By Laura Seaman
ST. LOUIS — Unified mission efforts for the Missouri Synod and its partner churches was a focal point for the LCMS Board for International Mission (BIM) at its meeting here May 30-31.
The board heard that emphasis in a theological presentation titled “Gospel Gap Paradigm: an Ecclesial Missiology,” from the Rev. Randall Golter, executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission.
The BIM also voted to extend 15 missionary calls and appointments. Many of those receiving the calls and appointments — along with others — are participating in new-missionary orientation sessions here June 2-14.
In addition, the board discussed at length the need for clear, unified goals to be set for missionaries, so that they properly and effectively witness to the Gospel as they also show mercy to those in need.
The purpose of missionaries in the LCMS and its partner churches is to bridge the “Gospel gaps” in bringing God’s Word to where it has not been preached, Golter told the board.
“An isolated Church is the devil’s delight. That’s why we need to work as a team,” said Golter, whose presentation centered on goals for LCMS mission efforts. He particularly emphasized the unity of the Church with God’s mission through witness, mercy and life together.
“Christ and the Church are baptismally bound together,” Golter said. “You cannot see the Church apart from Jesus, and you cannot see Jesus apart from the Church.”
The 15 calls and appointments approved by the board are for:
- four career missionaries (including one theological educator) for the Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America regions; and
- 11 Globally Engaged in Outreach missionaries (to serve up to two years) in the Africa, Eurasia, Asia Pacific and Latin America regions.
In addition to missionary calls, the board endorsed two military chaplains and discussed adjustments to its chaplaincy policy.
Board members also continued discussion of missionary safety — a topic addressed at its February meeting, and included consideration of missionary safety in a policy draft for sending missionaries, which it then approved.
Also approved was a change to the BIM policy concerning missionary call documents.
As the board transitions from developing policy to monitoring and refining it, BIM chairman Rev. Bernhard Seter said he was pleased with policy discussion at this meeting. “We have to lay a proper groundwork in order to monitor policy,” he said. “It is a collaboration between staff and board. As we listen to each other, we see where [our vision] aligns and what works well.”
The next meeting of the BIM is set for Sept. 12-13 here.
Laura Seaman is a staff writer for LCMS Communications.
(Updated June 21, 2013)