I was glad to represent our congregation at the South Atlantic District convention this past week in Indian Rocks Beach, FL. Our national church body, WELS, is divided into twelve administrative districts, and our congregation is part of the South Atlantic District. Our District meets in convention once every two years to help set the agenda for our national ministry efforts. We also receive important information about resources and plans that are available for us to use in our own local congregations.
I’d like to highlight a couple of the most important decisions and updates from the 2012 District Convention.
Bible Translation Vote
Our national church body is in the process of selecting a new English translation of the Bible for use in our national publications. The current version we use, the New International Version (1984), has undergone a major update and not everyone is in agreement that it is the best translation to use for our church body’s publications. Since we have a national publishing house, a national magazine, and other joint publications, we need to have an agreement on which Bible translation those publications will use, for the sake of uniformity. After a year of study and presentations about the matter, our church body put the matter to a vote. The ballot had four options:
Use the New International Version 2011
Use the English Standard Version
Use the Holman Christian Standard Bible
Defer the matter to the 2013 national convention.
The votes were forwarded to our national office for a tally, so I do not know what the outcome will be. However, it was the recommendation of all involved that we provide another year of study so that we can fully examine all the options on the table. I expect that will be the outcome.
WELS Every Member Visit
A national “every member visit” or “EMV” has been in the works for several months now. The plan for this national EMV was presented to us all at the District Convention. Under the theme, “It’s All About Jesus,” our sister congregations across the nation will all go through the same style of EMV. The goal is to give each active family in our congregations the chance to learn a little about the kind of work we do as a national church body, and also briefly study the Biblical foundation for our mission and ministry. I plan on conducting this EMV here at Amazing Grace in the early Fall.
A Wide Fellowship
Perhaps the best part of all our gatherings as a church body (whether pastors’ conferences, conventions, or other gatherings) is the joy of worshiping together. It’s a good reminder that our fellowship with one another does not end right here at Amazing Grace. We have many brothers and sisters united with us in the same Lutheran faith both near and far. It’s truly a treasure to cherish!
Delegate to National Church Body Convention in 2013
During the years that our District does not meet, our national church body holds a national convention. The national convention is comprised of pastors, teachers, and laymen who serve as delegates to the convention to set the agenda for our national ministry efforts for the following two years. Important information is shared from our world mission work to training the workers who will one day work among God’s people. Next summer, Amazing Grace is scheduled to send a layman to the national convention that will be held in the Midwest. This will be the first time Amazing Grace will have a delegate (either pastor or layman) at the national convention.