Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 1 Timothy 4:11-13
While Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus are the Word of God, they are also words of encouragement to men whom Paul has trained for pastoral ministry and sources of ongoing instruction in the faith. Until Paul would be able to visit Timothy, the reading of the Scriptures were to be the source of His continued growth. Like in the days of Paul and these young pastors, we still have the need for the next generation of servants in the Church.
December 9, 1839 is understood as the founding of Concordia Seminary, now located in St. Louis. Eleven students gathered in a log cabin in Dresden, Missouri (near what is today Altenberg). It was hardly the institution of higher learning that it is today. The ages of the students ranged from 14 to 5 and included both boys and girls. The extent of the school furnishings were two long benches for the students. LCMS Historian of Lutheran schools, A.C. Stellhorn wrote, “Judging the ages of the children, as well as their sex, the institution looked more like a kindergarten and elementary school than a college, seminary or university.” Eight years later when the LCMS itself was established in 1847, it began with twelve congregations and fourteens schools. However, when the Synod began, it recognized that the training of church workers must be one of the key reasons for forming a synodical union.
The third objective of the Synod according to LCMS Constitution is to “Recruit and train pastors, teachers, and other professional church workers and provide opportunity for their further growth.” It is fitting that we cover this third objective during August as the Missouri District celebrates year two of “Tomorrow’s Teachers and Preachers” (https://mo.lcms.org/ttp/). This is our emphasis on District-wide church worker recruitment initiative. The Synod is also working to address the need for church workers through “Set Apart to Serve,” an effort to promote church work vocations.
The Missouri District also carries out this objective by providing professional conferences for pastors, educators, and church workers. These conferences, along with continuing education opportunities through our seminaries and universities allow our church workers to grow as they faithfully apply Law and Gospel through teaching and spiritual care in our changing world.
Prayer – Almighty and gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, You have commanded us to pray that You would send forth laborers into Your harvest. Of Your infinite mercy give us true teachers and ministers of Your Word who truly fulfill Your command and proclaim nothing contrary to Your holy Word. Grant us such laborers for the harvest according to Your good and gracious will; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan