A great group of staff from the national office, convened as the Restructuring Work Group, met in Conference Room 424 the Monday before Christmas to study and talk about the President’s emphasis of Witness, Mercy, Life Together. There are about a dozen staff members from various disciplines in the building who are putting their heads together to consider how best to restructure the national office for service to the church.  They meet weekly in St. Louis to discuss how to move forward, progress on weekly assignments and to determine next steps.

The discussion started with Rev. Herb Mueller leading us in a review of an article he wrote on Witness, Mercy, Life Together that appears in the January Reporter insert.  Several times Rev. Mueller emphasized that Witness, Mercy, Life Together all flow out of and are linked to the cross. It was good to be reminded of the fact that our real, flesh and blood, Savior accomplished our redemption and comes to us in concrete realities in the life of the church on Sunday through baptism, communion and the Word. Through these concrete realities people go out and witness and show mercy to the world.

This study and dialogue was enjoyable and necessary for the Restructuring Work Group to spend time doing. The study rolled into a robust dialogue about how do we foster what it means to be Lutheran and how the emphasis of Witness, Mercy, Life Together help give direction to our thinking about the new structure of the national office.

The individuals on the Restructuring Work Group brought up many questions. What is the purpose of the national office in relationship to districts and congregations? What can the national office do that districts and congregations can’t do alone? How can we energize the connection between the districts and congregations with the national office? How can the national office be a catalyst for change? How can we be strategic in what we choose to do? How can we be good stewards? How can we better utilize our partners? How can the national office model, for the church, Witness, Mercy, Life Together? How can we make sure to eliminate silo operations of the national office? How can the various program areas all focus on the same common goals? How far can Witness, Mercy, Life Together emphasis spread?

Someone in the group called this a Kairos moment for the church. Kairos, a time when something special happens, the opportune moment, the right time. I think it is. I am humbled and honored to work together with this group of outstanding individuals who are willing to ask the tough questions and search, with God’s wisdom and guidance, for answers to how the new structure of the national office can better serve the church.

We ask for your prayers for this work and the people that serve on the Restructuring Work Group, that God may grant us His Holy Spirit to open our hearts and ears to one another so we are more readily able to actively participate, calm any fears and frustrations that may arise, rid ourselves of any sinfulness of pride or arrogance that may distort our thinking, and keep us humble in His service recognizing that God has granted and blessed us with this Kairos moment.