Delegates representing U.S. and Canadian Lutheran Brethren churches came together as a body of believers at the 2016 CLB Biennial Convention on July 16 in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Those same delegates departed on July 19 as the Church united and reconstituted in mission. To understand the process of this convention, it is helpful to see each day as having a specific purpose.
Day one (Saturday) was the Day of Equipping. Continuing education workshops were provided for church leaders, youth leaders, and women’s ministry leaders. The Women’s Ministries Convention ran concurrently that day, with a brief joint session as the CLB BC16 opened at 11:30 a.m. in the sanctuary of Bethel Lutheran Church. The Day of Equipping culminated in an evening worship service, with Chap Clark as the guest speaker and Our Redeemer’s Praise Team (Minot, ND) leading worship, as they did throughout the convention.
The second day (Sunday) was a Day of Community. Fifthteen member and affiliated churches within an hour’s drive of Fergus Falls hosted convention delegates for Sunday morning worship, all of them focused on the convention theme, “Undone”—based on Isaiah’s vision of the Lord (Isaiah 6). Late afternoon and evening was a time for celebration and fellowship the old-fashioned way, as delegates joined together at Delagoon Park. The organizers planned for 300 participants, but found they were blessed to serve over 500 people! All enjoyed good food, good music, and a six-team softball tournament featuring CLB Regional teams playing by old-time baseball rules. The day concluded with a worship service in the park, with Rev. John Kilde speaking.
Monday was day three, the Day of Ownership. Delegates had the opportunity to look back and review Church of the Lutheran Brethren ministry over the last two years, as the CLB Ministry departments gave their reports and delegates were updated on the financial aspects of the ministries. The sense of ownership was enhanced as we looked forward, with elections of new officers, a presentation of the new CLB budget, and the welcoming of three new congregations. Times of worship and listening to God’s Word bookended the day, with missionary Nathanael S. speaking in the morning and President Paul Larson speaking in the evening.
The Convention concluded with a Day of Resolve (Tuesday morning). Lutheran Brethren Homes provided breakfast at their Annual Meeting. We listened to the Lord’s voice again with Ryan Nordlund (Grace LBC, Bismarck, North Dakota) speaking before the final convention business session and, following the session, Pres. Larson leading delegates in a closing communion service. Prior to communion, all in attendance were greatly encouraged to witness interviews with newly commissioned missionaries and church planters. Missionaries David and Sonja N., and church planters Erick Sorensen, Kyle Sears, Harold Rust, Kevin Foss, and Ryan Nordlund, shared their passion for the callings the Lord has given to them. It was a day of resolve to carry forward the CLB ministry goals in the next five years, trusting God to lead us through whatever adversity there may be.
The Church of the Lutheran Brethren 2016 Biennial Convention was a wonderful time of equipping, growing, fellowshipping, and grasping the vision of what God desires to work in and through the CLB.
Rev. Brent Juliot serves as pastor of Oak Ridge Lutheran Brethren Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin.