There have been several posts on the Internet and on Facebook requesting that Pastor Weedon (Check out Pastor Weedon’s Blog here) put print outs or downloads of the Small Catechism studies that he has been using for the LCMS Missionary Orientation. Earlier in the week, we posted a short 5 minute segment by Pastor Weedon. Yesterday (Saturday), Pastor Weedon presented on the Sacrament of the Altar from the Small Catechism for the outgoing missionaries. I was able to record this 20 some minute presentation with my iPhone. As in the previous sessions, Pastor Weedon did an excellent job. His teaching the Small Catechism has been one of the highlights of missionary orientation. Enjoy his presentation of the Sacrament of the Altar.
(Pastor Weedon, if you see this, thank you for the kind words about the Witness, Mercy, Life Together Bible Study on your blog.)
|Dr. Timothy Quill Discusses Global Theological Education|
In the short video clip below, Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill speaks on the role of theological education in global missions at the LCMS Missionary Orientation held in July 2011. He notes the key role that theological education plays in the goal of Lutheran Mission leading to Lutheran Congregations, and its reverse, Lutheran Congregations do Lutheran Mission. As Dr. Quill notes, since Dr. Luther taught at Wittenberg University, Lutherans have been known for theological education.
|LCMS Outgoing Missionaries for 2011 — 32 Total|
On 5 July 2011, thirty individuals gathered at the LCMS International Center in Saint Louis for missionary orientation. In total 23 GEO Missionaries (Globally Engaged Outreach), who typically serve 1 to 2 years sharing the Gospel in their vocation of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in partner and non-partner churches as well as serving in other deaconal projects, 7 career missionaries and 2 international educators, who serve in LCMS operated international schools, who had either been called or solemnly appointed by the Board for International Mission (BIM) between September 2010 and June 2011, attended the orientation. The LCMS missionaries were called to serve in eleven different countries (13 if Macau and Hong Kong are considered separately from China). Among the called career missionaries were two seminary graduates, one from each seminary.
|LCMS Missionaries Called and Appointed to
Serve in 11 Countries (India and Singapore not shown on map)
Missionary orientation follows on the heels of the LCMS Global Impact Meeting and provides a good opportunity to reflect on the best use of church resources with the new missionaries. In addition to the the new LCMS missionaries, the LCMS Regional Directors (Africa: Dr. Mike Rodewald, East Asia: Rev. John Mehl, South Asia: Darin Storkson, Eurasia: Rev. Dr. Brent Smith, Latin America: Rev. Ted Krey) attended to meet the new LCMS missionaries and to discuss how Witness, Mercy, Life Together can be integrated on the mission field. In addition to the new missionaries, the LCMS International Center welcomes Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, on-loan from Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, as the Director of Theological Education. Over the past fifteen years, Dr. Quill has been instrumental in the Russia Project and has served as the Dean of International Studies at CTSFW.
|Regional Directors Meeting|
The orientation which lasts from the evening of July 5th until the evening of July 13th, has a 10 page schedule that begins at 7:30 AM and ends around 7 PM each evening. The orientation begins each morning with devotions led by Concordia Publishing House’s Rev. Scot Kinnamen, editor of Treasury of Daily Prayer. His goal is to help foster a daily devotional practice among missionaries using a variety of tools. Worship is a major component of missionary orientation with devotions, chapel in the morning, and evening prayer at the close of day.
|Matins at Missionary Orientation
Preaching Rev. Dr. Doug Rutt from Lutheran Hour Ministries
During the debriefing session, worship, particularly the creative use of instruments was noted as one of the most memorable experiences of the day.
|The Musical Ensemble Leading Matins in Chapel|
A new part of LCMS missionary orientation (new at least as far as we can determine) is a refresher seminar on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism led by Rev. William Weedon. Pastor Weedon’s teaching of the catechism also was noted as among the most memorable of the day’s events. In fact, of all the presenters, Pastor Weedon was the only presenter to receive applause at the end of his seminar.
|Pastor Weedon teaching on the Small Catechism|
|LCMS Missionaries Gathered in Walther Room|
|Order from CPH the Witness, Mercy, Life Together Bible Study|
Yesterday, Concordia Publishing House received the Witness, Mercy, Life Together Bible Study from the printer. The first shipment arrived at the LCMS International Center today.
|Copies of the Bible Study|
Due to a generous anonymous donor, CPH will be mailing out a copy of the WMLT Bible Study to each LCMS Congregation over the next few days. The mailing to the congregations includes both the WMLT Bible Study and a WMLT DVD by President Harrison.
|President Harrison’s Letter about the WMLT Bible Study|
A sample of the first 11 pages, including President Harrison’s forward can be viewed below or downloaded. For the latest on Witness, Mercy, Life Together visit the WMLT Resource Page.
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14f).
I have two brothers who are pastors, and was talking with one of them the other day about the pastor’s struggle with death. This pastor is now in his 24th year in his first congregation. He’s had a number of calls, but the Lord has seen fit to keep him in his first parish in a very fruitful ministry. But after 20 years in a long ministry, the pastor is burying people who have become almost life-long friends.
It becomes a struggle. People you have known more than half of your life and have seen virtually every Sunday for more than 20 years are now the ones for whom you are conducting funerals. The pastor more and more must deal with his own grief even as he comforts the grieving family. Only the knowledge that Christ Himself “partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death…” can sustain both pastor and people.
This struggle with death takes many forms. Recently I visited the cemetery of the congregation my father was serving as pastor when my parents married. There was a gravestone for a two-week old baby my father buried 8 days before I was born. What was going through his mind two weeks later when I was baptized at his hand?
When a parishioner was recently taken to a hospital with a life-threatening illness, my son, also a pastor, calling me on his way to visit him, exclaimed that he would not have been able to sleep, had he not gone to see him. Those are often golden moments in the hospital, when people are surrounded with the law (in the form of all the medical procedures and other reminders of death) and are often desperate to hear the good news of Jesus, the One whose death and resurrection gives us life. You have the privilege of bringing hope and peace in Christ.
In a way, all true pastoral work is a life and death struggle. Preparing sermons we want to bring the law to expose sin for the deadly poison it is, while also bringing the “living and abiding Word of God” in such a way that our people truly hear it and believe it. For only the Word can speak life, and bring to life those who are spiritually dead. Only the Word of Jesus can sustain us in the life of faith, for in the end it will be the Word of Jesus that will call us forth from the grave to rise to eternal life.
When a pastor hears a confession of sin, he is bound by the command of our Lord to speak forgiveness in Christ’s name. When a pastor listens to the cares and concerns of his people, he will point out the signs of death but will even more clearly speak of life in Christ, the One who has conquered death and the devil. When a pastor plans worship and preaching, his greatest desire is to bring life, the real life in Christ, to his hearers. Teaching, visiting, counseling, working with people, the pastor brings life into situations where death has ruled. And death often does not want to give up what he considers his territory!
So the pastor will also be conscious of his own mortality and his own need for Christ. He is a dying sinner just like all the rest. He lives by the same good news in Jesus he brings to others. In fact, knowing this about himself is the Spirit’s way of giving him empathy for people, both within and without the Church.
That’s why, dear pastor, wherever you go, you bring life into the midst of death. Your pastoral work is a matter of life and death. We sinners need the law to show us our sin and death. But even more we need Jesus, the One who conquers death, the One who forgives sin, who brings life by His resurrection. This is what pastoral work is all about. Never forget this is what matters for eternity.
Yes, pastoral work is often a struggle with death, but “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
+Herbert C. Mueller