LCMC celebrates unique position at 13th annual national gathering
Under the theme “The Grace of Giving,” the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) held its 13th annual gathering at the Adoba Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, October 6-9, 2013. Besides the usual necessary business of running the LCMC, gathering participants heard speakers presenting on the topic of Stewardship and the Christian life, and how believers and congregations are called to the responsible use of the many and varied gifts which God has given them.
Keynote speakers for the event included Pastor Kyle Idleman of Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky; Chuck Bentley, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Pastor Enrique Estrada, executive director of Mission Mexico International and a member of the LCMC Board of Trustees.
More than 1,000 gathering attendees participated in these and many other sessions, and were challenged by the speakers to form their lives and their congregations in faithful response to the calling of the Gospel, and to the abundance that God has given them.
LCMC understands itself as a different type of Lutheran group, holding the congregation as the primary authority.
Since its beginnings in 2001, the LCMC has grown to more than 725 congregations in the United States, along with congregations in Canada, Mexico, and 10 other countries. Total membership in the LCMC exceeds 325,000 baptized members.
A unique position within the Lutheran circle of communities
LCMC understands itself as a different type of Lutheran group, holding the congregation as primary authority, while gathering together for mutual aims. As this church body says about itself, “We are an association of congregations who are free in Christ, accountable to one another and rooted in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.”
Though the group is present in 42 of the 50 United States, its heaviest concentration is in the upper Midwest, with over 250 congregations in the five-state region including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas.
The LCMC delegates heard several different reports from the various leaders and coordinators of the group. Service Coordinator Rev. Mark Vander Tuig of Canton, Michigan, spoke of the state of the LCMC which he declared to be good and headed in the right direction. He highlighted the unique congregational and organizational character of the LCMC and emphasized the need to maintain this.
He also reported about contacts and overtures from groups of Lutheran congregations around the world who were interested in affiliating with the LCMC, most recently a grouping of congregations in India.
The Rev. Dan Clites, coordinator of new ministries, Northfield, Minnesota, reported on ambitious plans by the LCMC to encourage the development of a large number of new ministries and congregations within the coming years, with a goal of 1,000 new starts within the next decade.
The LCMC delegates also heard fiscal reports that declared the group to be financially healthy, and adopted a 2014 budget of $1.15 million.
In addition, participants elected three individuals to the Board of Trustees, re-electing the Rev. Kip Tyler of Omaha, Nebraska, and the Rev. Bruce Gamache of Sandborn, New York, as well as adding the Rev. Julie Smith of Springfield, Minnesota. The next annual LCMC Gathering will be held in the Fall of 2014 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Tags: Bruce Gamache, Chuck Bentley, Dan Clites, Enrique Estrada, Julie Smith, Kip Tyler, Kyle Idleman, LCMC, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, Mark Vander Tuig, Pastor Enrique Estrada, Pastor Kyle Idleman, Rev. Bruce Gamache, Rev. Dan Clites, Rev. Julie Smith, Rev. Kip Tyler, Rev. Mark Vander Tuig