I agree with Dr. Arnold E. Kromphardt’s comments in his February letter that it is the task of pastors to recruit men to attend our seminaries. The pastor is key for encouraging men to become seminarians.
But it is the responsibility of all congregation members to assist the pastor, supporting him in this role.
I believe that the influence of family members on prospective pastors is most important. Family members — in direct contact with these men on a daily basis — need to encourage them with prayer, a spiritual upbringing, and by being living examples of life in Christ Jesus.
We also need to encourage fellow members, regardless of age or gender, to become missionaries for work in the fields that provide opportunities to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to encourage fellow members to consider service as commissioned ministers, such as directors of Christian education, directors of Christian outreach, deaconesses, teachers, and lay ministers.
We all need to encourage, build, and nurture fellow believers — to ignite and light God’s fire.
A letter last month asked Reporter to “crunch the numbers” in regard to a pastor shortage in the Synod.
I suggest you also crunch the numbers for commissioned ministers, especially in the Lay Minister, DCO, and DCE categories.
I have been a commissioned lay minister for eight years, and have never received a call to a paid position. I wonder how many are in similar situations.
Our congregations should be encouraged to consider adding commissioned ministers to their staffs.
This is in response to the January story about the debt of church professionals and the effect it has on their ministry.
For some time, I have been concerned about the level of debt some of the graduates have when they start their careers.
Having said that, we should not lose sight of the fact that many of those 15 percent are poor money managers. Even if the debt was removed, many would likely find themselves back in the same position within a short period of time.
Specific Ministry Pastor program
A December 2006 Reporter article (“COP eyes ‘harmony and trust,’ OKs proposed alternate-route ‘in principle’ ”) may have given the impression that the Specific Ministry Pastor program (referenced in that article as “Pastor-Specific Ministry”) was developed through the work of the Pastoral Formation Leadership Summit, held last year.
Although it was discussed and supported in concept at the summit, much work has gone into it over the past few years. In fact, the origins go back to earlier work on Distance Education Leading to Ordination (DELTO). The seminary faculties discussed the issues addressed in this proposal already in 1995, and again in 1998.
The church’s needs and our confessional commitment, as well as a strong desire to maintain the integrity of theological education and the implementation of a more comprehensive approach for pastoral formation (enveloping residential and non-residential, distance education, and continuing education), inspired and gave birth to the Specific Ministry Pastor program proposal soon to appear in the Convention Workbook.
The Synod’s DELTO Oversight Committee, the seminaries, the Board for Pastoral Education, and the COP are part and parcel of the formation of the proposal and support its implementation. It is very significant in the life of the church.
A church-wide discussion of the Specific Ministry Pastor program proposal will benefit our church’s confessional and missional commitments.
Dr. L. Dean Hempelmann
Dr. Hempelmann is executive director of the LCMS Board for Pastoral Education and chairman of the DELTO Oversight Committee. — Ed.
Life issues and Congress
I was encouraged by the article on the front page of the February issue about this year’s March for Life that involved Lutherans. The same issue had a story about the 18 Lutherans in the 100th Congress of the United States.
How ironic it is that the three Lutheran senators mentioned are actively involved in anti-life legislation.
Senators Dorgan (N.D.) and Johnson (S.D.) voted for the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Act, which requires destruction of human embryos for research. Newly elected Senator Brown (Ohio) actively campaigned to support the same expanded federal funding.
On this issue I agree with President George W. Bush, who is quoted in the story about the march: “We must pursue medical advances in the name of life, not at the expense of it.”
Last month’s Reporter carried an anonymous letter about worker debt. For the results of recent research on worker debt in the Synod, go to the LCMS Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support Web site. To be considered for publication, letters to Reporter must include their writers’ names, even those who request that their identity be withheld in print. — Ed.
Please send letters via e-mail to REPORTER@lcms.org or by mail to REPORTER Letters, 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295. Please include your name, postal address, and phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. — Ed.
Posted March 1, 2007