Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod President Gerald Kieschnick addresses his vision for outreach for the Missouri Synod in a new video titled "One Mission/One Message/One People," which is planned for mailing to all congregations in January.
The video, which also will be used in Kieschnick's report to the 35 LCMS district conventions to be held in 2003, features the presentation in three lengths -- 29 minutes, just under nine minutes, and about two minutes. Kieschnick speaks in the two longer versions, and the short version features key words and phrases from the longer ones.
LCMS District and Congregational Services--Outreach Ministry sponsored the video. Funding for its production and distribution was made possible by a number of donors, including Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Dr. David Mulder, director of Outreach Ministry, said that the long version "works well for Bible classes, circuit meetings and district conventions," and that the two shorter versions are "designed for individual use and use in worship."
"We believe that many of our people are uninformed, misinformed or confused about what their president envisions for our future together," Mulder said.
In the long version of the presentation, Kieschnick points to a number of initiatives in the Synod in areas such as missions, Christian education and human care as advancing the Synod's mission.
"We have our work cut out for us," he says, pointing out that of the world's six billion people, four billion are not Christian.
When questioned in the video about whether the priority in the Synod should be to keep its message pure or to communicate the message, Kieschnick answers, "Why would anyone ever want to communicate a message that's impure? My concern is that we can spend so much time in incessant internal purification that we do so at the expense of the eternal destiny of people who are dying every minute. ... sometimes I sense that our joy and our passion and our energy for the Gospel message -- that one message -- wanes."
In the "one people" portion of the video, Kieschnick speaks of the "tremendous diversity" in the Synod, while faith in Christ is "what we all have in common."
"There are lots of issues over which we have some significant stresses," Kieschnick says. "... Only when we have a strong semblance of unity in Christ will we be able to transparently and with integrity show the world that we are united."
He says that such unity would require prayer and study of Scripture to "see what the Bible has to say in clear, unequivocal passages about the issues that trouble us [and] keep us from that God-given unity that we so seriously and so prayerfully seek."
In all three versions there are images of the burning World Trade Center.
"The events of September 11, 2001, have caused us all to reevaluate so much of what we have taken for granted as Americans and as Lutheran Christians," Kieschnick says in the nine-minute version. "The time has come for God's people bought by Christ's sacrifice to turn our eyes away from the many things that distract from our job as a church and our focus on making outreach job one."
The VHS tape is being sent to congregations at no charge. It will be sold at district coventions. The presentation is available for sale via mail from Parabolic Productions, 117 W. Woodbine Ave., Suite A, Kirkwood, MO 63122. Prices (not including shipping costs) are $16.99 per VHS tape and $24.99 per CD or DVD. To order, contact Jeanne at (314) 965-8722 or [email protected]
By Albert H. Lee