This last week one of the most talented and faithful pastors in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod received a call from LCMS headquarters serve as Director of Worship and Chaplain of the Synod’s International Center. In announcing this to the church, Pastor Weedon requested the prayers of the church and his friends for himself, his family, and for his beloved congregation, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel, Illinois.
I have been thinking about this for days now and at my morning devotions today (Commemoration of Philemon and Onesimus, 15 Feb A.D. 2012) I decided I would share my thoughts publicly…
I know very little about the content of Synod’s call; that is, I do not know what, exactly, it means, to be Director of Worship and Chaplain at the Synod’s “International Center,” but I do know that we previously employed a director and assistant director to assist the congregations of the Synod with worship questions, etc. I also know that, to my delight and that of many others, the President of the Synod, Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, has kept his hand directly in specific parish life by accepting a call to be the assistant pastor at Village Lutheran Church in Ladue, Missouri. His responsibilities there are very limited, but it does keep him directly involved in the heart of an LCMS parish, and that—in terms of mission and ministry—is where the rubber hits the road.
I have long been an advocate of this sort of thing for our district presidents and professors, believing it would be wiser for the church to deliberately keep her elected hierarchy directly involved in parish life. One of the ways that this can be done is by establishing a cooperative arrangement with a local parish (or, if close enough to the HQ, with the parish the pastor is serving) to provide for pastoral assistance.
Again, not knowing the circumstances and context, I wonder if an arrangement like this might not be better for Synod as a whole and for the people of Hamel. Pastor Weedon is extraordinarily gifted and has a parish that loves him and is healthy. That sounds like the perfect kind of place for either a talented young man right out of the seminary or for a young, trusted lieutenant of Pastor Weedon and St. Paul . Would the Synod and St. Paul consider such an arrangement? Could Synod have a cooperative arrangement with St. Paul that would enable Pastor Weedon to serve the Synod in this position, offering his gifts to the larger church, while remaining the senior pastor at St. Paul, yet delegating much day-to-day responsibility to a trusted associate?
I am only looking on from a distance. I have met Pastor Weedon only once that I can remember, and I have never visited St. Paul, so I hope that they do not look upon this public opinion as “butting in” in someone else’s business, but Pastor Weedon did request our prayers, and what I have shared here reflects (I pray) concern for the broader church and the best use of gifts and talents.
Lord Jesus, great teacher and defender of the sheep, grant wisdom to Pastor Weedon, the people of St. Paul, and the leadership of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in the matter of this call for a Director of Worship and Chaplain at our International Center; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.