From The District President
About a year and a half ago, when I was elected DP, I felt somewhat aimless. There were a lot of urgent details that needed attention, almost on a daily basis, and the question of overall direction for my new ministry seemed to weigh heavy on my shoulders. I needed some way to get some traction on the activities I found myself doing and a burden to articulate where my heart and my head were at regarding the District’s ministry. So guess what I did? I took a vacation. 🙂 Actually, Cindy booked a vacation on my calendar, and we spent some days out on the Oregon coast. I woke up early one morning and felt the urge to write. That writing formed the basis of the core values I’m going to share over the next four or five blog entries. These were then shared and discussed with the District staff and the Board of Directors. While continuing to be under scrutiny and discussion, they have a real voice in where we’re heading.
The first value is, “God’s Word is the foundation for our mission and ministry.” I know what you’re thinking – duh, what else would we base our mission and ministry on? But this is one of those values that can become like the wallpaper or décor in your house where you see it so often you forget to really look. This is a value we really need to look at.
When I shared this with the Pastors’ Conferences I attended last Fall, I was asked about the place of the Lutheran Confessions. The Lutheran Confessions are writings from the beginning days of the Lutheran church and serve as its foundational writings. Rostered workers pledge themselves to their agreement with them when they are installed into office. Congregations commit themselves to the Confessions as they are brought into the Synod. Following the prescribed order in our liturgical agendas every person who enters as an adult member into the church affirms their teachings. My response is that the Lutheran Confessions are indeed statements of faith which we uphold, yet their authority is derived from the Word of God. When it comes to seeking direction and answers to questions, we are bound to go back to the source – God’s Word – and the Confessions help us to discern and interpret what God’s Word is saying.
It’s also important for us to hear the overriding message in God’s Word to us – God loves people and has made the great sacrifice to restore His relationship with us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16-17) As we live in the light of God’s Word which we see through the lens of the Lutheran Confessions, we, too, must have this heart of seeking to bring the healing news of God’s love in Jesus Christ.