God Gives Growth

In Matthew 13 and Mark 4, we find Jesus speaking in a series of agricultural parables. The evangelists record parables that are in common (the Sower, the Mustard Seed), but also parables unique to each gospel (the Weeds in Matthew and the Growing Seed in Mark). Jesus’ use of parables illustrates His ability to use examples from their daily lives to be able to communicate truths about God and His work in the world. The images of sowing and reaping, grain and weeds were familiar to all His hearers.

St. Paul will use agricultural language to describe kingdom work to the Corinthians. He describes how both he and Apollos were used for their growth in the faith. He planted and Apollos watered, however “God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6) Across the state, farmers will be planting once again this Spring. Though they have worked the ground this winter, once they plant the seed they trust that God will bring forth the growth. My prayer is that the members of our congregations would be bold in sowing the seed of God’s Word to their friends and neighbors, co-workers, and family. We do not have to know HOW the seed grows, instead we know WHO grows the seed.

From campus ministries to Lutheran schools, new church plants to outreach to new people groups, we are blessed to see different ways by which the seed is being sown across Missouri. Some congregations have equipped members with Every One His Witness. In other congregations, pastors have used the Apostles’ Creed as a simple paradigm for telling others about God. Some congregations have organized efforts through which they reach school and early childhood center families. Many congregations have participated in the Missouri District SHINE! servant event and been afforded opportunities to tell others why they serve and how Christ has served them. All of these different ways are examples of sowing the seed of God’s Word and trusting that He will give the growth.

We hope that this and all of our Missouri District communications remind you of the many ways God is at work as His Word is proclaimed, taught and spoken in our communities. God’s Word will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish what He intends. God gives the growth.


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. (2002-2015) 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.