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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Record Synod Nomination Numbers

The nomination results for Synod President, First Vice President, and Regional Vice Presidents have been released – and they indicate that both sides are energized for the election.

This is only the third election the Synod has had under the 2010 restructuring scheme.

Back in 2010, the last election in which delegates to the convention elected the Synod President, President Kieschnick was visibly surprised to see the results: a 53% vote in favor of Matthew Harrison. It was surprising to a lot of folks, but it really should not have been after the nomination numbers came out:

2010 Nominations for Synod President

  • Kieschnick: 755

  • Harrison: 1332

Clearly, the folks who wanted a change were very energized in 2010. Those nomination numbers surely influenced some of the middle of the road delegates at the convention, but the overall energy needed to generate 1300+ nominations also indicates that a lot of the delegates probably came from Harrison supporting congregations.

But since 2013 the voting has been done differently: a pastoral and lay vote for every parish in Synod. In the first two elections under the new system, the nominations for the leading two candidates fell well below the Kieschnick-Harrison election.

2013 Nominations for Synod President

  • Matthew Harrison: 1111

  • David Maier: 126

This was the nadir of the Missional/Church Growth/Old Liberal political alliance that gave us JesusFirst and Gerald Kieschnick. They are the Coalition of Those Dissatisfied with Your Grandfather’s Church . . . and in 2013 they simply didn’t show up.

2016 Nominations for Synod President

  • Harrison: 755

  • Dale Meyer: 442

  • David Maier: 358

We Love the Sem really pushed Dale Meyer last time around: a former Lutheran Hour speaker, current Seminary President, and a well-known and well-liked man across Synod. And he only got 442 nominations. Low energy once again from the Coalition of the Disastisfied.

But also notice the much lower energy for Harrison in these numbers. Your Grandfather’s Church was snoozing in the rocking chair.

Things have changed this year. There’s a lot of energy on both sides.

2019 Nominations for Synod President

  • Harrison: 1181

  • Maier: 947

  • Klinkenberg: 638

This is back to 2007 levels of total nominations for the top two . . . and even the third place fellow beat out the 2016 second highest total for nominations.

What has changed? The Coalition of Those Dissatisfied with Your Grandfather’s Church are back (supporters of one or more of the following, but usually not all: open communion, praise-bandy worship, women’s ordination, a flexible view of doctrine and practice, a missional outlook, an ecumenical outlook . . . and I’m sure there are more fringes I’m forgetting to list). And they are smarter and more energized. No more trying to run a merely upbeat campaign with a well known name (We Love the Sem + Meyer). And no more trying to run both an upbeat campaign and a hard hitting (sometimes below the belt) political operation under one masthead (JesusFirst).

This time they have split Jekyll from Hyde. Congregations Matter will throw the muck with old JesusFirst hands comically commenting on articles on Facebook as if they didn’t write them themselves. Meanwhile, Imagine LCMS (it’s easy if you try) is gong full American Evangelical Upbeat with an operation out of Maier’s home state that mainly focuses on inspiring Instagram worthy shots of Pastor Dave and his grandkids.

And they’ve been working very hard on doing what Team Harrison did back in 2010: get a bunch of nominations in . . . hopefully more than the incumbent.

And they did get enough to beat the incumbent’s 2016 number (which happens to be exactly the same as the 2010 incumbent’s number of 755!). 947 is a very big number for nominations. They did a good job.

But look here! Harrison still came out with 25% more nominations than Maier – and a full 56% more than his own 2016 nomination total.

So what got Your Grandfather’s Church energized to nomination for Harrison unlike 2016? I wonder if it wasn’t all the machinations from the Coalition of the Dissatisfied.

The Missouri Synod really is Your Grandfather’s Church: the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, The Galesburg Rule, LSB, the CPH Catechism, the Confessions and an organist.

But as the election of Kieschnick demonstrated: enough organizing by the Coalition of the Dissatisfied, combined with infighting and/or apathy on the supporters of Your Grandfather’s Church can indeed succeed in handing over the reigns of power to the Coalition.

So it’s high energy time. Make sure your parish’s pastor and lay voter are registered. And make sure they vote. The Coalition of the Dissatisfied really wants to appoint the next president of CSL (among other things) and this year they are most certainly showing up to fight.