By Megan K. Mertz
ST. LOUIS — At its May 30-31 meeting here, the LCMS Board for International Mission (BIM) took a broad look at the work of the Office of International Mission (OIM) and its progress toward achieving goals set by the board.
In particular, the board examined how work on the mission field in every LCMS region bears witness and mercy, supports partner churches and works collaboratively with LCMS districts, congregations, the Concordia University System and other partners.
The BIM also voted to send 21 new missionaries into the field — 16 career missionaries and five GEO missionaries (Globally Engaged in Outreach, serving two to three years) — and endorsed two military chaplains for service.
The new missionaries will be sent to Africa, Asia Pacific, Eurasia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. With the sending of these missionaries, the LCMS will be starting new mission sites in Uruguay, Spain and Puerto Rico.
Many of those receiving missionary calls and appointments — along with others — participated in new-missionary orientation at the LCMS International Center June 16-27.
Although 35 new missionaries attended summer orientation and the BIM recently called 21, new missionaries are called throughout the year and attend orientation as they are able.
The Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III, director of LCMS Church Relations and Regional Operations, noted that the OIM has increased the number of career missionaries by 25 percent since June 2013 and is on track to meet the 2013 Synod convention goal to double the number of career missionaries.
“We should not overlook the significance of what God is doing at this moment in terms of raising up many people who … have been called to serve,” said the Rev. Randall L. Golter, executive director of the OIM, during his report.
The board also heard presentations from the Rev. Dr. Douglas L. Rutt, director of the International Ministries division of Lutheran Hour Ministries, and Kay Kreklau, president of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. The 2013 Synod convention extended a standing invitation to attend future BIM meetings to the leaders of these two LCMS auxiliaries.
“I think the importance of this meeting was that for the first time, we’re able to see and measure what the plans are for different regions and how those plans are being carried out according to policy,” said the Rev. Bernhard Seter, chairman of the BIM.
“It’s good to see the Gospel proclamation going out around the world and new missionaries being sent to tell the Good News of Jesus and to watch how that process develops,” Seter said.
The next meeting of the BIM is set for Sept. 29-30 in St. Louis.
Posted June 25, 2014 / Updated June 26, 2014