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The Office of Holy Ministry

This week, men from Concordia Theological Seminary and Concordia Seminary will receive their vicarage assignments and first call into the Office of the Holy Ministry. C.F.W. Walther, first President of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has these words to say regarding the Office:

C.F.W. Walther

O, glorious office! [the office of ministry] No matter how sick a person may be in his soul, the Gospel can heal him. No matter how deeply a person has fallen into the corruption of sin, the Gospel can pull him out. No matter how troubled, frightened, and afflicted a person may be, the Gospel can comfort him. Whatever the condition in which a person finds himself, even if he is convinced that he must perish because of it, the preachers can confidently oppose him, saying: “No, as certainly as God lives, He does not want the death of any sinner. You shall not perish; instead, you shall be saved. Turn to Jesus, who can evermore save all who come to God through Him.” And if one who lies near death calls out: “God, what have I done? Woe to me! Now it is too late! I am lost!” the preachers should call to him: “No, no, it is not too late! Commit your departing soul to Jesus. You too shall still be with Him in paradise today.” O, glorious, high office, too high for the angels! May we always hold it in high regard, not looking at the person who bears it and despising his weakness, but looking instead at the Institutor of this office and His exuberant goodness. Let us turn to Him in faith so we can experience the blessings of which the preachers have spoken, and through them, be gathered together one day into the barns of heaven as a completely ripe sheaf.

Needless to say, those are indeed words of great wisdom when it comes to the Office of Holy Ministry. The Office is not about who serves in that Office, how great of a people-person the pastor is, how funny or smart he is. The great importance of the Office is what said Office does: it brings the Word of God to a hurting people in need of hearing God’s forgiveness pronounced to them. It is all about Jesus living and dying and rising for them because of their sin. It is all about the gifts that God brings to His Church through the Office of Holy Ministry, the gifts of Word and Sacrament.

As Sem IV students receive their calls, they are given this charge (at least at CTS):

Go, then, take heed unto thyself and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghose hath made thee an overseer, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.  Feed the flock of Christ, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lord over God’s heritage, but being an example to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, thou shalt receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.  The Lord bless thee from on high and make thee a blessing unto many, that thou mayest bring forth fruit, and that thy fruit may remain unto eternal life.  Amen.  (The Lutheran Agenda, p. 109)

These words are indeed a tall order to any man, especially one whom God has called to shepherd His people. If you don’t feel a heavy weight placed upon your shoulders after hearing that charge, then you had better check to make sure that you are still alive, for this is a very important Office in which men undertake. To be sure, there is no way that any man could function in this Office without God behind him, for this is God’s Church, and He will see to it that His church is well cared for and that the gifts which He has given to the Church are properly administered, namely the preaching and teaching of God’s Word and the administration of the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

To those men who are engaged in pastoral studies or will soon find themselves donning a red stole, may God continue to bless and be with you.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in Office of Holy Ministry

 

Ordination Anniversary

Today marks my seventh anniversary of ordination into the Office of Holy Ministry. Has it really been that long? Sometimes it does and other times it doesn’t. I had one person comment that ordination adds 50 years to your life. That’s a very interesting way to look at it.

As I reflect upon these last seven years, I see many good things the Lord has done for me and my ministry, for my family, and for the congregation that I am blessed to serve. But at the same time, I see the ways that the devil has attacked me and the congregation that I serve as well.

Being a pastor isn’t always glorious. In fact, glorious wouldn’t be the word I would use to describe it. Rather, I would say self-sacrificing, giving, shepherding, and even at times ugly. But doing the work of the Lord is the rewarding and glorious part. Bringing Christ to people in desperate need of a Savior is what it is all about. Bringing the body and blood of our Lord and Savior to the member in the hospital or on their death bed is what it is all about. Declaring a person forgiven all of their sins on account of Jesus Christ is what it is all about.

What have I learned these last seven years? I have learned that there is still more that I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know everything. I need to hear that my sins are forgiving just as much as my members sitting in the pew. I need to receive Christ’s body and blood for the forgiveness of my sins just as much as the next person does. You see, being a pastor doesn’t make you sinless. Being a pastor doesn’t earn you any better of a place in heaven as the next person. Being a pastor is a special vocation that God calls a man to, in order to bring Christ and His Gifts of Word and Sacrament to a congregation. The man who is a pastor is still a man. That means he is just as sinful, if not worse, than the next person, because he is the chief of sinners, just as you are.

If anything, after seven years, I guess I would say one thing that I am is humble. For some reason unknown to me, God saw it fit to call me to be a pastor. More often than not, the answer alludes me, but God is God and I am not. I trust His Word and His divine judgment. If he wanted me to be a shepherd to His sheep, who am I to argue?

To sum it up, here is a pray from Martin Luther at the ordination of a pastor:

Merciful God, heavenly Father, thou hast said to us through the mouth of thy dear Son our Lord Jesus Christ: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest” [Matt. 9:37–38]. Upon this thy divine command, we pray heartily that thou wouldst grant thy Holy Spirit richly to these thy servants, to us, and to all those who are called to serve thy Word so that the company of us who publish the good tidings may be great, and that we may stand faithful and firm against the devil, the world, and the flesh, to the end that thy name may be hallowed, thy kingdom grow, and thy will be done. Be also pleased at length to check and stop the detestable abomination of the pope, Mohammed, and other sects which blaspheme thy name, hinder thy kingdom, and oppose thy will. Graciously hear this our prayer, since thou hast so commanded, taught, and promised, even as we believe and trust through thy dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Office of Holy Ministry, Tucher

 

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The Office of Holy Ministry

This is a great quote regarding the Office of Holy Ministry from C.F.W. Walther, first president of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

O, glorious office! No matter how sick a person may be in his soul, the Gospel can heal him. No matter how deeply a person has fallen into the corruption of sin, the Gospel can pull him out. No matter how troubled, frightened, and afflicted a person may be, the Gospel can comfort him. Whatever the condition a person finds himself, even if he is convinced that he must perish because of it, the preachers can confidently oppose him, saying: “No, as certainly as God lives, He does not want the death of any sinner. You shall not perish; instead, you shall be saved. Turn to Jesus who can evermore save all who come to God through Him.” And if one who lies near death calls out: “God, what have I done? Woe to me! Not it is too late! I am lost!” the preachers should call to him: “No, no, it is not too late! Commit your departing soul to Jesus. You too shall still be with Him in paradise today.” O, glorious, high office, too high for the angels! May we always hold it in high regard, not looking at the person who bears it and despising his weakness, but looking instead at the Institutor of this office and His exuberant goodness. Let us turn to Him in faith so we can experience the blessings of which the preachers have spoken and, through them, be gathered together one day into the barns of heaven as a completely ripe sheaf.

It is comforting to know that no matter how I mess things up as a pastor, a person’s salvation does not depend on me, the man, but rather the office to which I hold. It is and always must be solely the Gospel that is put forward and never the man. Man is sinful; the Word of God is without sin. Man can err; the Word of God is without error. Let us not focus on the man in the office, but rather what it is that the man preaches; that is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(Quoted from God Grant It, p. 679-680)

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Law & Gospel, Lutheran, Office of Holy Ministry, Quotes

 

Support and Love, Patience and Wisdom

The following is a quote from the Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe from 1979. I find it very appropriate even today.

Our primary calling as theologians is to interpret reality for ourselves and for our people. In our day, we behold the tragic paradox of secular man seeking something more solid than the phony, penultimate, pleasure trips, of either the gross or more refined variety, that are constantly held before us as the only route worth traveling…and, in their seeking, find no one to speak to them of that which is solid and real. The saints whom you serve will at times overwhelm you with their support and love. The sinners whom you serve will at times send you scampering to the throne of grace for more patience and wisdom than your flesh can muster. And yet, on this latter point, I can forthrightly say that for all their frailties you will find your flock a joy to serve. I was simply not prepared for all that closeness which is forged between Pastor and people as they seek to live a real life in the midst of a phony world. Frankly, it’s great! And if these tasks do not plant the seeds of joy and happiness in our service, then we have ourselves drifted from that which is real.

Concordia Theological Quarterly 75, p. 367-368

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Lutheran, Office of Holy Ministry, Quotes

 

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A Divine Call

Trinity Lutheran, Gillette, WyomingFor the last 6 years, I have served as Assistant Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Gillette, Wyoming. In April, the Senior Pastor received and accepted a Call to another congregation within the District. From mid-April until now, we have been operating with a single pastor. During these last few months, we have looked at and evaluated our needs to see if we wanted to call a second pastor or remain a single-pastor congregation. On August 7, it was decided to be a single-pastor congregation. A special Voter’s Meeting was set up for August 21 to determine who the congregation wanted to extend that Call to.

On the evening of August 21, I received and accepted the Call to serve as Sole Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Gillette, Wyoming, where I have been serving the last 6 years. I am privileged to continue God’s work in this place and minister to His people that He has entrusted to me.

 
 

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A Surreal Moment

Tonight marked a surreal night for us. We had over Pastor Firminhac and family for our “last supper” before they leave for Torrington. Sunday was his last Sunday at Trinity. Following services, a farewell potluck reception was held in his honor. It was a record turnout to say the least. Tables and chairs had to be brought up multiple times because of the lack of seating.

We spent two hours together enjoying each others company. Wesley got to play with their three kids one last time and Bryce had no shortage of people to hold him.

Over the last almost six years, the one thing I regret the most is not doing this more often. It’s not a usual thing to have two pastors in a church, so having this kind of fellowship is a true blessing.

As they prepare to leave Gillette either tomorrow or Thursday, we wish them God’s safety on their travels and blessings as he begins his ministry as the pastor of Our Savior Lutheran in Torrington.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Clergy, Current Affairs, Lutheran, Office of Holy Ministry

 

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Changes

imageChanges are happening at Trinity Lutheran Church. Earlier this month on March 6, our senior pastor, Rev. Scott Firminhac, received a call to be the pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Torrington, Wyoming. After prayerful consideration, he announced today that he has accepted that call. His last Sunday here at Trinity will be on Palm Sunday, April 17.

I would ask for your prayers for Trinity and for me as we transition from a two-pastor ministry to a single-pastor ministry and for Our Savior and Pastor Firminhac as he begins his ministry there. This will be a difficult transition and time for both congregations. Pastor Firminhac has served at Trinity for 13 years. Our Savior’s previous pastor has served there for 30 years. Having a new pastor for them will be a very big transition.

As Pastor Firminhac said in his letter to the congregations, this is not his Church and it is not the congregation’s Church – it is God’s Church. God’s Church will continue, both in Gillette and in Torrington, regardless of who is behind the pulpit. God’s Word will be preached and His Sacraments will be administered. We pray that God’s Church will grow and many will hear the saving message of Christ crucified for us sinners.

Heavenly Father, You give to Your Church faithful men to be ministers of the Gospel. We thank You for the ministry that You have given to Pastor Firminhac at Trinity over his tenure here. As he has accepted the call to be the pastor of Our Savior, give to him that wisdom that comes through Your Word as he ministers to the saints of Our Savior. Bless his ministry as continues to be a faithful servant of the Word as a servant of Your Church. Continue to be with me and my ministry at Trinity, that these saints may continue to be fed by Your blessed Word and Sacraments. Continue to remind the members and pastors of these congregations that this is Your Church and You will give to her servants those tools that are necessary for the furthering of Your kingdom here on earth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Clergy, Office of Holy Ministry, Prayer

 

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The Clergy Desk

Clergy Desk

Link

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Clergy, Humor, Office of Holy Ministry, Strange & Odd

 

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Why pastors have it easy

To be technical, I work 2 hours a week because we have 2 services. 🙂

Dennis_The_Menace 10_10_10.gif

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2010 in Humor, Office of Holy Ministry, Satire

 

As of First Importance

That was the title of the sermon that my pastor and mentor, Rev. David Shadday, preached on the occassion of my ordination into the Office of Holy Ministry 5 years ago.  The text for the sermon was based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11.  There, before family and friends, I made a vow:

  • Do you believe the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
    I do.
  • Do you accept the three Ecumenical Creeds, namely the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds, as faithful testimonies to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and do you reject all the errors which they condemn?
    I do.
  • Do you believe that the Unaltered Augsburg Confession is a true exposition of the Word of God and a correct exhibition of the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church; that the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Small and Large Catechisms of Martin Luther, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Authority and Primacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord – as these are contained in the Book of Concord – are also in agreement with this one scriptural faith?
    I do.
  • Do you solemnly promise that you will perform the duties of your office in accordance with these Confessions, or Symbols, and that all your teaching and your administration of the sacraments will be in conformity with the Holy Scriptures and with the aforementioned Symbols?
    I do.
  • Will you faithfully instruct both young and old in the chief articles of Christian doctrine; will you forgive the sins of those who repent, and will you promise never to divulge the sins confessed to you; will you minister faithfully to the sick and dying; will you demonstrate to the Church a constant and ready ministry, admonishing the people to a lively confidence in Christ and holy living?
    I will with the help of God.
  • Finally, will you adorn the office of the public ministry with a holy life?
    I will, the Lord helping me through the power and grace of his Holy Spirit.

Needless to say, these are very weighty vows that I made.  They were not made lightly, nor are they something to be casually agreed upon.  That day, when that stole was placed around me, everything changed.  Things became more important.  To say that the stole added weight around my neck is an understatement. 

Five years later, looking at my ministry, can I say that I have been the perfect pastor?  As much as I would like to say yes, it would be a lie.  There have been times where instead of excercising my pastoral authority, I have feared man rather than God.  There have been times where I have exercized my pastoral authority to a point where I have made the weak in faith stumble.  Throughout my ministry, I have done what I thought was the right thing to do, only to find that it was the wrong thing.  I pray that God (and my sheep which I have offended over the years) would be gracious and merciful to me, a sinner, and that through the work of the Holy Spirit, I may continue to a faithful pastor which God has called me to be.

Laying on of hands
Laying on of hands

Clergy 
Gathered clergy

Me and Pr. Shadday 
Me and Pr. David Shadday

Me and Pr. Dietrich
Me and Pr. Joel Dietrich (classmate and fellow brother in Christ)

 Me and my parents 
+Frank Tucher+, Me, Kim Tucher

Me and Gwen
Me and my lovely wife Gwen

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2010 in Jared, Office of Holy Ministry

 
 
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