Fri, Apr 24, 2009
LCMS World Mission is pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas R. Zehnder, who has been serving as interim executive director of LCMS World Mission since November, has accepted a call from the Board for Mission Services to continue his service as executive director. The Board extended the call at their April 15 meeting in St. Louis. Their action removes the “interim” title from Dr. Zehnder’s position and serves as an endorsement of his continuing leadership of LCMS World Mission.
“It is with great joy that the staff of LCMS World Mission received the news that Tom Zehnder has accepted the call to continue his service as executive director,” shares Kurt Buchholz, LCMS World Mission’s associate executive director for planning and administration. “We covet the passion, vision, and integrity Tom brings to this position especially in this time of unprecedented mission opportunities mixed with challenging economic times.”
LCMS President Dr. Gerald Kieschnick adds, “Dr. Zehnder’s wealth of experience as an overseas missionary, parish pastor, and district president qualify him uniquely for this important position of service among us. In addition to these qualifications, he brings to the task a wonderful combination of personal and professional characteristics-warmth, humor, humility, energy, transparency, and passion ‘vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed, within our churches, communities, and the world.’ My wife, Terry, and I have known Tom and his wife, Jackie, for almost 20 years and warmly welcome them to the family at the LCMS International Center.”
“The action of extending this call to Dr. Tom Zehnder is good news for the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League!” shares LWML President, Janice Wendorf. “Tom has taken a proactive leadership role in further strengthening the relationship between LCMS World Mission and the LWML. Thanks be to our gracious God that He led Tom to accept this solemn call. We look forward to continued partnerships with LCMS World Mission under the servant leadership of Tom.”
The Board decided to call Zehnder to the post on a more permanent basis, and put on hold its search for a new executive director. Zehnder’s proven leadership abilities are key for LCMS World Mission at this time, especially considering possible structure changes that may be authorized by the 2010 LCMS convention. Those changes, under consideration by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance, could possibly eliminate LCMS program boards, including the Board for Mission Services, and realign their functions under new organizational structures.
Zehnder, 72, of Baileys Harbor, Wis., succeeds Dr. Robert Roegner, who resigned Nov. 16, citing his desire to return to “a more hands-on ministry.” Roegner, 55, had served as executive director since November 2001. He recently accepted a call to serve as a mission developer for the English District in the Riverview area of North St. Louis County, Mo.
A 1961 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Zehnder and his wife, Jacquelyn, served as missionaries in Japan for nearly a decade. From 1987 to 1997, Zehnder was president of the Synod’s Florida-Georgia District. He also has served as pastor to congregations in Columbus, Ga.; Stuart, Fla.; and Williamsburg, Va.
Tags: executive director