Manufacturing consent is the name of the game...

Today we'll look at a private YouTube video discussing the potential restructuring of the Council/Elders and committees at St John's in Lewiston, MN. Apparently, a similar model has been employed at Trinity in Waukesha, WI and Good Shepard in Holmen, WI. Rev. Jon Hein was involved in consulting for this change. When the upper echelons of Synod are involved, it's best to pay attention, as it is likely coming to a church near you.

The cat is let out of the bag six minutes in: 

"while recognizing the doctrinal principles of the roles of men and women in the Church, be able to encourage, or at least allow, much more interaction and understanding from our women in our decisions and the ministry we are doing here. We are recognizing the challenges we have in front of us [implied: lack of men to fill roles] and really want to emphasize the partnership that Christ emphasizes in working with men and women."

I'm curious where they find the proof text of Christ emphasizing partnership between men and women within the context of leadership in the Church. Acts 6 for instance has male 'voters' voting for male candidates to 'wait tables' - something certainly a woman could do, if we take the plain meaning - but within the context of the Church, delegated to men.

The governance of the Church is broken down into an elected all-male "Council of Ministry" with an ex-officio Pastor and Principal (but what happens when your principal is a woman? This already exists in the WELS...) and a variety of non-elected "Ministry Action Teams" comprised of men and women. The existing boards and Elders and Trustees and any other board that currently exists is dissolved.

The flow chart below shows the interaction between a Ministry Action Team and the Council of Ministry.

This is described in the video as employing the headship principle. But this could not be further from the truth. The Ministry Action Team comprising a mix of men and women (and potentially all women, given the implied challenge in finding enough men to serve, as stated above) are providing the plan to execute and they are merely curbed by the Council of Ministry.

Headship is leadership which means originating the plan considering the needs and desires of the weaker vessel. What their governance plan is really doing is delegating the leadership to women, or mixed groups, with a right to veto. This is an inversion of the headship principle.

The following slide shows the interaction between the Ministry Action Team and the Council of Ministry:

The video initially states the coordinator "may be council-eligible" which implies a man, but then it's stated this could be a woman. The video states the coordinator sets agendas and runs meetings. This would seem to violate the headship principle unless all the members of the Ministry Action Team were women, and in that case, we still have the previously discussed headship issue.

Apparently, we're stealing notes from the Evangelicals by calling "everyone is a minister"! The only people not acknowledged as ministers are the ones that (supposedly) have a divine call!

The following slide outlines potential ministry teams. Note that the "soul care" and "worship planning" replaces Elders, and "campus care" replaces Trustees.


Quarterly voters' meetings are then replaced with three "open forums" and a single voter's meeting.

If the previous wasn't concerning enough, here is where things get dangerous:

Our narrator tells us that in an emergency the Council of Ministry can create authoritative functions within the Ministry Action Teams, presumably of men, who can act autonomously with the authority of the congregation. This is reactive to a situation, not proactive. COVID was used as a specific example.

Imagine you hit a scenario like COVID and have to create an authoritative group to deal with issues in the midst of a stressing situation. If we are a few days into "two weeks to stop the spread" what kind of men do you think the Council of Ministry is appointing? The ones that conform to the spirit of the age - the men who are double-maskers, refusing to attend Church in person but watch a live feed on Facebook, encouraging the Church to shut down as long as the state requires, demanding the Chalice go away until it is 'safe', etc. etc. The spirit of the moment dictates the selection of men, instead of picking sturdy men well versed in the Scriptures in good times, ready and able to handle the bad times.

At the end of the day - the entire restructuring is about manufacturing consent and elevating women to a station God did not give them. This church looks to let the women have leadership curbed by a Council that probably doesn't have the balls to tell them no. Replacing regular voting opportunities (which lets face it - in most congregations take place in a mixed room and the women are not reluctant to opine) are replaced with open forums so we can manufacture consent. It's the name of the game.