This issue of the Missouri District VOICE focuses on church work vocations. Last year, the Missouri District launched a campaign, “Tomorrow’s Teachers and Preachers” to call on God’s people to do the following:

1. Pray for young people to consider church work vocations;
2. Encourage specific young people to consider service as professional church workers;
3. Financially support the Missouri District Church Work Endowment scholarship fund.

We need your help and participation as we work to recruit and prepare the next generation of servants in the LCMS. The data shared at this summer’s district convention was startling. The number of students preparing for church work at our Concordia University System (CUS) schools has dropped at an alarming rate. In 2005-2006, there were 2,613 students in church work programs. In 2020-2021, the number of students had dropped to 787. There is a particular shortage among Lutheran Teacher Diploma graduates from CUS schools.

We hope that this issue of The VOICE will move you to action. What congregations or schools in your circuit currently have pastoral or teaching vacancies? Please pray for them. Which young people in your congregation or extended family could be blessings of God in church work vocations. Please encourage them to consider. How can you assist in meeting the financial need for those preparing for church work vocations? Please consider giving to your congregational endowment, to a particular Concordia University church worker scholarships, or to the Missouri District Church Worker Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Earlier this summer, I identified Church Worker Recruitment and Retention as the first critical target of the Missouri District’s strategic plan. We are convening a committee to help us implement these action steps from this critical target. There is much work to be done to help us grow in this area, That’s why we need your help. Please support “Tomorrow’s Teachers and Prayers” with your prayers, with your own recruiting, and with your financial gifts. Let us together pray to the Lord of harvest to send out laborers into the harvest fields!

Fraternally in Christ,

President Lee Hagan

Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was born in Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from Concordia, Seward, Neb., in 1992. He holds both a Master of Divinity Degree (1996) and Doctorate of Ministry (2011) from Concordia Seminary. Hagan served as Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran in Concordia, Mo. (1996-2015) and was previously an Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Ind. (1996-2002). He has been President of The Missouri District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod since June 2015. Hagan also served as Interim Director, LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission (2011-12), on numerous District Boards both in Missouri and Indiana, and during multiple Synodical Conventions as a delegate and on Floor Committees. He is married to Jill and they have two children.