Training the next generation of Confessional Lutheran leaders: Lutheran Leadership Development Program ready to launch

WORLD – As a new year gets underway, the International Lutheran Council and its partners are preparing for the first class of the Lutheran Leadership Development Program (LLDP).

This two-year certificate program aims to provide Lutheran church bodies around the world an opportunity to develop leaders who are competent in both solid confessional Lutheran theology as well as practical skills in leadership and resource management. The LLDP is a project of the International Lutheran Council working in cooperation with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Concordia Publishing House (CPH), and Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana (CTSFW).

“We’re are grateful for our partners in this project, and are excited to work with them in raising up a new generation of global Confessional Lutheran leaders,” said Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, General Secretary of the ILC. “We look forward to welcoming the LLDP’s first class of students in just a few weeks, and pray for God’s blessings on their studies.”

The first class of students in the LLDP will gather for instruction at the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany from February 18-March 1, 2019. Future classes over the next two years will be held at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rev. Dr. Naomichi Masaki of CTSFW serves as Director of the Lutheran Leadership Program. For more information on the program, including details on student learning outcomes, a description of course requirements, and admission details, click here.

Breath of God, Yet Work of Man: First LLDP resource published

Course materials for the Lutheran Leadership Development Program are being prepared in partnership between CTSFW and CPH, with the first of these new resources just unveiled. Breath of God, Yet Work of Man: Scripture, Philosophy, Dialogue, and Conflict is now available for pre-order from CPH.

Edited by Rev. Charles P. Schaum and Rev. Dr. Albert Collver (ILC General Secretary), the book features definitions, benefits, and discussions of Lutheran biblical interpretation. The authors explain tensions that underlie the use of Scripture in Christian witness, acts of mercy, and life together.

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver (ILC General Secretary) and Rev. Dr. Bruce Kintz (CPH President and CEO) display the new book Breath of God, Yet Work of Man.

While developed especially for use in the Lutheran Leadership Development Program, the book will be of interest to a much broader audience. “The authors have assembled a massive amount of material that will challenge readers to think more carefully about how we read the Holy Scriptures and confess the faith today,” notes Rev. Dr. John T. Pless, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions at CTSFW. “This is a provocative book that will engage both those within and outside of the Missouri Synod in coming to understand the development of modern hermeneutics.”

Download a sample of the book by visiting CPH’s website here.

Support the training of Confessional Lutheran Leaders around the world

You can support the Lutheran Leadership Development Program and its work in preparing confessional Lutheran leaders for churches around the world through online giving. Simply designate your donation for “The Lutheran Leadership Development Program.” You can make a one-time gift or set-up recurrent giving.

You can also make donations by mail to the following address:

International Lutheran Council
PO Box 18775
St. Louis, MO 63118
United States of America

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EECMY and LCMS sign Revised Extended Working Partnership Agreement

President Edosa and Dr. Collver sign the new
President Wakseyoum Idosa and Rev. Dr. Albert Collver sign a revised working partnership agreement between the EECMY and the LCMS, while other participants in the discussions look on.

ETHIOPIA – Representatives and leaders from the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) met November 10-13 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the Mekane Yesus Seminary, the EECMY headquarters, and the Gudina Tumsa Wholistic Training Center to discuss the relationship between the two church bodies, revise an extended working agreement, and make plans to strengthen theological education within the Mekane Yesus Church by creating a relationship between the church bodies’ seminaries.

This round of discussions was the result of a January 2014 meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and Rev. Dr. Wakseyoum Idosa, president of the EECMY.

The recent meeting for discussions included the following for the EECMY: President Idosa; General Secretary Rev. Dr. Berhanu Ofgaa; and Rev. Yonas Yigezu, director of Mission and Theology. For the LCMS, the discussions included Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, LCMS director of Church Relations and Regional Operations; Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, chairman of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) and president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, CTCR Executive Director; and Rev. Dr. Tilahun Mendedo, president of Concordia University in Selma, Alabama.

The discussion team reviewed the history of the EECMY, including the history of the EECMY’s mission partners, and the history of the LCMS. The review of this history helped the discussion team recognize how the EECMY and the LCMS could better relate to one another. The team reviewed the past work between the EECMY and the LCMS and discussed ways to enhance that working relationship. The team also examined the commitment each church holds to the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessional documents.

Article 2 of the EECMY constitution states the following: “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments are the Holy Word of God and the only source and infallible norm of all Church doctrine and practice; the Church adheres to the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed … ; the Church sees in the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, which was worded by the Church Reformers, as well as in Luther’s Catechisms, a pure exposition of the Word of God.”

Article 2 of the LCMS constitution states: “The Synod, and every member of Synod, accepts without reservation: The Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice; All the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God.”

The representatives agreed that their two churches will respect each other’s constitution, bylaws, and policies as doctrinal discussions and cooperative efforts continue. They also discussed areas where the two churches could work together, such as with theological education and various human care projects.

After the discussions, the delegates of the EECMY and LCMS team signed a working partnership agreement. The agreement emphasizes the ongoing need for the two churches to understand one another better and to identify the challenges that are common and unique to both churches.  While formal pulpit and altar fellowship remains a goal, both churches are committed to continuing their current shared efforts, as well as regular and ongoing discussions of theology and practice.

While formal pulpit and altar fellowship remains a goal, both churches are committed to continuing their current shared efforts, as well as regular and ongoing discussions of theology and practice.

This partner agreement is a revision of the 2010 agreement between the Department of Mission and Theology of the EECMY and the World Mission Department of the LCMS. The revised agreement signed in Addis Ababa was between the two church bodies rather than between units within the church bodies. This demonstrates increased commitment between the EECMY and LCMS to become closer to one another.

EECMY and LCMS representatives, meeting on the campus of Mekane Yesus Seminary in Addis Ababa, also discussed how they might increase their work together in the area of theological education. EECMY participants included President Wakseyoum, General Sectretary Berhanu, the Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS) President Rev. Dr. Belay Guta, along with many of the seminary’s faculty members. LCMS participants included Drs. Collver and Rast (President of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne), along with Drs. Jeffrey Kloha and William Schumacher, respectively provost and chairman of Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis. The parties agreed to work closely together toward the accreditation of MYS, particularly in the areas of curriculum review and library enhancement.

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About The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY)
The EECMY was formed in 1959 as various synods started by several different mission societies merged into one church. In the 1970s the EECMY developed the theme, “Serving the Whole Person,” now often quoted and referred to as wholistic ministry. This has been a guiding principle for all evangelistic, development, and social ministry of the church. Beginning with 20,000 members in 1959, the EECMY has grown to 6.7 million members. Learn more at http://www.eecmy.org.

About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members – 600,000 households – in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. It is a member of the International Lutheran Council. Learn more at http://www.lcms.org.