2022 Convention Update
Looking to the Future
The Twenty-First Convention of the Missouri District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is behind us. Meeting under the theme of “Tell the Next Generation,” the common thread running through resolutions and the convention essay was related to the future. Our faithful God brought us through the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time for our District congregations, schools, and leaders to look at how we go about our work, faithful to the Scriptures and Confessions, and with an eye on the future generations of the Church.
Below are four areas of focus for this triennium around which we will channel resources and support.
1. Recruiting and Retaining Church Workers
There is a great need for congregations and schools to encourage church work vocations among young people. We also need to strengthen the support that we provide to our church workers and their families so that they continue their service to the Church.
2. Family Discipleship
The key factor in the retention of youth to adulthood is the involvement of the home in faith formation. The Missouri District has trained a team of coaches to assist congregations in equipping parents to teach the faith in the home. Please watch for a mailing about Tell the Next Generation coaches, or contact the District office to learn more.
3. Community Engagement
From the Plus One initiative to the SHINE! servant events, the Missouri District has been encouraging and equipping congregations to engage their communities with the love of Christ through witness and service. Our prayer is that congregations will move beyond one time community events to consistent community engagement, always for the sake of Gospel proclamation.
4. Shared Ministry
Approximately half of the congregations of the Missouri District have worship attendance of 75 or less. The twenty-first century culture presents great challenges to congregations of all sizes, but there are growing pressures on small congregations in terms of sustainability. We are encouraging shared ministry workshops throughout all regions of the
District, so that congregations can explore how they can collaborate for the sake of the ongoing ministry of Word and Sacraments in our communities.
Now the hard work begins! Please pray for the work of our District leadership and staff in supporting the congregations, schools, church workers and lay leaders across Missouri. These are challenging times, but we have a faithful God who has promised to sustain His Church as we look to the future!
The Missouri District opened its 21st Regular Convention June 12, 2022 in Columbia, Missouri and concluded June 14. The convention engaged its business with the theme of “Tell the Next Generation” drawn from Psalm 78:6-7. The delegates re-elected the Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan to a third term on the first ballot. The Missouri District presidium remains mostly unchanged. Rev. William Marler was re-elected first Vice President. Rev. Kristopher Morris (Assoc. Pastor, Christ the King-Lake Ozark) and Rev. Brian Thieme (Senior Pastor, Trinity-Columbia) were both re-elected to service as second and third Vice Presidents, respectively. Rev. Jason Shaw (Senior Pastor, St. Paul-Jackson) begins his first term as fourth Vice President. Rev. Samuel Powell (Senior Pastor, Trinity-Jefferson City) was re- elected as Secretary. The officers were installed at the District’s Board of Directors meeting July 21, 2022.
The delegates adopted Resolution 4-04a, a bylaw change, so the District’s own governance may change in a timely manner, if needed, to reflect similar changes at Synod level. In line with the convention’s theme, Resolution 2-01 “Tell the Next Generation: To Encourage the Equipping of Families in Faith Formation” was adopted to equip congregations and schools to teach the parental responsibility given in Scripture to catechize children in the one true apostolic faith.
The delegates also adopted a resolution from the District Board of Directors on church worker recruitment. Recognizing the church worker shortage, and serving alongside the Synod’s Set Apart to Serve initiative, the delegates recognized the need to find ways to encourage young people to consider church work and offer financial support. Seeking to confess Christ and doctrine clearly, the convention debated and adopted three resolutions asking Synod to assist with prescient life and culture matters:
- To Encourage Synod to Clarify Our Stance on Fetal Tissues and Their Use Related to Pharmaceutical Products;
- To Encourage Synod to Develop Resources to Aid Congregations and Schools Regarding Gender Identity Issues;
- To Affirm Biblical Anthropology and Denounce Racism as an Anti-Gospel Belief.
Interested in learning more about the twenty- first District Convention? Visit us online at https://mo.lcms.org/district-convention/. Here you can read about all the resolutions passed. Plus, you can click to watch the proceedings and worship, which were recorded and shared on our YouTube page.
Essayist and Synod Report
Pastors and lay delegates were blessed to learn from Rev. Dr. Mark Kiessling, Director of LCMS Youth Ministry, who served as Essayist. Speaking to the convention theme, Tell the Next Generation, Kiessling commented that despite youth growing up surrounded by identity issues, pressures of
social media, and cancel culture, that Jesus gives calm and hope to every generation. He also pointed to two helping
points of data for youth: having engaged parents and a group of supportive adults help ensure faith formation.
Convention participants also heard from LCMS President Matthew Harrison, who gave an overview of the Synod. While he covered many topics, which can be found on our online resources, his main takeaway was “We have nothing but Christ and the resurrection ahead of us.” Amen.
Missouri District Military Chaplains Honored at Convention
Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Steven Hokana, Assistant Director of the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces, presented the Bronze St. Martin of Tours award to two chaplains from the Missouri District for 20 years or more of outstanding service and exceptional ministry to pastors Chaplain Jeremy Gorline, US Navy Reserve and Chaplain David Oberdieck, US Army Reserve.
The award is named after Martin of Tours, an officer in the Roman Army in the fourth century AD. He became a baptized Christian, a cleric, and eventually a bishop in the early church after receiving a vision from Christ. In this vision, a beggar shivered from the cold and Martin cut off half his cape to clothe him. The beggar then revealed himself as Jesus Christ. The Latin capella, which was used for the shrine of Martin’s cape, is the origin of the English words chapel and chaplain. Additionally, upon the same day Martin of Tours is commemorated, November 11, Martin Luther was baptized. It is for Martin of Tours that Luther was named. Martin of Tours has since been traditionally recognized as a symbol for military chaplains.
Missouri District congregations and individual households were invited to participate in the convention offering. The offering itself is an opportunity to invest in the work God has called us to do and to encourage one another as we seek to “Tell the Next Generation.” The designation for the offering is twofold: help defray the costs associated with training coaches for our Tell the Next Generation coaching endeavor, and help keep participant costs to a minimum for an upcoming youth leadership summit, to teach high school students about leadership roles within the church.
We are so blessed that the offering has totaled over $20,000! May these gifts be used for God’s glory!