Reformation service, workshop planned this weekend in county

The Rev. Gregory Seltz is coming back to Jackson County.

Lutheran Mission Federation invites the public to hear the executive director of Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty speak on reformation mission and religious liberty.

Seltz will lead a workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the fellowship hall at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 504 N. Walnut St., Seymour. Lunch will be provided.

Then on Sunday, he will preach a sermon from 8 to 9 a.m. at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 403 W. Bridge St., Brownstown, and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at St. John’s Sauers Lutheran Church, 1108 S. County Road 460E, Seymour.

Finally, he will wrap up his visit with a reformation service at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 605 S. Walnut St., Seymour. A hymn sing will start at 6 p.m., and refreshments will be available after the service.

“He wants to reach as many people as possible,” said Ron Rieckers, who has been president of Lutheran Mission Federation since 2008 and a member since 2006. “All of these are open to the public. You don’t have to be Lutheran to come and hear him speak.”

The LCRL is a religious liberty organization in Washington, D.C., that provides input, education, advice, advocacy and resources in the areas of life, marriage and religious liberty and seeks to engage in discussions in the nation’s capital to establish partnerships and resources for the sake of churches, schools, universities and seminaries, according to

“The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod created that position and put him in there, so he’s the very first director of this,” Rieckers said.

In that role, Rieckers said Seltz often talks to members of Congress about their responsibility to be servants for Americans and do things for them, instead of going to Washington, D.C., to amass as much power as they can.

“He said he gets a lot of them that have that mindset that receive him well, and the ones that don’t have that mindset don’t really want anything to do with him,” Rieckers said.

Seltz also wants people to vote on the party’s platform, rather than the person.

“Does the party’s platform gear toward God or is it geared toward government?” Rieckers said. “He said, ‘You don’t really know the person that’s running most of the time.’ What he’s trying to say is ‘Don’t look at the person necessarily. Look at the party platform and elect the person according to the party platform. Then hold that person accountable to that platform,’ and if they don’t, if they go rogue, then it’s time to look at someone else.”

With the general election coming up Nov. 8, Seltz’s visit will be timely.

“He’s a very dynamic speaker,” Rieckers said. “It’s going to be a big weekend.”

Prior to Seltz’s work in Washington, D.C., he served as the speaker of The Lutheran Hour radio program, a position he had held since February 2011. As speaker, now speaker emeritus, he served as the featured speaker on Lutheran Hour Ministries’ flagship Christian outreach radio program with more than 1 million listeners, airing on stations across North America and on the American Forces Network.

He served as the organization’s spiritual leader, evangelist and ministry emissary with Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod and Lutheran Church — Canada.

Rieckers said the Lutheran Mission Federation had him speak the Sunday of the Jackson County Fair in 2013 when he was in that role.

“It was the first time any kind of major religious speaker came to the fair,” Rieckers said. “We had about 800 people or so come that day at the grandstand.”

Before joining Lutheran Hour Ministries, Seltz served as director of Cross-Cultural Ministry Center and professor of theology at Concordia University in Irvine, California. He went to Concordia in 2000 to oversee the master’s program in theology and culture.

With more than 75 pastors in the urban mission field during his tenure, his work prepared leaders from various cultures to launch ministries in a variety of cultural settings, including Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, Indonesian, Indian and African-American, just to name a few.

Prior to his work at Concordia, Seltz was executive director of Life’s Journey Ministries, an urban not-for-profit evangelism ministry in Manhattan, New York. He also was the founding pastor of the first new Lutheran mission start in New York City in more than 40 years, started a mission church in Dallas, Texas, and served as pastor of a large congregation in Tampa, Florida.