This Ministry
That We Share

       Southern District - LCMS
    October 1, 2018

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Rev. Eric Johnson
Walking Together

Our world has changed. We all know this, and we all are experiencing what this changed, and changing, world means for our ministry in the church and our witness in the community. It's hard out there. Many congregations are in decline which leads to a lot of fear and anxiety among members, church workers, and pastors. Because of the challenges we are facing, it is more important now than in perhaps any time in our lifetimes that we walk together. We need each other. We cannot function well, we cannot minister well, and we certainly cannot be healthy in ministry if we are isolated from each other. We need each other. Iron sharpens iron. We need each other to help us keep our eyes on Jesus. We need each other to point us always to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. We need each other to point us to Christ and away from the fear and anxiety that so easily grabs hold of us with its steely grip upon our hearts, lives, and ministry.
I told the Professional Church Workers Conference this past week that I am convinced the way we separate from each other, into various camps whether that be "missional" or "confessional" or "whatever", is sin. Every pastor in the LCMS, in good standing, is a Confessional Lutheran. We all took the same vow in our ordination and repeat it each time we are installed in a new call. We have differences of opinion on some matters of interpretation, but those matters do not separate us. Nobody agrees with anyone 100% of the time.
What so often separates us is practice, and practice often comes down to personal preference, and personal preference should not separate us. I love and value the variety of gifts and the variety of expressions of those gifts that God has given to our synod. I love our diversity in unity, all for the sake of the Gospel. I love and value us walking together as people of the same confession.
Separating from each other over things that are personal preference, things that are neither commanded nor forbidden by Scripture, is sin. We need to repent. I need to repent, and I do. Then we need to hear and receive from Christ his words of absolution, "You are forgiven." In forgiveness, let us renew our commitment to walk together. To love each other for Christ's sake. To bear each other's burdens. To treat each other as members of the same family, members of the same confession of the faith, with God as our Father and Christ Jesus as our Head. Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you. (Eph 4:32)
As we walk through these increasingly difficult times, we need each other. I encourage us to walk together in humility. Ministering to each other, loving each other, forgiving each other, and walking together in this church and ministry that we have been called into, not as individuals, but as God's people called to walk together, following Jesus and being his servants for the sake of the church and for the sake of those outside the church whom he calls us to reach with his Gospel that is his power unto salvation. We need each other, God created it this way, let us walk together in humility with servant hearts; not thinking of ourselves as being better than others, but in humility thinking of others as being more important than ourselves.
Finally, let us pray for each other and for our congregations as we, together, seek to be faithful to Christ and his Word and sow abundant Gospel seed in our communities.

May our God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bless us all with renewed faith and vigor for the Gospel work he has called us into to walk together.

Three convention videos are posted on the Southern District Website: Live Stream Video (All day Friday), "It's All About Jesus" Video, and Opening Worship Video.  To view any or all of these, click  HERE.

The Synod is issuing the call for nominations for the 2019 convention.  Nominations for several positions are due October 20.  For information regarding this process, please go to or click  here to go directly to the website.

Here is a link to the postcards that have been mailed to congregations: These postcards are vital in helping congregations prepare for the 2019 Synod Convention.

Pastors and Church offices - continue following the action items on the very important postcards you are receiving from the Synod, regarding the 2019 Convention. The most recent postcard is #11 - "It's Time to Submit 2019 LCMS President / Vice-President Nominating Ballots."
District Mission Support Trends

        2016                    2017                    2018     
Total Budget                 $900,000            $900,000        $820,000

Budgeted Income             $675,000                     $675,000              $615,000
through 08/31

Actual Income                     $608,716                    $563,680             $572,924
through 08/31
Congregations who have elected new congregational officers/leaders, please update the Southern District office with their information. Click Here to submit your information online.  
If you would like a paper form, please contact



Remember that submissions for the November/December issue of SOS are due by Nov. 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email ( Please send photos as JPEG files, attached to the email. Congregational news that is received but exceeds space in the printed SOS will be published on the "Around the District" blog of our website. Thank you for sharing your news!

                                                                                                                                                            (click on image for                                                                                                                                                              the current issue)

November 9-11, 2018 Southern District Junior 
Youth Gathering
Lake Forest Ranch
Macon, MS

Congregations desiring to help those affected by Florence may send monetary donations to the Southeastern District ( You may visit their website for online donations or a physical mailing address for sending donations by check. Monetary donations are most needed because of the flexibility in who and how they can help. If we become aware of some other need, we will notify you.

We are now in another "Hurricane Season." The Southern District takes this subject very seriously and wants to help as much as possible. First and foremost, if you receive a mandatory evacuation order, PLEASE heed it! Then, please take a few moments to register with the district so that information can be on file. This can be done by phone or on the District website, This flyer can be saved in your evacuation file. It contains all of the information that you will need if and when the time comes.
If you can provide shelter, or are looking for shelter, you can also use the website to provide or receive information.
___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___

In the event of hurricane evacuation, please contact the Southern District with the following information:
Name, Congregation, City, State
 Report information to:
Evacuated (yes or no)
If yes, to: City, State

 Church Workers (mandatory reporting) --
Contact Phone Number 985-259-6716
Congregation Members - 985-259-6716



         Grace - Pensacola, FL                                    Redeemer - Mandeville, LA      
       Trinity - Meridian, MS
If your congregation has extended a call, had a call accepted, or had a call returned, please remember to notify the Southern District office.
Rev. Paul Ernewein ~ The Village, LaCombe, LA to Christ, Orland Park, IL  ~  Pending
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People 
130TH Anniversary ~ Christ Lutheran Church, Pascagoula, MS
November 4, 2018, Rev. Derek Waffel, Pastor

~ October 
Anniversary of Ordination


CtK has had a busy day of ministry! The first set of pics is from our appreciation day for our police Dept. Elder, John Dykes, baked a special cake in honor of and in appreciation for the hard work our Natchitoches Police Dept does for our community.
We also delivered cleaning supplies to the elementary school LP Vaughn. We adopted this school because it is impoverished and in need of as much help as they can get. We will be having ongoing contact with LP Vaughn, adopting needy families for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as helping in a any way we can to meet the needs of these families of our community. 

 2018 Junior High District Gathering

November 9th - 11th, 2018                                       

@ Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, MS

Registration is now open on the district webpage  

Theme: The Heart of Man Plans his Way, but the Lord Establishes his Steps
Presenter: Nick Butcher
Regular registration ($120) is open now through October 21.
Link to the Jr. Youth Gathering web page:

St. Paul Lutheran Church, on Port and Burgundy, is celebrating their annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 27, from 4pm - 8pm. The entire community is invited and admission is free. There will be a live oom-pah-pah band, and delicious German delicacies and desserts available for sale. Other activities will include- an old-fashioned children's carnival, sing-a-longs, and, of course, chicken dancing. Attendees are encouraged to wear traditional German dirndls and lederhosen.
St. Paul Lutheran Church was founded in "Little Saxony" in 1840. It was the spiritual and cultural hub for thousands of German immigrants who settled in the Faubourg Marigny and Bywater. After 178 years, the congregation continues to be a vital member of our community. Like us on Facebook at St. Paul Lutheran Church-Marigny, or call 945-3741 for more information.


This year marks the 130th anniversary of our congregation here in Pascagoula, MS (1888 - 2018) and we're planning a special anniversary service, to which y'all are all invited. It will on Sunday November 4, in the afternoon at 4pm with reception following. Hope you can join us!


On October 27th, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and School will be hosting its 1st Annual First Responders Chili Cook-Off event. The mission of the event is to provide an opportunity for the community to come together and honor the men and women who put their lives on the line every day. All of the proceeds from the event will go to support local first responders in St. Tammany Parish. Most of the chili teams are first responders and will be competing for the $1,000 grand prize. There will be live music, food, arts and crafts, and fun for the whole family. What a wonderful opportunity to serve those who serve. For complete event details, please visit our website:
 SAVE THE DATE:  Teachers' Conference ~ "Joy Finders"

Please save the date for the 2018 - 2019 annual Teachers' Conference.
Here is the basic Information:

WHO: The teachers and DCEs of the Southern District
WHAT: Annual Conference and Retreat
WHERE: Perdido Beach Resort, Orange Beach, Alabama
WHEN: Sunday, November 18 - Tuesday, November 20
WHY: For Professional Growth, Worship, Rejuvenation

Please put this on your 2018 calendar and pass the word to all your teachers.
Please contact me or any of the Conference Team if you have any questions,
Dawn Swartz at
John Price- Redeemer - Pensacola
Emily Barlow- Atonement - Metairie
Sara Braatz- Grace - Huntsville
Warren Paul- Retired Redeemer - Pensacola

Below is a link to reserve rooms at resort:

The goal of this conference is to enjoy the presence of the Lord in all we do. Our opening gathering will be in fun, food and fellowship with each other on the beach. Sectionals are intended to meet the needs of our staffs. CDC will have the opportunity to obtain the certification needed for the year along with sectionals for their areas. DCEs and schools will have the time to collaborate and share resources for the needs of today's children, along with sectionals that will bring joy in growth in service of our Lord.

We are also looking for sectional leaders, so if you or any of your teachers would like to lead a sectional or if you have ideas for a sectional, please let me know!
It is shaping up to be a great conference

Dawn Swartz
 Continuing Education:
the Life of Children in our churches

What: Dr. David Scaer (professor and chairman of Systematic Theology and New Testament and           The David P. Scaer Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological           Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN) will be discussing the Life of Children in our churches,                           especially with respect to Baptism and the Lord's Supper. There is an accompanying
          reading list that can help you prepare for this event, but such preparation is not necessary               for you to attend and benefit.

When: November 14-16, 2018

Where: Camp Dixie Lutheran Outdoor Ministries
             29711 Josephine Dr.
             Elberta, AL 36530

Cost: $150 for Pastors and Professional Church Workers
          $100 for Retired Pastors/Lay Persons.

Lodging: Registration cost includes your stay at Camp Dixie, if you so choose.

Meals: Wed lunch and dinner $6/meal.
            Thurs and Fri breakfast and lunch $6/meal.
            Thurs dinner not provided by the camp.

Register through Concordia Theological Seminary (Ft. Wayne) or at the web address below.

Coordinator: Rev. Randy Blankschaen, Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Pensacola, FL.


The 38th Biennial Convention of the LWML will be in Mobile, AL next summer!  Mark your calendar for June 20-23, 2019, and plan to attend. Visit the official convention web page  for all convention details as they become available.  Click here to read more
Also, many volunteers are still needed for the convention! Volunteers receive a discount on the registration fee and are asked to work only two four-hour shifts out of the entire convention. Please prayerfully consider volunteering! Here is a link to the sign-up form:
And ... don't forget about the CRUISE!

Share the News---
Post-Convention Cruise Out of Mobile
After the 2019 LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama, the LWML is pleased to offer a cruise on the 
Carnival Fantasy for FUN from June 24 - 29, 2019. This will be a time for well-deserved rest and 
relaxation as well as fun and fellowship with your friends. The great fact is that you will cruise out of 
Mobile, the site of the LWML Convention.

Would you like to take part in this fun getaway?
McGehee Cruise & Vacation Inc. will assist with all reservations for the cruise.
Registration is now open:

Please follow this secure link for further information and questions.

Can also find the link on the LWML website at
As with any cruise, it is best to book as early as possible so you can get the cabin you prefer.

Inactive Ministry -It's a Matter of Perspective

I have, in my years of ministry and in business, that we humans are often very focused on the "how" and for some reason fail to recognize the importance of the "why." Why we are doing something oftentimes has as much or more impact on the thing we found are do¬ing as the steps taken to accomplish it. In fact, without ascertaining the proper understanding of the motivation to undergo a certain project or activity, you are often setting yourself up for failure. Miles and miles of print have been produced to tell you how you ought to lose weight, be financially prudent, have better relationships and on and on and on - yet we spend little time getting to know the motivation behind these activities. We fail to determine the perspective a person has under which these actions take place.
So, instead of enumerating "how" today, we are going to talk about per¬spective and motivation. These two key components of ministry are often left undiscovered and, when ignored, can have detrimental effects on ministry itself. Specifically, today we are talking about why we should undergo a ministry specifi¬cally to inactive members of our congre¬gations. Almost everyone agrees that we should do this and that it is a very impor¬tant part of the outreach work of the local congregation. Since everyone agrees, most folks just dig in and try to figure out how to do it. However, it is of vital importance that we try to get everyone on the same page as to why we should conduct this type of ministry.
For most, if we are being honest, the motivation for a ministry to inactive members would be numbers. If we can just get them back in the pews, they will start contributing their "fair share" and we can have a balanced budget again. While we might not want to admit it, this is an unfortunately accurate assessment. It is proven out in conversations about "giving units" and line items, dead wood and finances. This should not come as much of a surprise. An unfortunate ma¬jority of our congregational conversations take place at the level of budget and finance and personal preference. (I'm not talking about all people in all places here but a significant reality that does exist). This perspective and motivation limits our ministry to the realm of conquests and sales rather than wandering and lost souls in need of the healing Gospel.
It is with this in mind that we have an opportunity to change hearts and minds, both inside and outside the church. From within, all ministry endeavors will oper¬ate more smoothly when the majority of the congregation is of one mindset. With ministry to wandering sheep, it is imperative. When we keep as our goal the sharing of Christ's love instead of getting seats in the pews filled, things will go much more smoothly. With budget and finance fixes as our goal, we will only be disappointed and never hit the mark. Yet, regardless of outcome, when we are faith¬ful to Christ's mission for the Church to share His Gospel, we will always find that we are meeting our intended outcome.
Think, too, from the mind of the one to whom we minister. How valued and loved are you going to feel if you sense that you are nothing more than a conquest, a means to an end? This is often the case even with the best of motives since the Law is working hard upon the heart of the wandering. Their guilt often manifests itself in resistance and opposition. How comforting, then, would it be to under¬stand that to the local congregation, as to Christ Himself, this person is not just a giving unit but a child of God for whom Christ died and to whom He is reaching out through His Church? What a major perspective change on both accounts.
For more information and assistance in these endeavors, please check out our website or give us at LCMS RSTM a call! May God bless you in all of your endeav¬ors in reaching out to the lost, especially those who have wandered away from the church.
Pastor Todd Kollbaum, director, LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission

Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter by Todd Kollbaum, RSTM Director.

LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small-town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. Learn more about RSTM at or by calling 888-463-5127. "Like" us on our Facebook page at


Consider for a moment how walking in the footsteps of Jesus would bring the biblical accounts to life. Imagine kneeling where the shepherds stood at Bethlehem's manger, seeing the places where Jesus grew up and worked, standing in the Jordan River where He was baptized, praying in Gethsemane, weeping at Golgotha, or singing hymns of praise at the empty tomb. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus and seeing the land where He lived will change your life forever.

Are there people in your church who might be interested in going with you on a trip like this? We would love to have you as cohosts. Join us, Pastor Keith and Diana Ringers (St. Mark's - Elberta, AL) to experience for yourself the sights, the sounds, and the smells of this historic and beautiful land. This customized itinerary includes places where the standard tours don't go. We invite you to join us from March 25 - April 3, 2019. For more information, click on the link for a brochure or contact Keith Ringers at

Click here or go to
for the online brochure or contact us for more information.

Diana Ringers
What & How

This is a third article in a series of related articles on Stewardship. The first article entitled, "Why?", appeared in the July 15, 2018 edition of TMTWS and the second article entitled, "The Strength and Blessing of a Threefold Cord", appeared in the July-August 2018 edition of the SOS.

I don't know about you, but it amazes me to witness and experience all the strength and blessings that Christ provides to a husband and wife, to Christians and their church, and a congregation and her district so that they can be a blessing to one another and to others. And since we have already tackled the "Why?" of stewardship in a previous article, I thought it might be a good idea to take on the "What" and the "How"

I know what you're thinking, I already know the "What", so why do we need to talk about it. Well, I'm not so sure that we actually know the "What", at least not completely or holistically. Sure we all know the "mantra", "Talent, Time, Treasure, & Testimony", but how do we understand them?

Do we see them as individual, isolated "things"? They're not! They are all gifts from God that he gives to each and every person to use for the purpose of loving one's neighbor and glorifying God.

Do we see them as a "sum game"? You know, as long as I come up with 100%, it doesn't really matter how I get there. That's not how it works! You see, God's desire for us is that we act like Him. As He has cheerfully and sacrificially provided for us, He would have us do the same for others. Just as our individual members make up our entire body, so it is with our talent, time, treasure & testimony. These are not separate pots that one pulls from as one desires; they are fundamental aspects of one's being. So when I give, I give cheerfully and sacrificially of all of them - talent, time, treasure & testimony. This is the holistic view of stewardship that flows from that fact that God has made me a whole person in Christ Jesus.

So, that leaves us with "How". My hope is that this part of the picture is starting to become clearer through these articles, so I will only touch on a couple.

It starts by examining one's own life. How am I using all the gifts that God has given me - my talent, my time, my treasure, & my testimony - to love my neighbor and to glorify God? Am I doing it holistically, cheerfully, & sacrificially? What does this look like within my congregation and my district?

And then it expands to one's congregation. What is my congregation's view of stewardship? Is it gift based, Christ-centered, and holistic? How does my congregation use her talent, time, treasure, & testimony in her community & her district?

And then it expands to one's district. How does my district view stewardship? Well, I think I am speaking for the entire Stewardship Committee, we are seeking to create a culture within our district, at every level, that looks at everything that we have as a gift from God, which He has given to us love our neighbor and glorify Him. A culture that is motivated by the love of God in Christ Jesus to be a blessing to one another and those around us in our walk together.

In the end, there is not a single, specific way to do this. There is not a specific formula to follow that will meet every context and situation, but there are things that we can all do to start to change the culture at every level of the District. And as it turns out, the Synod has a wealth of resources on the Stewardship Ministry page of the Synod's website ( There are resources for individuals, congregations, and yes, even for districts. I hope that you will take the time to check them out and put them to use in your life, the life of your congregation, and within your district. And I invite you to use the Stewardship Committee of the Southern District as another resource to help you on your journey toward holistic, Christ-centered, sacrificial giving of the gifts that God has given you.

Rev. Louis Boldt, St. Paul Lutheran Church (Hammond, LA) on behalf of the Stewardship Committee


Jesus said to her "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;..."  
                                                                         John 11:25 (NIV)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with cancer:
  • Rev. Jerry Conley (Emeritus - Marianna, FL)
  • Mrs. Gloria Moritz, widow of Rev. Victor Moritz (Emeritus - Metairie, LA)
  • Rev. Sidney Ponseti (Emeritus - Baton Rouge, LA)
  • Mrs. Doris Taglauer, wife of Rev. Jim Taglauer (Emeritus - Folsom, LA) 
  • Rev. Robert Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
    These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with various health issues:
    • Mrs. Melodie Rupp, wife of Rev. Bob Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
    • Rev. Rory Hermann (Emeritus - St. Augustine, FL)
    • Dr. J. B. Marshall (Concordia College Alabama Board of Regents member)
    • Rev. Perry McCulllam (Unity - Birmingham, AL)
    • Rev. Anthony Robinson (Christ - Tuscaloosa, AL and Epiphany - Arlington, AL)
    • Mrs. Nancy Kaul (SD Board of Directors Member) Hattiesburg, MS
    • Rev. Sanford Stanton (Eternal Trinity - Cantonment, FL)
    • Rev. Charles Schaum (Christ the King - Muscle Shoals, AL) and family
    May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed. Thessalonians 2: 16-17  (NIV)
                                    THE GIFT OF GENEROSITY-Electronic Giving
     A definition of generous includes this phrase: 
    Freely sharing valuable things.   Freely sharing
    . . .no strings attached. . .no tit for tat. . .nothing expected in return.   Valuable things: your child. What is more valuable than a life of someone you love beyond measure?   As we reflect on this message, remember Those Who Don't Yet Know Jesus.  Your continued support for the mission and ministry of the Southern District is requested. 
    If you need a convenient way to make regular offerings, we encourage you to look into our electronic online giving options.  

    Visit here or contact Ronnie Giaise  at the Southern District office for more information ---

    Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.              Southern District -LCMS               504-282-2632

    100 Mission Dr.
    Slidell LA 70460