Q&A with the Rev. Daniel Galchutt, Executive Director of the LCMS Office of National Mission
Even as a third-grader, the Rev. Daniel Galchutt knew he was going to become a pastor someday. “[My teacher] said, ‘You are going to be a pastor,’ in response to something I said, and I remember thinking, ‘Yeah, that’s probably right.’” Galchutt went on to graduate from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and serve at two congregations in Kansas before joining the staff of the LCMS Kansas District as assistant to the president for missions and stewardship. In March, he began serving as executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission (ONM), a position that had been vacant since August 2022.
How has your experience prepared you for this new role?
A: Serving at St. Paul’s [Lutheran Church], Haven, and Calvary [Lutheran Church], Topeka, taught me a lot about life and ministry. I dealt with various things, including vicarage supervision, building projects and two Lutheran preschools. District work provides insight into the broader church, which I’m expanding even more now as I work at the Synod level. Rather than just my congregation or my area, I was thinking about the whole state of Kansas and now all of North America. … As a district worker, it was important to hear what was going on with individual congregations, schools, pastors and church workers in order to know how best to encourage and support — and at times challenge or exhort — them in their work. People think the big office is where the real work gets done. No, the real work is done at the local level. We need people in administrative positions to help support and encourage that work.
What are your priorities in this new role?
A: One of my goals is to visit all 35 districts to hear what’s going on and to know how the ONM can partner with them. I also want to improve communication with districts, congregations and schools and develop resources that our partners will make use of and appreciate.
Why should the average church member care about the LCMS Office of National Mission?
A: A lot of times when people think about mission, they think about a location far away. But God has placed us here in America for a reason, and we’re engaged in mission here. As far as why we should care about the ONM, its 1 Corinthians 12 talk: the Body of Christ. People think about the Body of Christ in terms of their local congregation, and that’s certainly true. … But church father John Chrysostom says Paul alludes to Christ in verse 12 to elevate our thinking to something bigger. The Body of Christ is bigger than the local congregation. It includes your neighboring congregations, your circuit, your district and the national church body. So, why should people care about what happens in national mission? Because God has made us all a part of the Body of Christ, and we’re called to work together.
What are the big issues facing our Synod nationally?
A: People often talk about the challenges that American Christianity is facing: the shifting culture, worldviews that are shaped by time spent on screens, declining numbers, lack of interest in the church. Certainly, that’s what the demographics show. On the other hand, this means that even more of our neighbors need to hear the Good News of Jesus. It gives us a great moment to share the life-saving message of Jesus.
Megan K. Mertz
Managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World and chief copy editor for LCMS Communications.