ST. PETER EVANGELICAL

LUTHERAN CHURCH

"THE CHURCH ON THE HILL"

648 North LaFontaine Street

Huntington, Indiana 46750

260-356-6528


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From the Pastor..

 

July 2018

Indiana District Convention, 2018 –

God’s Plan: Our Future and Hope

It’s that time again: every 3 years, the pastors and congregations of Indiana gather together at the District Convention to discuss business and hold elections. This year, it was hosted in Fort Wayne under the theme, "God’s Plan: Our Future and Hope." I provide for your enjoyment a brief summary and a few highlights of the convention. For a more complete report on the Indiana District Convention or LCMS Synodical Report, please contact the church office. - - Pastor Lorenz

    Who Attended:

        141 clergy delegates

        136 lay delegates (congregational representatives)

        58 advisory delegates (non-voting)

    Total:

        335 delegates

    Accomplished:

        30 resolutions considered and voted upon

         75 elections held to determine who would fill various positions on the District Board of Directors, and on the numerous councils of the District

 

Elections:

    District President: This last year, Rev. Daniel May announced that he would be retiring and would not seek the office of District President. Rev. Dr.   Daniel Brege (who serves at St. Paul’s, Preble, and who is often seen on "Worship Anew") was elected to serve the next three years as District President.

    Vice Presidents:

        1st Vice President – Rev. Dr. D. Richard Stuckwisch, Jr. (Northwest Region)

        2nd Vice President – Rev. David Shadday (Central Region)

        3rd Vice President – Rev. Nathan Rastl (Southern Region)

        4th Vice President – Rev. Peter Brock (Northeast Region)

    Secretary of the District: Rev. Douglas Punke

    Treasurer of the District: Mr. Stan Lemon

Resolutions:

    (Passed): To Reaffirm the Scriptural Teaching Concerning the Age of the Earth

    (Passed): To Authorize the Council of Presidents to Create a System for the Placement of Inactive-Candidate Members {i.e. we are asking the LCMS to create a system for assigning pastors without a call to congregations without pastors, should those congregations choose to participate in that system}

    (Passed): To Encourage the LCMS to Study the Concept of the Call as it Pertains to the Intentional Interim Program

    Passed): To Encourage Congregations to Support the Evangelism Conference on September 8 & 9 in Indianapolis

    (Passed): To Thank God and Continue Support for Ascension Lutheran Christian School in Gary, Indiana

    (Passed): To Encourage Congregations to send members to the 2018 Senior Adult Fest at St. James Lutheran Church, Lafayette, IN on September 29 {Note: all those aged 50 and above are invited to attend}

    (Fail): To Establish Term Limits for the District President {Note: this failed due to the passing of another resolution which studies the governance and structure of the Indiana District}

Synodical Report: Synodical President Matthew Harrison gave a brief rundown on the blessings and challenges of our Synod:

        Declining Membership within the LCMS

              For years, there has been bickering about what is being done correctly or incorrectly (e.g. worship styles, strictness of doctrinal practices, etc…             and what impact that has for our churches.

             The Synod initiated a demographic study which found a correlation between birth rate and district performance. So South Dakota (which has    the highest birth rate of European descent Americans) shows the least amount of decline (4% in 10 years). New Jersey (which shows the lowest birth rate) shows the highest amount of decline (31% in 10 years). The Indiana District is down 11% in 10 years. The LCMS is a church with German heritage, so it is unsurprising that our declining follows these birth rates

    Growth in the LCMS

         The LCMS is slowly diversifying (yes, SLOWLY).

        While only 11% of the LCMS fall within the child-bearing age range, that 11% is having more children than any other denomination except for the Assemblies of God and the Mormons (a non-Christian group). LCMS families are even having more children than Roman Catholic families, which belong to a church that forbids the use of contraceptives.

        Mormons and Southern Baptists are well-known for their outreach and adult conversions. Mormons boast a 1:40 ratio (gaining 1 new member for every 40 members in their church) - the best in the nation. Southern Baptists boast a 1:47 ratio. The LCMS has 1:44. In other words: we are on par with the "best" in the nation for gaining new adult converts.

    What about the Millenials?

        We hear much about "losing Millenials" and that Millenials are not going to church. We have about a 1-in-3 retention rate of individuals who attend church after confirmation – roughly 35%

        Our retention rate for Generation X was also 35%

        Our retention rate for Baby Boomers was also 35%

        Our retention rates remain consistent, but with smaller and smaller numbers in the church, there are fewer Millenials than Baby Boomers or Generation X’ers.

    What we learned:

        Worship practice is not a dominant factor in why Millenials have left the church

        Statistically, Lutheran Schools are a significant blessing in the retention of young people in the church

        Longer pastorates tend to enhance retention. The age of the pastor is irrelevant.

        Relationships are significant. Healthy and positive relationships with parents aid in retention.

        Young people who feel their congregation cares about them and is open to their struggles tend to stay in the Church

        Doctrinal issues or issues of sexual ethics do not appear to be strong factors in Millenials leaving the LCMS

        Making room for young people to participate in leadership in some way in the church is a crucial positive factor for retention.

        Catechesis and Strengthening of families are crucial.

Thank you for your continued support to St. Peter, to the Indiana District, and to the LCMS. A special thank-you to Randy Prange for taking time away from work to serve as our lay-delegate.

 

Pastor Lorenz