In “A Mission Plan for the Twenty First Century” that the Board for Missions and Social Services made to the 6th Convention of Lutheran Church – Canada in Kitchener (June 6-10, 2002), the following observation was made:
What conclusion can be drawn from this plan for the 21st century? You will recognize that we are not speaking of church expansion. We are not about the busy-ness of finding ways of making Lutheran Church – Canada grow and prosper. The overwhelming conclusion we must draw from Jesus’ mandate, is that the true business of the church is to die to the glory of God. … The true life of the Body of Christ is to be found in the way it expends every resource at its disposal and so dies so that others may hear the Gospel and live. …
Many members and leaders of our church today show a great fear of the church’s dying. The question in their hearts is, “How will Lutheran Church – Canada survive?” That is a meaningless question because Christ does not expect the church to find its own way to live. Its life is already captured in Christ. The only question remaining is how will she die?
Here is the challenge for the 21st century: will the church be courageous enough to use every resource that God has given her to ensure that others will live with him forever? Will the church engage the world in such a sacrificial manner that the unbelieving world will look upon its dying and say, ‘This truly is the Bride of the Son of God!’
If the church is about the Father’s business, He will surely not allow its witness to disappear from the earth. The carpet may be shabby, the organ out of tune, the windows plain, the spire not very high, but the heart of the church will shine with love and mercy. Those who view its sacrifice of love will praise the God of its creation. Those who will come to faith will join with the dying church to offer their voices to those of the angels in praise to God for having made His church such a glorious gift. So may it be!
(From the LCC Convention Workbook, “A Mission Plan for the Twenty First Century” LCC 6th Convention, Kitchener, June 6-10, 2002, page G-24)