"Built on the Rock, the Church shall stand Even when steeples are falling."
This hymn served as the basis for the devotion of the LCMS Ohio District Board of Directors meeting on Friday, January 29, 2016 meeting at the District office. The members of the Board of Directors are concerned about possible steeples falling, especially when a few congregations are considering dissolution. However, we all must realize that the Church is built on the Rock with Jesus Christ as our Foundation, so God empowers us to remain steadfast to His Word and grow in ministry and mission. Here are the major items the Board discussed and sometimes voted upon.

A. District Personnel discussion and decisions
1.The Board of Directors approved President Cripe's recommendation that Rev. Kevin Wilson receive a call to serve as the District Executive Director of Mission and Ministry. Rev. Wilson currently serves as the Mission and Ministry Facilitator for the Southern Region, so the Board would approve a change in his call, but it would not affect his salary or benefits. In general, Rev. Wilson will ensure the Ohio District assists congregations in meeting their mission and ministry opportunities and challenges. The scope of this position includes oversight of mission and ministry staff, District communications and coordination of mission and ministry training and support. In addition, Rev Wilson would serve in the role of Mission and Ministry Facilitator (MMF) for regions without their own MMF. The Executive would report directly to the District President and this would be a renewable three-year call. The Board approved this change in call for Rev. Wilson.

B. District Congregations discussion and decisions
1. President Cripe presented the District Mission and Ministry Strategy Plan for 2016. The District staff will continue to work with congregations according to their size and health, as well as their desire to ask for and receive help and counsel. They have classified congregations in a quadrant as follows: Receptive -- Healthy // Unreceptive -- Unhealthy Theoretically, this yields four situations in the District: Each of these situations will receive some sort of communication from district staff at appropriate levels and time frames. The staff will offer will various types of counsel / assistance encouragement, depending on each congregation's needs.
2. He plans to meet with congregations that become vacant in order to set before them options if they are no longer able to support a full-time pastor. When congregations understand that they may not be able to call a full-time pastor, they may regard it as a "wake-up" call that can move them to rethink who they are and their ministry and mission.
3. He continues to encourage pastors to attend circuit meetings and build relationships among the churches and their leaders in each circuit.
4. Mr. Peter Hessler, District Legal Counsel, that he serves on the Dissolving Congregations Committee, consisting of himself, Mr. David Bowers, and Mrs. Lisa Rachul, together with Mrs. Christine Spohn, the Board representative. The Committee has met with six congregations. The Committee especially deals with the disbursement of the church building and accouterments. The Committee would like to meet with congregations before they consider dissolution so that the members may consider different options for their congregation, including merging with another congregation or becoming a satellite and not disbanding. However, sometimes the members would rather have their building closed down than the members going to a different congregation. The Committee is also concerned for the church workers that they receive financial help as they await their next call, if a congregation should dissolve. 5. Mr. David Bowers, Executive Director of the Ohio District Lutheran Church Extension Fund, expressed a concern about certain District congregations which hold a large debt with a limited amount of members. He is also concerned about larger congregations in the District because of the size of their loans as compared with a deceasing number of members. The ODLCEF will consult with these congregations.

C. District Resources discussion and decisions
1. The Board approved the second reading of the proposed amendments for the Endowment Committee. These amendments will help Endowment Committee to develop and employ a methodology to provide for both the current and long-term funding of the District programs and missions. One part of this amendment has to be approved at the 2018 District Convention.
2. Mrs. Lisa Rachul stated that the total mission support for January 15, 2016 is $1,478,694 just slightly below the total mission support for January 15, 2016 of $1,479,778. This is above budget by almost $28,700. She also noted that the Synodical Internal Department is currently conducting a financial review of the District finances.

D. District Missions discussion and decisions
1. President Cripe also stated that things are going well at Concordia University, Ann Arbor, MI (CUAA). Eleven schools of the university are growing in number. When he attended worship at the university, he noted that the chapel will full. Both students and professors are very concerned for the university and about 1000 students are attending.

E. Board of Directors discussion and decisions
1. Mr. Peter Hessler, District Legal Counsel, discussed the responsibilities of serving on the Board. Under Ohio law trustee of a non-profit corporation, such as the Ohio District owes a three-fold responsibility to the organization, its members, and others affected by his or her actions: (a) To perform his or her duties as a director in good faith; (b). To perform his or her duties in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the organization; and (c) To perform his or her duties with the care that an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances
2. The Board members also discussed the District Mega-Ends Statements. These statements are important because they establish why the district exists so the Board closely monitors its progress towards that purpose. The Board's evaluation of the President is based on movement toward ends and not on style or approach. In this way, the Board acts as representatives of all of the stewards. The Board discussed the present Mega-ends statements, namely, " The LCMS Ohio District, as governed by the Board of Directors, exists to foster the fulfillment of the Great Commission in ways that are faithful to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions as demonstrated by: 1. Healthy congregations; 2. Healthy professional church workers (PCW's) and their families.
3. Healthy relationships between congregations, the district and the Synod." The Board members and staff took a survey which revealed respondents felt that there is a perception of decline in healthy churches in 2015 from the churches ten year ago. The Board members felt that these three Mega-Ends statements serve as the purpose for the District, but the members will continue to discuss indicators of all three categories as it monitors the District work and also become involved in strategic planning.

Next Board meeting: Friday, April 1, 2016 at the District office. The Board plans to meet at various congregations to become more acquainted with pastors of the different regions.