National Bishop Raymond Schultz

Rev Raymond Schultz, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada writes a regular column for each issue of Canada Lutheran.

ELCIC congregations are welcome to republish this material in their church publications. Please acknowledge its original publication by including the credit line:

Canada Lutheran, June 2004

Further Reading

More of Bishop Ray's writing can be found in From the Bishop including texts from sermons and addresses.

National Bishop's Turn

Moses, not Aaron

This church's leaders have a vision. The vision is that the ELCIC will be a church in mission for others. We can make that vision become reality for them if we can:

  1. Be a public voice of the Lutheran Church in Canada, speaking to the compelling questions and issues facing our global community;
  2. Share our energy and gifts as a church to reenergize the ecumenical movement in Canada and internationally; and
  3. Identify and raise up an apostolic model of leadership beyond the congregational models of pastoral leadership.

The first two strategies will not succeed unless we accomplish the third. Preparing others for leadership for mission was the first task to which Jesus attended so that there would be vision and direction in place when the Spirit opened the doors.

The apostles appointed deacons when the day-to-day in-house work of the early church began to interfere with the preaching of the gospel. From that decision the beginnings of our ordered ministry began to emerge. Not all the deacons stuck to diaconal work, however. Stephen and Phillip, at least, also engaged in apostolic work.

Dr. Gordon Jensen pointed out to the Manitoba/ Northwestern Ontario Synod convention the artificiality of the division between lay and ordained when it comes to leadership for mission. Each person is called into the vocation of the mission of the gospel through Baptism. One's profession or job, whether in the church or outside it, becomes one of the venues in which such mission is advanced.

These days we have expected pastors to do an enormous amount of diaconal work and have distracted them from the apostolic task of visioning, engaging and sending out the people of God. We have relegated them to chaplaincy behind the lines instead of calling upon them to lead us into front-line mission to our society. At the same time, lay members have seen themselves as recipients of pastoral services and custodians of the congregation rather than front-line missionaries reaching out to the society at large.

Neither of these sets of tasks is mutually exclusive. Not all the ordained will be natural leaders in mission development and sometimes the ordained will be active in public life as models of daily discipleship. The same is true for laity. The main thing is to encourage a bolder, more outward-looking and strategic style of leadership. Take a look at the health care institutions and inner-city agencies of this church for examples of such strategic leadership for mission to the world. Pay attention to new mission developers as models of apostolic pastoral leadership.

I have found the most in-depth appreciation for leadership issues among the young adults of this church. They are not cloistered into the congregation in the same way the older generations are, yet they are uncertain about their mandate to be church in the society in which they live. They crave the opportunity to contribute their vision for the future and to share in the tasks of ministry. When you have a young army ready to be mobilized, you don't send them a chaplain, you send them a commander; you send them Moses instead of Aaron.

Bishop Raymond Schultz

Canada Lutheran, June 2004