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Pastoral Formation Audio Presentations

The question Lutheran CORE’s Pastoral Formation Summit addressed was “From where will our next orthodox and outreach-oriented pastor come?” We need a whole new generation of Lutheran pastors who believe in the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions and are evangelistic in their orientation. Here is a paragraph from the opening presentation by Dr. Mattes, which was chosen to sketch out one thinker’s understanding the need:

“Lutherans of old had a percentage of pastors on their clergy rosters who were builders, not of course of buildings, but of congregations.  Now, obviously not all pastors are builders.  The word “pastor” means shepherd.  Shepherds care for the flock.  For Lutherans, this care means truthfully preaching the Word of God, administering the sacraments and the office of the keys, admonishing the erring, comforting the bereaved and distressed, teaching the scriptures, and urging godly living.  This is all certainly building up the body of Christ.  But throughout much of Lutheranism’s history there have been a percentage of shepherds who also had the skills and obedient wills to increase membership and involvement in congregations.  Ask any lay person about a pastor in their congregation’s history who was a standout, and a name will quickly surface.  It is that pastor who was the builder.  Some congregations are fortunate to have had two or three such pastors.  These pastors exhibit some important character traits:  (1) they are unafraid of the unchurched and eager to engage them; (2) they limit their time in their offices; like a neighborhood police officer, they find various ways to know “their beat”; (3) they see stressful situations as opportunities for both personal and congregational growth; and (4) most importantly (and to use seemingly anarchic language), they want to win men and women for Christ and ground them in a faith commitment.  In other words, they have the gospel at the ready on their lips and find ways to speak God’s Word to the unchurched, teach them the faith, and walk with them to baptism and life in Christian fellowship.  For builders, sharing the faith is not cultural insensitivity but a mandate from Christ.  They refuse to let fear of rejection govern their witness, quickly shake the dust from their sandals, and find the next person to speak to.  In the Lutheran tradition, builders are thus not only biblical and confessional, but also resilient and evangelistic.  Those congregations growing in the ELCA today tend to have pastoral leadership which exhibit these traits.”

Dr. Mattes was one of the organizers of this summit. Mark’s full presentation can be accessed at CORE Voices here. His paper is going to be published this fall in Lutheran Forum.