By Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan
A year ago the church wasn’t ready for it. But now with their first convention behind them, it was a time for a new beginning. The pastors and deaconesses together with other leaders in the church sat down on three separate occasions to consider their strengths, weaknesses and challenges in the light of Christ’s mission. The result of this activity was an ILSN Mission Statement and series of goals for the next two years.
Recognizing the two-fold “mission” responsibility that Christ gave to his church and reflecting upon the Mission Statement of Lutheran Church–Canada, ILSN set as its Mission Statement the following:
Iglesia Luterana Sinodo de Nicaragua will, through its members, proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that by the power of the Holy Spirit those who do not believe may come to faith and that those who believe might be strengthened in faith and life.
In carrying out this mission, the Synod set the following goals.
1. By the grace of God, ILSN will work to increase its membership by 100 persons per congregation.
2. By the grace of God, each congregation will work towards having regular bible studies for women and men with a goal of doubling their present attendance.
3. By the grace of God, ILSN will seek to prepare an equal number of musicians for the church as there are pastors so that the use of music in public worship might be enhanced.
4. By the grace of God, ILSN working with LCC Mission will strive towards being an indigenous, self-supporting church body.
The Synod Committee appointed working committees for evangelism, education and worship. Each Committee is now in the process of establishing their strategic plans and course of action. Responsibility for the fourth goal rests with LCC Mission-Nicaragua. The Mission has already begun work on business plans for the the establishment of “Small Businesses” in support of ILSN.
In order that the pastors and deaconesses of the Synod might continue to grow in ministry, the Synod also added the following goals:
1. By the grace of God, our pastors and deaconesses will participate in 4 continuing education programs per year. Although the Planning Session requested that the Synod Committee appoint a Continuing Education Committee to work with LCC Mission-Nicaragua in identifying course work that would benefit the Church, several areas were already identified by participants: Evangelism Strategy; Ministering to the Abused; The Christian Family; Managing time for work and family; Pastoral Care; Congregational Administration; A teaching practicum for teachers. The arranging of these programs remains the responsibility of LCC Mission-Nicaragua.
2. By the grace of God, our pastors and deaconesses will strive to develop a disciplined devotional life. Both pastors and deaconesses spoke of times when they lacked in zeal for their work and often would not complete their tasks. While they recognized that some of this had to do with poor planning (and so the request for assistance in time management,) they expressed a greater concern for their own “walk with God.” Zeal comes from the Lord; He gives it through Word and Sacrament. We need to be people constantly in the Word.”
Sitting on the outside, we might be tempted to say that Iglesia Luterana Sinbodo de Nicaragua has set an ambitious plan for this biennium. I don’t see it that way. The goals were already there in the hearts and minds of the church, but had not been individually identified. (Something like not seeing the trees for the forest.) The process helped the church to identify them and now by the grace of God with these goals in mind the church can move forward with singleness of purpose and godly zeal in proclaiming the Gospel so that by the power of the Holy Spirit those who do not believe may come to faith and that those who believe might be strengthened in faith and life.