What does LCMS mean to you?
The church can be a funny place.We have our own lingo. It’s almost like a completely different language. If this has ever made you feel like an “outsider” please forgive us. Jesus is still working on us. We love acronyms - a lot. Here are a few LCMS acronyms you may have heard:
LLL - Lutheran Layman’s League
LHM - Lutheran Hour Ministries
LCEF - Lutheran Church Extension Fund
LCMS - Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
The last one is probably puzzling to you. Why are we called “the Missouri” synod? What is a synod? How do I even correctly pronounce “synod”? (It is “sin-od”...don’t read too much into that). Our church body has geographic connection to Missouri. St. Louis has been the “Lutheran hub” since 1847 when the LCMS was founded.
A synod is a group of churches that “walk together” in unity to proclaim Jesus to the world. Synod literally means, “to walk together.” You may be surprised, but the Evil One despises unity. Our witness is so robust when we’re united. When we’re divided we’re distracted. We’re inwardly focused. Our witness to the world can crawl to a halt. It’s quite sad.
As with many churches, the LCMS story is filled with ups and downs. While CGLCS (see, we love acronyms) is experiencing growth, the LCMS at large is walking through a prolonged “pause.” Many synods are experiencing the same trend. Yet, I truly believe the Holy Spirit is preparing to hit “play” once again. I truly believe stories of God’s radical love for the lost can catalyze us again. There are so many of those stories all around us at CGLCS.
There is a lot more to be said about the LCMS, and we aim to share a lot of our story in our upcoming sermon series, “Gospel DNA.” Click to order Mike Newman’s book. We are going to look at the 5 characteristics of a flourishing church: people, multiplication, truth, adaptability and self-sacrifice.
Our series will weave the story of the LCMS into our 21st church narrative. I guarantee the Holy Spirit will make you more proud to be an LCMS Lutheran follower of Jesus. There was a day when we were serial church planters. There was a day when our methods for raising up strong theological leaders was meeting the needs of the church. There was a day when unity and the mission of Jesus reigned from coast to coast. That day can come again.
Why am I so passionate about this? Let me give you a simple snapshot. For 100 years from 1850-1950 the LCMS started one new church a week. Our church was outpacing immigration in the U.S. by 47%. Today, we are closing more churches than we are starting. Seventy churches wanted pastors last year from Concordia Seminary and we were not able to meet the need. We have leadership pipeline concerns as a church body. CGLCS, and our churches in the East Valley, must be a part of the solution.
I can’t wait to share the LCMS story with you. Granted, we’re a funny group of people, but our mission is anything but funny. Eternities are at stake. LGAIWJ - let’s get after it with Jesus!