Thursday, May 8, 2008

What do we need a Synod for?

No, don't worry, this isn't a call for everyone to just go independent or something like this. It's a simple question - what do we need a Synod for? What is it that a Synod should be doing? I can look at the bloated beast that the LCMS is, or in fact ELCA or what have you is, and I am left to wonder if that is what a Synod is really for. What is the purpose of having a Synod? What should a congregation want from a Synod? What should a Pastor want from a Synod?

First, how about what a congregation would want.

1 - Educate Church Workers. A congregation should expect its Synod to be able to provide a pool of educated Pastors and other professional Church workers (i.e. teachers, deaconesses, etc). Also, these folks should be up to theological snuff.
2 - Organize joint projects like mission work. The Synod should be able to organize joint projects that congregations can support.
3 - Provide theologically solid materials for worship and bible study.

That's really it. You might add programs. . . but how many people are eager to get the new program at their congregation? And why would those programs need to come from the Synod - not all programs will work at each place. Let the local places do up things and share.

Now, how about from what a Pastor should want from his Synod. We don't normally think about things in this way - but here is what I'd like.

1 - Congregational Consistency. If I end up going to a congregation, I want to know that they are going to roughly want a Lutheran Pastor. A pastor shouldn't have to worry (too often) about being theologically blindsided by a congregation.
2 - Theological Support and Study. In the parish, I set up stuff, I study, I prepare the sermons. From the Synod, I want to be on the receiving end. I want opportunities for myself to hear the Gospel myself. A Synod should be able to organize this - provide for my spiritual care.

I have one that I'm torn on. Financial backing. I think I'd almost like a central clearing house for pastoral funds. Smaller congregations shouldn't have to worry about losing pastors richer congregations. I shouldn't have to worry about watering down the Gospel or not being able to support my family. Of course, that would mean that there would be Synodical hoops to jump through. Who knows.

What do you all think. What should a Synod do, what services should it provide?

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