Agencies of the Gospel: Mission Challenges and Opportunities in the Australian Lutheran Church

Vainikka, Mark and van der Laan, Luke ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2275-8974 (2021) Agencies of the Gospel: Mission Challenges and Opportunities in the Australian Lutheran Church. Church Polity: International Studies in Protestant Church Polity, 2 (1). pp. 37-66. ISSN 2693-2970


Abstract

This article explores challenges and opportunities faced by the LCA in relation to its church order and the governance of its agencies. LCA agencies are agencies of the gospel in their communities. This is a considerable strength of LCA agencies and institutional leaders. The LCA operates significant aged-care, community service and educational agencies that receive state and federal government funding. The LCA, however, finds itself in an increasingly complex regulatory operating environment. This is especially problematic due to an elevated level of competition from other not-for-profit and for-profit agencies and coincides with substantial shifts in the Christian church’s place in Australia’s national narrative. Church attendance and membership continue to decline. However, the size and number of many of LCA’s agencies continue to grow. This has resulted in a church that is decreasing in membership and worship attendance yet has agencies that are increasing in size, governance, and management complexity. The LCA’s shrinking congregational base and growing agency base presents the LCA with fundamental questions relevant to its future. Is the LCA primarily a gathering of congregations with agencies to aid and further the church’s missional work? Or, is the LCA primarily an entity with growing agencies with a reducing number of congregations supporting the work of church agencies? The Lutheran church’s ecclesiology strongly indicates the former, while a rapidly changing place in the Australian public space puts pressure on the church to conform to the latter. This paper presents the outcomes of a study seeking to differentiate these perspectives and consider its implications on the governance of the LCA and church bodies more broadly.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2022 03:57
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 01:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lutheran Church of Australia; challenges; opportunities; agencies; gospel
Fields of Research (2020): 50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5005 Theology > 500501 Theology
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4404 Development studies > 440407 Socio-economic development
50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5004 Religious studies > 500405 Religion, society and culture
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1305 Religion > 130501 Religion and society
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/47547

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