Synodical President to be Installed, Looking for a Missions Executive

From the Canadian Lutheran – The Installation Service for Rev. Timothy Teuscher as President of Lutheran Church–Canada is set for Sunday, January 28, at 3:00 p.m. in Saint James Lutheran Church, Winnipeg. The Service will also include the installation of newly-elected and continuing members of the LCC Board of Directors.

LCC’s incoming Synodical leader

The Canadian Lutheran article goes on – President Elect Teuscher has chosen to carry this custom (of preaching at his installation) forward, which will give worshipers a welcome opportunity to hear the new President in a central function of his office, as a preacher of Christ’s Good News.

Preaching may be what people thinks his central function will be – if my past experience with organizations in transition is any measure – the reality will be dramatically different. Both the incoming Synodical President and the BOD have to

  • Sort through the myriad of details in the compressed time-line that the rush-job restructuring process has imposed on them. Having to make all those changes and implement a new system in barely 14 months would be a challenge for an experienced executive backed by a strong administrative team that was laser-focused on just that task.
  • Deal with a lawsuit from the Representative Actions along with a disaffected membership that’s still looking for it’s church to act – well – Christian towards its members, and you have a lot of work on your plate
  • Deal with Synod documents that are not currently in alignment. And if the Constitutional Amendments are lost – then what?

In other business, LCC Synod is looking for a new  Missions Executive and here’s the list of qualifications they’re looking for:

Qualifications

1. An ordained clergyman who is on the roster of Lutheran Church–Canada or who will join the roster of LCC upon his acceptance and installation.

2. Fully committed to the doctrinal position of Lutheran Church–Canada and to its missionary purpose.

Except we already have a Commission on Adjudication that’s not “fully committed” to the doctrinal position of LCC and none of the participants in the CEF fiasco have been disciplined. This raises the question – if the Synodical powers that be won’t enforce the rules when it’s staff wander away from Synod’s doctrinal standard, why should Synod ask any of its workers to maintain such a standard? Rules that are not enforced are in effect null and void – until someone comes along with the will and the means to enforce the rule (cf the book of Nehemiah).

3. Able to communicate effectively concerning the great need and opportunities for sharing the Gospel with the whole world.

4. Sufficiently familiar with other societies and world views, so that he will be sensitive to cultural differences and be able to work with other churches in a supportive manner, free of paternalism.

What is paternalism? The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as

thinking or behaviour by people in authority that results in them making decisions for other people that, although they may be to those people’s advantage, prevent them from taking responsibility for their own lives.

It’s puzzling that this would be listed as a requirement because – by definition – a pastor should be like this:

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt 20:25-28

and

 I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:2-3

If there are any pastors in LCC acting in a paternalistic manner that’s an issue that needs to be identified and dealt with. It doesn’t matter where that pastor is serving or what role they’re in, paternalistic behavior has no place in a faithful church.

Other Scripture citations on the topic can be read here.

Continuing –

5. Committed to working harmoniously and cooperatively with other staff members and with support staff.

6. Able to work in a healthy board-staff relationship, recognizing the role of the Board in establishing policy and the responsibility of staff in implementation.

7. Able to undertake extensive travel within Canada and abroad.

8. Of sufficient health, vigour, and alertness to bear up under long hours, irregular schedules. Able to work “on the road.”

This is of great concern for anyone that has a family to take care of – pastoring is time-consuming enough as it is, to add a lot of travel and irregular hours means he’ll be away from his wife and kids even more. A pastor’s first responsibility is to his wife that he vowed to be faithful to to the exclusion of all others (and that includes work!), and to his children which are his heritage from the Lord.

For a pastor – as well as any parent – family takes priority, and the church should be supporting them in that work.

9. Experience as a missionary, in cross-cultural ministry, and in social ministry would be a definite asset. Experience in church administration or in team ministry would be helpful.

I’d add a question to this list – if the Mission Exec position is supposed to be a divine Call, how does that line up with this list of qualifications?


As a closing comment – as we move through this restructuring process a major concern we need to keep front and center is that having less people on payroll doesn’t necessarily mean lower costs or a better outcome. That Synod is already floating a public job description which sounds like too much work on one person is troubling. That in turn suggests that the tasks being expected of this person may need reviewing and possible division among other people to achieve a reasonable work/life balance for the position.

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