Meetings can be painful. Painfully looooong. Painfully tedious. Painfully unproductive. Can you relate? Ever walk away from a meeting with a question and a sigh: “What have we really accomplished?” Or end it with an exclamation and a huff: “What a waste of time!”
Benches are hard and decisions are hard to come by. Emotions run high and energy runs low. Rehashing the same stuff, some people missing the point and others belaboring it. Resolutions controversial and outcomes debatable.
Yes, meetings can be painful. But then again, meetings can be powerful. Powerfully beneficial. Powerfully effective. Powerfully uplifting and inspiring.
Just like the 31st Synod Convention in Zambia.
Pastor Alfred Kumchulesi and I were privileged to attend it. (Pastor Alfred Kumchulesi is a Professor at the Lutheran Bible Institute in Lilongwe, Malawi. He is currently serving as the Synod Secretary.) Oh, sure, the hours stretched long and there were occasions of tension and frustrations, but all in all, so many good things took place. Oh, so many good things.
- The Lutheran Church of Central Africa Zambia Synod (LCCA-ZS) declared fellowship with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) in Kenya.
- The Chairman of the LCMC in Kenya, Dr. Mark Enricho Onunda, attended the Convention.
- The delegates elected the new Synod Leaders.
- Essayists presented thought-provoking papers.
- The Convention attendees worshiped, communed and fellowshipped together.
- The men who participated in the Convention showed love and patience when there were times of disagreements and differing opinions.
- God graced us with His presence and leading and spoke to us through His Word and strengthened us in the Sacrament.
- Men stand poised to undertake the important work at hand.
The delegates were revitalized and they all rallied are the Convention theme: “The Time is Now!”
“The Time is Now!” was not only the theme of the Convention but the thread woven throughout and within the sermon, the devotions, the reports and the papers. One of the pastors, Reverend Makowani, even wrote an original song, entitled it, The Time is Now! and sang it before all the delegates.
The Time is Now!
The Time is Now to do what?
- To rebuke the erring,
- To repent of our own sin,
- To work and walk together,
- To trust God to lead our Synods,
- To preach and teach the true Word of God.
The out-going Chairman, Reverend David Baloyi, appropriately said in his report, “…the time is now to accept what God has for His Church.”
And indeed, God has a lot for us!
A Son who is our Savior,
A Love that is unconditional,
A Home that is eternal,
A Plan that is unstoppable,
With a God who has these things, imagine what He can do through a Synod like the one in Zambia!
And so we entrust the LCCA-Zambia into the strong hands of God Almighty. And we pray that the Lord works in the hearts of the leaders to direct the affairs of the church and in the hearts of the Lutheran members to work together with them. May they all do so with faithfulness, finding their motivation, strength and joy in the Triune God.
Even when the benches are painfully hard and the discussions painfully harder. Jesus one day said to His disciples, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work…I am the Light of the world” (John 9:4).
Interestingly the power (electricity) was out for a good share of the meeting. After a full day of meeting we were still knee deep in discussions and it was getting extremely dark in the church; however, the last rays of the setting sun were shining through the glass cross in the back of the church.
The Cross is empty.
So is the grave.
Jesus is alive.
So are we.
It is still day. But night is coming.
The Zambians and WELS Missionaries have done a lot of work in their beloved Synod and in the ripe Harvest Fields but still have a lot more to do.
Do you in yours? The Time is Now.
Missionary John Holtz
Learn about the ministry work of WELS Missions.
Support the ministry work of WELS Missions.