Those of you in the LCMS who read this should be aware:
1. That if you or your congregation are donating to Missions or Board of Human Care, they are not getting your money. Your money is being held in a general fund investment account so that the the Synod, NOT the BOHC or missions, gets the proceeds from the interest. In fact, most of the funds going to Human Care have been frozen, very possibly for political reasons, since Rev. Matt Harrison has indicated he would be willing to run for president of the LCMS next convention. I know that even if you wouldn't specifically call yourself liturgical or confessional....you might be very concerned about this.
2. That the LCMS is at least 20 million dollars in debt. Not only that, they are taking that debt and dividing it among its ministries, forcing them to support the weight of this debt. So ministries such as KFUO, for instance, the oldest Christian radio station in the nation, has $300,000 added to its budget that they have to meet, rather than simply meeting the costs of running the radio station. They also are continuing to pursue financing that takes us further in debt.
Because of these budgetary restraints (at least reportedly), one casualty has been the radio show "Issues, Etc.," a very popular show for the thinking Christian, that has been a very successful outreach and support to Christians worldwide (because it is one of the few that has managed to successfully utilize podcasts and modern technology that is more convenient and used by those who know computers...at least so my eleven year old tells me ;) ) . This decision to cancel our most successful ministry through KFUO was done without knowledge of the board that immediately supervises KFUO, the Board of Communications, and it seems the only other person aware of this decision to do so was President Kieschnick himself. (as of late, almost 7500 signatures by Lutherans and those outside our denomination have been added to a petition to restore Issues, Etc., and five synodical districts have issued resolutions encouraging Synod to restore the program and to apologize to Pastor Wilken and producer Jeff Schwarz for the way this situation was handled).
This also happened during Holy Week, immediately after an interview with Rev. Harrison (see #1) was aired twice in the previous week (common practice with Issues Etc.) regarding the book that he published containing issues from some of our Synod's leading minds concerning women's ordination.
3. Also, when you donate to LCMS ministries such as KFUO, the Lutheran Foundation takes a rather large cut of the money that comes in. I rather like the Lutheran Foundation. They do good things and help support congregations. But I believe that those who donate should be aware of that 30 % of your donation goes to them.
4. You should also know that our missionaries have been called home in DROVES. We basically no longer have a mission field in Latin America, an area that once was thriving. Missionaries who have devoted their entire lives to reaching out to the lost in our world, who have abandoned all comfort for the sake of Christ are simply being given a letter saying that funding is stopped and thank you very much for your service. We haven't heard from them much because they are hoping for the opportunity to be allowed to serve again, to get called to congregations in the United States, and to have means to care for their families.
5. The amounts for Synod debt currently are roughly comparable to the cost of the Ablaze (TM) program that our president has promoted.
6. Funds acquired by Ablaze to support churches who are reaching out have been used to support churches that are teaching false theology and refusing to use the name "Lutheran" in their names, a violation of a synod resolution regarding the use of mission funds.
7. The president of our synod has also suggested that the president should be the one to pick heads of synodical boards, rather than the voters at the conventions, because it would be more efficient to have board heads who are in line with his goals. This president also said publicly at the Indiana District Convention two years ago, that those who did not share the goals of synod (the current administration) were welcome to leave.
8. At our last convention, the administration proposed a convention to draw up a new constitution. It will take place immediately before the next synodical convention in 2010. The group responsible for composing and leading the process to change the constitution is the administration that made the previous suggestion.
9. Those that are expressing doubt and concern about any of these issues, rather than being met with invitations to dialogue, to open the financial records of the synod, or to address any of these concerns, have instead been met with generic exhortations to follow the 4th Commandment (respecting and trusting authority) and the 8th Commandment (using it as an encouragement to 'think the best' of the people who are the decisionmakers).
Please prayerfully consider these things. I am not the best source for information that is going on in the synod (and I don't necessarily understand accounting), and the Synodical website and publications certainly are not.
But Lutherans have taken to the internet to disperse information, and there are many reliable sources here as well. I point your attention to Save the LCMS, Augsburg 1530, and a great social connecting site specifically for Lutherans where discussions about these things and all other things Lutheran, Wittenberg Trail. There are others, but I leave it to you to mine the depths of the rich Lutheran Blogosphere.