The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Board of Directors serves the church as the legal representative of the Synod and the custodian of all of the property of the Synod.

Board of Directors

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The Board of Directors (BOD) is the legal representative of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. It is the custodian of all the property of the Synod — directly or by its delegation of such authority to an agency of the Synod.

The BOD exercises supervision over all the property and business affairs of the Synod, except in those areas where it has delegated such authority to an agency of the Synod or where the voting members of the Synod, through the adoption of bylaws or by other convention action, have assigned specific areas of responsibility to separate corporate or trust entities.

In such circumstances, the BOD retains general oversight responsibility as defined in Synod Bylaws.


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Meeting Brief: February 2018

The Board of Directors met February 16–17, 2018, in St. Louis. Highlights of the meeting included reports from the Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Executive Director of the newly underway Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, reporting on the Center’s opening and work, and from Rev. Dr. Dean Wenthe, President of Concordia University System, on the state of the colleges and universities of the Synod.

(Wenthe reported that, in a challenging environment for smaller, enrollment-dependent institutions, the schools are looking for efficiencies and new approaches going forward, while continuing to expand into new programs.)

The board also met Rev. Dr. Wilhelm Weber, the new Executive Director of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (Old Latin School). Among other reports:

  • With visits to the North Dakota and Southern Illinois District conventions complete, President Harrison reported that he will, Lord willing, visit 23 more of the 35 district conventions this year, the maximum physically possible. “Time with district leadership, lay people and pastors,” he noted, “is very helpful and invigorating.”
  • Overseas, LCMS Church Relations and the International Lutheran Council are straining to build capacity to accommodate the many Lutheran church bodies presently interested in fellowship with the Synod. LCMS Rosters, Statistics, and Research Services has produced insightful studies on young adults, including some who have left our congregations, and on Synod’s largest congregations. Work addressing member retention, outreach, and congregational revitalization continues.
  • President Harrison noted the over $9 million already donated for hurricane and disaster relief, over $8 million of which is “out the door” or planned for allocation, for use within the next three years, in what will be a long-term recovery effort. $1.3 million has been devoted to hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico, where a mercy center has been purchased adjacent to one of our congregations to support needed long-term work.
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jerry Wulf reported on the beginning of the FY19 budget cycle and on the state of Synod’s finances. Unrestricted and released revenues (those given for specific purposes where the work is presently underway) are ahead of expenses, six months into the year, by $309,241 — a significantly positive result, given the shortfall last year at this time. Total revenues, including permanently and temporarily restricted funds, are ahead of expenses by $4.4 million. “The good news,” President Harrison noted, “is that…the Synod remains enormously supportive. It’s a humbling trust.”
  • CFO Wulf highlighted the Synod’s undesignated, unrestricted net assets, a measure of corporate Synod’s financial flexibility. This accounting category has (except for partial recoveries from 2004–5 and 2010–14) reflected a generally growing deficit since 1999 (the last year without such a deficit), indicating that applicable gifts have generally not kept up with planned work. Deficit growth since 2014 has largely occurred because of the convention-mandated expansion of Synod’s overseas mission efforts; while missionary networks generally cover their costs, the activity necessary to support all those missionaries in the field draws significantly on corporate Synod’s unrestricted revenue. After significant belt-tightening in the first half of this fiscal year, the undesignated, unrestricted net asset deficit stands at $12 million, an improvement from $13.6 million at the end of last fiscal year. Planning for FY19 will continue to address this deficit, with the aim of restoring corporate Synod’s fiscal flexibility. The board will consider Synod’s FY19 budget at its May meeting.
  • President Harrison recalled that when he took office in 2010, this deficit stood at about $17 million ($19 million, adjusted for inflation to today); way back in 1982, it stood at $12 million ($32 million, adjusted for inflation). “This is a historical, long-term issue, but we need all together to get our heads wrapped around this.” This will be the aim of changes coming to Synod’s financial reporting. A thoroughgoing external review of Synod’s accounting program was also arranged by the board.

In a variety of other actions, the board:

  • concurred in the President’s appointment of Chief Mission Officer Kevin Robson, who enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the President and the Boards for National and International Mission, to a new term of service.
  • filled seats on the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation (NHSC) Board of Directors and authorized the release of board-designated funds for NHSC operations.
  • authorized purchase of land for, and construction of, a mission building in Belize.
  • authorized estimates, for budget planning purposes, of the salary and salary range adjustments proposed by Human Resources to be made in the FY19 budget, while reserving the right to adjust as the budget process continues.
  • Responded, in some cases by requesting further information, to a variety of requests for authorization to finance and build or to adjust campus master plans for Concordia International School, Hanoi; Concordia University Nebraska; Concordia University, St. Paul; Concordia University Wisconsin and the Ann Arbor Campus.

The board’s May 18–19 meeting, also in St. Louis, will be focused on the FY19 budget.

—John W. Sias, Secretary

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Meeting Minutes

Minutes of previous meetings are available upon request by contacting the LCMS Chief Administrative Office.

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News & Updates

LCMS Board of Directors – Reporter
BOD adopts conservative budget for fiscal year 2019
Friday, June 08, 2018 9:47:38 AM

Board of Directors examines financial uptrends, opportunities, more
Monday, March 12, 2018 11:52:21 AM

BOD weighs monetary, membership challenges
Tuesday, December 19, 2017 9:28:00 AM

BOD votes to increase disaster-fund impact
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 8:12:43 AM

This feed has 4 articles on 1 page

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The Handbook of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod includes the Constitution, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation of the organization.

2016 Handbook

The 2016 Handbook of the Synod has been published electronically as of Feb. 1, 2017, as the “February 2017” edition. It includes a completely redesigned index, is available in Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word versions, and is accompanied by a “red-lined” edition, indicating the changes made since the 2013 Handbook.

The print edition of the 2016 Handbook has been delayed so that it can accommodate certain changes required to be made by the convention in a process that is yet ongoing (see the Preface). In addition, the Commission on Handbook periodically incorporates minor corrections and other non-substantive changes as part of its responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and management of the Handbook.

Please report suggestions for correction or improvement, particularly regarding the new index, to the Office of the Secretary.

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Policy Manual

Desired Outcome Policy of the Board of Directors

The Board serves to provide leadership in achieving the objectives of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as stated in Article III of its Constitution and Bylaws so that Christ’s name may be glorified among all people throughout the world by serving each other in Christ’s name, reaching our communities with Christ’s love and claiming the world for Christ’s kingdom.

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Budgets & Audits

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Board Members

The criteria for membership on the Board of Directors is outlined in the LCMS Handbook (Bylaw

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Legal Resources

As our churches and schools come under increased scrutiny, the LCMS is dedicated to helping pastors, church workers, church administrators, lay leaders and others learn how to better protect their church or school from potential legal challenges.

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Amicus Briefs

From time to time The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod joins amicus briefs for Supreme Court cases in which the outcome is likely to affect the church. Browse a listing of briefs to which the LCMS has joined. In most cases, the text of the entire brief is available.

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Lutherans Engage the World

Lutheran Engage the WorldEngaging the Church in the work of witness and mercy across the globe in our life together.

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The Lutheran Witness

The Lutheran WitnessInterpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective

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Concordia Publishing House

Concordia Publishing House