Forest Boar Task Force on Synod Scructure and Gonvernance (FBTFSSG)

UPDATE : This is not offered tongue in cheek.  I really think these ought to be enacted.  Of course, given the chance they ever have of seeing the light of day at a convention, I suppose they aren’t realistic.  But I am quite serious.  I do believe that this would be best for the synod.

The BRTFSSG has provided a reform and restructuring proposal for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  Many are opposed to this proposal, and have, for various reasons recommended rejecting the proposal either in whole or in part.  However, no counter proposals have been offered.  If it is true that serious cuts will be necessary in the near future if the proposed changes are not adopted, a viable alternative proposal is needed.  Therefore I offer the following, which is far more radical, yet requires no changes to the constitution.

Proposal for Reform in the LCMS

1. Rostered members of synod :

All rostered members of the synod, except as noted below, must serve in a congregation at least 51% of the time.  In recognition of this, they will also receive at least 51% of their salary from that congregation.  To insure that the congregation, and not the district, is supplying the salary, the congregation may not be subsidized by the district.  The district may make limited arrangements to pay for additional staffing (vicar, secretarial work, etc.) to make up for the time that the pastor/teacher is away from the congregation.

Those who are currently serving out side of congregations will have 36 months to either accept a call to a congregation, or have their membership in synod suspended.

The only exceptions to this will be :

Full time, in the field, deployed missionaries;

Faculty at one of the synod’s high schools (including association or RSO high schools). Colleges, universities, or seminaries;

Anyone who is on disability, or who has emeritus status;

A person serving full time at an RSO or LCMS auxillary.  Service at one of these institutions is not sufficient to fulfill the requirement for congregational service for district or synod officials.

2. District Presidents :

The Council of Presidents is disbanded.  The District Presidents may meet to discuss theology and practice at their discretion, but may not adopt position papers or policy directives.  That is the task of the synod in convention.  They may produce study documents with no binding power.

The only collective duty of the Districts Presidents as a whole is the placing of candidates into their first call.

No District President will have any authority or powers over any member of the synod outside of the district in which they serve, except in the case of certification and placement of candidates into their first call.

The primary duty of the District Presidents will be the visitation (personally, or by proxy) of each congregation in the district every three years.  They will be required to report to the President of the Synod their completion of this task.  District Presidents who fail to do this in one triennium will be admonished.  If they fail to do this in a second triennium, they will be removed from office.

Circuit Visitors may act as proxies of the District Presidents in carrying out this visitation.  Circuit visitors who do not visit on behalf of the District President at his request will be removed from office.

The District Presidents will select four from among their number, to be joined by a synod Vice President appointed by the President of the Synod, to propose any changes to the bylaws which are needed for efficient operation of the synod under proposal #1.  Such proposals may not include recommendations to return to full-time out-of the-parish status.

3. Boards and Commissions

All members of The Commission on Constitutional Matters will be elected by the synod in convention.

Their opinions will be binding only until the next session of the synod convention, when each decision must be ratified by the convention.  This ratification may be done by means of an omnibus resolution, with the following exception : A circuit forum, District pastor’s conference or District Convention may call for individual action on any specific decision of the CCM. such opinions must then be voted on individually by the synod in convention.

Any decisions which are not ratified by a majority of delegates at the convention will be considered overturned, and may not be reissued.  Decisions which have been made regarding suspension, removal, or dispute resolution which have been adjudicated according to decisions which are later overturned may not be appealed for rehearing unless the decision resulted in removal from the roster of synod.  In that event, the removed worker will have thirty days from the close of the convention to request, in writing, rehearing.  Such a request will return the proceedings to the point where the opinion was originally sought.

The following Boards or Commissions are disbanded and will not be replaced :

CTCR (Duties moved to seminaries.)

UPDATE : In recognition of their theological work, the staff of the CTCR would be offered available teaching positions at the seminaries, if any exist.

Congregational Services.

UPDATE : Staff members of the Board for Congregational Services will be the first to be offered full-time church-planter positions through the Board for Missions.  They will have their choice of taking a position at home or abroad.

4. Seminaries :

The seminaries will be fully funded by the synod.  The seminaries, acting together, will be given full authority to determine the training program for all prospective pastors in any track (DELTO, EIIT, SMP).  They may institute or waive requirements for placement at their total discretion, and may institute or disband programs leading to ordination at their discretion (DELTO, EIIT, SMP).  The vicarage requirement will removed from the bylaws, but will be considered a requirement of the seminaries, unless they decide otherwise.

The faculties of the seminaries may issue theological opinions when asked, or when they believe it would be helpful to the church.  These opinions are non-binding.

The seminaries will act as the theological liaison to other church bodies, at the request of the President of the Synod carrying on theological discussion leading to recommendations to the synod regarding fellowship, or the termination of fellowship.  As such, they are empowered to propose, as a joint faculty resolution, and with the concurrence of the Synod President, declaring that fellowship exists between the LCMS and other church bodies, or that fellowship is suspended.

In exchange they may not :

Have an admissions department, or admission staff.  They may have a department which reviews and determines eligibility for entrance to the seminary, but they may not do any publicity or PR work.

Have a development department.  They may accept gifts and donations, but may not actively seek them.

Certify anyone as fit for service in the church.  A commission on certification will be formed, consisting of two pastors elected by the synod in convention; two District Presidents, elected by the synod in convention according to district; one Vice President of Synod, selected by the President of Synod.  The seminary will offer a man for service in the church, when they believe he is ready,  The commission on certification will be solely responsible for certifying a member as fit for placement.

5. Conventions of the synod :

Visitation circuits will remain as currently listed in the bylaws.  Electoral circuits will be twice that size and consist of two or more adjacent visitation circuits.

Advisory delegates thresholds will be raised by 50%.

6. Suspension or Removal from the roster of synod :

All of bylaw 2.27 is hereby rescinded, and replaced with the system of adjudication which was in place prior to 1992.  This applies only to cases which would result in removal or suspension from the roster.  Cases which would be handled under dispute resolution will remain under that bylaw provision.

7. Commission on Structure

The commission on structure will monitor the implementation of these proposals, and offer proposals for their refinement at the next convention.  Such proposals can not recommend repeal of proposal #1.

8. The Constitution of Synod

The constitution of synod needs no changes under this proposal.  Therefore none are proposed.


3 Responses to “Forest Boar Task Force on Synod Scructure and Gonvernance (FBTFSSG)”

  1. Smalltown Lutheran Says:

    Forest Boar,
    That is a horrible business model for a multi-million dollar corporation!
    Your proposal needs some more work. After all, I read it in just a couple of minutes, I understood it, and I liked it. That must mean it needs addendums. Time for a new task force……

  2. “The District Presidents may meet to discuss theology and practice at their discretion,” …and at their own cost…

  3. […] Pastor Lincoln Winter, 3-16 Forest Boar Task Force on Synod Scructure and Gonvernance (FBTFSSG) […]

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