000 20,000 8,000 $ 359,375
$ 260,616 12,700 9,400 7,000 20,000 8,000 $ 317,716
$ 306,232 13,300 11,000 3,500 20,000 8,000 $ 362,032
Net NALS Operating Surplus / (Deficit)
Theological Education Fund
Anticipated Donations Theological Education Fund ‐ General North American Lutheran Seminary Total Anticipated Donations
Detail: North American Lutheran Seminary
Committee, Program & Task Force Reports
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Board of Regents of the North American Lutheran Seminary
The following individuals served as members of the Board of Regents (BOR) of the North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS) during the past year: M. Roy Schwarz, M.D., Chair Donna Evans, Vice Chair The Rev. Donna Smith, Secretary The Rev. Wendy Berthelsen The Rev. Dr. Cathi Braasch The Rev. John Bradosky, Bishop The Rev. Phillip Gagnon The Rev. Jeffray Greene The Rev. Dieter Punt The Rev. Paull Spring, Bishop Emeritus Developments in 2017-18 Three BOR members are completing their terms of office: Donna Smith, Wendy Berthelsen and Phillip Gagnon. All will be candidates for another term at the 2018 Convocation. They have all served faithfully and we are thankful for their many contributions. Board of Regents Activities During the past year, the BOR has been working to implement the five-year plan reported to the 2017 Convocation. This has involved updating policies and procedures so that they reflect our four years of experience as a seminary and to ensure they are congruent with NALC policies. Among those are the following: Conflict of Interest – All BOR members have signed a Conflict of Interest statement. Faculty Sabbatical Policy – The sabbatical policy has been revised so that it is reflective of the policies of Trinity School of Ministry (TSM) and other seminaries. Ethical Misconduct – A revised policy covering both clergy and non-clergy has been adopted. 99
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – Conversations have begun concerning the MOU with TSM. It is expected that this process will be completed in 2019. Use of Bequests – Given that the NALC/NALS had received two large seminary gifts, discussions are underway regarding best usage for strengthening the seminary and its programs. Extension Centers/Houses of Study – Further definitions of these entities have been developed. These modifications reflect our experiences, the needs of the Church, and the resources that must be in place before a Center/House is established. Your BOR is acutely aware of the changing pastoral needs of the Church that demand new preparations for future pastors. While the “core” training remains the same, needs have emerged that were never fully addressed in seminary education in the past. One example is the special knowledge and skill required to develop a mission congregation. The BOR has been working to strengthen the foundations of the NALS and to respond to these deficiencies. If we are to be successful in our efforts, money will be required. Hence, we have instituted an aggressive development effort that has born remarkable fruit. Two major gifts have been received that will strengthen the core of your seminary and allow us to expand our programs. For these gifts we are deeply grateful and pray that the generosity we have seen will continue. In closing, I will quote a paragraph which appeared in my 2017 Convocation report. “The future of the Seminary depends on developing a stream of students who feel the call to the ministry. This is a major challenge for the entire NALC and success at doing this will, in large part, determine whether the Five-Year Strategic Plan is achieved and the Seminary continues to develop as planned. May God continue to guide us in our efforts.” Thank you for your ongoing support. Respectively submitted, M. Roy Schwarz, M.D., Chair 100
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the NALC Canada Section
Grace and peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The North American Lutheran Church–Canada Section (NALC-CS), while not the ecclesiological expression of NALC congregations in Canada, is the legal identity of the NALC operating on Canadian soil. It operates as a Canadian corporation to address the legal challenges of being a “cross-border” church. It works closely with the Canadian Mission District (CMD) to ensure representation from Canadian congregations, set joint budgets, coordinate ministry and provide accountability, not only to the secular authorities but also to the NALC itself, especially through Canadian congregations. Sometimes the two entities (NALC-CS and the CMD) are hard to distinguish from each other and there has been some confusion over their roles. We have sought in our budget process, in setting agendas and in our reporting to distinguish the responsibilities that fall to the Canadian Mission District and those that fall under the responsibility of the Canada Section. The sense of confusion is sometimes furthered by the fact that there remains only one Mission District in Canada, although the adopted structure allows for more. As I report on the work of the NALC in Canada, I will be sharing what is happening in Canada, both with respect to the work of the NALC-CS and the CMD; I hope not to add to the confusion. I will begin with the primary work of the NALC-CS. Most of the benevolence in Canada is forwarded to the NALC-CS. Out of that total amount remitted, we ‘contract for service’ to the NALC (incorporated in the US) as a way of forwarding benevolence for the mission of the entire NALC. This currently amounts to $10,000, as well as designated funds above the budgeted amount. We are also attempting to make up for a previous year’s budget amount, and so the total to be forwarded this year (awaiting formal agreements) is $30,700. In addition, support for the NALS (our seminary) is again budgeted for $10,000, plus designated offerings from Canadian congregations. This year, the NALC-CS took over financial responsibility for the Canadian Rockies Theological Conference. While we hold funds in reserve for this event, it is expected to be self-funding through registrations. In addition, we offer a grant out of our budget to assist seminarians who would like to attend. If you have not been ‘up’ to the study conference in Canmore, talk to someone who has. I think you will find it 101
most rewarding! Thanks to Rev. Karl Johnsen and Rev. Phil Gagnon who continue to do great work in organizing this learning (and fellowship!) event for the entire NALC. The NALC-CS also provided over $9,000 in student bursaries to seminarians from Canada and grants to congregations for Canadian internships. The internship grants helped support sites for two fine interns, Erik Osness and Ben Wyatt. The internship grant portion of this expenditure is offered through the income generated by a foundation generously created to serve the NALC and support the development of future pastors from Canada. The Dean of the Canadian Mission District (CMD) is Rev. Mac de Waal. Dean Mac, while not on the board of the NALC-CS, serves as the CEO of the corporation. The NALC-CS provides a mission subsidy to the home congregation of the dean to support the congregation during the many times he must be absent to carry out his responsibilities as dean throughout this vast and geographically challenged Mission District. The other parts of the budget that support the work and responsibilities of the NALC-CS are for things such as insurance, professional fees and board travel and meeting expenses. The NALC-CS provides approximately $30,000 for the work of the CMD. Since the CMD does not have its own charitable status, it carries out the mission of the NALC in Canada through the NALC-CS. In some ways (from the point of view of being the legal entity of the NALC in Canada) the CMD can be understood as an advisory board of the NALC-CS. It then becomes the working group of the NALC, implementing the mission of the NALC in Canada. This covers things like the dean’s expenses for travel, a confirmation retreat held at Hastings Lake Lutheran Bible Camp last fall, a grant to provide financial support for clergy serving in a foreign mission teaching post, mission festivals, support for a P-CAT team training, pulpit supply mileage support for vacant congregations (once a month), convocation expenses and CMD Council meetings and travel. The CMD part of the budget also provides support to host an annual NALC-CMD Youth Gathering. This past May it was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We were thrilled to have several youth from the U.S. (Minnesota) join Canadian youth from across the Mission District. In fact, other than the Winnipeg NALC congregations hosting the gathering, the youth from Minnesota represented the closest congregation. If you are a border state, come join us for a great annual NALC youth gathering in Canada. This year we hosted over 90 participants at an awesome youth gathering at Camp Manitou under the theme, “Rescued and Redeemed.” Our deep appreciation to Rev. 102
Theresa Peters and her home congregation, St. Peter’s, Winnipeg, who took on the responsibility of organizing the event. Thanks also to Rev. Peter Lurvey and Joy Lutheran, Winnipeg, who provided much support in hosting this gathering. Pastor Peter was the main presenter and the youth really appreciated his presentations on the Lutheran Confessions (and his t-shirts!). The local band was enjoyed by all, as well. Plans are tentatively underway for the next gathering to be hosted by Bethlehem, Outlook and Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute (LCBI, a Lutheran high school) in Saskatchewan next year on the Canadian May long-weekend (May 17-20, 2019). This year’s youth event came in under budget and allowed us to also provide, on behalf of the NALC, emergency relief to one of the youth and his family whose home burned down while he was at the gathering. The NALC-CS is in a healthy financial position to support its work and be prepared for contingencies. We have reserve funds to cover shortfalls in several areas: $5,000 for youth events/gatherings, $15,000 for seminarian support should we have a bumper crop of seminarians in one year, $10,000 for the Canadian Rockies Theological Conference to cover unforeseen shortfalls and $20,000 in a cash flow reserve so that we don’t get behind on our mission commitments at the end of the year, as much of our income arrives the last week of the calendar year. It is my hope in these first few years of our existence that we have the financial stability and grounding to further our mission opportunities in Canada and around the world. We have monies set aside to support a Mission to Mexico (M2M) and would like to support a seminary project in Ethiopia once agreements are in place. It is my hope that we can also increase our support for the entire NALC and NALS. Our dream includes an NALS house of studies in Canada and a deeper partnership with the Lutheran Relief agency in Canada, CLWR. This of course does not cover all the projects and missions that individual NALC congregations in Canada are engaged in. I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Canada Section board for their time, energy and wisdom: Rev. Tim Lundeen (Vice Chair), Rev. Rolf Bjornstad (Secretary), Rosina Peach (Treasurer, appointed), Ralph Wold, Julie Eskeland, Rev. Mark Chavez (NALC General Secretary), Ryan Schwarz (NALC Treasurer), Rev. John Bradosky (NALC Bishop, ex officio) and Rev. Mac de Waal (Canadian Mission District Dean, ex officio). A big “thank you” as well to the Canadian Mission District Council for all their work on our behalf. Grace upon grace, The Rev. Kevin Ree, Chair 103
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Candidacy Committee
The Candidacy Committee is currently an 11-member panel of clergy representing the NALC from coast to coast. Those members are: Rev. Dr. Bassam Abdallah (Prospect, KY), Rev. Dr. Cathi Braasch (Jackson Center, OH), Rev. Lissette Colon Olivo (Manassas, VA), Rev. Beverly DeBord (St. Louis, MO), Rev. Joyce Dix-Weiers (Elderton, PA), Rev. Brad Everett (AB, Canada), Rev. Dr. John Hopper (Delano, MN), Rev. Stéphane Kalonji (Rosenberg, TX), Rev. Dr. Amy Little (Norwalk, OH), Rev. Garrett Siemsen (Pittsburgh, PA) and Rev. Patti Morlock, chair, (Grove City, OH). Rev. Dr. Eric Riesen resigned, and Rev. Nila Cogan’s term was completed. Together we work to support future leaders of the church. In partnership with the Bishop, his staff, Mission District deans, seminary representatives, and internship supervisors, we seek to prayerfully guide qualified candidates as they move through the educational process and discern God’s call to ministry. The committee oversees internship site development and placement. We also review applications to the NALC theological education scholarship fund, giving our recommendations to the NALC Executive Staff. The committee meets each year in March, June and October to conduct interview panels for individuals at various stages in the candidacy process. Whether coming to us for an entrance, endorsement or approval decision (or perhaps a developmental interview for additional guidance), the committee seeks to aid the candidate’s discernment process and theological development while at the same time bearing in mind the requirements and expectations of the wider Church. Through the three milestones of the candidacy process, candidates are reviewed to determine their progress using seminary transcripts, candidacy essays, CPE and/or internship evaluations and individual conversations with members of the committee that are focused on biblical, theological and confessional matters. Personal and pastoral references as well as full criminal background checks and a psychological evaluation are required of all NALC ministry candidates.
Entrance Endorsement Approval
Interview to begin the Candidacy Process in the NALC Interview for internship in an NALC congregation Interview for ordination into Word and Sacrament ministry as an NALC pastor Lay Minister Interview for Commissioned Lay Ministry Developmental Interview for those on a slower path toward Ordination to touch base Since the 2017 Convocation, the Candidacy Committee has met three times for interviews: October 2017, March 2018, and June 2018. The outcome of those interviews is as follows:
Entrance Endorsement Approval Lay Minister Developmental
Total # Interviews 4 2 4 1
Positive Decisions 3 2 4 1
Those who had a positive decision for approval and have been ordained since then are as follows:
Jason Dampier called to Holy Trinity, Gastonia, NC.
Entrance Endorsement Approval Lay Minister Developmental
Total # Interviews 3 2 4
Positive Decisions 3 2 3
Those who had a positive decision for approval and have been ordained since then are as follows:
Alan Aley called to Zion, Everest, Kansas. Matthew Vatalare called to Resurrection Lutheran Cooperative Ministry â€“ Western PA.
Entrance Endorsement Approval Lay Minister Developmental
Total # Interviews 4 1 2
Positive Decisions 4 1 2
Those who had a positive decision for approval and have been ordained since then are as follows:
None as of this date.
Please see the Bishop's report for a list of all ordinations that took place this past year. The Candidacy Retreat was held this year apart from Convocation, in January. It was held at the North American Lutheran Seminary and 22 students attended. Bishop John Bradosky, Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Rev. Dr. Scott Ness and Rev. Joyce Dix-Weiers were speakers at the retreat. Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin preached and led worship on Sunday. It was a wonderful opportunity for seminarians from across the country to spend meaningful time with one another on our NALS campus. We continue to give praise to God for his faithfulness in calling men and women to serve in Word and Sacrament ministry, as well as commissioned lay ministry, and we pray for those who continue to seek a call. Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Committee, The Rev. Patricia A. Morlock, Chair 106
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Church & Ministry Task Force The Church and Ministry Task Force reports to the Commission on Theology and Doctrine (CTD) and convenes twice yearly. Initially established to explore the possibility of a diaconate within the NALC, members of the group discerned early in the process that any consideration of a diaconate had to be addressed within a broader examination of the Lutheran doctrine of the ministry. We therefore petitioned the JCTD (now CTD) to expand our mandate so that we could discuss diaconal ministry within its proper context, that of church and ministry. Members of the task force include Dr. David Hahm, Dr. David Yeago, Rev. Dr. Nathan Yoder, Mr. Ryan Schwarz, Mrs. J. Larry Yoder as chair, and Rev. Dr. David Wendel as staff liaison. As of this writing, the task force has met once since the 2017 NALC Convocation in Nashville. Our second meeting, scheduled for June 29, 2018, will occur too late for specifics to be printed in this report. Our study has involved the research of ministry, both as to form and function, in Scripture and the early church and in the Lutheran tradition. We have also investigated forms of ministry in churches that are, or are likely to become, ecumenical partners. More recently, we have asked for information regarding the form and function of ministry in Lutheran denominations other than our own. We distributed a questionnaire to participating members of the Global Lutheran Forum at the 2017 NALC Convocation in Nashville and have received responses from pastors in Germany, Tanzania, and Denmark. We have also read and discussed reports and/or studies of the Lutheran Churchâ€“Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Churchâ€“Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America concerning diaconal ministry. We continue to seek input from persons throughout the NALC: from pastors, beginning formally at the 2017 Pastorsâ€™ Conference in Orlando and continuing in informal conversation; from persons elected or appointed to leadership positions in the NALC; from individuals serving congregations as lay leaders or lay ministers; and from persons consecrated as deacons by their congregations. We invite input from all members of the NALC. Still ahead of us is the drafting of a final report with concluding recommendations. As an initial step we have adopted what we consider necessary criteria in the development of our proposal: 107
1. A viable proposal will be in accord with the gospel and the tenor of the New Testament witness. 2. It will be in accord with the Confessions and the traditional Lutheran commitment to the centrality of word and sacrament ministry. 3. It will not exacerbate ecumenical divisions. 4. A viable proposal will address the mission needs of the NALC. 5. It will not provoke polarizing conflict in the NALC. 6. It will be possible to implement with the NALCâ€™s resources. We ask for your prayers as we address this important task. In closing, I would like to thank members of the Church and Ministry Task Force for their diligence and commitment to our assigned project. Thanks also to Bishop Bradosky for his continuing encouragement and to Becky Seifert for her help with the logistics for our meetings. Above all, thanks be to God. Respectfully submitted, Marianne Howard Yoder, Chair
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Court of Adjudication
The Court of Adjudication respectfully presents this report. Cases Handled No cases within the Courtâ€™s jurisdiction were filed, considered or decided in the last year. We all are privileged to serve and we stand ready to fulfill the responsibilities assigned by the Constitution to the Court of Adjudication. We are, however, gratified that no conflicts have yet required our attention. Respectfully submitted, Mr. James H. Gale The Rev. Dr. Jeffray Greene Mr. Lyle Hollander The Rev. Glen Johnson Ms. Carolyn Nestingen The Rev. Marty Ramey The Rev. Dr. David Schafer
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Commission on Theology & Doctrine
The members of the Commission are Dr. Robert Benne, Rev. John Bradosky (Bishop), Rev. Gregory Fryer, Dr. David Hahm, Rev. Dr. Ron Hoyum, Rev. Dr. Maurice Lee, Rev. Dr. Orrey McFarland, Rev. Dr. James Nestingen, Rev. Dr. Eric Riesen, Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, Rev. Paull Spring (Bishop Emeritus), Dr. David Yeago and Rev. Dr. Nathan Howard Yoder. Rev. Dr. David Wendel also participates in the Commission’s meetings. The Commission met twice during the past year, in November 2017 and in May 2018. The Commission routinely reviews the planning processes for the Braaten-Benne Lectures in Theology and for the Younger Theologians Colloquium, both held in conjunction with the NALC Convocation every August. The members of the steering committee for the Braaten-Benne Lectures are Rev. Dr. Paul Hinlicky, Rev. Dr. Ron Hoyum (chair), Rev. Dr. Maurice Lee, Rev. Dr. Orrey McFarland, Dr. R. David Nelson and Dr. David Yeago. The meetings of the Younger Theologians are coordinated by Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin and Rev. Dr. Nathan Howard Yoder. This year, in keeping with its responsibilities as outlined in the NALC Constitution, Article 12.02, the Commission completed a project of several years’ standing: the development of a document setting forth certain aspects of the authority and interpretation of Scripture. This text, entitled “The Bible as the Word of God,” was made available to the Executive Council with the recommendation that the Council (1) receive it as a letter of counsel and advice to the Church and (2) authorize its distribution to the Church. Final edits were made in May 2018, and a study guide to accompany the document has been prepared. Two other theological documents, one regarding marriage and sexuality, the other regarding sacramental practices, are being drafted. Various topics, possibly to be taken up more formally by the Commission, are in the initial stages of discussion. The Commission continues to be apprised of the progress of the Church and Ministry Task Force. 110
The Commission regularly receives reports concerning the NALC’s involvement in ecumenical dialogues and international partnerships. This year, the Commission had opportunities to offer comments on a set of draft pastoral and catechetical affirmations prepared by a joint consultation of the NALC and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), and on a draft resolution proposing the initiation of a consultation between the NALC and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The Commission appreciates the NALC’s continuing conversations with other Lutheran church bodies as well as with other Christian traditions, in North America and globally. Additional updates on the NALC’s ecumenical relationships will be found in Rev. Dr. David Wendel’s report to this Convocation. Respectfully submitted, The Rev. Dr. Maurice Lee, Convener
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Disaster Response Task Force 2017-2018 Task Force Members: Mary Bates (Caldwell, OH), Deacon Robert DePugh (St. Petersburg, FL), Rev. Michael Giese (Gallipolis, OH), Jessie Phillips (Watertown, WI), Rev. Jack Richards (Everett, WA), Rev. Bert Schultz (WI), Rev. Mark Werner (Latrobe, PA), Rev. David McGettigan (Atlantic City, NJ), Patricia Dittrich (Rosenberg, TX – WNALC), Dennis Thorp (Active Shooter Training), Rev. Ernie Sheldon (Statesville, NC), Michael Dittrich (Rosenberg, TX) Wow, what a year! In addition to active responses to disasters, deliverables include disaster preparedness trainings, servant event mission trips, setting up regional disaster warehouses, and monthly Disaster Task Force meetings. At the 2017 Convocation, NALC congregations “Stuffed the Truck,” a 26-foot box truck and then my pick-up truck… and we ran out of room! On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall, impacting over 12 million people on the Texas coast, then Hurricane Irma devastated Florida in September, and Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico shortly thereafter, impacting thousands of families and destroying their homes. NALC congregations stepped up, donating over $1.2 million in material goods: flood buckets, health kits, school kits, layettes, quilts, gift cards, and most importantly, Bibles. More than 2,000 volunteers have donated their time in 2017 and 2018 to help — from Oregon to Pennsylvania, and everywhere in between. Thank you! The financial report contains the details of the amazing monetary support provided. Since the beginning of 2018, flooding impacted the Ohio River Valley on February 24th, and numerous tornadoes struck the area on April 3rd. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan had severe flooding in June 2018, and again NALC congregations are responding – Thank you! Case Management Report: NALC Disaster Response funded case managers in Texas, Florida, and Ohio to provide assistance to those areas while it worked directly through Resurrection Lutheran Church in Puerto Rico to aid those impacted by Hurricane Maria. The case managers are the first step in the response/recovery process, verifying the needs of each family served. 112
Volunteer Coordination Report: Volunteer coordinators supported over 2,000 volunteers this year. Volunteers organized and delivered material goods, delivered the NALC Disaster Response 32-foot shower trailer to Rosenberg, TX and the 10-foot shower trailer, donated to NALC Disaster Response by Rev. Rebecca Heber’s brother, to Florida, and provided emergency response and long term recovery rebuilding for hundreds of families in Texas (from Corpus Christi to Houston), Florida (from Miami, and Winter Haven to Jacksonville), Puerto Rico (Resurrection Lutheran Church near San Juan), Ohio (Grove City and southern Ohio), and Michigan (Houghton and Hancock). Donations Management Report: 15 semi-truck loads were delivered between Clifton, TX and the Texas coast, five semi-truck loads were delivered to Florida, one cargo container was shipped to St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands) and two cargo containers were shipped to Puerto Rico. The need is still significant in Puerto Rico, so additional cargo containers are being planned. In total, more than $1.2 million in value of Bibles, gift cards, flood buckets, quilts, health kits, school kits, layettes, flooring, kitchen/bathroom cabinets, and other building supplies were delivered to devastated families. Spiritual Christian Care: The most important part of NALC Disaster Response is the Christian care we provide. More than 10,000 Bibles, including Spanish language Bibles, were delivered to families. In addition to Bibles, lots of prayers and testimonies by volunteers were given — a message of hope and the love of Jesus is proclaimed! Response Capacity: The National Disaster Task Force has been building capacity since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Warehousing: National Warehouse in Caldwell, Ohio; South Texas Mission District Regional Warehouse in Rosenberg, Texas; Carolinas Mission District Warehouses in St. John Lutheran Church, Statesville, NC and Advent Lutheran Church, Kings Mountain (building in progress). Additional warehouses are needed. Shower Trailers: A 32-foot, four-stall trailer was purchased for use in the central and western parts of the U.S. A 10-foot, two-stall trailer was donated by Rev. Rebecca Heber’s brother for use on the East Coast. 113
A pick-up truck was purchased to move the shower trailers and a 26-foot box truck was purchased for delivery of items from the National Warehouse. Disaster Preparedness trainings were held in Everett, WA; Altoona, IL; Vickery, OH; and Cambridge, OH. The National Disaster Coordinator met with pastors in California, the Atlantic Mission District, and the Carolinas Mission District. Servant event mission trips continue to be hosted at the National Disaster Warehouse. Through these trips, more than 50 youth have learned about disaster response and answering God’s call. Schedule your youth group’s servant event trip through NALC Disaster Response in 2019. Women of the NALC are fantastic in collecting donations of material goods, leading the efforts to support thousands of families when disasters strike. By keeping each warehouse fully stocked, volunteer teams can load and go immediately when disasters occur — NALC volunteers are often the first to arrive with help! Thank you, WNALC! The National Disaster Task Force continues to meet regularly, coordinating and maintaining the necessary structure to support our congregations’ ability to respond when disasters strike. The task force teleconferences monthly and, as needed, shares communications and information through the NALC Network. A Story: The Oromo Evangelical Church of Houston holds worship at First Lutheran Church (Houston, TX). This Ethiopian congregation is very small. When Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the pastor and some members were flooded. Michael Dittrich volunteered to be the disaster coordinator for the recovery. With the help of many volunteers, funding from your donations, and lots of material goods, Pastor Kamiso and his members have recovered and are able to worship to the glory of God once again! Respectfully submitted, Mary Bates National Disaster Coordinator
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report from Youth & Family Ministry
Faithwebbing.com recently completed its second full year of providing web-based youth ministry coaching services to NALC congregations. It continues to be a pleasure and a blessing to connect with churches, partners, and affiliates throughout the United States, Canada and around the world. The greatest joy we have experienced is connecting with individual churches and church members as we learn and grow together. Here is a synopsis of the second full year: • Gary and Laurie attended 2017 Lutheran Week in Nashville, where they hosted a vendor table and led a workshop on Faith Webbing. • During 2017 Lutheran Week, faithwebbing.com created and hosted what is planned to be an annual Ventures in Youth Ministry Symposium. More than 60 were in attendance, far exceeding expectations. Gary and Laurie were the keynote speakers for the day-and-a-half event. • The second annual Ventures in Youth Ministry Symposium is on the calendar for Lutheran Week 2018, as faithwebbing.com will again coordinate and host the event. • An NALC Youth Ministry Task Force was created to aid in the development of the vision of youth ministry in the NALC going forward. • Nine monthly webinars were offered during the school year as we wrapped up walking through the list of 30+ Faith Skills advocated by faithwebbing.com. A Facebook Live viewing option was added to the monthly webinar. • Monthly webinars were edited into smaller topical clips for easier viewing and posted on the website. • A set of books (Faith Webbing and What’s in Your Bag?) is being sent to all new NALC congregations, as well as an invitation to connect with faithwebbing.com via email and the website. • There was continued development of the communications system through email distribution lists and the start of the NALC Youth Ministry Facebook page. • The first Outcome Based Youth Ministry year-long intentional coaching program progressed with three participants. • The Nexus Institute Theological Conference for Teens partnership continues. • There was a significant increase during the 2017 calendar year, from the previous year, for individual church contacts. 115
• Verbal updates were given at each NALC staff meeting. • Written updates appeared in the NALC monthly newsletter. • The website continued its development with the addition of 50+ video clips from the monthly webinars during the 2017 calendar year. • Upcoming projects include a virtual version of the visionary notebook, online youth ministry courses, and further utilization of GoToMeeting for live cluster events. We are excited about multiple projects that are in the works for the coming year(s) as we continue to network our congregations together in life and faith and ministry. Respectfully submitted, Gary & Laurie Pecuch Youth & Family Ministry Coaches
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Life-to-Life Discipleship Team Dear Members of the North American Lutheran Church: “This life is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.” With these words, Martin Luther described Christian life and discipleship. The Life-to-Life Discipleship Team was charged with helping the North American Lutheran Church make discipleship a central focus of pastoral and congregational ministry. All the members of the Life-to-Life Discipleship Team share a common commitment to the authority of the Scriptures, the ecumenical creeds, the witness of the Lutheran Confessions and a deep desire to see every congregation of the North American Lutheran Church engaged in ministries which foster discipleship. However, even with these common commitments, each of us brings our own ideas and personal histories. So, as we began this work together, we first needed to identify our common commitments concerning discipleship. To make this happen, we listened to each other and learned from each other. We also prayed together, read together, talked together and grew together. We looked anew at our own confessional resources and how they speak of discipleship. For example, in Luther’s longer preface to the Large Catechism he wrote, “Nothing is so effectual against the devil, the world, the flesh, and all evil thoughts as to occupy oneself with the Word of God, talk about it, and meditate upon it.” Listening to the Word of God is at the heart of discipleship. Note, first we listened, and then we learned together. In this process we began to form a common vision for discipleship. Our common commitments are reflected in the Life-to-Life video presentation that is now available on the NALC website. I urge every member of the NALC to watch the video, share it with your congregations and please send me your comments. With this common commitment we have identified some major initiatives for the next two years: 117
1. Discipleship Guides: We will continue to develop a cadre of certified people who will function as “Discipleship Guides.” These “Guides” will work with existing pastors, lay leaders, interns (vicars) and all first call pastors. They will help them maintain their own personal disciplines of discipleship and support them as they work within congregations to prioritize discipleship and disciple-making. To train our existing Discipleship Guides we had to rely on training and certification from other sources. However, an ad hoc committee from the Lifeto-Life Team is currently working on a process for us to train and certify our own Discipleship Guides. In 2020, we plan to host our first training week for NALC Discipleship Guides. The goal is to have all our pastors experience the benefits of having a Discipleship Guide support them in congregational ministry. These Discipleship Guides will also work with lay leaders within our congregations. 2. Creating Congregational Cultures of Discipleship: While working with ordained and lay leaders is essential, the discipleship initiative must expand and become an integral part of congregational ministry. How can we help congregations shift from what is too often a ministry of maintenance to a ministry of discipleship? Is there a process congregations can use to develop intentional ministries of discipleship? Currently, the Life-to-Life Team is working to produce recommended congregational means to a common end—discipleship. We have formed a Rapid Response Team that is ready to assist congregations who want to become involved in the discipleship initiative. You can contact them through the NALC website. 3. Confessional Resources for Discipleship: One of the things we’ve heard from many people is that discipleship is not a program. There is a definite danger of “programmatic thinking” regarding discipleship. This kind of thinking surfaces when we think that discipleship is about learning a new set of skills, or developing small group ministry, or teaching a class. However, the fact is that we really do need trustworthy resources to use within our congregations. The Life-to-Life Team is currently working with Sola Publishing to begin producing materials for congregational use. Initially, we want to develop resources for both Baptism and confirmation. At one of our Life-to-Life meetings, we were reminded of a simple, yet profound, truth: “We only reach the people we love.” This is the foundational truth of discipleship ministry. Where there is no love for people, discipleship is a sham. I’ve often told the congregations I’ve served, “People will drive by ten churches to get to 118
the one in which they encounter the reality of God and his love incarnate through other people.” This doesn’t happen by a program. It’s more like a miracle: the miracle of faith sustained by Word and Sacrament ministry within the community of the Body of Christ. I ask for your continued prayers as the Life-to-Life Discipleship Team works together with pastors, lay leaders and congregations across North America. I also want to thank the members of the Life-to-Life Discipleship Team: Rev. TJ Anderson, Rev. Jody Becker, Rev. Paul Borg, Rev. Tom Brodbeck, Rev. Mark Daniels, Rev. Brack East, Rev. Brad Hales, Rev. Dave Keener, Rev. Paul Larson, Rev. Daryl Olson, Rev. Mark Ryman, Rev. Dan Selbo, Joe Valentino (lay), Rev. Bill White, Rev. Dr. Nathan Yoder and Rev. Brian Zaas. Also, great thanks to Bishop John Bradosky and Rev. Dr. David Wendel for the many ways they continue to support our efforts. Please email me with your comments or questions. My email address is emriesen@ trinityashland.org. Sincerely yours in Christ, The Rev. Dr. Eric M. Riesen, Chair
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the President of the North American Lutheran Seminary The North American Lutheran Seminary …Sending Laborers into the Harvest
Mission/Vision of the NALS In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we are forming pastors and church leaders for the North American Lutheran Church who will faithfully preach, teach, and live God’s eternal truth, through Word and Sacrament, proclaiming Christ’s cross and resurrection, making disciples who will renew and grow the church in Christ’s name. The heart of our work at the North American Lutheran Seminary is forming pastors for faithful Word and Sacrament ministry. Some students come to us right out of undergraduate school, while others come after 5-10 years of working in fields that run the gamut from agriculture to zoology. Some have spent 20 or more years caring for children and running the household. And some come when they have served a full career in the military, in industry, in commerce, or in education. They each bring their unique backgrounds to the tasks that lie before them as seminarians: learning biblical languages; discovering the faith and wisdom of the Church Fathers; immersing themselves in the witness of the Reformers; thinking theologically as 21st century Christians; presiding at the font and table with grace, reverence, and humility; listening to the voices of those in need and responding in mercy and kindness; and preaching the truth of God’s love for the world he has made with clarity, boldness and great joy. Our seminarians learn these things and many, many more as they are formed together as a community. Within his holy fellowship—this koinonia—they pray together, they share meals, they hold one another up in their sorrows, and join one another in their rejoicing. Through it all, each is changed as they engage one another in this conversation of faith. Their lives are focused in and through this time of preparation, so that when they are called to serve our congregations, the gifts that God has been giving them since the day of their Baptisms will be focused on a way of 120
living and speaking that leads others to trust in the goodness of the One God, eternal and everlasting, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As pastoral formation begins long before students arrive at a seminary, we at the NALS are pleased to announce that in addition to our year-round, highly accelerated 3+2 (plus a year of vicarage/internship) program initiated with Concordia CollegeNew York (Bronxville) for students ages 18-22, we also have initiated a 4+2 program (plus a year of vicarage/internship) with Concordia University-St. Paul (MN). This program is open to U.S. and international students of all ages. As with the ConcordiaNew York program, students will receive advanced standing for undergraduate courses that are taught at the graduate level, thereby reducing their overall student debt. However, this initiative is not about finances alone, nor is it simply about the Churchâ€™s need for pastors. It is about intentional formation from the moment each potential seminarian begins his or her undergraduate studies. We give thanks to God that we have colleagues throughout Lutheran colleges in North America whose witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ is strong and true, and whose willingness to help form pastors for the NALC is a thing of beauty. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all: our witness to the saving work of Jesus Christ is strengthened as we work together. (And donâ€™t be surprised if there are more undergraduate schools joining in this partnership with us in 2019!) In addition to our full-time residential students who study at our Seminary Center, located at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, we now offer our nine Lutheran-specific courses either online or through one-week intensives on an annual cycle. This allows NALC seminarians who are currently studying at non-Lutheran seminaries to have the opportunity to complete any of their required Lutheran courses at the NALS. It is a delight to have these students on campus in January and June, and for this next generation of pastors and church leaders to come to know another, even in these shorter moments of time. We are ever thankful for our relationship with Trinity School for Ministry and we hope that, as our undergraduate initiative grows, we will be able to expand our M.Div. and M.A. offerings to more locations. On behalf of our students, I want to thank you for your overwhelming generosity as individuals, congregations, and Mission Districts. Through your gifts we are able to provide full-tuition scholarships to all full-time residential students at our Seminary Center. This is no little thing. As you know, such funding makes a great difference for seminarians. With a reduction in student debt, each seminarian has greater freedom 121
to serve where he or she is called. I also want to thank you for the daily support that you all shower upon us though your prayers. To the Board of Regents, to Bishop Bradosky and his staff, to the Executive Council of the NALC: Our students and faculty feel your support, and we give thanks to God to be in mission together, as we at the NALS prepare to send “laborers into the harvest.” In Christ’s name, The Rev. Dr. Amy C. Schifrin, President
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Nominating Committee
The 2018 Nominating Committee presents the candidates named below for positions to be elected at the August Convocation. We believe that all the individuals named are qualified and would do well in their service if elected. Each year the Convocation elects one pastor and one layperson to the Executive Council for four-year terms. The 2018 candidates are as follows: Executive Council, clergy, four-year term (elect one): The Rev. Timothy Johnson, The Rev. Melinda Jones, The Rev. James Palan Executive Council, lay, four-year term (elect one): Mr. Richard Jansak, Mr. Larry Shull This year two individuals will be elected to four-year terms on the Court of Adjudication. The 2018 candidates are as follows: Court of Adjudication (elect two): Mr. James Gale, The Rev. John Moffett In addition, the Canadian Mission District has asked the Convocation to elect the following to the NALCâ€“Canada Section Board: Mr. Ralph Wold, lay member from Red Deer, Alberta The Rev. Rolf Bjornstad, clergy member, retired from Ardrosssan, Alberta (Both Mr. Wold and Rev. Bjornstad to serve four-year terms to represent the NALC Canadian congregations.) Every other year, the Convocation elects three persons to six-year terms on the NALS Board of Regents. In 2018, three persons will be elected to six-year terms on the NALS Board of Regents. The 2018 candidates are as follows: NALS Board of Regents (elect three): The Rev. Wendy Berthelsen, The Rev. Donna Smith, The Rev. Phil Gagnon, The Rev. Troy Mulvaine, The Rev. Dennis Di Mauro, The Rev. Jim Lehmann, The Rev. Norman Sulaica, Mr. Kevin Langholz, The Rev. Roger Weyersberg, The Rev. David Phillips 123
The Nominating Committee requested nominations from the NALC congregations and NALC members by two emails to the Mission District deans, announcements in the monthly NALC News, an announcement in the WNALC Newsletter and an announcement at the 2018 Pastorsâ€™ Conference. Individuals nominated were asked to provide biographical information using a form approved by the committee. Biographical information on the candidates was published in accordance with the NALC Constitution, which requires the Nominating Committee to provide information on the candidates 90 days prior to the Convocation. In accordance with the NALC Constitutional requirements, the list of candidates and their qualifications was posted on the NALC website on May 15, 2018, published in the NALC News for May and sent by e-mail to NALC congregations. Although sufficient nominations were received during the nominating period ending 90 days prior to the Convocation, a reminder about the possibility of making additional nominations was included with the biographical information published in May. No additional nominations were received by the committee within the additional nomination period that ended 45 days prior to the Convocation, on July 2, 2018. The Nominating Committee also forwarded nominee names for the 2019 Nominating Committee to the Executive Council for consideration. The Executive Council submits proposed members of the Nominating Committee for confirmation by the Convocation. We are grateful to have received the names of so many well-qualified individuals for service to our church. God has blessed the NALC with many dedicated servants. Please pray that God will raise up the leaders who will best serve us during this period in the life of our church. Respectfully submitted, The Rev. Wendy Berthelsen The Rev. Dr. Cathi Braasch Ms. Shelly Ree The Rev. Bert Schultz Mr. Marc Voigt, Chair
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Living & Giving Stewardship Team
The Living and Giving Stewardship Team was formed in 2015 and consists of Pastors Paul Austin, Dr. Cathi Braasch, Dr. Eugene Grimm, Dona Johnson, and Gerry Miller. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop, and Ryan Schwarz, NALC Treasurer, also work with the task force. The goals of the Living and Giving Stewardship Team are, among other things, to: • Implement the NALC vision for stewardship so as to equip both pastors and leaders throughout our Mission Districts to grow in faith, generosity and the practice of faithful stewardship. • Inform congregations regarding the overall mission and ministry of the NALC, including the Great Commission Society and the North American Lutheran Seminary, with the intention of strengthening those ministries and their bases of financial support. • Encourage and assist congregations to grow in their total mission support (to all mission/ministries) to 12-15% of congregational income, with equal support to the local, continental, global and larger church. • Help congregations celebrate the work we do together. • Evaluate and assess how development will “work” in the NALC, including the relationship to the North American Lutheran Seminary. • Inspire joy and eagerness to give for the sake of ministry. • Develop stewardship-oriented council devotions. • Communicate announced goals for annual giving in the NALC to meet the budget. • Evaluate and assess endowments (congregational, NALC, NALS). During the past year, our team met in person on two occasions. Much activity for 2018 surrounded the preparation of our fall stewardship theme materials. Our program materials are not specifically tied to any one year. On our website, you can find all the programs that we have published. This year’s theme, Stewards of God’s Influence—Time, Talents, Treasures and Testimony, looks at stewardship as a faith practice that touches upon every aspect of life and ministry. The materials this year were primarily prepared by Pastor Dona Johnson with assistance from the team.
The team also prepared a Stewardship Initiative that is available to all Mission Districts. The concept is to assist congregations and pastors in the development of effective biblical stewardship within their congregations. Our team met for a one-day meeting with financial coach Bev Miller, and she offered very valuable insights into the process taught by Financial Peace University. A basic outline includes: • Year-round stewardship: Stewards of God’s Influence – Dona Johnson • Elements of effective stewardship annual response programs, including a brief look at our 2018 materials – Eugene Grimm • A short video regarding Financial Peace University • Legacy Giving in your Congregation – Mike Johnson, CFP As always, we encourage our congregations to remember the NALC during their budget planning process and to strive to grow in their mission support. With added staff needs, even with our very lean national staff, expenses are mounting. We encourage our member congregations to consider eight percent of their benevolence for the mission and ministry of the NALC. Respectfully submitted, The Rev. Dr. Eugene Grimm
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Task Force on Structure
Introduction For more than two years, the Task Force on Structure has engaged in developing a vision for the future of the North American Lutheran Church regarding infrastructure and human resources. The purpose of the effort was to recommend changes that will support and meet the needs of congregations and pastors for the sake of mission, and as we continue to grow. Specifically, the goals were to: • Provide greater and more timely support to pastors and congregations of the NALC; • Relieve the heavy travel schedules and workloads of the Bishop, staff and deans; • Assist Mission Districts and congregations in fulfilling the Great Commission; • Help ensure a smooth transition to the NALC’s next stage of development as we elect a new presiding Bishop; and • Be ready for what God has planned for us. Guiding Principles The work and discernment of the task force was guided by the following principles: • Be true to the NALC’s four values: Christ Centered, Mission Driven, Traditionally Grounded and Congregationally Focused; • Ongoing communication and consultation; • Focus on unity and flexibility (one size does not fit all; the perfect is the enemy of the good). The Process • Investigation and information gathering • Ongoing communication and consultation • Analysis and evaluation • Refinement of emerging vision proposal The 2018 objective was to communicate the emerging vision as broadly as possible throughout the Church and receive feedback from NALC congregations and clergy. The task force analyzed feedback and responded to every written comment or email received as a result of the 2017 Convocation workshop. Other presentations included: 127
• • • • •
November 2017 presentation to Mission District deans in Columbus, OH February 2018 presentation at Pastors’ Conference in San Antonio, TX April 2018 presentation to the Canadian Mission District in Calgary, AB April 2018 presentation to Heartland Mission District by Rev. Pam Thorson, dean May 2018 presentation to the Carolinas Mission District Convocation
Following each of these presentations, an extended question and answer period provided the task force with vital feedback and an opportunity to clarify misunderstandings. The Vision Proposal The task force goals, as stated earlier in this report, will best be fulfilled by the following: • Evolving smaller Mission Districts, where appropriate, ideally composed of 12-15 congregations. • Creating four geographic regions within North America with oversight by “Regional Bishops” (title yet to be determined) who report to the presiding Bishop. Implementation Some of the recommendations have begun to evolve organically in certain areas of the country. The Executive Council, with the new Bishop elected in 2019, will implement the vision in phases, in ongoing consultation with Mission Districts, congregations and other bodies within the NALC. The implementation process will always consider financial feasibility, be consultative and flexible. Decisions yet to be made concerning implementation include: • • • • •
What is the title of new regional positions? How to select the new positions? How to divide up the North American territory? How to raise the funds to cover the costs? What constitutional changes, if any, may be required?
Respectfully submitted, Brian Sutton, Chair 128
2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church
Report of the Women of the NALC
We, the WNALC Council, are pleased to introduce our new logo. Thanks to the efforts of Rev. Randy Conley, husband of a council member, we now have an emblem that clearly signifies the WNALC. You will soon find it in a multitude of places, some of which are mentioned in the remainder of this report. At our post-Gathering meeting we began by welcoming two new and two returning council members, electing officers, and re-establishing Mission District and Team responsibilities. One council member had to resign due to health and, as per our Operational Guidelines, was replaced by appointment for the remainder of the year. At the annual fall council retreat, the business and mission goals of the coming year were set in place. We updated numerous WNALC forms to develop uniformity and clarity. We added descriptions and procedures to most council duties and teams, again for clarity as well as ease of transition when duties change hands. All of this, and more, better establishes a firm foundation for the working of the WNALC Council as they serve all the women of the NALC. Another goal has been to continue building better relationships with women in all the NALC congregations in order that we may grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and service to him. Everything that we do is to that end. The primary way that is achieved is through the stewardship of all the WNALC ladiesâ€™ groups, whether it be in the form of monetary contributions, articles for the newsletters, missions, volunteering, or other. An example is the tremendous response to the 2017 NALC Disaster Response relief efforts that are still ongoing. Check out the websites of both the NALC and the WNALC for updates, as well as reports in their newsletters. Our 2017-18 Mission Bank collections were designated for a family of NALC Global Workers as our international mission and NALC Disaster Response as our national mission. Mission Bank promotions will continue in 2018-19 for both international and national missions, as decided at our 2018 Annual Gathering. In addition to the Mission Banks, our ladies remain involved in local missions. Mission is, in fact, both 129
the actual heart and joy of the WNALC. To aid us even more as we move into the future, a new Mission District tracking system has been developed. This helps us to keep better, more consistent records, as well as to assist in transitioning Mission Districts among council members. Further development and promotion of our WNALC newsletter, website, and Facebook group continues to be a work in progress. Another step ahead is a brand new “passing of the torch” via an electronic flash drive being developed for 2018-19. The overall goal is to move forward into future mission for Christ. Our latest mission initiative is “Stuff the Tonka” for NALC Disaster Response that will occur during Luther Week in Denver 2018—results yet to come. Respectfully submitted, Linda Brower, outgoing WNALC Chair
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Resolution Regarding Ecumenical Consultation between the North American Lutheran Church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
WHEREAS, the Initial Statement on the Ecumenical and Inter-Lutheran Commitment of the North American Lutheran Church, approved August 12, 2011 and subsequently ratified by NALC congregations, states: The Lord Jesus Christ prayed for his church, “that they may be one, even as you, Father, are in me and I in you.” (John 17:21a) For the apostle Paul the oneness of the church as the body of Christ is founded on the confession of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:5-6) Such a vision commits Lutherans to work and pray for cooperation and unity among Christians and churches both within and beyond world Lutheranism; and, WHEREAS, The Constitution of the North American Lutheran Church, adopted at the founding convocation in August 2010, states in Article 13 – Church-to-Church Relationships, Paragraph 13.01, “…the NALC [North American Lutheran Church] shall participate in inter-Lutheran, ecumenical, and inter-religious relationships as a part of its ministry and mission.”; and, WHEREAS, the Initial Statement also affirms that the NALC will “give priority to relationships, including ecumenical dialogues, with churches such as the Anglican Church in North America, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church.”; and, WHEREAS, 2017 marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation; and, WHEREAS, the NALC affirms and appreciates Pope Francis’ focus on missionary discipleship included in his exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel;”
132 Christ Centered | Mission Driven | Traditionally Grounded | Congregationally Focused
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: 1. That the North American Lutheran Church recognize and acknowledge with gratitude the history and relationships which have developed between Lutherans and Roman Catholics in the United States and internationally, and welcome them as part of the NALCâ€™s ecumenical life and legacy; 2. That the NALC invite the Roman Catholic Church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to initiate an intentional, focused consultation that will foster conversation and cooperation in all areas appropriate and possible but especially with regard to missionary discipleship, the promotion and defense of a Biblical understanding of marriage, the sanctity of all human life, the confusion in our culture regarding gender and Godâ€™s creation of humanity as male and female, and the defense and promotion of religious liberty; and 3. That the Bishop of the NALC be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the appropriate ecumenical departments within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Signed:
Christ Centered | Mission Driven | Traditionally Grounded | Congregationally Focused
Convocation Bible Study
Convocation Bible Study I. What is the Holy Spirit? (spirit, breath, wind)
Hebrew – “ru-ah” Greek – “pnuema”
The third person of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Mark 1:10-11: Jesus’ Baptism – “And when he (Jesus) came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” II. Examples of the Spirit in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) • Genesis 1:2 – Spirit present at creation—“hovering over the waters” • Genesis 2:7 – God breathed into the creation of man • II Samuel 23:2 – The Spirit of the Lord is with David • Isaiah 61:1 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” (Jesus at Nazareth) • Ezekiel 37:9-10 – God’s breath brought life into the dry bones • Joel 2:28 – Pouring out of God’s Spirit on both men and women (Peter’s Sermon in Acts) III. Examples of the Spirit in the New Testament
• • • • • •
John 3:5-8 – Born again by water and the Spirit Matthew 28:19-20 – The Church baptizing, making disciples in the Spirit Acts 1:8 – Witnessing Jesus through the power of the Spirit Acts 2:1-5 – The Pentecost, outpouring of the Holy Spirit I Corinthians 6:19-20 – The Holy Spirit dwells in us Galatians 5:22 – Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Luther’s Small Catechism - Explanation to the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed. The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies. 135
• • •
John 14:26 – Holy Spirit teaches us about Jesus Galatians 3:2 – Faith comes through the Holy Spirit II Thessalonians 2:14 – The Spirit calls us to believe in the Gospel
Gathers: • I Corinthians 1:1-2 – Holy Spirit gathers the Church • I Corinthians 12:13 – The Spirit brings us together into the Church, the Body of Christ • Acts 13:1-3 – In the Church the Holy Spirit sends out missionaries Enlightens: • I Corinthians 12:1-11 – The Spirit provides gifts • I Peter 4:10-11 – Each has received a spiritual gift to serve Sanctifies: “To be made holy for God’s use” • I Thessalonians 5:23-24 – That we be made holy in body, mind and spirit • I Peter 2:9-10 – A holy nation to do ministry for Christ *Luther’s understanding of Vocation*
Upcoming Events Senior Ministry Conference Culpeper, Virginia Beginning: October 30, 2018 at 9:00am Concluding: October 31, 2018 at 12:00pm Featuring: Dr. Charles Arn, Professor of Missions at Indiana Wesley Seminary and Pioneer in Senior Adult Ministry. Register online at https://bit.ly/2ABhXk1 Pastor's Conference Orlando, Florida Beginning: February 19, 2019 at 8:30am Concluding: February 21, 2019 at 12:00pm Featuring: Fr. Charles Zlock, Rector, St. Monica Roman Catholic Church in Berwyn, PA. Fr. Zlock will share, â€œBuilding a Parish Community of Disciples: How Do You Preach for Discipleship and Reach People in the Pews?â€? For more information, visit thenalc.org/pastors Lutheran Week 2019 To Be Announced Beginning: August 5, 2019 at 9:00am Concluding: August 9, 2019 at 5:30pm Featuring: This will be an important year for our Church convocation as we elect a new Bishop of the North American Lutheran Church. For more information, visit lutheranweek.com
Resources Mission Connection Resource List NALC Mission Teams thenalc.org/missions
Videos, handouts, audio and archives from Lutheran Week lutheranweek.com Evaluating Mission and Ministry Involvement thenalc.org/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Missions/2015MF-Mission-imPossibleEEMI-assessment-tool.pdf Great Commission Society Finding a Mission Partner: thenalc.org/GCS Applying to be a Mission Partner: thenalc.org/gcs-partner-app Global Workers: thenalc.org/global-workers Tools to Teach, Discuss and Change Culture Being Mission-Driven: thenalc.org/mission-videos Mission Intensive: thenalc.org/missiondrivenvideo Discipleship Moments: thenalc.org/discipleship-moment || vimeo.com/channels/ nalcmoments Connect to Missions: thenalc.org/mission-videos/ Being Christ-Centered: thenalc.org/drops-from-the-well/ Connecting with Fellow Missionaries: community.nalcnetwork.com Building Faith Skills and Spiritual Disciplines: faithwebbing.com/outcome-basedyouth-ministry.html
Additional Resources Available
CROSS Talk: CROSS Talk is a weekly online lectionary study led by Rev. Dr. Jim Nestingen in conjunction with St. Paul Seminary. Join each Tuesday at 4pm ET. For more information or to register â€“ please visit: semlc.org/contact-us The Academy: The NALC is committed to the renewal of all our congregations, working to develop and deliver resources that challenge and open the NALC to the work of the Holy Spirit in our ministry and mission. Each month we will be hosting a free webinar based on expressed needs by NALC leaders, for NALC leaders. For 139
details: missions.nalcnetwork.com/tag/academy Reading the Word of God: A daily Bible reading guide has been prepared for Lutherans to use over the next three years. The reading guide was conceived and prepared as a result of ongoing discussions between representatives of the NALC, the Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC) and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). The reading guide includes monthly calendars with daily readings starting in January 2018 and continuing until December 2020. As a companion to the daily Bible reading guide, 52 suggested readings — one for each week of the year — are offered from the book Luther and the Scriptures by Johann Michael Reu (1869–1943). For details please visit: missions.nalcnetwork.com/reading-the-word-of-god Faithwebbing.com: Gary and Laurie Pecuch are ready to connect with you on all things related to children’s, youth and/or family ministry through the resource and service links, oodles of template forms and files, Safeguarding tutorials and archived webinars and video clips on the faithwebbing.com website. You can connect with them on the NALCNetwork.com Faith Webbing Group or directly through email@example.com. Online Courses: In recent years, Gary and Laurie Pecuch have had numerous requests to provide additional training in the area of youth and family ministry. To that end, an incredible opportunity is now available! Beginning in September 2018, free online courses will be made available to NALC partner congregations. Each course includes access to a presentation, handouts, resources, an extended question and answer period, and more. For more information, register, or connect, please visit YMCoaches. com and complete the contact form. NALC Youth and Family Ministry Webinars: Gary and Laurie also offer monthly webinars during the school year on topics related to youth and family ministry. You can tune in live beginning the second Tuesday of September from 2 to 3 pm ET. Webinars are also archived for future viewing. If you have questions, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Nexus Institute: The Nexus Institute is an annual theological conference for deeper-thinking high school students held each summer at Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa. Gary Pecuch attended this past June and gives it two thumbs up! Interested? Contact Gary or visit thenexusinstitute.org. Did we mention that an Eli Lilly grant makes this experience free of charge except for travel to and from Des 140
Moines? Don’t miss this incredible opportunity! Life Promotions: Another incredible youth ministry opportunity is available. Looking to attend a Quake (retreat weekend) during the school year or for a national experience in the summer? The NALC encourages congregations to consider lifepromotions.org and lifest.com GOODNEWS! Media: This weekly video blog provides short reflections on discipleship, being mission driven and stories from across the NALC from the NALC staff and congregations. To connect, visit: missions.nalcnetwork.com GOODNEWS: This weekly staff blog from the Mission Office shares stories, travels and updates from life on the road. As we journey together as the Body of Christ, this allows for continued prayer requests, shared creative ideas and increased communication. To connect, please visit: missions.nalcnetwork.com Mission Resources on NALC Website: Designed specifically to connect pastors, leaders and congregations to requested resources. Includes video teaching, “how to” and other administrative documents, past training events and more: thenalc.org/ missionresources Mission Connect: A weekly update from the Mission Office sharing stories of discipleship and mission across the NALC. You can sign up to receive a weekly email or text message by visiting remind.com/join/mconnect or texting @mconnect to (614) 682-8693. Mission Finder: Mission cannot be done in isolation. It is about relationship and building strategic mission networks. Find information about other hands-on mission and ministry projects in the NALC: missions.nalcnetwork.com Short-Term Mission Trips: Connected with the NALC Mission Finder, a list of shortterm mission trip opportunities from various NALC congregations and partners can be found at: airtable.com/shrAhPlQQirWKYLNr Drops from the Well: Utilizing the readings from Sunday morning, Drops from the Well can be delivered to your phone (US phone numbers only) via a text message or to your email inbox. More than a verse-a-day, Drops from the Well focuses on sending out one key point or Gospel kernel with the hopes that you read and reflect 141
on that drop each day of that week. Sign up: Via SMS: Text “@dropswell” to 81010 or Via email: go to remind.com/join/dropswell Drops in Focus: Utilizing the same technology as Drops from the Well, but instead of sending the verse in a “text,” it is delivered to your phone in a picture image each week. The goal is to save this image to your phone and set it as your lock screen image. To sign up Via SMS: Text “@dropsfocus” to 81010 or Via email: go to remind. com/join/dropsfocus and complete the form.
Prayer: The Fuel for Mission Introduction
Prayer. It’s our opportunity to communicate with the living God. Whether this communication is done by speaking, listening, writing, drawing, focusing on Holy Scripture or just being open to the Lord’s presence, it’s a gift that can be done at any time or any place. God’s Word tells us that Jesus frequently went off to a quiet place to pray. When the disciples asked Jesus about prayer, he taught them the foundation of the Lord’s Prayer. Even Martin Luther taught his own barber, Peter, a simple way to pray. Whether done individually or corporately, prayer is our access to the Triune God. Christ himself compels us to pray for all our needs, with the assurance of our intercessions being heard and responded to. Even when we don’t know how to pray, Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf as our prayers rise as incense before the Almighty. Simply, we’re called to pray for everything! Pray first, and always! We’re called to pray for our enemies and those who are sick. We’re called to pray for our governmental leaders and the spreading of the Gospel. We’re called to pray for the casting out of demons and for God’s will to be done. We’re called to pray for boldness through God’s Spirit and for faith. We’re called to pray for strength and protection, and to be thankful for all of God’s blessings in our lives. And, according to God’s Word, we are called to pray for the central aspect of ministry in Christ’s Church, and that is MISSION.
Session 1: Prayer is the Fuel for Mission
Please read and discuss Luke 10:1-12. As Jesus provides instructions to the 72 who are being sent out to expand the Kingdom, Christ shares some important words: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” What do we surmise from these words? The harvest of souls is massive and ongoing, but there are few to share the Gospel. So, what is the action needed to turn this around? Prayer! Praying to God to send more disciples to make Christ known. That’s why prayer is the fuel for mission! 144
Please consider and discuss the following questions: • In what ways do you and your congregation pray for mission? • When we pray, who do we expect that the Lord is going to “lift up” to share the Good News with others? • Why do you think that the mission of Christ is lacking workers? • What have you seen happen when we pray for Christ’s mission in the world? • As disciples of Jesus, what is our responsibility in making Jesus known to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors? • How do you think the Holy Spirit is involved in our “mission praying?”
Session 2: The Church Praying for Mission
Please read Acts 13:1-2. When Saul (Paul) and Barnabas were present at the church in Antioch (it was in Antioch that the believers were first called Christians), the Holy Spirit came over some of the prophets and teachers in the church and gave them the following message, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” During fasting and prayer, the church laid hands on these men and sent them off to share Jesus. The church was praying for mission. And times haven’t changed at all today. When the church prays, mission happens. Why is this “missional prayer” so important? • • • • • • •
For disciples to be made (Matthew 28:19-20). For the Good News to be preached and heard (Romans 10:14-15). For the witness of Christ (Acts 1:8). For others to boldly share the Gospel (Ephesians 6:19-20). For God’s Word to be shared at all times (II Timothy 4:2). For missionaries to be supported (II Corinthians 11:8-9). For individuals to be saved (Romans 10:11-13).
At its worship services, small groups, Bible studies and social events, the Church is compelled to pray for the mission of Jesus to go forward—for the Gospel to advance throughout the world and for churches in our own country to be planted and renewed. Please read and discuss the following Scriptures: Colossians 4:2-6 How can the prayers of the Church “help to open doors” for Christ to be shared?
II Thessalonians 3:1-2 Why is it important to pray that the Word of the Lord may “speed ahead?”
Why does mission need to be protected from evil?
I Timothy 2:1-7 If Jesus desires “all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” then how does the Church’s prayers impact upon that?”
Acts 12:1-19 “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” How did the prayers of the Church keep Peter safe? While the Church was praying, Peter was released from jail by an angel. What role did prayer have in this result? How does prayer have that kind of power? How will our prayers effect missions and the persecution of believers today?
The praying Church is essential for the furtherance of Christ’s mission. Instead of thinking that our prayers don’t have an effect, just see how the Holy Spirit is moving and touching hearts. Before Jesus’ ascension, we are reminded that through the power of the Holy Spirit the mission of Jesus will be done locally, regionally, nationally and globally. And this will only be possible through the prayers of the people.
Session 3: The Individual Praying for Mission
Please read I Samuel 3. In this Scripture passage, the Priest Eli realizes that the Lord is calling the young boy, Samuel, for his service. Eli tells Samuel that when God calls again he should be open to the Lord’s words and follow his commands. Simply, be ready and willing for the Lord’s mission. And that’s exactly what we should be praying individually. Praying that we would be open to Jesus’ call in our lives to serve him, to witness him, and to make him known to the generations. Only in prayer can we hear Christ’s call for action, and only in prayer and discernment will we receive the strength, power, and fortitude to make this happen. But that is certainly easier said than done, isn’t it? Instead of being open to the Spirit in prayer, we sometimes like to place our own “conditions” on how we’re going to do mission. “Lord, don’t send me there because I don’t want to move. Lord, don’t have me reach out to these people; they aren’t like me. Lord, it isn’t time for me to go. I’ve got too much to do. Can someone else take my place?” We don’t have a God of excuses, but of action! When we are truly praying for our involvement in God’s plans, then the Lord will equip us for the task. Please read Ephesians 3:14-21. The Apostle Paul talks about getting on his knees (praying), and receiving power through the Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit that will equip us for witness and making disciples. Let us pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:1-11, Romans 12:3-8, and Ephesians 4:11-12). And let us pray for the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). As we receive God’s Spirit, we are ready to be “sent out” to do mission and ministry for Jesus. As it is written in I Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 148
The following scriptural texts describe individuals praying for mission. Please read and discuss. Acts 9:1-18 After his conversion with Jesus on the Damascus Road, Saul is praying for the future as he is visited by Ananias. Ananias lays hands upon Saul and baptizes him. Saul receives the power of the Holy Spirit, and his mission begins.
Acts 16:6-10 During the night Paul has a vision, a living prayer of a man calling him to come to Macedonia, which is part of modern day Greece. Paul immediately wants to go to Macedonia, believing that Jesus is calling him to share the Gospel in that region.
John 17:1-26 Before his crucifixion, Jesus prays this remarkable prayer to his Father. A large portion of this prayer is focused on his mission to the disciples, that they would receive the Word, be protected from evil, be one with one another, and be filled with joy. In verse 18 it says, â€œAs you (father) sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.â€?
As individuals, we are called to pray for mission. The Holy Ghost will specifically equip and empower us for this opportunity to share the saving love of Jesus Christ in our communities!
Prayer: The Fuel for Mission Additional Resources
Never Stop Praying Video resource from Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba on Colossians 4 (originally broadcast live by Forkyndertv.dk at Hjallerup Bible Camp in Denmark, July 2017): vimeo.com/227663418 Creative Prayer Resources Originally inspired by creative prayer stations at past Mission Festivals, a collective formed to share these resources for free. To connect, please visit: abidaheartsonfire.com Prayer Calendar Keith Strohm writes in Becoming a Parish of Intentional Disciples: “Intercessory prayer disrupts the ‘infrastructure’ of the enemy, by which I mean it weakens and destroys the network of lies, fear, intimidation, and confusion — the tools and strategies used by Satan to keep persons and situations away from God’s peace, clarity, and redeeming love.” Wrestling in prayer for our Ministry Partners, Recognized Ministries, Global Workers, and GCS Partners, we invite you to integrate this digital calendar into your own! Each day of the month you will be given a name of an individual serving on the front lines to pray for. Additional information can be found by clicking on their website to receive updates about mission, ministry, and specific prayer needs. This calendar subscription will integrate into your current digital calendar: Google Calendar, Outlook (Office 365), iCal, etc. To access this calendar? Paste this calendar subscription link into your calendar of choice: http://bit.ly/GCSPrayer Unfamiliar with how to add a calendar subscription? Please feel free to access the following tutorials: • Adding an iCal feed to an Apple Calendar: http://apple.co/2BLxjzm • Adding an iCal feed to a Google Calendar: http://bit.ly/2aDk1qJ • Adding an iCal feed to Microsoft Office: http://bit.ly/2Bh4xpk Don’t have a digital calendar? Please contact: Jenny Brockman (jbrockman@thenalc. org) to receive a paper copy.
Additional Resources from the Renewal Team • Books • The Small Catechism by Martin Luther • Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller • Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster • The Renewed Mind by Larry Christenson • Praying the Prayers of the Bible by James Banks • Healing by Francis McNutt • Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie • The Power to Heal by Francis McNutt • Daring to Draw Near: People in Prayer by John White • Deliverance from Evil Spirits by Francis McNutt • On Prayer by E.M. Bounds • The Centered Life by Jack Fortin • A Powerful Joy by Joseph K. Acton • How To Pray for Spiritual Growth by Theodore E. Dobson • The Secret to Abundant Living by Herb Miller (https://goo.gl/LfzBZS) • Psalms • Prayer Rhythms • Faith5 – The steps include: 1) Share; 2) Read; 3) Talk; 4) Pray; 5) Bless. For more information on the Faith5, go to faith5.org. • Lectio Divina – The steps are: 1) Lectio - reading; 2) Meditatio - reflection; 3) Oratio - response; 4) Contemplatio - rest. • Luther’s version – Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio. • ACTS – Adore; Confess; Thank; Supplication • SOAP Bible Study method • Drops From the Well and Drops in Focus – See resource list for more information. Use the “Drop” each week to: • Turn the “drop” into your prayer. • Write the “drop” on a notecard and keep it in your pocket so that when you touch it, the “drop” is brought to the forefront of your mind. • Set the alarm on your phone to ring at a 4:14 PM ET each day (a reference to the general theme verse of John 4:14). When the alarm goes off, read the week’s “drop” again, as the entire NALC gathers to read Scripture and pray together at the same time every day. (Or choose a Bible verse and corresponding time for your congregation and Mission District.) • Navigators’ Resources on Prayer (http://bit.ly/2IB1Fv4) 151
• Pray As You Go – An online guided Taizé service on your phone that includes music, Scripture, reflection, questions and prayer. Available on Google Play, the App Store or online at http://bit.ly/2s4a6Ur. Prayer Ministry We encourage congregations and/or Mission Districts to have a prayer ministry. We wanted to share two examples: 1. A New Thing Christian Church in Lithonia, Georgia. Each day, they gather via conference call at 12:00 pm ET for a devotion and time of prayer. If you’re interested in learning more or would like to join, please feel free to dial in! Dial 1-641-715-3680 and enter code 816322 when prompted. 2. The town of Midlothian, Texas, has a wonderful prayer movement that has transformed their community. NALC pastors, Joel and Wendy Berthelsen share that for 18 years Christian communities have come together weekly, led by Rev. Edsel and Beverly Dureus, to pray with associated people at a local school, business, government entity or church. They gather in Midlothian every Friday night from 10 to midnight. If you are interested in learning more or joining them, please contact Pastor Wendy Berthelsen at email@example.com. We will be featuring other types of prayer ministries throughout the fall. To share about the work in your congregation or Mission District, please send a message to Jenny Brockman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lutheran Benefits 403(b)(9) Retirement Plan
NALC Denominational Plan
Section 107 provisions for Ministers of the Gospel: o Pre-tax contributions may be distributed for qualified housing expenses and may be excluded from gross income as a parsonage allowance in retirement.* Ministers of the Gospel Housing Equity Account o Distributions available prior to age 59½ for the down payment on a home** Direct Rollover and Transfer Capabilities from current 403(b), TSA, IRA Current employer/employee contribution limits: up to $55,000/year*** Pre-tax and ROTH capabilities Convenient online enrollment & easy-to-use website for 24/7 account access. Electronic prospectuses available online. Customer service team to assist with enrollment & answer questions Advisor service team for personal financial and/or retirement planning Pre-built investment fund portfolios or build your own portfolio No-load, low cost Vanguard & Dimensional Funds Loans and hardship withdrawals available Capability of separate portfolios for each money source – and ability to distribute from any fund or money source In-plan Roth conversion capabilities NO COST to your church / entity to implement
For more information, please call:
1-800-516-HAHN (4246) LutheranBenefits@HahnFinancialGroup.com -
Distributions from 403(b)9 denominational retirement plans are usually taxed as ordinary income. One exception may be distributions by Ministers of the Gospel for qualified housing expenses. Withdrawals made before age 59 ½ may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70 ½, you must begin taking annual Required Minimum Distributions (RMD), unless still employed by an entity participating in the denominational plan. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. Neither Hahn Financial Group, Inc. nor its representatives provide tax or legal advice. For answers to your specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney or tax advisor.
Investment Advisory Services and Insurance Products offered through Hahn Financial Group, Inc., a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. *Rev. Rul. 63-156, 1963-2 C.B. 79, **IRC Section 107, 403b9 Denominational Church Plans, ***www.irs.gov.
Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Self-Funded Major Medical & Prescription Health and Ancillary Plan Highlights Employee Employee/Spouse Employee/ Child(ren) Family
$773 $1,661 $1,205 $1,934
Available to rostered Clergy and/or rostered Congregations with the NALC
Major Medical/Prescription Health Plan Benefits ➢ $1,000 annual deductible for an individual/$2,000 for families ➢ 20% coinsurance after deductible ➢ $3,000 maximum out-of-pocket expenses for an individual/ $6,000 for families
Explore your options!
➢ Shared Savings Model may allow the deductible to be waived for qualified pre-authorized procedures
➢ ACA Preventative Medical Evaluations covered at 100% ➢ $0 co-pay for generic drugs ➢ Rx Help Center may help lower costs of specialty medications ➢ No coverage for elective abortions or abortifacient drugs (Psalm 139:13-14)
(Cost is based on age, income, smoker status and options selected.)
1-800-516-HAHN (4246) 3101 S Phillips Ave Sioux Falls, SD 57105 LutheranBenefits@HahnFinancialGroup.com
Investment Advisory Services and Insurance Products offered through Hahn Financial Group, Inc. an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. 06272018 NALC-18-19
➢ $50,000 base life insurance policy with an additional $50,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage ➢ Short and Long-Term Disability – protecting a portion of your income to normal retirement age or beyond if still working ➢ Employee Assistance Program that provides counseling and follow-up services for personal and/or work-related problems ➢ $10,000 Critical Illness Policy that will pay you a lump sum cash payment in the event of heart attack, stroke or certain types of cancer ➢ Optional Flexible Spending Account that includes options to save for medical and/or daycare expenses ➢ Optional Vision Plan covering exams, lenses and contacts ➢ Optional Dental Plan that goes beyond cleaning, cavities and rootcanal coverage and includes dentures and orthodontia 154 • 040317000
Become a GCS Partner Today WE’RE GLAD YOU’RE HERE. It’s been a blessing to watch the NALC’s new starts and global projects grow. Adding new global workers each year and renewing congregations are just several other areas of our mission driven efforts. But we understand how important it is to be able to continue to launch and sustain these mission-driven efforts in the future. By partnering with the Great Commission Society for just $10 each month, you will provide up to three years of transitional or emergency aid for missions, as well as startup funds for new mission starts in North America. One hundred percent of your pledge goes directly to these mission projects. To Become a Partner 1. Via Online Donation – please visit: http://bit.ly/2tKi88D and make sure to set your donation in the Great Commission Society box to a “recurring donation.” 2. Via Check – please download the form at the following link and return via postal mail. http://bit.ly/2N61aaQ Additional Information • If you are already a GCS Partner and are interested in taking the next step by partnering directly with a local, domestic or global mission, please visit: thenalc. org/GCS • To see a list of current projects, please visit: thenalc.org/GCS • Stay Informed – Sign up for a weekly update, via text message: text @mconnect to (614) 682-8693, or via email: remind.com/join/mconnect
Cultivate Your Future at The North American Lutheran Seminary
Earn your M.Div., M.A. or a Certificate in Lutheran Studies. We offer residential and online degrees with: • Orthodox, confessional, evangelical community that grows together through prayer, fellowship and academic rigor • Fully accredited program with world-class faculty • Scholarships and financial support Learn more at www.theNALS.org
311 Eleventh Street, Ambridge, Pennsylvania 15003 156 724-385-8000 \ info@theNALS.org
PASTOR'S CONFERENCE THENALC.ORG/PASTORS
FEBRUARY 19-21, 2019 IN ORLANDO, FL Featuring Fr. Charles Zlock, Rector, St. Monica Roman Catholic Church in Berwyn, PA. Fr. Zlock will share, â€œBuilding a Parish Community of Disciples: How Do You Preach for Discipleship and Reach People in the Pews?â€? Other conference highlights: extended study of the Lent & Holy Week Scripture readings, appointments with NALC staff, meeting of the NALC Ministerium, Holy Communion service with renewal of ordination vows & blessing of oil, dedicated time for networking & encouragement with fellow pastors, and more! Although this conference is designed for NALC pastors and seminarians, other NALC leaders are welcome, as are non-NALC pastors and seminarians. Clergy spouses are also welcome and strongly encouraged to attend, and registration is the same as clergy.
Christ Centered | Mission Driven Traditionally Grounded | Congregationally Focused #LutheranWeek2018
Please visit us online and find more information at: thenalc.org facebook.com/TheNALC |