Resolution 3-10

Started by sirrahbed, July 20, 2013, 09:53:24 PM

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ghp

Quote from: Weedon on July 25, 2013, 08:26:04 PM
I think there's another side to the story, too. I think it is inevitable that our District Presidents desire congregations in their districts to share their own ideology. When there is a congregation that does not, they seek to give them a pastor who will be more in line with the DP's own thinking. What would happen if the DPs gave the name of EVERY man on candidate status to every congregation that is vacant or calling in addition to those of pastors who have a call but are seeking another? And what if these names were given without editorial comment, but simply acknowledging that in our fellowship, every person on this list is certainly eligible to serve any congregation of our Synod. What would happen if the politics were simply taken out of the equation for the sake of offering each parish the widest variety of candidates possible?

I fear the dissonance between the spectre of "ill-informed congregationalism" rising "out of control" and the fear of ecclesiastical "supervisioning" (aka, control) diminishing would cause some heads to asplode...  ::)

After all,  The bureaucracy does exist to perpetuate the bureaucracy...

and who would be left to proclaim that I'm from the District, and I'm here to help (protect you from the Synod/Confessionals/insert-bogeyman-here...)! ???  :o ;)


JMK

#46
QuoteI think there's another side to the story, too. I think it is inevitable that our District Presidents desire congregations in their districts to share their own ideology. When there is a congregation that does not, they seek to give them a pastor who will be more in line with the DP's own thinking. What would happen if the DPs gave the name of EVERY man on candidate status to every congregation that is vacant or calling in addition to those of pastors who have a call but are seeking another? And what if these names were given without editorial comment, but simply acknowledging that in our fellowship, every person on this list is certainly eligible to serve any congregation of our Synod. What would happen if the politics were simply taken out of the equation for the sake of offering each parish the widest variety of candidates possible?

That is an interesting thought. However, I think what really needs to be done is for all the vacant churches to communicate that they are in the calling process on a centralized LCMS calling churches website. Than those clergy who are open and interested in a pastoral call can send their "Pastoral Information Forms" or answer the questions that each congregation proposes.  It is as simple as that. And if a vacant congregation wants to, they than can request a D.P's opinion or reference. That way, if calling congregations want a liturgical only guy than they can get one. If they want a "blended worship guy," no problem. And, if they want women involved as elders or they want only men, than that can be part of the questioning process as well. I like to think of the idea like the computer dating services that are out there.

David Garner

Quote from: Weedon on July 25, 2013, 08:26:04 PM
I think there's another side to the story, too. I think it is inevitable that our District Presidents desire congregations in their districts to share their own ideology. When there is a congregation that does not, they seek to give them a pastor who will be more in line with the DP's own thinking. What would happen if the DPs gave the name of EVERY man on candidate status to every congregation that is vacant or calling in addition to those of pastors who have a call but are seeking another? And what if these names were given without editorial comment, but simply acknowledging that in our fellowship, every person on this list is certainly eligible to serve any congregation of our Synod. What would happen if the politics were simply taken out of the equation for the sake of offering each parish the widest variety of candidates possible?

Or, as I think I noted elsewhere or perhaps upstream, if DPs would simply in love attempt to square a parish with a pastor that suits the parish, as our bishops try to do.  I sat and watched an LCMS parish in Hiram Georgia implode on itself because they ended up with 2 pastors in a row that undermined the confessional and traditional foundation the founding pastor had laid.  It no longer exists.  It literally has ceased to be.  This congregation resides now in the building they built:

www.westmetrochurch.org

Why should this be?  Even if it be deemed too cumbersome to list every parish, surely there was a confessional and traditional pastor who could have shepherded this parish.  Why not, in love, at least attempt to send them one?  I know the parish has a say in it, but my point is if they won't have the ultimate say (which is what you suggest -- give them all the candidates available), then why not at least help them by giving them a list of candidates that fit what the parish needs rather than what the DP prefers?
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Jeremy Loesch

I'll just throw this out- I like Quenstedt's idea.  A neighboring pastor has thought about this idea and even went so far as to draft an overture for our Southeastern District convention.  (I don't recall that it ever made it to the floor.)

With the advances in technology, a centralized list of calling congregations and of pastors looking for a call could be formulated.  Pastors and congregations could seek each other out, share information, and see what happens from there.  DPs can share as much information with the congregations and pastors as they see fit. 

The problem with this is that it removes some of the oversight function of the district president.  Some people may think that is a bigger problem than others, but it is an important role that they have.

I think that Peter's comment about DPs wanting congregations that share their point of view is more accurate than not.  And this is where I think our restructuring in 2010 missed the boat.  I think we should have 50 districts.  The DP would be a part time or three quarter time president and the other half or quarter would be a parish pastor.  In a smaller geographic locale he would be able to visit his congregations while still having time to be connected to his home church.  They would know the congregations in the district better and when there is a vacancy, he can give input that would be more helpful because he does know them.  Let there be a full time secretary and a full time presidential assistant like a deaconess or another pastor and there is your district staff. 

When I mentioned this idea to the restructuring task force when they came to our district convention in 2009, I think they actually chuckled.  I suppose if I can make someone smile, whether humorously, ruefully, or bewilderingly, I guess I have done my part.

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

John_Hannah

#49
Quote from: Jeremy Loesch on July 26, 2013, 08:04:42 AM

The problem with this is that it removes some of the oversight function of the district president.  Some people may think that is a bigger problem than others, but it is an important role that they have.

I think that Peter's comment about DPs wanting congregations that share their point of view is more accurate than not.  And this is where I think our restructuring in 2010 missed the boat.  I think we should have 50 districts.  The DP would be a part time or three quarter time president and the other half or quarter would be a parish pastor.  In a smaller geographic locale he would be able to visit his congregations while still having time to be connected to his home church. 

Jeremy

A very good ideal. But do the math. How many Sunday are there each year? How many Sundays would be required for the home parish? (26-39.) How many Sundays are left? (26-13.) So in a three year term, the DP would be able to visit only 78-39 congregations. With 50 Districts and 6,000 congregations, the average district would have 120 congregations. That's many congregations somewhat short of an effective visit, right?

And we still have not addressed the fact that demographically and economically marginal congregations are finding it necessary to close, which may be the biggest reason for so many available C.R.M. pastors.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

D. Engebretson

Quote from: Jeremy Loesch on July 26, 2013, 08:04:42 AM
I think we should have 50 districts.  The DP would be a part time or three quarter time president and the other half or quarter would be a parish pastor.  In a smaller geographic locale he would be able to visit his congregations while still having time to be connected to his home church.  They would know the congregations in the district better and when there is a vacancy, he can give input that would be more helpful because he does know them.  Let there be a full time secretary and a full time presidential assistant like a deaconess or another pastor and there is your district staff. 

When I mentioned this idea to the restructuring task force when they came to our district convention in 2009, I think they actually chuckled.  I suppose if I can make someone smile, whether humorously, ruefully, or bewilderingly, I guess I have done my part.

Personally I like this idea as well, but realize it challenges the current bureaucratic structure.  When I was in the Michigan District I realized that its size made it unmanageable and that it should really divide at least into two districts.  However, it occurred to me that the pride of being the biggest district would probably guarantee such a major change would never occur.  Your idea makes great sense, but maybe that's the problem  ;).
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Weedon

One pastor, very weary of waiting for Synod to actually act on this, has STARTED an online solution:

http://www.lostpastors.org/SitePages/Home.aspx

FrPeters

The CRM problem is great and it needs and deserves honest study because, truth is, we don't know who all is there or why, who is damaged goods and cannot be brought back, who can and should be brought back, etc...  CRM is such a deep, dark, and big hole that it has all kinds of people in it for all kinds of reasons.  I am not even sure we have an accurate count of them much less can say who is there and why.  I am passionate about those who have been cast in the dungeon of CRM but I also understand that we have made such a mess of it that it cannot and should not be given a bandaid or quick fix.
Fr Larry Peters
Grace LCMS, Clarksville, TN
http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/

sirrahbed

Quote from: Weedon on July 26, 2013, 11:09:05 AM
One pastor, very weary of waiting for Synod to actually act on this, has STARTED an online solution:

http://www.lostpastors.org/SitePages/Home.aspx

Yes! Lost Pastors :) I think it is a very good alternative - at least it will give vacant congregations a way to make contact with pastors desiring a call - could be used in addition to checking with the DP. The Pastor who started this site is very passionate about wanting to offer immediate and merciful help. There is also a donation page which recently accumulated enough funds to help Pastor Chambers (http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=28354) get home from the hospital by the purchase of a new specialized mattress that he needed.

Daniel L. Gard

CRM is indeed a deep, dark hole. It is so deep and dark that nobody seems able to even to describe it adequately with any statistics. That in itself is quite telling and explains the frustration that is felt by those who are on CRM status and those of us who care about them. In my opinion, the despair and helplessness these men and their families experience is the result of our corporate sin in allowing the system to devolve into what it has become.

"Mission, mercy, life together" ought not to be a pious mantra. Rather, it ought to shape not only how we see the world around us but how we see our own hurting members.

John_Hannah

Quote from: Weedon on July 26, 2013, 11:09:05 AM
One pastor, very weary of waiting for Synod to actually act on this, has STARTED an online solution:

http://www.lostpastors.org/SitePages/Home.aspx

Maybe this will help. I wonder if it will give us better information than we have now. For example, "How many of those 3XX pastors are available for call, as opposed to those doing graduate work or on some disability?"

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

John_Hannah

Discussions on CRM and SMP sometimes reveal denial of a root cause, common to both. Namely the serious decline of viable congregations able to compensate a pastor.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Jeremy Loesch

Quote from: D. Engebretson on July 26, 2013, 09:18:16 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Loesch on July 26, 2013, 08:04:42 AM
I think we should have 50 districts.  The DP would be a part time or three quarter time president and the other half or quarter would be a parish pastor.  In a smaller geographic locale he would be able to visit his congregations while still having time to be connected to his home church.  They would know the congregations in the district better and when there is a vacancy, he can give input that would be more helpful because he does know them.  Let there be a full time secretary and a full time presidential assistant like a deaconess or another pastor and there is your district staff. 

When I mentioned this idea to the restructuring task force when they came to our district convention in 2009, I think they actually chuckled.  I suppose if I can make someone smile, whether humorously, ruefully, or bewilderingly, I guess I have done my part.

Personally I like this idea as well, but realize it challenges the current bureaucratic structure.  When I was in the Michigan District I realized that its size made it unmanageable and that it should really divide at least into two districts.  However, it occurred to me that the pride of being the biggest district would probably guarantee such a major change would never occur.  Your idea makes great sense, but maybe that's the problem  ;).

One way that might help toward breaking up the districts into more manageable pieces is to look at the Southeastern District where I serve: DE, MD, DC, VA, NC and SC, plus York Co. PA.  In my 50 District proposal, are we looking at 6 districts, or 5 and somebody flip a coin for DC? 

DE, MD, and DC become one district.  The DP would be an assistant pastor at one of the multi-staff congregations.  First Sunday of the month, he is in Cumberland MD.  Second Sunday of the month, he is in Rehoboth Beach DE.  Third Sunday of the month he is in Baltimore.  Fourth Sunday of the month he is at his 'home' congregation.  In this particular region, at least showing up in the local congregations should not be too hard.  How well he gets to know those congregations may be another matter.

VA would become its own district.  And the Carolinas would become their own district.  In a place where there are more Lutherans, like MI, WI, MN, IL, etc, etc, etc.  They would divide up into two or three.

You may ask: What about the COP?  Would it now have 50 members?  Or even more members?  Wouldn't that be unwieldy?  Why are you creating a Lutheran curia?  I can sense your concern.  No, they would not have that many members.  All 61 DPs would meet once a year.  At that meeting, they would put their number on a slip of paper.  Twenty slips of paper would be drawn and those lucky rascals would become the COP as we know it today.  The other DPs would go back to their districts and do what DPs do.

Problem solved.

Jeremy   
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

LCMS87

Quote from: Jeremy Loesch on July 26, 2013, 01:20:50 PM
One way that might help toward breaking up the districts into more manageable pieces is to look at the Southeastern District where I serve: DE, MD, DC, VA, NC and SC, plus York Co. PA.  In my 50 District proposal, are we looking at 6 districts, or 5 and somebody flip a coin for DC? 

DE, MD, and DC become one district.  The DP would be an assistant pastor at one of the multi-staff congregations.  First Sunday of the month, he is in Cumberland MD.  Second Sunday of the month, he is in Rehoboth Beach DE.  Third Sunday of the month he is in Baltimore.  Fourth Sunday of the month he is at his 'home' congregation.  In this particular region, at least showing up in the local congregations should not be too hard.  How well he gets to know those congregations may be another matter.

VA would become its own district.  And the Carolinas would become their own district.  In a place where there are more Lutherans, like MI, WI, MN, IL, etc, etc, etc.  They would divide up into two or three.

You may ask: What about the COP?  Would it now have 50 members?  Or even more members?  Wouldn't that be unwieldy?  Why are you creating a Lutheran curia?  I can sense your concern.  No, they would not have that many members.  All 61 DPs would meet once a year.  At that meeting, they would put their number on a slip of paper.  Twenty slips of paper would be drawn and those lucky rascals would become the COP as we know it today.  The other DPs would go back to their districts and do what DPs do.

Problem solved.

Jeremy

Where's the "like" button when you need it?

I should note that I was discussing some of these issues in response to the voting on resolution 7-04A with a small group that included a lay delegate from Michigan and a pastor formerly from Michigan.  While for visitation purposes there would be very good reason to split that district, perhaps into three as exist in the state of Illinois, I think it would be a tough sell in the Michigan District.  And, at least as 7-04A was explained, such a proposal would need to come from the district itself.  This convention, at least, seemed rather unwilling to consider foisting a change in district composition on an unwilling district.

JMK

Stream lining the system for matching calling congregations and clergy that are open to a call is a good idea. But I believe a more rigorous online system like E-Harmony dating should be set up for D.P.'s to work with.

I still think the biggest problem is that there is a hugh "glut" of clergy in the LCMS and an ever diminishing number of congregations that can financially support a full time pastor. Pastors that once thought of retiring can't do so because the economy tanked. As a nation, we are in a second round of the recession and folks don't realize it.

We reap what we sow. For years we've put out glossy "recruitment oriented" magazines warning of the crisis to come in which congregations would not have pastors. And congregations responded. They both encouraged men to go Seminary, but they also responded by raising up Lay Ministers, SMP's, etc. for special situations where full time clergy could not be supported.

And now we face a crisis in the LCMS. There are not enough congregations that can support a a full time pastor. And the situation only appears to be getting worse.

So, I have an idea that might help us out of this mess. Perhaps the Synod should set up some sort of financial incentive plan for older pastors in their late 40's or 50's to be entrepreneurs and start a new business on the side. The end goal of that new business, as it grows, would be for clergy to have a full time exit plan from parish ministry - especially when times are tough. By the Synod stepping in and helping this cause, it would go a long ways towards enabling younger pastors and CRM's to get calls to parishes that can afford them doing full time ministry in the area.

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