In Many and Various Ways
Our staff frequently gets posed with the question, “What exactly does the District do?” We have tried to answer that question with a series of short videos from the staff that you can check out on the District website here. The quick summary is that the primary ways that the District serves the congregations, schools, and church workers of the District are through ecclesiastical supervision, professional conferences, support for church worker health, and mission grants. However, there are a host of other ways that the District serves that we are highlighting in this issue.
Like our congregations and schools, the District had to adapt during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zoom meetings were being held nearly every week and often drawing more than 100 pastors to talk about how the congregations could continue to provide ministry and care for the flock. Webinars were held that focused on how congregations could use technology to continue to support and reach families and young people. White papers were provided on a variety of topics. Finally, the District offered a respite program during the Epiphany and Easter seasons so that pastors could take a Sunday off. Many of these were new forms of service or offered in new formats.
Many congregations are looking for assistance as they look to the future and resume most of their in-person activities. This issue of The VOICE will note some of the lesser known ways that the Missouri District can provide support and assistance to your congregations, schools and church workers. From demographics to disasters, the Missouri District “serves and encourages congregations” (taken from the Missouri District mission statement). Our office and resources exist to support the 290 congregations, 110 educational ministries, and 1600 rostered church workers.
We look forward to our fall educators and pastors conferences this year, especially after so much time apart. Please encourage your pastor, church workers, and school teachers to attend these conferences. These will be important times for the District to provide encouragement and support for one another.
There is still more work to be done though. As we prepare for next summer’s District convention, we are working to provide coaches to assist congregations in equipping families in faith formation. We hope that the Missouri District can continue to be a great source of service and encouragement to your congregation.
May God bless our life together here in Missouri!
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan
Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was elected as the fifth president of the Missouri District-LCMS in 2015. He is a 1992 graduate of Concordia College (now University), Seward, Nebraska. He graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis with a Master of Divinity in 1996 and Doctor of Ministry in 2011. Dr. Hagan served as associate pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Indiana from 1996-2002. In 2002, he was called to serve as senior pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Concordia, Missouri until he was elected district president. Additionally, he served as the Interim Director of LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission from 2011-2012. He has previously served as Missouri District first vice-president from 2012-2015, fourth vice-president from 2011-2012, and chairman of the Board for Congregational Services from 2006-2011. He has presented workshops and retreats on a host of ministry topics including elders, rural ministry, outreach and ministry to inactives. He has written articles for Lutheran Witness, Concordia Historical Quarterly and Missio Apostolica. He has led mission trips to Cambodia, China, Guatemala and the Bahamas. Dr. Hagan is married to Jill (nee Johnson), who works as a speech-language pathologist. They have two children, Caroline and Jack.