Fixing CRM

Overture 7-17, “To Provide Process for Placement of Candidates” is an attempt to fix a long-standing, and increasing, problem: Men who serve faithfully are removed from office, and then languish in CRM status (The LCMS term for purgatory) until the time limits for CRM run out and they are removed from the roster. As of the 2013 annual, we have 217 men who have been trained, judged fit to serve, have been ordained into the office of the holy ministry, are willing to serve, but are not serving a congregation. It seems strange that our Lord says, “…Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,” but our synod is telling 217 men, “never mind.” This overture attempts to correct that oversight by doing several things:

If a man is on CRM status and has problems that would affect his suitability for ministry, then his District President must give concrete steps for him to take to resolve these problems. Currently there is no requirement that a man on CRM be given any sort of guidance for resolving outstanding issues.

If a District President is simply being obstinate and refusing to designate as fit to serve one who is indeed fit to serve, it allows for the pastor in question to request Dispute Resolution to determine whether he is indeed fit for service. This holds the District President accountable for determining who is fit to serve. Currently, a District President is not required to ever agree that a man on CRM status is fit to serve, and he needs to give no reason for such a determination.

If a man is indeed fit to serve, it provides a process for receiving a call into a congregation, through the regular placement process. It also provides congregations a way to call these men, should they choose to do so.

In order to make sure that such a process does not short-circuit our already-in-place training and placement of pastors, candidates receiving their initial placement are given priority.

A short letter to the Synod’s Secretary, noting the importance of this resolution, could help 217 men who are willing to serve, but not at this time given to serve. It helps them, their families and the church. We need to do a better job of taking care of our own, and this resolution, while perhaps not perfect, at least makes an attempt to try and fix this scandal. So, here is the Bleg: Please Contact the Secretary of Synod and tell him that you think this resolution should be brought to the floor of the convention. or, if you really want to impress, use paper:

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod,
Office of Secretary.
1333 S. Kirkwood Rd,
St Louis, MO 63122-7226

PS. Don’t forget to send a copy to the office of the President, as well:

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8 Responses to Fixing CRM

  1. I have beat this horse to death, in addition to working with individual men on CRM to help them find income and employment. I once challenged Harrison on this issue and I’ll never forget his response: “Well, according to the Law there is always more to do,” which I thought was a crock of shit. I learned this morning that the Synod President has no control over District Presidents and that “ecclesiastical supervision” is completely in their control. From a managerial point of view that’s ridiculous: what possible good is a Synod President if he can’t take an active hand in the rescue of men from the politics of District Despots? I have put forth proposal after proposal, was in the LW over the issue, and nothing is being done. NOTHING. A friend of mine who works in STL e-mailed me today about this piece, and while I do like and respect him, I had to simply ask “How much [expletive deleted] longer do you need to fix this problem?” It isn’t insurmountable, there is simply no will to fix it, or toxic congregations. I tried the seminary and got nowhere. I mean I don’t understand an organization that allows it’s own men to be sacrificed or to languish on an eternal punishment; I don’t understand why everyone seems to be ball-less. And what of their spouses? Their children? What of the man’s sense of dignity and worth? Is he less an image of God because of CRM?

    But you can’t get it through anyone’s head that this type of behavior makes a mockery out of mercy and is a denial of the Incarnation. I’ll help in whatever way I can.

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    • R says:

      Akismet, is it possible for you to contact me privately? You seem to be quite an advocate for men on CRM. My husband is one such man. I totally agree with your questions raised about how it affects the family, morale, and especially the children. It has stretched our family to the limit and continues to stretch us. We have been in this situation for a year and 8 1/2 months. I do not ask for your help personally but I would like to bounce some ideas off you and get your take on things privately if possible. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: Steadfast Lutherans » Great Stuff Found on the Web — Fixing CRM

  3. C. says:

    What do you think is the best way to address this issue? What can pastors and laity do to help with this failure to show mercy to pastors in CRM?

  4. M. says:

    Inadvertently Concordia Health Plan may come to Synod’s aid on this one. Given a recent notice about restructuring the benefits for those who retire after June 30, 2014, I expect we will see a host of retirements in the next calendar year. Perhaps we will finally see that “pastor-shortage” that has been so long predicted. With a significant increase in vacancies in such a small time frame perhaps the powers that be will have the impetus to find congregations for these men.
    I will keep these men in my prayers.

  5. akismet-0c142b1e97dc79e21c938729210b3264 says:

    I could answer that but it would have to be privately.

  6. Debbie Harris says:

    Thank you for this Overture. I have written and sent my letter via email and hard copy to both the Secretary of Synod and to President Harrison.

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