Delegates adopt two priority ‘National Witness’ resolutions

National-Witness-resolution-story

LCMS Central Illinois District President Rev. Mark Miller addresses the 66th Regular Convention of the Synod on Sunday, July 10, in Milwaukee concerning the work of the floor committee for National Witness, which he chairs. (LCMS/Michael Schuermann)

By Joe Isenhower Jr. (joe.isenhower@lcms.org)

MILWAUKEE (July 10, 2016) — By roughly three-fourths majority votes, delegates to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s 66th Regular Convention today adopted the first two resolutions presented by the “National Witness” floor committee for the proceedings.

Resolution 1-01 — the top-priority measure of the two — calls for expanding evangelism throughout the Synod and encouraging use of its new “Every One His Witness” evangelism program.

That program offers components “to develop and provide resources for witnessing to people in diverse contexts, cultures, and languages in North America, including other world religions and cults as well as de-churched and un-churched people,” the resolution notes.

One “whereas” of the resolution points out that “North America now constitutes the world’s third-largest mission field (after China and India, based on the number of people who do not confess Jesus Christ), with over 200 million non-churched people.”

The resolution’s “resolves” include a call for the Synod to “reaffirm its commitment to [Christ’s] Great Commission” in Matt. 28:19-20, commendation of current evangelism efforts in the Synod, and authorization of synodwide offerings for “creating and distributing print, digital, and other resources in multiple languages for the ‘Every One His Witness’ program.”

The second-priority resolution adopted today encourages planting new churches and supporting the Synod’s “Mission Field: USA” initiative that supports church planting.

It notes that church planting is a mission priority of the church body and that the 2013 Synod convention called on the LCMS Office of National Mission (ONM) “to encourage congregations and members to pray for and engage in the critical work of church planting.”

The resolution urges “concerted efforts” for equipping such church planting via “Mission Field: USA” and calls for “investment in domestic mission work, especially in rebuilding struggling inner-city and rural communities, helping to lift people out of poverty, and preparing and sending national missionaries into the margins” of the U.S.

A final “resolve” asks the convention to “encourage and support” LCMS districts planting 150 new congregations through the initiative, and that the ONM join with districts to provide 18 new “domestic missionaries” by the time of the 2019 Synod convention.

As the eight-member floor committee began presenting resolutions for convention action, its chairman — the Rev. Mark Miller, president of the LCMS Central Illinois District — told the assembly that “because it’s such a large mission field, it is good and right and proper that the church focus on the United States.”

While they were being discussed, the two resolutions drew delegates to microphones who voiced both support and opposition for them. That allowed Miller and LCMS Office of National Mission Executive Director Rev. Bart Day opportunities to clarify specific points of those proposals before they were so handily adopted.

The convention is meeting July 9-14 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee under the theme “Upon this Rock.” Among the 1,500 convention participants are some 1,100 clergy and lay voting delegates.

Posted July 10, 2016

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