The LCMS Constitution, Article VIII, B. 2. states,
“In cases of urgent necessity a special session [of the Convention] may be
called by the President with the consent of two-thirds of the District
The LCMS Board of Directors has voted that all LCMS
Districts send a higher percentage of their funds to the Synod.
The Districts are currently spending a $100 million on their own
increasing staff, bureaucracies, and programs.
Many of the COP will not tolerate cuts in their budgets by the BOD.
Kieschnick may fare better in front of the delegates
who elected him than those chosen for the 2004 Convention.
The 2004 delegates may not reverse actions of the BOD.
The minutes of the
November 20-22, 2003
, Board of Directors (BOD) (
) show that LCMS President Kieschnick continues to resist rulings by the
Reports about nearly every meeting of the BOD, since
Kieschnick's election, tell of some level of conflict between the BOD and
Kieschnick in his attempt to govern the business of the BOD.
Kieschnick may have been better suited as Chairman of the BOD than
administrating the Synod's doctrine and practice, as he is now instructed to
do in the Constitution.
A number of the LCMS Districts have reorganized
themselves after the Church Growth/PLI-Leadership Training model of
administration where the District President is also the CEO of the District.
During his administration as Texas District President in 1994,
Kieschnick led the District to adopt a 45 page “Strategic Plan” that
positions the District President as the administrator of District
operations. The Michigan
District recently voted that its District President is the CEO of the
However, the duties of the Synodical President are far
more limited than that of the Texas District President and many other
At its most recent meeting, the minutes of the BOD have
recorded: "Resolved, That
because the CCM [Commission on Constitutional Matters] exceeded its
authority and acted contrary to the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of
the Synod when issuing Opinions 02-2259, 02-2357, 03-2358, 03-2359, and
03-2365, those opinions are of no effect; and be it finally
Resolved, That the Board of Directors will continue to
carry out its responsibilities according to the clear provisions of the
Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the
It was Kieschnick's appointees to the CCM that issued a
series of rulings that have unquestionably interfered with the
constitutional responsibilities of the BOD.
Kieschnick replied through the Reporter:
"Accordingly, I will be working with the Board of Directors and the
Commission on Constitutional Matters in an effort to resolve the apparent
conflict between these two important groups of synodical leaders."
Kieschnick is a voting member of the BOD.
He has no constitutional authority to order the BOD to meet with a
commission of his appointees, such as the Commission on Constitutional
Matters (CCM). When the Synod is
not in Convention, the LCMS President is accountable to the BOD, not the
The publicity President Kieschnick gave to the Benke
case, in direct violation of the Handbook, resulted in Dr. Wallace Schulz
being unceremoniously removed as the Lutheran Hour speaker and, once again,
brought him into conflict with the BOD.
The Nov. 20-22 minutes of the BOD continue:
"Resolved, That the LCMS Board of Directors makes the following
requests to the ILLL Board of Governors: 1. Re-evaluate the ILLL policies of
interpretation and application of those policies concerning conflicts of
interest for employees of the ILLL who are also synodical vice-presidents or
officials who carry out their responsibilities on matters that become
The BOD is responsible for keeping the LCMS solvent.
The Synodical debt is $200 million plus and rising.
The BOD writes Nov. 22: "During the last three
decades, contributions from LCMS congregations to the Districts have
increased by 149%. During this same period of time, these
congregational contributions that the Districts have forwarded on to the
Synod have increased one percent or less. As a result, when taking the
30 years inflation rate into consideration, the amount of congregational
contributions that the Districts have forwarded on to the Synod has resulted
in a shortfall of nearly, $57,000,000. . . . "
"Therefore be it Resolved, That the Board of
Directors adopt in principle the funding policy that will increase the
amount of contributions received from the Districts that are forwarded to
the Synod; and be it further"
On this point, Kieschnick opposes the BOD's authority
to collect a higher percentage of funds for the operation of the Synod from
the Districts. The Districts
currently send less than $25 million to the Synod and keep $100 million for
the Districts according to page 728 of the 2003 Lutheran Annual.
A number of LCMS universities are running millions of
dollars in the red each year.
The BOD minutes report: "Ernst & Young LLP
performed the audit of the financial statements of
, for the year ended
June 30, 2002
. The results of the audit disclosed an unrestricted operating loss for the
year then ended in the amount of ($1,597,876). The accumulated
operating deficits, reflected in the undesignated unrestricted net asset
account, totaled ($952,927) as of
June 30, 2002
. In addition, the university
had a long-term operating loan payable to Concordia University System (CUS)
in the amount of $392,461 at
June 30, 2002
Northwest District President
Schumacher is reported to have said at a recent Concordia,
, Regents meeting: "The Chairman of the BOD has overstepped his
authority and that the COP intends to straighten the BOD out at the joint
President Kieschnick continues to receive support from
those District Presidents who wish to see him as the CEO of the Synod.
The BOD’s resolve to keep the Synod from bankruptcy may force
Kieschnick and the COP to call for a special session of the LCMS Convention.