Almost 800 people gathered on the campus of Concordia University on June 24–26, 2018. The assembly worshipped together, conducted official business, and were challenged in future mission and ministry.
Based on Ephesians 3:20–21, the convention theme, Imagine … Living as God’s Saved and Sent Servants, fit together with the mission of the Michigan District—to vigorously make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches (congregations), communities, and the world. Over the course of three days, participants had many opportunities of putting that theme into practice.
Fellowship in the Body of Christ
Worship services are always a highlight of convention. Record numbers attended the four worship services, with over 600 at the opening worship with LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, as the preacher. Other services included preachers Rev. Brennan A. Woell (St. Luke, Nunica) for the Monday Devotion; Rev. Donald O. Neuendorf (St. Paul, Ann Arbor and recent District Second Vice-President) at the Tuesday Memorial Service; and Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier (Michigan District, LCMS President) at the Tuesday Sending and Installation Service.
Music was led by organist Melvin Machemer; St. John, Fraser choir, timpani, and brass; the Convention Choir; and Shepherd of the Lakes, Brighton’s worship team musicians.
Partnership in the Body of Christ
Voting and advisory delegates and guests filled the tables and bleachers of the gym for two days, with a special evening session on Monday.
Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier was re-elected as president for a fourth term. The Convention also elected the four Vice Presidents of the District. They are: First Vice President Rev. Mark D. Brandt; Second Vice President Rev. Dean M. Davenport; Third Vice President Rev. David A. Davis; and Fourth Vice President Rev. John M. Duerr. Other election results can be found at michigandistrict.org/convention2018/elections.
Among the 23 overtures on the docket, 19 were brought forward for adoption. Resolution 1-01, “to affirm the priesthood of all believers in Christ and therefore their call as missionaries,” will also be submitted as an overture to the LCMS convention. This resolution calls on every baptized believer to pray for others and proclaim the Gospel; urges pastors to intentionally train, equip, encourage, and motivate those under their care to “more effectively and eagerly serve as a ‘Kingdom of Priests’ in their community and world;” and encourages congregations and church workers to share strategies and best practices of evangelism in order to empower others. Through Resolution 1-07, the district also resolves to provide online and in-person training, with access to resources, to encourage congregations to make individual and communal reading of the Bible a central accent of their discipleship training and a key aspect of their youth and family ministries.
The Honorable David W. McKeague, United States Circuit Judge Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, was the parliamentarian and Rev. David Reed, Secretary. Proceedings and Bylaws will be mailed to each congregation and made available online in the fall (michigandistrict.org/convention).
Vision for Future Mission and Ministry
Equipping presentations were placed throughout convention business each day. Essayists included Rev. Michael W. Newman, LCMS Texas District president-elect (txlcms.org); Rev. Bill Woolsey, executive director of FiveTwo (fivetwo.com); and Gary Thies, a layman from Iowa who established LCMS Mission Central (missioncentral.us).
Rev. Newman challenged listeners with these words, “[God] has us exactly where He wants us. We are not some church spinning out of control and saying ‘Oh, we’ve found ourselves here, we’ve neglected so many things!’ God has us where He wants us, now, to do the work He has prepared for us to do.”
Rev. Woolsey encouraged participants, “May there be an abundance of Deb’s [start new entrepreneurs] bringing creative new expressions of the Gospel to changing neighborhoods and neighbors [in the Michigan District].”
Mr. Thies exhorted the assembly to be “not normal.” He explained further, “You know what normal people say? ‘Boy, the congregation ought to do something … pastor, you ought to do something … you have to work harder! No it’s up to us, lay people have to wake up! It’s time to be different [not normal!] … and it’s all about Jesus.”
In closing, words shared by President Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier in his presidential address remind us that “New Testament [witnesses of the resurrection] boldness was a boldness that had to be dealt with, attacked, shut down, or believed as true. But it could not be ignored. It came from ordinary people, who not only brought the message [of Jesus] but they believed it.”
It is our prayer that, together, we boldly carry on the ministry and mission of Jesus, being His Saved and Sent Servants—His Church—in the Michigan District. To God be all glory and praise!
Be sure to check our Facebook album to see photos taken throughout the Convention.
Videos of the worship services and essayists are now available at our YouTube channel.
Photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS