Dear Friends in Christ,

I’d like to introduce you to your new pastor.  As of May 12, 2014, I became a minister in the NALC (North American Lutheran Church).  That means I am officially “dual-rostered”.  I am on the clergy roster of LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ), as well as NALC. 

What Does This Mean for Our Church?
The first answer to that question is: not much.  Bethlehem and St. Paul remains a part of LCMC, and I remain your pastor.  My joining NALC has nothing to do with my seeking a new call, or being dis-satisfied with LCMC or Bethlehem or St. Paul.  This is not the first step in leaving LCMC, for I remain committed to LCMC.  In deed, the mission statements of LCMC and NALC are very similar.  Both are committed to the Bible as the Word of God, and both believe in the great commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28: 18).

So Why Join the NALC?
Some of the reasons are personal.  My brothers are a part of the NALC, and so are many of my friends ; and I seek fellowship with them.  Also, this expands the fellowship of churches that I am involved with.  This will be a benefit for both of us in the future, if and when I do seek a new call, and if and when you do seek a new pastor.  While the mission of both NALC and LCMC is almost the same, the structure and governance of the two are different, and I am drawn to the NALC’s model.  There are also practical reasons.  The primary one is that I am eligible for the NALC Medical plan; which is cheaper than the one I am on, and has a considerably lower deductible rate for me (from $3,500 to $400).  Enrolling in the NALC plan will be beneficial to both of us.

What does Bethlehem / St. Paul Have to Do?
Nothing!  If you wish to remain solely an LCMC church, that is fine.  It was in 2010 that we left the ELCA, and joined LCMC; and I firmly believe that it was the right decision.  I believe Bethlehem and St. Paul were re-vitalized, as we proclaimed the Scriptures as God’s Word in worship and study.  I believe our benevolence to true and needy organizations has increased.  I am proud of our affiliation with LCMC.  But, becoming “dually rostered” as a church is something we should consider.  I don’t see the down side to this, and I see some benefits.  Mainly, we would have a voice in a greater part of the new Lutheran movement in North America. 

Your friend in Christ,  Pastor Ron