Next month The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is holding its triannual convention. As with all conventions, there are dozens of resolutions to consider, hundreds of pages of paper to pore through, and as many opinions as grains of sand on the shore. The purpose is to celebrate our unity in Christ, equip the church for service in the kingdom of God, and ultimately to strengthen our local congregations around the world. Through mutual accountability and support, Synod and church are intended to walk together, and conventions are the official time to “do business” to support this.
I have been a delegate at two conventions before. The first time, I had only been a pastor for a year, and I was admittedly caught up in all the self-importance of it all. “All of these issues are extremely important,” I thought, and meant it. The second time was in Tampa, and I frankly cared more about where I would eat my next Cuban sandwich than the workbook. Oh, I still took it seriously, but since almost every single resolution passed by more than an 80% margin, the significance of my presence was diluted.
I’m not going this year. I do care (and yes, I voted), but I’ll probably only watch the resolutions that will inevitably devolve into a Jerry Springer episode: men and women will yell and point fingers, the president will get all defensive and act offended, and everyone will be like we’re all going to die and go to hell unless whatever resolution is passed or rejected. I’ll make popcorn.
I guess I just know better by now. I’ve been a pastor for 11 years. I’ve buried about 120 people, married a few dozen, baptized over a hundred, and preached around 800 unique sermons on Sunday morning week after week after week after week. The peels of the bells calling us to worship, the familiar and comforting waft of the homemade wine-turned-blood, the regular heart beats of my congregational existence in the shadow of the parsonage’s maple trees, all signal to me what the church is day in and day out. It is crucial to retain this ministerial life, where heaven meets earth and Christ comes to us in Word and Sacrament.
So when considering the Synodical convention, I have herein compiled a short list of 5 critical resolutions that, if passed or rejected, will have an immediate, crucial, and lasting impact on your congregational life. I’m talking that next Sunday you’ll see the change. You’ll practically feel the ground shift as the ministry of Jesus Christ changes. These five resolutions deserve your attention, your study, and your prayers. In no particular order, they are:
… have a great summer. See you in church.