13 October 2011

Taking back the Pastoral Conference

I often hear from pastors from across the Synod about how disappointing their pastoral conferences are (or more often, professional church workers conferences).  I have a confession:  ours used to be pretty bad too.  BUT...

A few years ago, though, a number of men simply said that the silly season was over.  The pastoral conference committee became extremely proactive in guarding the conference.  The District President and District business was allotted a limited amount of time, but the focus was put upon providing excellent speakers AND making sure that we our worship was simply out of the hymnal.  No high church vs. low church shenanigans allowed.  Just do what's in the book.  As a certain famous Lutheran is wont to say:  "Just say the black and do the red."

Pr. Fritz Baue set us off in this direction as chairman of the conference.  We met together, we prayed and sang, we listened and pondered, we ate and drank and talked.  It was good and very good.  From being something I dreaded, the pastoral conference suddenly became something I absolutely enjoyed and looked forward to.

If you've had it up to here with rotten conferences, my brothers, see what you can do to reclaim the conference.  Take them back over from the District office and make them truly be the blessing they were intended!  It happened here.  It can happen there.


Pr. H. R. said...

I was....let's see, 'horse-collared' is not the right word...oh, yes, 'privileged' to begin service on the conference committee right when Fritz set out on this path. The key to making it work was the committee taking on the responsibility of the worship services. In the past, that duty had fallen to the different circuits in a rotating basis and this was used by various and sundry to ride worship hobby horses. I saw the same thing recently when I was the presenter at the Indiana District's North Region conference. Train wreck.

The committee, under Fritz' direction and with the DP's blessings said "we'll take it from here" and passed a resolution to just use services out of LSB straight up. A portion of the committee now serves as the worship sub-committee.

This lends a lot of stability and predictability to the conference. The DP always preaches at the Divine Service (which is always Setting III, what our current DP has called the 'lingua franca' of the Synod), which is hosted by one of the worship committee member's congregations at the conference center (we don't travel to a local parish). Matins, Vespers or Evening Prayer, and Responsive Prayer (as an Itinerary) are led by other sub-committee members with readings from the Treasury and often with sermons of the fathers or no sermon.

So that's how it's done down here and Weedon is not the only one to notice how peaceful it is. And since early 2007 we have had a lot of turn over on the committee and so far, it's stuck.


William Weedon said...

Divine Service this time was 2 not 3. Otherwise bang on!

Rev. John Frahm said...

When did it change that winkels in many places became "church worker conferences" along with district conferences? I suppose it came with the whole generic use of the word "ministry."