A task was given to me recently which prompted me to look at my call document for some guidance. It had been a couple years since I looked at my call document. It reminded me I should really look at it every couple months because you have authorized and obligated me to do quite a lot. I get a kick out of our youth when they ask me, “So pastor, what do you do on days other than Sundays?” I try to answer as succinctly as I can, but I usually end up telling them quite a bit and usually they’re surprised to hear all that’s involved in the ministry. I would imagine most of you assume I do many things other than lead worship and preach on Sunday. But just in case some of you are wondering just exactly what I’ve been called to do here at St. Paul, I’ve copied my call for you below. What I want you to take notice of however is not just the stuff I’ve been called to do, but the stuff you are to do in conjunction with the ministry of the Church. Taking a few moments to read it might be a benefit for all of us, as we continue working together facing many of the joys and challenges together as the Church.
In the name of the Triune God and by His authority, in order that we might carry out His mission to the world, we hereby authorize and obligate you [the pastor]:
To administer to us the Word of God in its full truth and purity as contained in the Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and as set forth in the confessional writing of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as found in the Book of Concord;
To administer the holy sacraments in accordance with their divine institution;
To demonstrate the mind and spirit of Christ as you serve the members of the congregation and equip them for Christ’s mission to seek and save the lost;
The equip and enable the members of the congregation to serve one another and those outside the fellowship of the congregation;
To perform the functions of a pastor in an evangelical manner; to aid, counsel, and guide members of all ages and social conditions; to visit the sick and the dying; to admonish the indifferent and the erring; to support the members of the congregation as they extend that evangelical ministry to others;
To guard and promote faithfully the spiritual welfare of the members of this congregation, in particular to see to the instruction of the catechumens, both children and adults, in the Word and thus prepare them for communicant membership in the church;
To guide the congregation in applying the divinely ordained discipline of the church according to the Word of God and to assist and lead the members of the congregation in practicing the forgiven life with one another;
To promote and guide the mission activity of the congregation as it is related to the local community and to endeavors of the Synod and its Districts, in particular to train workers and guide them in evangelism and to enlist the support of the congregation for mission work;
To serve as a resource and guide for members of the congregation as they participate in the ministry of Christian education, and to train parents to teach the Christian faith to their children;
To assist the congregation in adopting administrative policies and procedures that will help it carry out the missions of a Christian congregation;
To serve the congregation as an example of Christian conduct; to endeavor earnestly to live in Christian unity with the members of the congregation, fellow workers, and sister congregations in the Synod; and by the grace of God to do everything possible for the edification of the congregation and the upbulding of the Church in Christ.
As the baptized people of God we partner with you to accomplish His mission to the world, and we hereby obligate ourselves:
To receive you as a servant of Jesus Christ, to give you the honor and love and obedience that the Word prescribes, to aid you by word and deed, and to support you with our diligent, faithful assistance and prayers;
To make faithful and regular use of the means of grace;
To work with you to equip God’s people to glorify Him and extend His kingdom by living out our baptism;
To make appropriate arrangements for your continuing education as a professional person in the ministry of the Gospel;
To provide for you proper maintenance according to our ability and to review your salary, housing arrangements, and all allowances periodically.
As you can see there is much for us to do in the kingdom of God. One item above I would like to mention in particular however is the one about mission work with the Synod and district. If I understand my call correctly, I am to promote what the Synod and the Northwest District is doing mission-wise, and enlist your support. Looking back on the last five years I think I can do better on this one. So for Mission Festival Sunday this year I’m working more closely with the district and learning what missions they have going and how we might be able to support them. I’ll have more on this in the summer newsletter. But for now please plan on a single Mission Festival service in the grove at 10:45 AM on Sunday, July 26th. Yes, that’s correct, ONE SERVICE on Sunday July 26th at 10:45 AM in the grove. This is to promote maximum participation by the congregation. I know some of you have tripping and falling concerns walking into the grove, and that has deterred you from going out there for worship and other activities. The elders and I have discussed this, and we will make transportation available for you to get from the church parking lot into the grove. If the music being too contemporary for your taste is a concern, rest assured we have addressed this issue as well. We will have a Divine Service from The Lutheran Service Book which will contain hymns on missions, as well as a couple mission-themed songs from our 10:45 repertoire. Everyone should be pleased. We will also most likely have a guest preacher from the Northwest District office. The usual banquet of excellent food, drink, and fellowship will follow. I look forward to worshipping and eating with you at this fine St. Paul tradition.
In Jesus’ name,