63rd Regular Convention The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod George R. Brown Convention Center Houston, Texas July 14-19, 2007
A voluntary association of congregations and ministers of religion (commissioned and ordained) working and walking together • United by a common confession of faith grounded in Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions • Focused primarily on missions, education and human care
2,500,000 baptized members • 1,900,000 confirmed members • 6,160 congregations • 8,515 pastors • 265 missionaries in 40 countries • 18,500 teachers • 468 D.C.E.s
2700 Elementary Schools • 100 High Schools • 10 Colleges and Universities • 2 Seminaries • $84,800,00 per year Budget
The Synod, and every member of the Synod, accepts without reservation: The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice All the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God
Reasons for the Forming of a Synodical Union The example of the apostolic church. Acts 15:131. Our Lord's will that the diversities of gifts should be for the common profit. 1 Corinthians 12:431.
The LCMS Mission Statement In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of the LCMS is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities and the world!
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11 His Love Is Here For You!
Special First Day EventsSaturday, July 14 • Floor Committee Open Hearings, Hilton Hotel, 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon • Houston Outreach Event, Immanuel, 10:00 a.m. • Delegate Orientation, GRB, 1:30-3:00 p.m. (All delegates should attend this session) • Opening Convention Worship Celebration with Holy Communion, GRB, 4:00 p.m. • All-Delegate Dinner, Hilton, 6:30 p.m.
Purposes of National Convention • Opportunities for worship, nurture, inspiration, fellowship, communication of vital information • Principal legislative assembly, amends Constitution and Bylaws • Considers and takes action on reports and overtures • Handles appropriate appeals
Purposes of National Convention • Establishes general Synod positions and policies • Provides and evaluates overall programs, policies, directions, priorities • Provides responsible service for and on behalf of its members
Purposes of National Convention • “Only a national convention of the Synod shall authorize affiliation or association of the Synod with other church bodies, synods, or federations, and the discontinuance of such affiliation or association.” (LCMS Bylaw 3.1.1)
Voting Delegates • Voting delegates shall consist of one pastor and one laymen form each electoral circuit • An electoral circuit shall consist either of one or two adjacent visitation circuits, as shall be determined by each district on the basis of the following requirements; each pair of delegates shall represent from 7 to 20 congregations, inivolving an aggregate communicant membership raninging from 1500 to 10,000
Voting Delegates • Exceptions to these requirements may be made only by the President of the Synod upon request of a district board of directors.
Duties of a Delegate • Bylaw 126.96.36.199 Responsibilities of Delegates • Congregations shall not require their delegates to vote in accordance with specific instructions... • Every delegate shall be permitted to vote according to his or her own conviction... • Delegates are nevertheless responsible to the circuits they represent...
Duties of a Delegate • They shall attempt to discover the sentiment of the members of their circuit… • They shall be faithful in attendance at all sessions of the convention... • After each convention they shall report the actions of the Synod to their circuits... • Voting delegates shall serve a three-year term beginning with the convention...
Duties of a Delegate • They shall function as advisory members of the circuit forum... • They shall serve as resource persons in the circuit... • They shall assist in the dissemination and implementation of Synod resolutions in their area.
Convention Resolution Process:A Summary • Submission of Overtures by Congregations, Conventions, Conferences, Boards, etc. • Review of Overtures by Synod President and Legal Counsel (Bylaw 188.8.131.52.c) for: • Material error and apparent misrepresentation of truth or character • Review of Overtures by Floor Committees • Floor Committee Action: • Submission of Overture to Convention via Resolution • Inclusion of Overture in Omnibus Resolution • Declination of Overture
Convention Floor Committees #1 Missions #2 District and Congregational Services #3 Theology and Church Relations #4 Program and Finance #5 Seminary and University Education #6 Human Care #7 Planning and Administration #8 Synod Structure and Governance #9 Registration, Credentials and Elections #10 Nominations
Major Convention Matters ElectionsIn Order of Election • Election of Officers • President • First Vice-President • Vice-Presidents Two, Three, Four, Five • Secretary • Vice-President-Finance/Treasurer • Board of Directors • Election of other Boards and Commissions
Major Convention Matters MissionsFloor Committee # 1 • Support revitalization of 2,000 existing LCMS congregations • Encourage mission planting partnerships to start new congregations • Study and increase emphasis on the “priesthood of all believers” • Outreach as the top priority in worker training • Support and report regarding Ablaze! and “Fan Into Flame”
Major Convention Matters District & Congregational ServicesFloor Committee # 2 • Worship Practices • Theological Conferences • Guidance and direction for use of contemporary worship resources • Affirm use of Lutheran Service Book • Hispanic Ministry • Appoint a Director for Strategic Development • Support for National Youth Gatherings • Promote Relational Vitality within congregations
Major Convention Matters Theology and Church RelationsFloor Committee # 3 • Declare Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the AALC • Encourage Confessional Study and Leadership • Study Natural Knowledge of God and its Implication in Public Witness • Further discussion of Serial Prayer • CTCR study of the Service of Women • Administration of the Lord’s Supper • Licensed Lay Deacons
Major Convention Matters Program and FinanceFloor Committee # 4 • Report of BRTF “Funding the Mission” Total amount of annual revenue reported by our 6,000 congregations$1,400,000,000 Total amount of annual unrestricted revenue received by our 35 districts $ 70,000,000 Total amount of annual unrestrictedrevenue coming to Synod from the districts $ 20,000,000 Total amount of restrictedrevenue to Synod from “the church” $ 65,000,000 Corporate Synod’s annual budget $ 85,000,000
Major Convention Matters Program and FinanceFloor Committee # 4 • A Summit to Restore Harmony and Peace • Stewardship Renewal • Provide Financial Support for Seminaries • Amend Bylaws regarding financial management at seminaries and universities • Walking Together…Concordia Plans, LCEF and LCMS Foundation • Affirm Fiscal Conferences
Major Convention Matters Seminary and University EducationFloor Committee # 5 • Pastor-Specific Ministry Proposal • Strengthen Boards of Regents at seminaries and universities • Encourage Continuing Education for Clergy • Clarify Membership on the Board for Pastoral Ministry • Amend election process of college and university presidents
Major Convention Matters Human CareFloor Committee # 6 • Give Thanks for Disaster Relief and Support • LCMS Position on stem cell research • Concerns re placement of children in homes of homosexual couples • Ministry to Immigrants • Include People with Disabilities • Sabbaticals for Professional Workers • Ministry to Armed Forces and Families • Support “The Church’s Plan”
Major Convention Matters Planning and AdministrationFloor Committee # 7 • Standardize Candidate Information • Roster Status for RSO and Emeritus Members • Filling Vacancies from the list of nominees prepared by the Secretary of Synod • Transparency in Governance • Add definitions in the Handbook • Removal of Members of Boards and Commissions • To Use Synod’s Dispute Resolution Process • Modify Floor Nominations at Synod Conventions
Major Convention Matters Synod Structure and GovernanceFloor Committee # 8 Report and Recommendations from the 7-02A Committee (Late Report) • Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation • Affirm Christian Resolution of Disputes • Study BRTFSSG “Congregation-Synod-Church” • Provide Wording for Congregations’ Constitutions • Requests to refer/decline various CCM Opinions • Call for special convention of Synod to amend structure and governance of LCMS
Major Convention Matters Registration, Credentials, ElectionsFloor Committee # 9 • Procedural note: Floor nominations will require individual approval, one-by-one, by convention delegates per Bylaw 184.108.40.206 (b)
Convention Spirit • Hopefully not: • “The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.” (Acts 19:32)
Convention Spirit • But prayerfully: • “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6)