The North Dakota District in convention passed resolutions to plant churches and foster mission churches and has suggested guidelines for those mission starts. There was probably more conversation on this issue than anything else. Mission starts, church plantings, are wonderful things and I am not denigrating anything that happened however, I was a bit taken aback by what some read into the resolutions on both sides of the issue. The guidelines were seen by some as a way to do things decently and in order and by others as a “nose under the tent” to “control” worship forms and deny Christian freedom etc.
James Nestingen was a Professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul for years and had many battles with hierarchy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is never dull and never at a loss for words. Here is a bit on missions and church plants from his perspective. His reference to Chicago means the ELCA headquarters on Higgins Road in Chicago . I am making no comment – just quoting.
Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name. I can’t help myself. I mean if there are just two or three, I’ll be there. Because, if there are two or three, we can start a conversation. I’ve got another chance to give myself away.” That’s him, spilling over with goodness, gracious beyond any measure, giving himself. “Two or three, that will do. Just give me a couple. I’ll take two. If you can get three, so much the better.” Of course, you know what would happen if Chicago got a hold of that. Well now, two or three. Let’s see. There’s the President and there’s the Vice-President, and there’s the Secretary. And, of course, the President better be in succession, because I mean we don’t want the Gospel getting loose. Faith might happen. Come on! You have to do all things properly and in order. The anal retentive’s view of the Kingdom of God. You just wish somebody would break loose like Jesus did at the Temple and bust something. Just for the joy of a little chaos. It’s too much fun.”