We spoke with Rev. Daniel Brege, president-elect of the Indiana District, to learn more about his ministry, outlook, and goals. Rev. Brege will take on his new leadership role in September.
Q: Tell us a little about your background.
A: I’m a third-generation pastor. My dad and my grandfather were pastors. Of course, you don’t inherit the gene for being a pastor! But I did observe my dad, and I also have a brother and two brothers-in-law who are LCMS pastors. I have also been privileged to observe many faithful pastors across the Synod. There’s certainly value in having good role models in ministry.
In that light, I would like to commend President May for his 15 years of service. As I publicly thanked the Lord for him during Convention, I would again express thanksgiving to the Lord for Rev. May’s endurance run of 15 years.
Q: How did you get started in ministry?
A: I began my career as a public school teacher. I taught middle-school math in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Later, I went back to school at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and graduated in 1982.
My first pastorate was St. Paul Lutheran Church in Decatur, Indiana — we call it Preble — and I have served there my entire ministry of 36 years.
Q: That’s a remarkable endurance run, too.
A: Yes, and I’m grateful for that experience.
In his report to our Convention, LCMS President Matt Harrison described the value of long service in the pastorate. One advantage is that there’s a correlation between a long pastorate and our success at retaining young people in the church. We’ve experienced that in Decatur. Last Sunday, we recognized between 60 and 70 children from our Sunday School program. And for a rural church, we have several youth who are active in our youth program, and more importantly, many who regularly attend the Divine Service. These young people may leave us when they go off to college, but they are, by God’s grace, prepared for lives of faith in Christ.
It all depends on the Word of God and proclamation of that Word.
Q: How has that commitment to the Word shaped your ministry and how will it guide your presidency?
A: The Word of God is the vehicle of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is the means whereby people not only come to believe, but the means whereby their faith is sustained. It’s the means whereby people are comforted and the means whereby forgiveness is distributed as that Word is proclaimed and as the Sacraments are administered. These are simply applications of the Word of God, which is the ultimate source of all ministry.
And this is true also in the office of the District President. The Word of God is that sole vehicle and means whereby problems are dealt with and people are comforted and encouraged.
The Word of God is the very foundation of our ministry together. Our District Convention focused on several outreach initiatives — proclaiming the Word of God in places like Gary, Indiana, and northern Kentucky and the Purdue University campus. I am very supportive of each of those initiatives. I’ve been a vice president for six years, so I’ve been on the Board and have been involved with these efforts. I credit Rev. Geoff Robinson and the entire Board for their persistence and desire to work on these outreach efforts.
Q: What makes the LCMS unique today?
A: I think what makes the LCMS unique is that we are confessional, which means that we hold to the Lutheran Confessions. Those Confessions were established to state with clarity our scriptural and historical Christian stance on any number of issues. And so we are a confessional church, and we say this with boldness and thankfulness.
Q: How does the Indiana District fit into that mission?
A: The word “synod” basically means walking together. We certainly can join hands with the other districts in standing for the truth of God’s Word. We are also part of LCMS outreach as we continue to support the national and global mission endeavors of our Synod. We thank the Lord those opportunities are increasing.
Q: What will guide your leadership of our District?
A: The pastors of the various congregations are going to be effective if they are grounded in God’s Word and if they are enabled to realize Christ’s strength and the Spirit’s encouragement in relation to the challenges they will experience. As District President, I will strive to continue to firmly ground the pastors in the Word, and I hope to be able to assist our pastors and congregations as they face such challenges. Of course, we are all sinful human beings — whether it be pastors or laity — so I want to be pastoral in supporting these pastors and their congregations.
It’s about continuing the work of the Church that has existed for centuries. I hope and pray God gives me the wisdom to be able to handle these things.
Q: There are about 100,000 members of LCMS congregations in our District. What do you want them to know about you?
A: I want them to know that I will strive for fidelity to the Word of God and to our Lutheran Confessions. And I want them to know that I will work with them and continue to keep them in prayer.