This is a long way to the movie but…….I have often wondered about why we do conventions? Why we have Synods? Institutions cause institutionalism. Some institutions might cause institutionalization. Friedrich Pfotenhauer was the President of the Synod that had the most to do with forming the Minnesota and North Dakota Districts. He spoke eloquently about the church needing to be about education in order to go about mission. Doctrine had to be taught so that we can go out and teach and baptize the whole world. He spoke these words at the converntion of the Minnesota and North Dakota Districts a long time ago –
But the first synod at Jerusalem dealt not only with doctrine, it also dealt with mission. It says: “And they declared all that God had done with them” [Acts 15:4]. “And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles” [Acts 15:12]. Also at our sessions, the mission [of the Church], after the treatment of doctrine, takes the most time. Our dear traveling preachers [Reiseprediger] have given their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Suffering great deprivation out on our often inhospitable prairies and in solitude in the wild mountains of Montana, without making much fuss, they have done the most difficult work. They recount to us how the Lord has opened doors for them every- where, and congregations have sprouted up like gardens of God. By reporting this to us, they bring great joy to all the brethren. In so doing, they move us to holy determination to take the Word of God ever further and to work ever more diligently. Indeed, last year, we unanimously decided to assist in taking the Word into the land of the heathen [i.e., among the American Indians]. The Purpose of Synod Meetings 1892 District Address to Minnesota and Dakota District By Friedrich Pfotenhauer
Translated by Matthew C. Harrison
I saw this play out in Palmar Arriba in the Dominican Republic. They started a school, then a church, then a seminary and a group home. For me to ask which came first is a chicken and egg question. My guess is the school but if it was the church first I have no issue. God’s math, God’s timing, God’s plan. Anyway in the movie you see that we are processing through some peoples neighborhood, much to the chagrin of the horse. As we move on you can see the seminary high on the hill that we just walked down. As we went people came in line and followed along until we came to the place where we would worship. I hope I have some video of that as well.
There was a wonderful sense of life in the body of Christ in this event. People from other villages had come by bus to be there and the sense of being part of something that God had brought about by His mercy was palpable. There is a recognition that we come to church and receive gifts and we learn of Christ so we can share Him and we have a life together so that we can share of our abundance as well. There was at this event the sense of a wonderful determination to take the “word of God ever further”.