In these days of restricted travel and social distancing, scenes like the one depicted here have become commonplace for many of us. In this case, the participants in the Brady-bunch-style screen are Texas District staff people and a group of FABULOUS new professional church workers in the district over the course of the past year.
The reason for this online gathering was orientation for new workers to the district, something typically carried out on a retreat-style overnight at Camp Lone Star. For a few hours on a Monday morning, the district staff was able to highlight important matters related to mission, ministry, and life in the Texas District. Here are a few of those items, which may serve as great reminders to all of us.
- The mission of the Texas District is to strengthen congregations to reach the lost, disciple the saved, and care for people, locally and globally. That means that the district exists to serve the needs of congregations, not the other way around.
- In fulfilling that mission, as district staff, we seek to catalyze a mission movement within the district, in partnership with congregations. Our definition of a mission movement is simple: congregations that plant congregations that plant congregations—and—disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
- The district has two primary strategies in catalyzing a mission movement:
- Church planting—which is typically done in partnership with congregations. We’ve been at that for a while and have been blessed to plant over 140 new congregations from 2004-2019;
- Evangelist training—which we have just begun, beta-testing some curricula. We hope to deploy trained Evangelists to areas where there are unreached people groups, so that they too may hear the Gospel and believe.
- Utilizing these two strategies, we hope to deploy 500 new workers in 500 new places by 2031, the 125th anniversary of the district—some church planting pastors and some Evangelists.
- In order to help your congregation fulfill its mission and ministry, the district has an abundance of resources available. Check out the district’s website at www.txlcms.org. And while you’re there, get to know the staff resources available. Don’t hesitate to call on us—we’re glad to help.
The preamble to the constitution of the LCMS gives two reasons for the “formation of the synodical union.” The first is the example of the apostolic church in Acts 15. We are better, our constitution indicates when we talk with one another and solve mission problems together. The second is that the diversity of gifts might be for the common profit, as indicated in 1 Corinthians 12. A district is a place where a variety of gifts can be celebrated and shared.
Thanks for being an important part of this partnership here in Texas!
Rev. Dr. Jon Braunersreuther
Mission & Ministry Facilitator Area D