Resolution 13-03

LCMS 2016 National Convention

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Resolution 13-03 — To Address Future Church Leadership Needs in Light of Current and Future Challenges

The task force’s final report begins on page 375 in the Convention Workbook.


This resolution acknowledges that the Synod has historically prepared men for the Office of Public Ministry in various ways.

With the declining pool of pastors, the increasingly multiethnic communities in which many congregations serve, and a common desire to remain faithful to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, discussion and exploration of possible recommendations must occur to best help the Synod move forward in the 21st century.

Resolution Text & Task Force Members


The purpose of this task force is to:

  • Help the Synod address the needs of small, rural, urban, ethnic, immigrant, financially challenged and geographically isolated congregations;
  • Recommend ways to identify candidates to address future needs in the LCMS;
  • Provide strategies for reaching the increasingly diverse populations of the U.S. and Canada;
  • Establish minimal standards for pastors (while keeping the optimum in view);
  • Explore alternative methods for ministerial preparation in light of changing needs;
  • Recommend avenues to finance preparation of pastors;
  • Explore the possibility of providing free seminary education;
  • Consider relevant recommendations in the 4-06A and 5-14A task force reports; and
  • Consider other matters relevant to the task, as may be identified.

Additionally, the resolution states that in the work of the task force it should encourage the ongoing work of the district lay training programs and the CUS programs for evangelism and outreach in order to identify, equip, encourage and empower men and women for mission, witness and service to Christ and His Church.

The task force is to provide a report that will be included in the Convention Workbook for consideration at the 2019 Synod convention.

Status Updates

Jan. 11, 2018

The task force met by tele-conference. Sub-committees 1 and 2 reported substantial progress on their respective work areas. Due to the broad array of issues relegated to Sub-committee 3, the group is still in the data gathering and synthesis phase.

Of note, Sub-committee 3 was to “recommend avenues to finance preparation of pastors.” Since the creation of this task force, our gracious Lord has provided generous donor support, allowing both seminaries to provide 100 percent tuition support to incoming residential pastoral ministry (M.Div.) students (2018–19). Thanks be to God.

Sept. 19–20, 2017

The task force met in St. Louis. The agenda made time for continued sub-committee work in breakout sessions.

Afterward, the sub-committees presented a progress report of their assigned work for discussion. Extensive discussion ensued regarding the research presented and issues addressed by each sub-committee.

An additional evening session was held to further discuss the parameters and presuppositions of the members regarding the wide-ranging work of the task force.

The next in-person meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19–20, 2018, in St. Louis.

Aug. 2, 2017

The task force met by tele-conference and discussed proposed sub-committee structure, membership and clarification of assignments.

Sub-committee 1 agreed to focus on the biblical and confessional bases for pastoral formation. Furthermore, it will examine how the Synod has applied these texts and what we may learn from all these sources for pastoral formation into the future.

Sub-committee 2 was assigned to conduct an in-depth review of relevant recommendations from prior task force reports and resolutions including, but not limited to, the 4-06A and 5-14A task force reports.

Sub-committee 3 accepted the task of exploring the diverse needs of our congregations now and in the future, how better to identify candidates to address these needs, and how to finance the preparation of pastors.

All sub-committees are to research their assigned topic and be prepared to present their findings to the entire task force for discussion at the next meeting.

April 19, 2017

The task force held its first meeting via video conferencing. Elections were conducted, and Dr. Leo Mackay Jr. was elected chairman, the Rev. Dr. Jamison Hardy as vice-chairman and Dr. Bradd Stucky as secretary.

The members reviewed the resolution and created task areas/themes to better address their work. Initial discussions addressed the topics, concerns, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

To better organize the work and utilize interests and expertise, the task force proposed the formation of three broadly defined sub-committees. The sub-committees will report at the next task force meeting.

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