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LCMS Dystopian Future

Started by Jim Butler, May 16, 2023, 10:53:56 AM

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Tom Eckstein

Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 31, 2023, 08:57:15 PM
I seriously doubt that all these signatories favor women's ordination. Some of them probably do. But it would be an easy question to ask Pat Ferry as the proposed candidate.

There are mixed signals on whether the LCMS will experience a pastoral shortage.

Ed, I think we will face a pastoral shortage in the next decade or so as pastors retire/die and fewer go to seminary and many of our congregations remain open and need pastoral service.

However,  unless things change, after a decade or so many of our LCMS congregations could likely close due to lack of members and if that trend continues then the pastoral shortage could turn into a pastoral EXCESS in not too many years.

Some younger pastors in our District who are in their 20s and 30s and serve very small congregations (we have a four point parish in our circuit!) are wondering if they will be able to serve as full time pastors until they retire.
I'm an LCMS Pastor in Jamestown, ND.

John_Hannah

Quote from: Tom Eckstein on May 31, 2023, 09:20:00 PM
Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 31, 2023, 08:57:15 PM
I seriously doubt that all these signatories favor women's ordination. Some of them probably do. But it would be an easy question to ask Pat Ferry as the proposed candidate.

There are mixed signals on whether the LCMS will experience a pastoral shortage.

Ed, I think we will face a pastoral shortage in the next decade or so as pastors retire/die and fewer go to seminary and many of our congregations remain open and need pastoral service.

However,  unless things change, after a decade or so many of our LCMS congregations could likely close due to lack of members and if that trend continues then the pastoral shortage could turn into a pastoral EXCESS in not too many years.

Some younger pastors in our District who are in their 20s and 30s and serve very small congregations (we have a four point parish in our circuit!) are wondering if they will be able to serve as full time pastors until they retire.

TOM,

I think that is a wise concern. We do not know that the clear current trend will continue for the next 30-40 years. It might but the Holy Spirit might bring something else.

Nevertheless, young pastors would do well to engage the possibility of alternate avenues of vocation. I wish I knew sound solutions but I do not. And if I did, my solution would likely not fit every specific pastor's gifts and talents.

Myself, I would look to using my hands and mathematical mind. God has given me that gift. I could make a living in one of the construction/architectural communities. But that's not for everybody. There are many other gifts out there.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

peter_speckhard

Quote from: John_Hannah on May 31, 2023, 09:39:58 PM
Quote from: Tom Eckstein on May 31, 2023, 09:20:00 PM
Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on May 31, 2023, 08:57:15 PM
I seriously doubt that all these signatories favor women's ordination. Some of them probably do. But it would be an easy question to ask Pat Ferry as the proposed candidate.

There are mixed signals on whether the LCMS will experience a pastoral shortage.

Ed, I think we will face a pastoral shortage in the next decade or so as pastors retire/die and fewer go to seminary and many of our congregations remain open and need pastoral service.

However,  unless things change, after a decade or so many of our LCMS congregations could likely close due to lack of members and if that trend continues then the pastoral shortage could turn into a pastoral EXCESS in not too many years.

Some younger pastors in our District who are in their 20s and 30s and serve very small congregations (we have a four point parish in our circuit!) are wondering if they will be able to serve as full time pastors until they retire.

TOM,

I think that is a wise concern. We do not know that the clear current trend will continue for the next 30-40 years. It might but the Holy Spirit might bring something else.

Nevertheless, young pastors would do well to engage the possibility of alternate avenues of vocation. I wish I knew sound solutions but I do not. And if I did, my solution would likely not fit every specific pastor's gifts and talents.

Myself, I would look to using my hands and mathematical mind. God has given me that gift. I could make a living in one of the construction/architectural communities. But that's not for everybody. There are many other gifts out there.

Peace, JOHN
I concur, and I think many of the younger guys going to sem are doing so eyes wide open on that score.

Dave Benke

The data on mergers is pretty crisp.  If you merge two congregations, say, with 60 in worship in one and 40 in worship in the other, within five years the merged congregation will have 60 in worship.  My calculus on that was from back in the days of comparing with the local division of the ELCA.   Because they did mergers and we didn't.   They didn't tell me that the advantage was that the money from the sale of whichever congregation closed made it possible for one pastor to serve one congregation.   And basically to get paid anyway, so s/he built it down to the number s/he could handle, which was 60 total, not 100.  This was in the city, so the congregations weren't five, much less fifty, miles apart.

What we did was multi-point, letting these very independent-minded custodians of the sacred sanctuary of Uncle Wilfred and Aunt Henrietta keep those sanctuaries and having one pastor serve two, or at most three, of those places.  What I'd like to see, and the easiest areas to see it in the LCMS are rural multi-points, is what the comparison is once the multi-point is started, between the attendance and membership when they started the multi-point over five years.  So if in 2017 these four multi's averaged 32 x 4 in worship and 65 x 4 in membership, what is it now?  Can a pastor tending to sheep in four pastures lead them out to new pastures with more sheep, or is it like the merger phenomenon?  And importantly to "mission," are the folks at the four points in rural locations representing communities that have a potential to bring in anyone, or is the other phenomenon - the emptying out of those small towns, the underlying demographic problem?  In the city we don't have the excuse of nobody lives here any more.  It's more, less and less people we know live on terra firma, they're mostly resting underneath it or in purgatorial Florida.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Charles Austin

This is another situation where a more "tolerant" ecumenical perspective is helpful.
   We in the ELCA can use clergy from our full fellowship partners to serve our congregations. We can blend those congregations. We understand that every congregation closing is not a disaster for the Church catholic. The remaining 25-40 members will become part of a nearby Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, or other full fellowship congregation.
   Or an ELCA pastor may find a call in a (OMG! No!) non-Lutheran setting.
   If we are teaching people that, while may we have our dear loves and strong preferences, a Lutheran congregation is the only place to hear the Word preached, receive the Sacraments properly administered and serve others in the name of Jesus, we are making many lives unnecessarily complicated.
    Does God really want us to prop up the 40 remaining members of First English Lutheran Church with a poorly-paid, demoralized pastor or retired cleric who will maintain the image of "Lutheranism" as tiny nodes of dying people in leaky-roofed buildings?
ELCA PASTOR. Iowa born and raised. And look at this. Here's the old 1960s protestor and critic of our government as virtually the only "love this country" patriot in this forum.

Richard Johnson

I'm trying to think if I've ever seen a serious campaign to oust a sitting ELCA presiding bishop. Not remembering any. Yet you LCMS folks seem to do it almost routinely. Interesting.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

John_Hannah

Quote from: Richard Johnson on June 01, 2023, 06:41:32 AM
I'm trying to think if I've ever seen a serious campaign to oust a sitting ELCA presiding bishop. Not remembering any. Yet you LCMS folks seem to do it almost routinely. Interesting.

It goes back at least to 1969 with JAO Preus unseating Oliver Harms.  😀

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

John_Hannah

Quote from: John_Hannah on June 01, 2023, 07:16:46 AM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on June 01, 2023, 06:41:32 AM
I'm trying to think if I've ever seen a serious campaign to oust a sitting ELCA presiding bishop. Not remembering any. Yet you LCMS folks seem to do it almost routinely. Interesting.

It goes back at least to 1969 with JAO Preus unseating Oliver Harms.  😀

Peace, JOHN

And we adroitly removed Bishop Stephan back in 1839. It's an impressive legacy.   :D
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

peter_speckhard

Quote from: Richard Johnson on June 01, 2023, 06:41:32 AM
I'm trying to think if I've ever seen a serious campaign to oust a sitting ELCA presiding bishop. Not remembering any. Yet you LCMS folks seem to do it almost routinely. Interesting.
Considering many of your comments in Forum Letter, you should be trying get a few pointers from us.😉

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Quote from: John_Hannah on June 01, 2023, 07:16:46 AM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on June 01, 2023, 06:41:32 AM
I'm trying to think if I've ever seen a serious campaign to oust a sitting ELCA presiding bishop. Not remembering any. Yet you LCMS folks seem to do it almost routinely. Interesting.

It goes back at least to 1969 with JAO Preus unseating Oliver Harms.  😀

Peace, JOHN

In recent memory:

Harms
Bohlmann
Kieschnick

If the office was intended to be a life appointment,  synod would need to change it's constitution. I suppose a different approach showed up in Fort Wayne when Robert Preus was "retired." That maneuver led to the current political setting.

RF

Quote from: Richard Johnson on June 01, 2023, 06:41:32 AM
I'm trying to think if I've ever seen a serious campaign to oust a sitting ELCA presiding bishop. Not remembering any. Yet you LCMS folks seem to do it almost routinely. Interesting.

Is the LCMS a bit better on removing the leaven in order to save the whole batch?

Richard Johnson

John W. Behnken ousting Pfotenhauer in 1935--and after Pfotenhauer was just 4 short of a majority on the first ballot.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles Austin

#177
Richard, sometime way back, I can't remember what decade, a pastor of a large church in Pennsylvania campaigned to be elected LCA bishop. It was a serious campaign, and had some money behind it, but it was an utter, absolute, and total failure.
And while there are always  lots of mutterings and conversations, and sub rosa " campaigns," there's never been a serious, open campaign to be elected ELCA Bishop.
And in LCA days you had Franklin Clark Fry, and Robert Marshall. Who in their right mind would run against them?
ELCA PASTOR. Iowa born and raised. And look at this. Here's the old 1960s protestor and critic of our government as virtually the only "love this country" patriot in this forum.

Dan Fienen

Quote from: Charles Austin on June 01, 2023, 05:22:40 AM
This is another situation where a more "tolerant" ecumenical perspective is helpful.
   We in the ELCA can use clergy from our full fellowship partners to serve our congregations. We can blend those congregations. We understand that every congregation closing is not a disaster for the Church catholic. The remaining 25-40 members will become part of a nearby Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, or other full fellowship congregation.
   Or an ELCA pastor may find a call in a (OMG! No!) non-Lutheran setting.
   If we are teaching people that, while may we have our dear loves and strong preferences, a Lutheran congregation is the only place to hear the Word preached, receive the Sacraments properly administered and serve others in the name of Jesus, we are making many lives unnecessarily complicated.
    Does God really want us to prop up the 40 remaining members of First English Lutheran Church with a poorly-paid, demoralized pastor or retired cleric who will maintain the image of "Lutheranism" as tiny nodes of dying people in leaky-roofed buildings?
Why bother trying to maintain "Lutheran" at all? That's so 16th century. No doubt significant at the time, but haven't we learned a few things since then and had new things revealed that our honored but superceded forefathers weren't ready for? Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc. what's the dif? The differences that seemed so important then pale in comparison to our mission and calling to combate racism, climate change, gender oppression, poverty, and male, cis-gendered, white patriarchy.in the name of Jesus, the Child of God.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

pastorg1@aol.com

Your last paragraph describes my 28 year call, my one and only call, perfectly.

And I was the one patching the roof so it wouldn't leak on Mrs. Smith's favorite spot in the pews.

I rather thrilled at being an apologist for Lutheranism both in clergy groups and in society at large.

As soon as I left the ELCA appointed a pastor who introduced all the ELCA funk.

Peter (Thankful for being among the last generation of general practitioner Village Pastors) Garrison
Pete Garrison
RC Catechist

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