The words “rejoicing” and “district convention” aren’t usually found in the same sentence, especially in favorable terms. However, the 77th convention of the Minnesota South District accomplished just that.
Following the theme verse from Acts 8:39, times of worship, Bible study, and appearances by Martin Luther himself (played by Pr. Andy Herzberg) were interspersed throughout the typical convention business of elections and resolutions to remind the delegates and guests of the joy that is ours in Christ.
Rev. Dr. Dean Nadasdy was re-elected on the first ballot with 92% of the vote. Following his election, he addressed the delegates, calling for Christians to “both boldly stand for Biblical truth and, at the same time, willingly take the role of servant.”
The four vice-presidents elected to serve with President Nadasdy are:
- 1st vice-president: Rev. Dr. Robert Gehrke of South Shore Trinity, White Bear Lake (Region I)
- 2nd vice-president: Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford of Zion, Mayer (Region II)
- 3rd vice-president: Rev. David Mumme of Trinity, Waterville (Region III)
- 4th vice-president: Rev. Harold Storm of St. John, Gaylord (Region IV)
Rev. William Otte was re-elected as district secretary. Other board members elected include:
- Rev. Christopher Horton
- Mr. Virgil Rose
- Dr. Gary Elsesser
- Rev. Mark Tewes
- Ms. Rosa Summers
- Mr. John Branstad
- Rev. Jonathan Vollrath
- Ms. Sara Sorenson
- Mr. Davin Quiram
- Rev. Thomas Braun
- Mr. Benjamin Hagemann
- Mr. Neal Breitbarth
- Mr. Randy Ash
- Mr. Leland Huebner
The following resolutions were among many that were adopted by convention delegates:
- to ask the district’s Missions Committee to develop and execute a broad, comprehensive campus ministry plan, emphasizing the importance of both providing Word and Sacrament ministry on college campuses as well as equipping students to engage in the mission field on these campuses
- to encourage congregations to participate in the district’s New Church Incubator, which uses a crowd-funding model to support new church plants
- to add a new position for a fifth assistant to the president, a full-time position that will focus on schools and commissioned workers
- to authorize a feasibility study of a fundraising campaign for education focused on increasing the quality of the district’s existing schools and early childhood centers and establishing new ones, marketing LCMS schools, and developing online education options.
- to add term limits of four three-year terms for the president and circuit visitors to the district’s bylaws
Additionally, three public policy-related resolutions were adopted:
- to encourage pastors and church leaders to equip the laity with the tools to speak about public policy issues as LCMS Lutherans
- to encourage all people to value and exercise the right to religious freedom
- to call on the State of Minnesota to allow parents more freedom in choosing the right education for their children without undue financial burdens
Most importantly, the convention centered on the saving work of Jesus Christ. Bible studies presented by four different pastors examined different parts of the Ethiopian eunuch’s conversion in Acts 8, reminding the convention how God still uses His people to bring the Gospel message to those we encounter and the importance and joy of Baptism.
The convention essayist, Dr. Will Schumacher, shared his thoughts about confession and mission, emphasizing that our church is both confessional and missional—one cannot exist without the other.
Videos highlighting the work done by some of our churches to reach new believers showed the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives and relationships.
Worship that culminated in the receiving of Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper once again gave attendees the assurance that in Christ, sins are forgiven and new life is found.
As a district, we go on our way rejoicing into this new triennium, eager to see all God has planned to accomplish.