Delegates adopt new mission priority, resolutions on youth and families

Photographs on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, at the 66th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, in Milwaukee. LCMS/Michael Schuermann

The Rev. Timothy Yeadon, chairman of Floor Committee 16 and president of the LCMS New England District, encourages delegates to address all of the committee’s resolutions in the time allotted on Tuesday, July 12, during the LCMS Convention in Milwaukee. (LCMS/Michael Schuermann)

By Megan K. Mertz

MILWAUKEE (July 12, 2016) — Delegates to the 66th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod turned their attention to family, youth and young adults on Tuesday afternoon and passed all six resolutions from Floor Committee 16 on the topic.

The second-priority resolution, which was adopted by an 892-47 vote, “[commends] the work of the Office of National Mission’s Lutheran Family initiative” and adds a new mission priority to the Synod’s current list of six.

“Strengthen and support the Lutheran family in living out God’s design” will be added to:

  1. Plant, sustain and revitalize distinctly Lutheran churches;
  2. Support and expand theological education;
  3. Perform human care in close proximity to Word and Sacrament ministry;
  4. Collaborate with the Synod’s members and partners to enhance mission effectiveness;
  5. Nurture pastors, missionaries and professional church workers to promote spiritual, emotional and physical well-being; and
  6. Enhance early childhood, elementary and secondary education and youth ministry.

The other five resolutions adopted include:

  • To celebrate the ministry of long-time Youth Ministry leader Rev. Dr. Terry K. Dittmer, who “has faithfully and capably served the Lord” and LCMS Youth Ministry for 37 years and “strengthened the faith of many and brought into the fellowship of our Lord an unknown number through his Christ-centered commitment to the young people of the LCMS.” Dittmer, director of Youth Ministry from 2001 to 2014, currently serves as senior director/youth ministry specialist and plans to retire after the LCMS Youth Gathering, set for July 16-20.
  • To “deliberately encourage, exhort and catechize men of all ages to fulfill their God-given role as the spiritual head of their households” and “create specific ministries” to provide Christian care and support to fathers.
  • To provide resources to young adults, campus ministries and congregations “to meet the spiritual needs of young adults” and increase the number of service opportunities available to them, particularly through the Lutheran Young Adult Corps, young-adult servant events and volunteer opportunities with LCMS Youth Gatherings.
  • To increase efforts to “retain college-age youth” through campus ministries and LCMS U, and encourage LCMS U “in the next triennium to develop a strategic and comprehensive plan to help congregations and families better prepare high school graduates for the transition to college life,” including “boldly witnessing to their faith on campus and in the public square.”
  • To encourage the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations and the Synod’s Scouting Task Force to “move quickly” in providing “guidance to congregations and families regarding involvement” with scouting organizations. The resolution specifies that this guidance “be made available within 12-18 months” from the conclusion of the convention.

The 2016 LCMS convention is meeting July 9-14 at the Wisconsin Center under the theme “Upon This Rock.” Among the 1,500 convention participants are some 1,125 clergy and lay voting delegates.

Megan K. Mertz (megan.mertz@lcms.org) is a staff writer and managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World with LCMS Communications.

(Posted July 12, 2016)

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