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Friday, September 10, 2010

LCMS Board and Commission Orientation -- Day 1

Mrs. Barb Below Introducing
The LCMS Board and Commission Orientation
(Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Maggie Karner)

Before I began working for LCMS World Relief and Human Care, I paid little attention to the various boards and commissions of the LCMS. Before becoming a pastor, I paid even less attention. This is probably true for many people people. I probably became first aware of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations in college because this commission released statements on what the Missouri Synod believed, taught, and confessed. I first became aware of Synod in Convention my last year in college when Dr. Barry was elected President of the Synod. Later on, primarily due to controversy, I became aware of the Council of Presidents and the Synod Board of Directors. Until becoming a pastor, I do not have any recollection of other boards or commissions in the Synod. Even after becoming a pastor, the workings of these various boards and commissions were somewhat of a mystery. Once again, this is probably true for many people. After starting work at LCMS World Relief and Human Care, I received an education on boards and commissions, how they operated, and met many fine people who volunteered on these boards and commissions to further the work of the church. I thought some might be interested in a peak at what transpired on Day 1 of the LCMS Board and Commission Orientation.

President Harrison Addressing the Boards and Commissions
(Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Maggie Karner)

In recent memory, in the September after a Synod Convention, the various boards and commissions of the LCMS would gather around the time the President of the  Synod was elected. The convention in July 2010 not only elected a new President, but also greatly reduced the number of boards and commissions of the Synod. Today, Thursday, 9 September, marked the orientation of the two newly constituted boards -- the Board for National Mission and the Board for International Mission. The Synod Board of Directors, the Commission on Theology and Church Relations, and Concordia University System (hopefully in this late hour I have not forgot any other board) were also present for today's orientation.

Cantor Phil Magness

Orientation began with Vespers where Rev. Daniel Preus preached on 1 John 5:6 - 12. His theme was "witness." Witness was the first of three themes to be explored at orientation.

Orientation Theme -- "Witness, Mercy, Life Together"

President Harrison and Barb Below Examining 
Witness, Mercy, Life Together Banner before Orientation

Since the end of the Synod Convention in July 2010, President Harrison and his team have been working hard on how to categorize the work of the Synod -- Congregations, Districts, and International Center -- in light of the restructuring. Today, at the LCMS Board and Commission Orientation, "Witness, Mercy, and Life Together" was presented as a way to describe the work of the Synod using Biblical categories and themes. Witness, Mercy, and Life Together is the English phrase chosen for the Greek words MartyríaDiakonía, and Koinōnía. These activities describe the work of the church and are centered on the cross of Jesus. Martyría describes the witness, proclamation work (missions) of the church. Diakonía describes the church's work as a servant of mercy to those in need (human care). Koinōnía describes the church's life together with all its accompanying activities such as worship, schools, seminaries, church relations, et al. There are over 200 passages in the New Testament that use these words to describe the church's work, not including synonyms and other words within the same semantic domain. Just as a start you might want to look up 1 John 5:7 - 8 (Witness), Mark 10:45 (Mercy), and 1 Corinthians 1:9 (Life Together). This post isn't the best venue to go into all the details, but I wanted to provide a brief glimpse into orientation theme. In the coming weeks and months, you will hear more about Witness, Mercy, Life Together from President Harrison, his staff, and others in various publications and forums.

Mr. Kurt Senske, LCMS Synod Board of Directors' Member
Presented on "Boardsmanship"
(Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Maggie Karner)

1st Vice President Herb Mueller Presented on
Life Together (Koinōnía)
(Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Maggie Karner)

Law and Gospel
(Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Maggie Karner)

Through a generous subsidy from Concordia Publishing House, everyone who attended the LCMS Board and Commission Orientation received a free copy of the new edition of C.F.W. Walther's Law and Gospel. Check it out here at CPH.

Revs. Jon Vieker and Bernie Seter in conversation after
Presentation of Witness, Mercy, Life Together
(Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Maggie Karner)

There is more on tap for Day 2. I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at the LCMS Board and Commission Orientation.


  1. That is SO COOL. Love the theme. It would be a great slogan for the LCMS in general.

    Great job.

  2. Thank you very much for the updates from "the inside!" I agree with Dan; love the theme.

  3. Must. Get. The. T-shirt.
    Robert at

  4. That is just neat. Thank you for these posts!


  5. witness - the marrtydom of Christ our crucified Lord
    mercy - the heart of the Father turned toward his fallen creation
    life together - the Spirit's gift to bind and build in Word and Sacrament

    Hmmmm.....I like it.

  6. Perhaps there is a video in the making, Pr. Fisk.

    Hint. Hint. Nudge. Nudge.

  7. I'm not a board member, but if there are leftover copies of Law and Gospel, I'll be happy to receive one!


  8. Thanks be to God for the blessed balance!

  9. It's a beautiful theme. May the Lord bless the LCMS and prosper it in the years ahead. I might even swipe it for our congregation!

  10. I'm working on a presentation, and was you have a graphic of each theme? That is, a full "circle" for witness, one for mercy, so they can be detailed, one by one? It is a GREAT theme!!

  11. We are working in downloadable resources. Stay tuned.

  12. The logo is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.