by Rev. Jerry Kieschnick
One Message—Christ! His Love is Here for You!” This is the theme for the Synod’s triennial national convention, which will meet July 14–19 in Houston. It is the second part of the “ONE Mission, ONE Message, ONE People” vision commended by our last convention, in 2004.
The scriptural basis of the convention theme is 1 John 4:9–11: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
The apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, focuses specifically and powerfully on the benefit of God’s love made known to mankind in the person of Christ for each and every person in the world. This Gospel of Christ empowers us to love God and our neighbor and propels us to proclaim the light of Christ’s love—the one message of Christ—to all who live in the darkness of doubt and disbelief.
With that ONE message in mind, we will gather in convention to conduct business; to elect officers, boards, and commissions; and, in bylaw language, to “afford an opportunity for worship, nurture, inspiration, fellowship, and the communication of vital information.”
If you’re not a delegate or otherwise committed to attend the convention, you may not have given any thought to being there. This is your invitation to pay a visit. Bring your family or a delegation from your congregation.
If you can’t visit the convention in person, though, you still can be a part of it online. Plans are to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of the convention via video streaming on the Web. See the convention Web site (www.lcms.org/convention) for more information, including times for the Bible studies and outlines that will allow you to follow along. Worship folders for the services also will be provided on the Web.
The Convention Workbook has been mailed to delegates, alternate delegates, and rostered church workers. It includes various reports, overtures (proposed resolutions) submitted by congregations and others, and other important information. If you would like to review a copy but don’t have your own, check with your pastor.
The first issue of Today’s Business, which will reflect the work that floor committees did last month to prepare resolutions for convention consideration, should be in the mail by mid June to delegates and congregations. Today’s Business also will include the tentative schedule for the convention, which can help serve as a program guide for anyone who wants to watch video-streamed convention coverage on the Web. The schedule also is available online.
As in the past, a national offering will be received as part of the convention. The offering this year is being dedicated to the preparation of pastors worldwide. Two-thirds of the offering will support our two LCMS seminaries, and one-third will support seminaries of our partner churches overseas.
Prior to the start of and during the convention, there will be opportunities for evangelistic outreach to the Houston community. A special outreach event will provide training and opportunities for making calls July 13 and 14.
During the convention, witnessing tools will be provided for use as the Spirit provides opportunity through the course of regular daily activities and encounters. In addition, Apple of His Eye ministries will offer street-witnessing opportunities during lunch breaks.
It is my prayer that God will truly bless our Synod and this year’s convention as we continue in the One Mission of seeking the lost for Christ by communicating the One Message that Jesus alone is the Savior of the world as One People striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel.