Nine convention floor committees are proposing a total of 97 resolutions for delegates to consider at this summer’s triennial Synod convention, July 14-19 in Houston.
Eight of those committees met in St. Louis the weekend starting May 18 to form their resolutions. The ninth — for Convention Nominations — submitted their only resolution earlier.
The proposed resolutions primarily respond to a total of 361 overtures from congregations, district conventions and boards of directors, church-worker conferences, circuit forums, and boards, commissions, and other official entities of the Synod. Those overtures appear in the 2007 Convention Workbook. For the last Synod convention in 2004, floor committees proposed 115 resolutions.
In his report at the beginning of the weekend, Synod President Gerald B. Kieschnick referred to the 2007 convention’s theme of “One Message — Christ! His Love Is Here for You!” and to the Synod’s “One mission — to be Ablaze! — our hearts on fire in seeking the lost for Christ … .”
“It is both my counsel to you and my prayer to God,” Kieschnick said to the floor committees, “that every resolution you prepare for presentation to the convention of our Synod will reflect this theme and will enhance this mission connected to it, to the glory of God and for the salvation of many of the people of the world who do not now confess the name of Jesus.”
The floor committees’ resolutions will be printed in the first issue of the daily convention guide, Today’s Business. That issue is to be mailed by June 15 to delegates and congregations. The resolutions also are on the Web, at www.lcms.org/convention (click on “Resolutions,” then on “Today’s Business”).
The following is a summary of the resolutions, by floor committee:
Emphases on church planting and involving all congregation members in outreach are reflected in many of the 12 resolutions prepared by Floor Committee 1.
Just like three years ago, a good number of those resolutions are related to Ablaze!, the Synod-endorsed effort to share the Gospel with 100 million “unreached and uncommitted” people worldwide by 2017.
Resolutions that relate to the Ablaze! initiative ask the Synod to:
- adopt a goal of praying and working for the “mission revitalization” of at least 2,000 existing LCMS congregations by 2017, and to support those revitalization efforts.
- encourage “effective mission models” and develop “creative local partnerships” to start new ministries and congregations.
- encourage the Board for Mission Services to provide training opportunities and manuals “to assist God’s people in mission development” and “intentional church planting.”
- direct the Commission on Theology and Church Relations, in consultation with the Board for Mission Services, to prepare a comprehensive study document on the biblical teaching of the priesthood of all believers “in the light of the mission challenges of today.” The document would be used “by the whole church, its congregations and church workers, and by LCMS seminaries and universities” to encourage Missouri Synod Lutherans to share their faith with others.
- direct universities and seminaries to make “outreach for the lost” a top priority in their training of church workers.
- receive from the Board for Mission Services a “detailed annual report” of donations received by Fan Into Flame, the $100 million campaign to support Ablaze! goals, and to publish that report Synodwide.
Other missions-related resolutions:
- encourage “creative partnerships” between Synod districts and congregations and LCMS partner churches worldwide that would include prayer and financial support, the sharing of resources, communication, and encouragement.
- commend LCMS campus pastors and other campus-ministry workers for “maintaining confessional integrity” as they serve college students, and ask the LCMS Praesidium to “continue to assess” LCMS campus ministries and their association with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and to submit a report to the next Synod convention in 2010.
- commend LCMS military chaplains for their service and the Ministry to the Armed Forces for its supervision and support of military chaplains.
- thank the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League for its 65 years of service and commend the LWML for its “primary target goals” and mission grants during the 2005-07 biennium.
- commend Lutheran Hour Ministries for “its consistent mission focus and its pioneering efforts in adapting technology to the service of the Gospel,” encourage LHM in its plan to develop resources for congregational outreach, and ask LCMS congregations and individuals to support LHM and make use of its outreach resources.
District and Congregational Services
The first three of 10 resolutions from Floor Committee 2 concern worship. Others address support for the LCMS National Youth Gathering, conflict in congregations, confession and absolution, and significant upcoming anniversaries in Lutheranism.
The committee’s top-priority resolution notes that although “previous conventions of the Synod have addressed the diverse viewpoints in our church body concerning worship, … tensions remain in our walk together.”
That resolution then calls for the LCMS Commission on Worship and the Commission on Theology and Church Relations to organize a model theological conference involving pastors and laypeople from all districts, along with representatives of CUS schools and the two seminaries, to “build a greater understanding of our theology of worship and foster further discussion of worship practices that are consistent with that theology.”
The resolution also encourages districts to organize similar conferences “to further discussion and understanding” and asks the worship commission to consult with the Council of Presidents and college and seminary faculties in preparing studies on the topic for circuits and congregations.
The second-priority resolution asks the Commission on Worship “to provide guidance and direction for the use of diverse/contemporary worship resources” — to quote its title — that reflect sound Lutheran theology. This would take place through “Web-based resources,” seminars and conferences, a network of Lutheran composer