Preaching Christ Crucified in Milwaukee
Highlights from the 68th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, held July 29–Aug. 3 in Milwaukee.
Every three years — four this time, thanks to disruptions caused by COVID-19 — The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) gathers in convention to conduct the business of the church. According to Synod Bylaw 3.1.1, “the national convention of the Synod shall afford an opportunity for worship, nurture, inspiration, fellowship, and the communication of vital information.”
During the 68th Regular Convention of the LCMS, held July 29–Aug. 3 in Milwaukee, delegates did these things and more. The convention included time to worship, vote on resolutions, hear essays and special presentations, study Luther’s Small Catechism, and learn more about the national and international work of the church. The resolutions adopted this year cover a wide variety of topics — they affirm in-person Communion, encourage building a “culture of life,” revise the bylaws of the Concordia universities, raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking, condemn racism and rejoice in God’s work to overcome it, and address church worker wellness and student debt, among other things.
By the Numbers
- 1,023 voting delegates
- 160 advisory delegates
- 162 advisory representatives
- 150 special guests and others
- 83 resolutions and 3 omnibus resolutions passed
- 68 positions elected
- 14 opportunities for worship
New Church Partners
The Synod in convention recognized altar and pulpit fellowship with five church bodies:
• The Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan (ELCSS/S);
• The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF);
• The Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU);
• The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine (ELCU); and
• The Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC) in Sri Lanka.
“[The declaration of fellowship is] a magnificent point in the life of a former Missouri Synod mission and partner church,” said LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, in reference to the CELC. “It’s also significant for us, because all of these individuals significantly increase the capacity of the Missouri Synod to reach out globally and also to reach people who speak those languages and have those ethnicities in the United States. It’s a blessing.”
The End of Fellowship
On July 31, delegates recognized the end of fellowship with the Japan Lutheran Church due to false doctrine and practice. This move, which came after “ten years of formal and informal doctrinal discussions” between the two church bodies according to Resolution 5-07, is only the second time that the LCMS has recognized that fellowship has ended with a former partner church.
Expansion of the Million Dollar Life Match
Deaconess Dr. Tiffany Manor, managing director of Human Care and Ministerial Support for the LCMS Office of National Mission, announced the expansion of the Million Dollar Life Match into the next triennium. This program, which was established by the LCMS in 2022, has helped congregations and Recognized Service Organizations care for their neighbors, especially those experiencing challenges at the beginning of life. More information on the expansion will be available later this year.
Remembrance of the ‘Walkout’
Delegates adopted Resolution 4-07, “To Give Thanks for Preservation of the Gospel in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,” at the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1974 “Walkout” from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. At the time of the Walkout, the controversy centered on the authority of Holy Scripture and the Gospel, and, as noted in the resolution, caused division in “families, congregations, and every institution of Synod.” The resolution gives thanks for the preservation of the Gospel in the LCMS and for the teaching and leadership of the Synod’s seminaries.
Gathering of International Guests
More than 40 international guests participated in the first International Church Relations Forum held at an LCMS convention. The event had its own schedule of worship, presentations and time for discussion — as well as translators for those who required language assistance.
“The office of president and bishop can be a very lonely office,” said the Rev. Michael Frese, deputy director of LCMS Church Relations. “Sensitive and weighty matters often cannot be shared. But we’re bringing [these leaders] together as peers to relax, be strengthened by theological presentations, share ministry issues and personal stories, and collaborate.”
Update on the National Offering
During the July 29 convention opening worship, attendees brought offerings from their congregations for the 2023–2026 LCMS National Offering, which will enable the translation of Lutheran resources into languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese and Korean. To date, God’s people in the LCMS have already given nearly $348,000 toward an initial three-year goal of $500,000 for this effort. Gifts to the National Offering will be accepted through 2026.
- Read convention news and watch a series of video interviews
- Watch the archived livestream, read resolutions and more
- Support the 2023–2026 National Offering
- See more photographs from the convention
Pray with Us
Heavenly Father, thank You for preserving the proclamation of the Gospel among us. We pray that You would bless this proclamation over the next triennium, that the Gospel would continue to go out among us and into all the world, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Share Jesus with the World
Your generosity today makes possible your Synod’s witness and mercy efforts both at home and abroad.
Are you looking to direct your gifts for work that’s more specific?
Visit the LCMS online ministry and mission catalog to find those opportunities most meaningful to you!
Don’t see what you’re looking for?
Contact LCMS Mission Advancement at 888-930-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about all the options available.
Megan K. Mertz
Managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World and chief copy editor for LCMS Communications.