Just so we’re clear, the title refers to two different topics. I said my last post was my last post before convention. It’s not. I’m a liar.
As for the second? The convention has a chance to right a great wrong. After my post this morning, I have been given more information regarding LLD. There are District Presidents who are lying to small congregations. They are telling them that pastors are a nice luxury for rich, large suburban congregations. But poor rural or inner city congregations just can’t expect to have such a luxury.
I’m proof that they are lying. I have served two congregations in my ministry. One was a tiny urban congregation, in the city of Chicago. The other – where I now serve – a small rural congregation in central Wyoming. Distances between towns here are measured not in miles, but in hours. My district is the perfect district for LLD – we are small. We are scattered. There is no way pastors would be willing to give up calls elsewhere to come here.
But they do. There is practically a waiting list for pastors willing to get into the Wyoming District.
Ok, There really isn’t a waiting list. But every time I go out and about in our synod, I hear from pastors how much they would love to serve here. Why?
Some years ago, the Wyoming district did have LLD. Then, they studied the scriptures and found out what it says about how pastors are a blessing to congregations, and congregations are a blessing to pastors. They resolved to have each and every congregation served by a called and ordained servant of the word. Because, despite the hardships involved in such a pledge, they knew that when God makes a promise, he keeps it. If he promised to bless congregations and pastors together, then that was what they wanted.
Pastoral tenures increased. Congregations have been very blessed. So have the pastors that serve them.
I saw a post recently in favor of LLD that challenged those of us who oppose them to take calls to rural Wyoming. Ok, I’ll take you up on that challenge. I’m so convinced God’s Word is right that I’ll do it 12 years before you even ask. And let me tell you, those twelve years have been more of a blessing than I ever could have imagined. We are small – less than 50 on a Sunday. We struggle – there’s not a lot of money in their for Hot Air Balloons, or foam rubber replicas of famous Lutherans. But there is a love of God’s Word, and a determination to receive the blessings God promises in that word. God promises to bless him when we are faithful to His word. My congregation is committed to that. I am too. And God has blessed us both under that Word.
Now, it isn’t always smooth sailing. Sometimes in these far flung parishes, district officials are called in to help settle disputes that arise. But when that happens, congregation, pastor and district official all submit themselves to God’s Word. Because they know it’s important. Pastors know they are protected if a congregation wants to depart from that word. Congregations know they are protected if a pastor wants to depart from that word. And District Officials know they are only welcome insofar as they come to bring that word. So, how does it work itself out in practice?
Congregations get to joyfully receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins!
Pastors are humble servants of the word of Jesus!
Our District President is a humble servant of the Lord and his church, who has no thought of lording it over his fellow pastors, and the congregations committed to him!
And if that sounds like the sort of church you’d like to be a part of, take the first step this week. Vote in favor of real called and ordained by God pastors. It might be a struggle. But you won’t be sorry.