By David Strand
With the unanimous concurrence of the LCMS Board for International Mission (BIM), Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison has named the Rev. Daniel F. McMiller as the new executive director of the Office of International Mission (OIM).
McMiller, currently the OIM’s associate executive director, will succeed the Rev. John Fale, head of the OIM since 2015. Fale had announced that he would be leaving the position in August.
In his new role, McMiller will oversee the St. Louis-based staff and operations of the OIM as well as the work of the church’s missionaries and other mission personnel in the OIM’s four global regions of Africa, Eurasia, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
“I am humbled by the honor to succeed Pastor Fale,” McMiller said, “and look forward to working with the entire leadership team of the OIM, our missionaries and all the wonderful departments of the LCMS. There is much to be learned as we walk together in meeting the opportunities to evangelize, catechize, develop faithful pastors, plant churches, extend mercy and simply tell the world about the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
BIM Chairman Rev. Bernhard M. Seter had glowing words for both the outgoing Fale and the incoming McMiller.
“Rev. Fale,” he said, “is a churchman, a reconciler and a wonderful administrator with a love for mission and mercy that is surpassed only by his love for the Gospel of Christ. He singularly focuses on the question, ‘How can we advance the mission?’ He will be missed.”
As for McMiller, Seter said, “Dan’s knowledge of the church’s mission work is wide and deep. He knows our partner churches, our staff, and intimately knows the needs of our missionaries because he was one himself for many years. His love for the mission work of the church is palpable and contagious, and his faith in the Lord of the Church is manifest in word and deed. He will be a great resource and leader.”
President Harrison seconded Seter’s remarks: “We are very thankful for John Fale’s service,” he said, “and Dan McMiller’s extensive experience as a missionary and working with all current mission staff will be a tremendous blessing.”
Synod Chief Mission Office Rev. Kevin D. Robson, who oversees the OIM as well as the Office of National Mission, Pastoral Education, Communications and Mission Advancement, offered this: “In Rev. McMiller, God has blessed us with another superbly gifted servant to follow Rev. Fale. John made lasting, magnificent contributions to the international mission and ministry of the LCMS during a period when the OIM experienced a near doubling of our deployed career missionaries. He will be sorely missed for his pastoral, Christ-centered approach to all aspects of our life together in the OIM.
“Dan is no less insistent on ‘Christ at the center,’ and over these past years has established a reputation for consistent excellence in leadership and service to OIM staff and their ongoing work, 24/7, around the globe.”
Calling this an “exciting time” in the life of the Synod, McMiller pointed to “large overseas church bodies interested in theological dialogue” with the LCMS and “small, emerging church bodies eager for pastors, teachers, theological educators, medical mission teams and deaconesses.” He said the OIM, together with the Synod’s Church Relations office and the Office of the President, wants to “strengthen ties to all faithful Lutherans to the end that their own confession is made more clear and unified against many challenges.”
As associate executive director of the OIM since 2015 (he served as director of missionary recruitment from 2014–15), McMiller has overseen missionary recruitment staff and, with Fale, mission operations in all world regions.
Prior to arriving at the International Center, he was executive director of the Luther Academy (2012–14), mission executive for the LCMS South Wisconsin District (2005–12), a missionary to urban Milwaukee (2003–05), and missionary to Panama (1999–2003). While serving as chairman of the South Wisconsin District’s Hispanic ministry, he held a pastorate (1995–99) at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Watertown, Wis.
A graduate of Bethany Lutheran Seminary in Mankato, Minn., McMiller went through colloquy with the LCMS in 1995. Before that he served as a home missionary for the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (1984–85) and missionary to Peru and Chile (1985–95). He is a 1980 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a degree in history and a minor in Hebrew and Semitic Studies.
He and his wife, Elizabeth (Lisa), a music and Spanish educator, have three children: Tyler, a student at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., with his wife, Yanela Contreras; Jenna, of St. Louis; and Anna, a student at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
The family lives in Valley Park, Mo., and attends St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Des Peres, Mo.
Posted June 13, 2018