Preparing for This Summer’s Convention

by Rev. Matthew C. Harrison

A rookie pitcher was throwing poorly. In fact, the opposing team had jumped to a significant lead already in the first few innings. The frustrated catcher finally walked to the mound.

“I’ve figured out your problem,” he said to the rookie. “You always lose control at the same point in the game.” “Really? When’s that?” the young pitcher responded. “Right after the national anthem!”

It’s been quite a process getting ready for my first convention. In fact, unless one’s been through it, I don’t think the enormity of the task can be comprehended.

The prospect of taking the famous LCMS gavel for the first time (as a rookie!) is quite humbling—especially knowing that we’ve had such capable convention chairs, including most recently President Kieschnick, whose parliamentary capabilities are legendary.

And I’m guessing that if you’re a first-time delegate, you may be feeling a bit like a rookie, too, as the mountain of documents you’ve been receiving gets taller and taller. But we’ll make it through together. We’re baptized for this moment!

This issue of The Lutheran Witness gives you a peek into convention matters, delegate or not. For those who are interested, the convention may be viewed live, in its entirety, at

Allowing one’s name to stand for president of the Synod is a unique experience. It’s extremely humbling when congregations nominate and place your name on the ballot. It’s also a rather significant risk, especially for one’s family, as comments good, bad and ugly are circulated about the media.

I know Herb Mueller and David Maier well. Herb is truly “an Israelite in whom there is no guile.” David loves the Scriptures and applying them to real people in real life. They, at the will of the congregations of Synod, are standing for election because they believe deeply in the Gospel, and they live to serve for the sake of Jesus and His message of salvation. They want the very best for the Synod. They are fine men who would bring many gifts to the office. They and their dear wives and families deserve our thanks.

Of the many significant issues that will come before the convention, none is more important than a fairly simple overture that Floor Committee 6, Administration and Finance, is likely to bring forward.

We are expecting a convention affirmation of a Synodwide effort, launched during the next triennium, to endow our two seminaries. Both seminaries are in good financial order, thanks to the great leadership of Presidents Meyer and Rast, and to generous donors.

But it’s time now to take an exponential leap in assuring the stability of these assets and affordable seminary education well into the future. Nearly thirty seminary placement calls went unfilled this spring, and we are now entering the years of very large classes of men retiring from the ministry.

International requests for teaching and assistance grow by the week. We envision a multi-faceted approach that includes dollars from the Global Seminary Initiative, which was established to bring future international leaders of world Lutheranism to study at our seminaries. We will also be placing more pastors (and deaconesses) right out of seminary into international mission work in years to come. It’s time to act!

Long ago, a Synod and seminary president summed it up this way:

God could indeed let ready teachers and preachers fall from heaven without any doing on our part. Who will put boundaries on His might? But He has not promised to do so. He has, in fact, ordained another way. We are to prepare and call into the ranks future teachers and preachers through instruction. This is what the Lord Himself did. He took His disciples into a special instruction for three years. . . . In short, God gives workers for the harvest in the way of education and instruction. Thus the prayer for workers includes support for our teaching institutions. When we plead and cry out from our hearts, “Lord, send workers into the harvest,” at the same time, we get to work. [Excerpted from Francis Pieper, “Why Should We Very Faithfully Support Our Synodical Teaching Institutions,” 1905; from At Home in the House of My Fathers (CPH, 2011), page 622.]

Indeed! Rookie or not, let’s “get to work.”

Pastor Matthew Harrison
“Let’s go!” Mark 1:38
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