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"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Volume III, Issue 32
August 30, 2018

Encourage Newsletter
Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan

The Church Has Too Many Leaders!

Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? 
You follow me!”  John 21:22

From Jesus’ call of Andrew at the beginning of John’s Gospel to His restoration of Peter as the end, we find Jesus’ repeatedly calling disciples and bidding them to follow Him.  Whether using the theme of walking in light as opposed to darkness or sheep heeding their master, our Lord calls people into a relationship with Him.  The metaphors that our Lord uses make it clear how dependent we are on Him.  Students listen to the instructions of the teacher.  The sheep follow the voice of the shepherd.  And the servants are called to do the Master’s bidding.   

The Church has far too many leaders these days!  Too many people are vying to be in charge.  Pastors and people wrestle for power so that they can know who is in control.  The Church needs less leaders and more followers.  The Scriptures are full of references to God’s people that are quite humbling.  From children to servants to disciples, God’s Word teaches that we are not in charge.  When we spend our time in congregations sparring for positions and influence, we show ourselves to be so much like the children of Israel or Jesus’ disciples.  Our Lord does not call us to lead, but to follow. 

Jesus’ call of discipleship begins with the charge to hold to His teaching.  The greatest challenges facing our congregations today are not financial or numerical, but spiritual.  Our congregations have many elders who never attend Bible class and congregational presidents and treasurers who are more concerned about the church’s business than the Master’s business.  Many pastors and church workers have fallen into the trap of viewing themselves as teachers of the Word rather than students of the Word.  But our gracious and merciful God is still restoring His wayward and erring disciples today.  Jesus charged Peter to feed and tend His flock.  But too often, that’s all the further we go in the reading, but in verse 22 (above), Jesus reminds Peter of their restored relationship of teacher and student when he bids him to “Follow me.”  How often we have been like Peter.  But thanks be to God our Lord lovingly restores us as His disciples, called not to lead, but to follow!  The Church doesn’t need more leaders!  We need more followers, more students, more disciples.  When we are His disciples, when we hold to His teaching, then He will raise up disciples and servants through whom He will work to lead His flock.

Prayer – O Holy Spirit strengthen as to be true disciples that we might hold to your Word and be followers of the Lord Jesus in the way that leads to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


Fraternally in Christ,

President Lee Hagan

Events and Information

Missouri District Pastors' Conference
September 30-October 2

District Pastors will meet at Tan-Tar-A in Osage Beach on September 30 – October 2 for the Missouri District Pastors’ Conference. 

 The conference will focus on helping pastors continue to hone their homiletical skills through a preacher’s clinic format and prepare pastors for utilization of the “Preach the Word” modules from the Synod.

The Divine Service will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Lake Ozark on Sunday, September 30th at 7:00 p.m. No evening program has been planned, allowing time for “mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren.”

The conference will begin on Monday morning, October 1st and conclude shortly after noon on Tuesday, October 2nd.

Click below for more information and to register.

LESA's 6th Annual "Brew in the Lou" Festival Returns to Francis Park
October 13

LESA's 6th Annual "Brew in the Lou" Festival Returns to Francis Park
October 13.

The St. Louis-based Lutheran Elementary School Association's (LESA) sixth annual “Brew in the Lou” festival will return to the Lily Pond at Francis Park, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, from 1-5 pm.

"Brew in the Lou" offers one-stop tasting of St. Louis’ best beer, wine, spirits, coffee and good eats. Last year's festival raised a record $92,000 for Lutheran schools and showcased more than 40 local and regional craft breweries, along with unlimited tastings from The Stellar Hog, Gobble Stop Smokehouse, Volpi, Dogtown Pizza, Nothing Bundt Cakes and many more. Festivities include live entertainment, arts and craft vendors, a “People’s Choice” Home Brew Competition, a "Battle of the Bratwurst" and our annual Brew Chili Contest.

Wristbands are available now at special pre-sale price of just $30 through June 30, 2018 – a $20 savings over same-day admission. On July 1, tickets will increase to $40 advance/$50 day-of-event. To purchase at the special pre-sale rate, call (314) 200-0797 by 4 pm on Friday June 29, 2018, or purchase online by midnight June 30, 2018, on the event website by clicking here. Wristband purchases include a commemorative glass.

More than 8,800 children attend LESA member Lutheran schools in the St. Louis Metro Area, making Lutheran schools the second-largest private school system in the Bi-State area. A Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LESA represents 35 elementary and high schools and five related agencies. For more information, visit

Don’t miss this year’s “Brew in the Lou!” We hope to see you October 13 at Francis Park in the St. Louis Hills - 5399 Donovan Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63109.

Fall Junior High Retreat
October 19-21

The Missouri District Lutheran Jr High Retreat is returning this Fall on October 19-21 around the theme, “One”. Our focus this year is the Sacrament of the Altar. Our presenter & worship leader is Rev. Matthew Ryan Gonzalez, pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church – The Bronx, New York. You may have seen him as a Bible Study Presenter at the 2016 National Youth Gathering.  We are excited to have him join us! Click here for complete bio and more info.

Missouri District Pastors' Wives Retreat
November 3 & November 10


Sr. High District Youth Gathering
November 16-18

Save the date for the Missouri District Sr. High Youth Gathering. It will be at Cross Pointe Retreat Center in Rocky Mount, Mo., November 16-18, 2018.

Watch for more information, including a registration link, coming soon.

LWML Carnival Fantasy Cruise
June 24-29, 2019 

Post the National LWML Convention in Mobile Alabama, the LWML is pleased to offer a cruise on the Carnival Fantasy for FUN from June 24- 29, 2019. Well-deserved rest and relaxation with proceeds which benefit the mission projects of the LWML.

Would you like to take part in this fun getaway while benefiting LWML?

McGehee Cruise & Vacation Inc. will assist with all reservations for the cruise.

Registration is now open:

Please click here for more information.

Volunteers Needed for LEA Convocation 

The Missouri District is looking for volunteers to help out at the Lutheran Educators' Association (LEA) Convocation October 10-12, 2019 at the Americas Center in St. Louis.

Volunteers will be needed to welcome and direct participants, run errands and assist with registration and hospitality. This is the perfect opportunity for retirees, especially retired educators, so that current educators can attend events rather than serve in volunteer roles.

There are many opportunities available, so everyone is sure to find a fit for their skills, talents and desire. Whether you can be there for a few hours, half a day, or multiple days, we'd love to have your help.

If interested, please send an email with your name, phone number, email address and availability to Alan Freeman at


Plus One Participation Forms
Many congregations are turning their attention to our community outreach effort, the Plus One Initiative. Congregations are encouraged to complete a Plus One participation form and either mail it to the district office or email it to If you want additional information about Plus One or a copy of the Plus One participation form, go to

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