“Fields are white and harvests waiting — Who will bear the sheaves away?” (LSB 826:1). While the hymn evokes images of fields of white, waving heads of wheat ready to be harvested, the reality of work in the church sometimes appears far different. Congregations struggle financially; sinners disrupt long-held plans. Pastors, people, teachers, students, DCEs, DCOs, kantors, deaconesses and more struggle to execute the plans of God in the world of men.
If we only hear about the struggles of church work, it would not be surprising to hear that fewer young people are choosing church-work vocations. But the hymn continues: “Rich reward He offers thee. Who will answer, gladly saying, ‘Here am I, send me, send me’?” (LSB 826:1). Indeed, service in the kingdom bears many rich rewards, not the least of which is the opportunity to study God’s Word to answer the questions of God’s people about God and His work in Christ Jesus.
This month’s issue begins with an introduction to the Church Worker Recruitment Initiative, spearheaded by James Baneck, executive director of the LCMS Office of Pastoral Education. In the rest of the issue, LCMS professional church workers answer the questions they most commonly receive in their service to Christ’s church.
The downward trend in those seeking to serve in Christ’s church is indeed concerning. Christ, however, promises to provide for His church. He will call those to serve His church, and He will send them with His Word. Through them, He will deliver His gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. And through these servants, He will answer the questions of His people with His true and timeless Word. May He so bless you as you read this month’s issue, “Pastor, I have a question …”
Roy S. Askins
Managing Editor, The Lutheran Witness