Promoting good leadership in the Lutheran churches of the Americas

Participants to the LAC leadership conference. Photo: LWF/Eugenio Albrecht
Participants to the LAC leadership conference. Photo: LWF/Eugenio Albrecht

(LWI) Empowering the churches for mission was the focus of the recent leadership conference of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches in the North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean regions.

The conference took place from May 9 to 12 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its theme was Let’s go! Lutheran Churches on the Move in Mission.

In the course of the conference, churches shared core aspects of their mission work, as well as discussing challenges and alternatives to current practices. Among the issues discussed were: sustainability of churches, climate change, growth and missionary advancement, the need for strengthened churches, leadership, Christian education, revival of youth ministries, mission in context, migration, social violence and violence against women, as well as the loss of members in different churches.

“The churches in the region are confronted by the need to work in challenging social realities but these realities call us to continue with the prophetic action in contexts where we develop our mission work,” the conference message read.

Historical richness and move towards theological formation

The message furthermore stated that although the churches carried out mission work in different geographical contexts and at different periods, they have a shared basis in faith.  

“Reflecting on how we arrived at the current mission work, we appreciate how, through the history of each of our churches, we find that the Lutheran doctrine is the same but the social contexts differ.”

Different forms of theology have developed, according to the way in which mission was carried out in each church. Historic moments that shaped mission have helped identify specific aspects of the ministerial and theological formation of churches. Since 2015 various churches in the region have worked together on ministerial formation, along with theological institutions in the region.

“At a general level, we conclude that it is necessary to self-critically reflect on matters of liturgy, theological formation, and the growth and strengthening of the churches,” the message said.

Finding ways of nurturing good relations

Area Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, Rev. Dr Patricia Cuyatti, said the conference was highly significant for the two regions because although their challenges in mission are similar, they can learn a lot from each other, and the conference provided an opportunity to do so.

“The churches have the opportunity to enhance relations, and articulate and promote priorities, for instance at the level of the women and youth networks.”

Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean intend to continue working together and through ministerial and theological formation networks in the region.

“I see that both regions can benefit in the future by finding ways of solidifying relations conducive to concrete tasks, such as ministerial and theological formation and mission,” Rev. Dr Cuyatti said.