Circuit (LCMS)

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A circuit, in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a local grouping of congregations within one of the Synod's 35 districts. Circuits typically include 8 to 12 congregations. In order to send a pair of delegates to the triennial Synodical convention, a circuit must have between seven and twenty congregations with a combined total of between 1,500 and 10,000 confirmed members; however, Synod by-laws allow the president of the Synod to make exceptions upon the request of a district's board of directors. In some situations where a circuit includes numerous small congregations spread over a large area, the circuit may be subdivided for visitation purposes but still count as a single circuit for voting purposes.

A circuit visitor is a pastor who helps to oversee the other pastors within a circuit. The position is best understood as a peer advisor, as the LCMS has traditionally been strongly congregational, as opposed to hierarchical, in its extra-congregational structure. Nevertheless, there is a district president over the circuit visitors who is ultimately responsible for the pastors and congregations (generally numbering 100-300) in his district. They were previously called circuit counselors, but the Synod's 2014 convention adopted, and the congregations ratified, an amendment to the Synod Constitution changing their title.[1]

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