Talking Points with Pastor Lucas | Caring for Souls

Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford, District President

Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford, District President

Dear fellow redeemed of the Minnesota South District,

I thank God for each of you, especially for your faith in Jesus and for the partnership that we share in the Gospel. I count it a joy to serve you, and I look forward to our work together here in the Minnesota South District of our beloved LCMS.

I’m the new guy who has been drinking from a fire hose and figuring everything out, including new deadlines and dance moves. (Well, not technically dance moves, but I’m finding the District office keeps me hopping, so I’m trying to look classy about it.)

In any case, for those who do not know me, I am the new president of the Minnesota South District. I was elected on June 22 but did not take office until Sept. 1. Ever since then, I have been joyfully, if feverishly, learning the ropes of my new position.

I’m a Gen Xer who follows in the footsteps of President Nadasdy, as an admirer of his wonderful service to our District and as one of his former seminary students. (He taught me homiletics—the art and joy of preaching.) I hope to carry forward the great care and love he has for our District, while at the same time developing my own voice and pastoral leadership along the way.

I love being a pastor and under-shepherd of our Lord Jesus Christ, giving care to the precious souls of the people and communities I serve.

Prior to this, my 15 years of ministry have all been in the parish (both congregations I served included pre-K to eighth-grade schools). I love being a pastor and under-shepherd of our Lord Jesus Christ, giving care to the precious souls of the people and communities I serve. So I’m adjusting to my new administrative role, though I do hope to remain a pastor and act pastorally to our pastors and their families.

The District president is the answer, at least in part, to the question, “Who is the pastor to the pastors?” True, I must carry out ecclesiastical supervision along the way, as well as provide organizational leadership to our district, but that will not stop me from ensuring that our pastors have a pastor to care for their souls even as they care for yours.

Therefore, I want to bring my pastoral passion for the care of souls to my ecclesiastical tasks as District president. I have been blessed to serve in multiple other capacities along the way (besides senior pastor) that I believe will enhance my leadership and care for all of you and our District as a whole. In short, I count it an honor and a joy to serve and lead this wonderful District.

The District president is the answer, at least in part, to the question, “Who is the pastor to the pastors?”

My first vocation, however, is husband and father. My bride Becca and our six precious children (ages 1 to 14) have been real troopers during this time of transition and getting moved into a new home. Now that we’re settled, I do hope to begin serving (on a limited basis) as an assistant pastor in some capacity at the congregation where my family finally lands. This way, I can ensure I continue pastoral service in the parish, but even more, that I am with my family a few Sundays a month when my busy schedule might otherwise pull me away.

I believe it is crucial for the church’s mission in our chaotic culture that Christians model and teach faithful marriage and family life to each other and a watching world. I believe this challenge certainly includes, and starts with, clergy families. Thus, I don’t think my vocation as husband and father conflicts with my calling as a pastor, but will only enhance it. I hope to demonstrate this conviction in my approach to serving as your District president. With the my able District staff, vice presidents, and circuit visitors stepping in at appropriate places, I’m looking forward to a wonderful partnership of serving in this District while raising my family.

Overall, I am excited as I look ahead to the next three years. I rejoice in our partnership in the Gospel and pray the Lord Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to comfort you and lead you in the joy of the Gospel and in the confidence of giving witness to the kingdom of God.

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)