In an attempt to further streamline its administrative structure — matching staffing needs to its new strategic plan — LCMS World Mission has eliminated a dozen area-director positions and is replacing them with “regional directors” for four world areas.
Eliminated, effective Nov. 30, were the posts of six full-time and three part-time area directors, plus three vacant positions.
The area directors, most of whom were based overseas, will be among those considered for the four regional-director positions to be filled within the coming months. The new regional directors, also deployed, will coordinate strategies and work in Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America.
Serving as area directors were:
- Rev. Richard Blythe, Central Europe;
- Dr. Earl Bracewell, Southeast Asia;
- Rev. Ken Greinke (part time), East Africa;
- Dr. Herbert Hoefer (part time), India/Sri Lanka;
- Rev. John Mehl, Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union);
- Delano Meyer, English-speaking West/Southern Africa;
- Rev. Craig Molitoris, China;
- Dr. Douglas Rutt (part time), Southern Latin America; and
- Rev. James Tino, Venezuela/the Caribbean.
The three vacant posts were for East Asia, French-speaking West Africa and Mexico/Central America/Panama.
LCMS World Mission plans to reassign those in area-director positions or assist them in beginning new ministries.
“Some of these men will move on to regional-director positions or will return to service in foreign missions,” said Rev. David Birner, associate executive director for the international mission team. “Others will likely take calls within The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod.
“These are men who have made great contributions to foreign missions, and I have no doubt that they will continue to distinguish themselves in service to the church.”
Birner said the changes represent a “need to streamline the Synod’s worldwide mission program for effective management that can meet the new challenges of 21st century missions.”
The new regional directors, he said, will “search out new mission opportunities and work together with partners around the world to determine the global priorities to which our Synod can effectively make an impact. They also will be the channels through which we will deploy LCMS resources around the world.”
Each of the four regions also will have missionaries serving as “area facilitators” who will assist regional directors to coordinate the work in local areas.