By Barbara A. Below

From the January 2011 Reporter Insert

A Restructuring Work Group (RWG), established by the President’s Office, began its important work on December 6 in St. Louis and will continue through the beginning of February 2011.

The purpose of the RWG is to look closely at the budgets, personnel, functions, and processes of, primarily, LCMS World Mission, World Relief and Human Care, Communications and Fund Development efforts of the national office, and then to make recommendations to the Transition Team of the President’s Office. Other areas of the national office will also be included in their work and in restructuring efforts.

Led by consultant Jim Lowitzer of Collierville, Tenn., the RWG will identify areas of ministry overlap, consider new processes to put in place to enhance the work of the church, and make recommendations to the Transition Team as to how the national office can best be organized within the new structure to move into the next fiscal year. The goal of the Transition Team and the RWG is to have a new national office structure defined by February 2011 so that budget development for the next fiscal year can begin and a good, strong budget can be submitted to and adopted by the LCMS Board of Directors at its May 2011 meeting.

This work group is composed of 12 talented national office employees from a diversity of disciplines, with a variety of expertise and talents that will benefit the restructuring work:

  • Rev. Dave Birner, World Mission
  • Kama Bernabo, World Mission
  • Travis Torblaa, World Mission
  • Jeff Craig-Meyer, World Mission Fund Development
  • Rev. John Fale, World Relief and Human Care
  • Al Dowbnia, World Relief and Human Care
  • Maggie Karner, World Relief and Human Care
  • John Lewis, World Relief and Human Care Fund Development
  • Myron Koehn, Information Technologies
  • David Strand, Communications
  • Adriane Dorr, Communications
  • Rachel Asbury, Worship (admin. support)

In addition to these group members, Rev. Herb Mueller, First Vice President, will serve as Theologian in Residence, and Barb Below and Rev. Jon Vieker will serve as the President’s representatives.

All national office employees have been asked to engage in the restructuring effort so that together a new structure can be developed that best serves districts, congregations, Synod members, and partners. People outside of the international office may also be asked to be involved in or offer consultation to the RWG. All are encouraged to prayerfully consider serving in any capacity if asked by the RWG to lend consultation or expertise.

The challenges the Synod faces in the future years regarding restructuring of the national office, as well as other matters the convention resolved to address in the next few years, are complex and multifaceted. There is an urgency to this work, but at the same time, it must be well thought out, calculated, realistic and make use of all the gifts endowed by God to the Synod.

This will not be easy and will require wisdom for good decision making, clarity of mind to dig through the complex factors, patience to continue when it is frustrating, and steadfastness to His Word throughout it all. The President, the Transition Team, and the RWG ask for prayers from all of Synod as they move forward to take on the challenge of restructuring.