by James Heine
The first resolution adopted by convention delegates encourages the Synod, in conjunction with its Ablaze! goals, to revitalize at least 2,000 existing congregations by 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
The resolution describes revitalized congregations as “regularly and consistently making new disciples and renewing their members in order that they make new disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Referring to Martin Luther in an Ablaze! presentation immediately before the resolution was submitted to the convention, Butch Almstedt, Board for Mission Services chairman, quoted from Luther and World Mission by Ingemar Öberg. Almstedt reminded delegates of the author’s words: “Despite their predilection to silence, Luther challenges believers in Christ to open their mouths and to witness to what they have experienced of God’s salvation.”
Almstedt told delegates, “You are a missionary right where you live and right where you work.”
Ablaze! Almstedt said, is about challenging LCMS members “to be passionate about witnessing to lost souls for Christ. It is about building more worshiping communities, more congregations at home and abroad.”
As adopted by the delegates, the resolution notes that 67 congregations are participating in a pilot program to test mission-revitalization strategies. It asks the Synod to “pray and work” for mission revitalization through its districts, congregations, and other entities.