CANADA – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) is re-launching the RSVP initiative, a church worker recruitment program that successfully identified a number of prospective pastors and deacons throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with hopes that LCC congregations will observe a Recruitment Sunday on January 22, 2017.
Resources from the earlier RSVP initiative have been revised in anticipation of the new recruitment effort, and LCC congregations are encouraged to make use of the new material. “Church workers are still needed,” an introduction to the new RSVP material explains. “The potential harvest is greater than ever. It is our prayer that congregations will make use of the revised Recruitment Initiative materials and forward the names of prospective students to Lutheran Church–Canada for follow-up.”
The RSVP material includes bulletin inserts, a Bible study, worship materials, a sermon, nomination forms, and more. You can download the full package here.
Churches are encouraged to read a letter from LCC President Robert Bugbee on January 15 to announce the initiative locally. “As long as there are people who don’t confess Christ… and churches needing faithful shepherds… and unreached communities, there will always be a need for pastors to bring the Good News,” President Bugbee writes. “Pastoral recruitment needs to be on the minds and in the prayers of every person in our church. For Jesus’ sake, please let it be on your mind, and take it into your prayers also!”
RSVP began in 1998, and provided resources to congregations for use on a Recruitment Sunday (preferably in January), in order to encourage members to identify prospective church workers. Those individuals were referred to their pastor, who interviewed them and then, if appropriate, forwarded their names to Synod for follow up by LCC’s seminaries and—at the time—college. The original RSVP program was discontinued after about eight years, ending around a decade ago.