National mission board extends third SPM call

By Joe Isenhower Jr.

ST. LOUIS — By unanimous vote, the Synod’s Board for National Mission (BNM) decided at its meeting here June 3-4 to extend a call to the Rev. Thomas C. “Tom” Waynick of Fort Benning, Ga.



Waynick — CEO and director of the Pastoral Institute in Columbus, Ga. — is the third ordained clergyman to receive a “specialized pastoral ministry” (SPM) call from the board since such calls were authorized by the 2013 Synod convention.

The Pastoral Institute is a nonprofit community- and faith-based agency with a staff of 60 clinicians and support-staff members under Waynick’s supervision. It focuses on “spiritual integration in mental-health services,” he told Reporter, offering a variety of programs locally and nationwide.

Prior to joining the institute’s staff earlier this year, Waynick served in the U.S. Army — most recently (since 2014) as the garrison chaplain at its Fort Benning base. Before that assignment, he served for two years as the Pentagon chaplain at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va. He also was the clinical director of the Family Life Training Center at Fort Benning (2004-09).

A licensed marriage and family counselor, Waynick is a 1982 Master of Divinity graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. He also earned master’s degrees from the University of Central Texas in Killeen, Texas, and the U.S. Army War College, Carlyle, Pa.

“It’s very important to me,” Waynick said of the call from the BNM during a June 24 telephone interview. “It’s a validation of an important ministry, that my church body is saying, ‘we see this as ministry.’ It allows me to maintain an active relationship with my church body.”

“Our church body is blessed to have a man of Pastor Waynick’s ability serving in this capacity — overseeing the ministry of pastoral counseling to hundreds of individuals struggling with emotional, relational and mental-health issues,” said the Rev. Joel Hempel, interim director of Specialized Pastoral Ministry with the LCMS Office of National Mission.

In other business

Also during this last regular meeting of the 2013-16 triennium, the BNM continued the ongoing review of its policies, heard reports and presentations from BNM staff members and others, and reflected on work it has accomplished since being established by the 2010 Synod convention.

The Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, executive director of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, gave a presentation about his role as theological adviser for several LCMS Youth Gatherings since 1998.

“I’ve been surprised at how meaningful and personally enriching those experiences have been for me,” Lehenbauer told the board.

He said he more expected the Gathering-adviser role to include primarily “attending meetings” and addressing “theological questions that may arise along the way.”

“It’s a lot more than that,” he said, explaining that after planners choose a Gathering theme and scriptural foundation, the theological adviser writes a “fairly extensive study paper” on that portion of Scripture and gives a presentation on it at “virtually every meeting” of planners over the years before the next Gathering.

“We continue to unpack it and make use of it in all kinds of ways before, during and even after the Gathering,” Lehenbauer said. “And so, it’s been a deep, rich experience and blessing for me to serve in this way over the years.”

The Rev. Jay DeBeir, vice-president for Mission Strategy and Operations for Lutheran Hour Ministries, also provided a brief update about that LCMS auxiliary’s work.

Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and Chief Mission Officer Rev. Kevin Robson also spoke to the board about developments in the Synod, including preparations for the 2016 Synod convention.

ONM Executive Director Rev. Bart Day and several other ONM staff provided updates in presentations about the office’s ministries and programs for which they are responsible. They included:

  • the Rev. Steven Schave, director of Church Planting and Urban & Inner-City Mission;
  • Deaconess Maryann Hayter, coordinator for Witness and Outreach, and Revitalization; and
  • Director of Christian Education Julianna Shults, program manager for the Lutheran Young Adult Corps.

As the meeting drew to a close, BNM Chairman Rev. Steven C. Briel thanked the board “for a wonderful six years. This has been a marvelous board. I think we have gotten along very well and I appreciate your service.”

“Not only have we come a long way,” Day added, “but I think the Office of National Mission is hitting a great stride and doing a lot of great things. … That is in large measure thanks to work that you’ve done — not just with policies, but with the conversations that we’ve had, the things you’d like to see come to life, the contacts you’ve had with [ONM] directors. All of this has been very formative of what you’re actually seeing on the ground in the work that is happening with this office.”

Posted June 30, 2016

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