As Lutherans we confess a God who became a human being. Through the incarnation (‘in the flesh’) God entered our space and time on our terms. The call that we have as God’s church is to also enter the spaces that we inhabit incarnationally, approaching others with the good news of Jesus Christ on their terms.
While the faith that we confess doesn’t change, the environment in which we share our faith continues to rapidly change. In fact the Christian church in Australia is facing significant shifts in how it is included in the Australian narrative.
Responding to the changing nature of society around us is the catalyst behind the District’s on-going governance change project. Lutheran theology defines the church in a way that allows for a contingency based governance architecture. In other words, the Lutheran Confessions define the church in a way, which permits the church’s structures to vary over time and geographical location.
How the church decides to organise and govern itself can change from one place to another and from one time to another, as long as the church’s structure and governance do not hinder, but support the gathering of the faithful and the preaching of the gospel and the right administration of the sacraments.
Governance in the Lutheran tradition, therefore, is informed by theology and responds incarnationally to the contextual realities of the church at a specific point in time and place, with the aid of judicial expertise and solid jurisprudential judgement. Lutheran church governance therefore is authentically incarnational.
As we continue our governance change project journey, District Synod delegates will be invited to consider a number of proposals that will further enable and empower our communities of witness and service to partake and participate in God’s mission.
The challenge set before us, therefore, is the same challenge that is set before the church in every time and place: How do we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ incarnationally? This is the defining question for the District’s governance change project. We could call it, governance with skin on.
First Assistant Bishop