The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

Ash Wednesday Service, March 1 - 7 PM Central
NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM, 2017

Saved worship files are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ur-Apostasy


Pre-History
The first manifestation of unionism and apostasy can be found in A Statement. The LCMS president did nothing when doctrinal discipline was expected and deemed necessary. Behnken's inaction paved the way for Seminex.
The Statement of 44 can be found here:


Ft. Wayne Archives

Frequently Answered Questions - How Do You Do All This?


My son taught me the essentials of a database when he was still in knickers. When I started using Professional File for addresses and mailings, around 1987, the lightbulb blinked on and stayed on. I could copy material verbatim into the fields and record where I got each item. Then I could search on keywords, field names, authors, Biblical passages, and so forth. Professional File could find matching records and copy them into Word in seconds.

Wayne Mueller had claimed in The Northwestern Lutheran (now FIC) that there was no Church Growth Movement in WELS, but if there was, it was just fine. That sounded like a physician saying, "You do not have cancer, but if you do, it's fine."

So I decided to copy every single Church Growth quotation into my database, which I called Megatron, after my car battery. I needed a powerful name, an electrifying name; Megatron jump-started my research. Soon I had about 500 Church Growth quotations, mostly from WELS and their favorite textbooks. I needed to add large doses of anti-toxin, so I typed in Luther quotations, the Book of Concord, and various orthodox writers. Church Growth was my Harvard and Yale College in theology. I am grateful for all the non-Lutherans revealing their hatred of orthodox doctrine.

When people asked me to write Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant, I added another 750 quotations about the Church of Rome, Chemnitz' Examination, Calvin, and so forth.

"But," some are sputtering, "how can you have so much inside information?" People have shipped me materials to copy into my database. They wanted the information to come out.

Lawrence Otto Olson (D.Min, Fuller) called Megatron, my "ready-to-go database." James Radloff began denying Church Growth affections after I quoted him often in Christian News. One WELS pastor laughed and said, "At least you got him denying it." Norm Berg, Joel Gerlach, Paul Kelm, Roger Kovaciny, Paul Kuske, and others wrote furious letters to me.

Now these Church Growth fanatics have the fruit of their labors: bankrupt synods and declining memberships.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Seminex War Foreshadowed Church Growth Movement


I stumbled onto Dan Preus' talk about the Seminex walkout (LCMS, 1974). The liberals, led by John Tietjen, argued that they used the Historical Critical Method in a neutral way, so doctrine was not affected. The conservatives, led by Dan Preus' father (Robert) and his uncle Jack, eventually prevailed in showing the synod that the Seminex liberals had indeed departed from the historic understanding of the Bible.

Walkout

I never thought of it before - The arguments of the LCMS liberals foreshadowed all the baloney of the Church Growth enthusiasts I knew in the old Synodical Conference:
President-in-Waiting Wayne Mueller, David Valleskey, Frosty Bivens, Lawrence Otto Olson (D.Min., Fuller), James Huebner, Harry Hagedorn, James Radloff, Paul Kelm, Roger Zehms, Paul Kuske, Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Roger Kovaciny, Kent Hunter (D.Min, Fuller), Waldo Werning, Norm Berg, Joel Gerlach, Ron Roth, Robert Hartman, Mark Freier, Randy Cutter, Rick Miller, Wally Oelhaven, Fred Adrian, and many more. I am omitting a few names simply because they crave attention.

The Lutheran Church Growth fanatics sometimes admitted their study at Fuller, sometimes denied it, and often did both. Their primary argument has been, "I have studied those methods, but they have not affected my doctrine. The methods are neutral."

The Church Growth apostates share many characteristics with Seminex liberals:


  1. Their greatest love is their method.
  2. They are never honest about their agenda.
  3. They love every denomination except their own.
  4. They lock arms with their own to promote their ideology.
  5. They work hard to destroy what others have built up.
  6. They operate in stealth mode and control the synod where they lodge.

Paul Kuske, Stolzenburg, Kovaciny


LPR and Church Growth

"CHURCH GROWTH. This program was basically the beginning of L.P.R. at St. Paul's. Certainly a church growth consciousness exists in all of the congregations which was not there four years ago. It is also evident that most of the congregations are not really willing to make church growth a major priority of their ministry. Some new people who visit our churches are turned off by the comments of church members. It would seem that many members will 'tolerate' growth if it does not upset the church's traditions."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Consultant's Annual Report, 1-12-89 Lutheran Parish Resources.

"In the autumn of 1985 and the winter of 1985-1986, a truly momentous step was taken by the five Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) congregations in the metropolitan area of Columbus, Ohio. The five pastors and lay representatives of those churches organized and incorporated Lutheran Parish Resources, Inc., the first Church Growth institute in the WELS."
David G. Peters, "Lutheran Parish Resources: Pilot Program in Church Growth," Mequon: Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, April 27, 1987 p. 1.

"Lutheran Parish Resources, Inc. (LPR) is dedicated to the concepts of the Church Growth movement only insofar as they agree with the Scriptures and as taught by the WELS--that is, Church Growth with Lutheran theology rather than Evangelical, and without the typical Church Growth emphasis on quantitative measurement of growth. Kent R. Hunter's definition of 'Church Growth' justifies the use of this term in describing LPR: 'Church Growth: That science which investigates the nature, function and health of Christian churches as they relate specifically to the effective implementation of God's commission to make disciples of all peoples (Matt. 28:19). Church Growth is simultaneously a theological conviction and an applied science,....' Foundations for Church Growth, p. 187.
David G. Peters, "Lutheran Parish Resources: Pilot Program in Church Growth," Mequon: Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, April 27, 1987 p. 1.

"He has served as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Missouri and Senior Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Florissant, Missouri...He is trained in the Bethel Bible Series, Church Growth program and Dialogue Evangelism. As a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Columbus, he now seeks a different form of Christian service, outside the pastoral office."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, "The Homewood Church Enrichment Program."

"Most pastors and members do not seem willing to pay the price for growth and new life."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Consultant's Annual Report, 1-12-89 Lutheran Parish Resources.

"The area L.W.M.S. annual retreat has been created and led by L.P.R. General successes in this area have been very positive."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Consultant's Annual Report, 1-12-89 Lutheran Parish Resources.

"L.P.R. is due to play a major role in the West Side Mission." [Pilgrim Community Church]
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Consultant's Annual Report, 1-12-89 Lutheran Parish Resources.

"There is a strong feeling of strength in tradition. Even non-doctrinal issues bring fear to the membership and an unwillingness on the part of staff to 'buck the system.' In a church that opposes other groups who trust in traditions, are we raising 'We've always done it that way' to the level of Scripture? Is it possible for our faith to be exciting and still be traditional?"
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Consultant's Annual Report, 1-12-89 Lutheran Parish Resources.

"In the doctrinal sense, the word 'fellowship' may have hindered some growth by the fear of new techniques and ministries. There seems to be an opennes to new programs but also a fear that such new ideas may destroy some facets of the doctrine of church fellowship. Will that inevitably happen?"
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Consultant's Annual Report, 1-12-89 Lutheran Parish Resources.

"Initial services will be less formal than our traditional worship services. LPR Director Roger Zehms has been requested by Beautiful Savior to serve as pastor of the new mission with Floyd Stolzenburg serving as evangelist and music consultant. Please include this new approach project in your prayers."
LPR UPDATE October, 1989.

"The consultants were to be hired, so two men were interviewed. Roger Zehms was engaged first. Since George Skestos admired Floyd's gifts, he chose to provide an additional salary for Floyd as a second consultant...As the consultants serve in the congregations, they served under a 'limited call,' similar to the call of a Sunday School teacher or a church officer."
Paul Kuske, Letter to the Michigan District Mission Board, April 21, 1990 p. 2.

"The administrative committee has applied to Lutheran Parish Resources for the services of Rev Roger Zehms. This application is the equivalent of a (limited) call. The committee has also applied for the services of Mr. Floyd Stolzenburg to act in a supportive role in the mission. Both of these applications have been approved."
Pastor Paul Kuske Letter to the Ohio Conference Pilgrim Community Church, sponsored from Grove City by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church Fall Conference, Gibsonia, 1989.

Stolzenburg and Kovaciny

ELS Pastor Jay Webber Had No Problem with Kovaciny Raising Money Through Stolzenburg
"In the midst of all the positive, exciting things Pastor Kovaciny had to say about the mission work being done in the Ukraine, he constantly mentioned the most pressing problem, a lack of space...As he spoke to us about the many needs, he mentioned the possibility of building a church of the approximate square footage of our sanctuary (though not nearly as elaborate) for $50,000...Pastor Kovaciny, obviously excited about the possibility, has agreed that the new church would be named Emmanuel Lutheran and would have a picture of the 'mother church' prominently displayed in the new building."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, "From the Mission Committee, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Kremnetz, Ukraine, Emmanuel Lutheran Church #899, August, 1999. 1500 South Third Street, Columbus, Ohio 43207-1000.

Thoughts of Faith Self-Description
Thoughts of Faith is a Confessional Lutheran mission society dedicated to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in the former Communist countries of eastern Europe. At present we are working in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and Latvia. We are joined in this effort by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, with which we are affiliated as a "church-related organization," and by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a sister church of the ELS.
(http://www.tof.org/whoweare.php)

"About Missions" c. Thoughts of Faith through the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, d. St. Sophia Lutheran Seminary-Ukraine Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone Emmanuel Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio August, 1996 "We supplied funds for our missionaries in the Ukraine, and the Gideons." Sherry Huffman, Sunday School
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio, February, 1999.

"From the Mission Committee...Good News from the Ukraine Reproduced at the bottom of this page is the masthead from the Ukrainian Lutheran, which has now been published by our mission in Ukraine for two years and grows in circulation with each issue."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio, November, 1996.

"EMMANUEL SAVES BIBLE SCHOOL! A SPECIAL MESSAGE was just received from Pastor Kovaciny to let us know that Emmanuel's Mission offerings have rescued their Bible School this summer!...[Pastor Kovaciny] writes to tell us about it. 'As we looked forward to an even more successful program this coming summer, we were told by our sponsoring organization that our Bible School budget had been but by $8,000. It seems that some people in charge believe that we have been too successful and they need to put their funds toward programs in other areas which are lagging behind.' (Pastor Kovaciny)"
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio, June, 1998.

"Since the salary of Pastor Kovaciny and their basic expenses are paid through the 'Thoughts of Faith' ministry, we will continue to include the overall work in our regular budget."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio, October, 1994.

"Pastor Kovaciny, in an effort to respond to our request, sent a copy of the third quarter treasurer's report of the Ukrainian congregation, signed by the treasurer and written in his own hand. We thought you might enjoy seeing it! You should be aware that our budget offering goes to pay for Pastor Kovaciny's salary and expenses through 'Thoughts of Faith,' the radio ministry which has been bringing the Gospel to the Ukraine for many years...."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio, January, 1995.

Roger Kovaciny's letter about seed distribution Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio, October, 1995.

"All designated funds for Thoughts of Faith are spent on the program for which they are designated by the donor. Funds not designated by the donor are used to pay for administrative expenses. Thoughts of faith would like to thank our congregation for our support towards this important work in spreading the gospel throughout the world."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio November, 1995 Recording secretary, Christine E. Scheiderer; treasurer, Charlotte Proctor. Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio, November, 1995.

"...the Ukraine project of Thoughts of Faith (Pastor Kovaciny)" Use of mission funds. Charlotte Proctor, treasurer.
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Cornerstone, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio, November, 1995.

"Pastor Kovaciny, obviously excited about the possibilities, has agreed that the new church would be named Emmanuel Lutheran and would have a picture of the 'mother church' prominently displayed in the new building."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio #899 for August, 1999, 1500 South Third Street, Columbus, Ohio 43207.

Pursuing Emmanuel
"I would also convey to you that I will continue to commune lodge members as long as I feel assured that they know and believe that their salvation is by faith." "Please feel free to contact Pastors Kuske or Schumann or come and hear for yourself."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, Letter to Emmanuel Lutheran Parish Resources letterhead "Serving the congregations of the Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod"

"Consultant, Lutheran Parish Resources, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, 1985-1991, as a consultant for this program, I worked with the training of pastors and lay people for effective ministry in leadership skills, Sunday School organization and teaching, youth ministry, outreach, stewardship and care ministry. I continue to work with supervision of some of these programs. Senior Pastor, Salem Lutheran Church and School, Florissant, Missouri, 1976-1985. (nothing said about being removed from the ministry) Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, St. Charles, Missouri, 1968-1976.
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, 2904 Maryland Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43209-1157 614-235-5200.

"People Person: Have been recognized as a counselor and mediator. Brought harmony to what was once described as 'the most troubled Lutheran church in America. Personal: Born, December 6, 1941, Columbus. Married, three children. Spiritual gifts: Exhortation, teaching, administration and evangelism.
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, 2904 Maryland Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43209-1157 614-235-5200.

Manufacturing Disciples - Look at These Strange Bedfellows


Paul Kuske Launched, Supported, and Defended LPR
"Lutheran Parish Resources, Inc. (LPR) is dedicated to the concepts of the Church Growth movement only insofar as they agree with the Scriptures and as taught by the WELS--that is, Church Growth with Lutheran theology rather than Evangelical, and without the typical Church Growth emphasis on quantitative measurement of growth. Kent R. Hunter's definition of 'Church Growth' justifies the use of this term in describing LPR: 'Church Growth: That science which investigates the nature, function and health of Christian churches as they relate specifically to the effective implementation of God's commission to make disciples of all peoples (Matt. 28:19). Church Growth is simultaneously a theological conviction and an applied science,....' Foundations for Church Growth, p. 187.
David G. Peters, "Lutheran Parish Resources: Pilot Program in Church Growth," Mequon: Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, April 27, 1987 p. 1.

"Church growth is that science which investigates the planting, multiplication, function and health of Christian churches as they relate specifically to the effective implementation of God's-commission to 'make disciples of all nations' (Matthew 28:19-20 RSV). Church growth strives to combine the eternal theological principles of God's Word concerning the expansion of the church with the best insights of contemporary social and behavioral sciences, employing as its initial frame of reference, the foundational work done by Donald McGavran."
[Constitution, Academy for American Church Growth] C. Peter Wagner, Church Growth and the Whole Gospel, New York: Harper and Row, 1981, p. 75.

"The fountainhead and headwaters of the church growth river are to be found in a man, an institute, a bulletin, a school, and a book. The man is Donald Anderson McGavran, the son of missionary parents, born in India on December 15, 1897, who was himself a third-generation missionary in India for more than thirty years under appointment of the United Christian Missionary Society (Disciples of Christ). He has a Ph. D. in education from Columbia University."
Delos Miles, Church Growth, A Mighty River, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1981, p. 9f. [GJ - Like A Mighty Sewer is a better title.]

Proof That A Low IQ Can Be Inherited
"W. Charles 'Chip' Arn is the foremost designer of church growth training curricula and resources used by individual churches and regional districts across the Protestant spectrum...Arn's most significant contribution to date is probably his work in The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, which is the first strategy of evangelism building on and incorporating the principles of church growth into a practical method for equipping laypersons and congregations to effectively reach their unchurched friends and relatives."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 230.

"Body Evangelism. A perspective which emphasizes the goal of evangelism as making disciples who are incorporated into the body of Christ, the result of which is church growth."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 283.

You Forgot the Means of Grace
"Church. An assembly of professed believers under the discipline of the Word of God, organized to carry out the Great Commission, administer the ordinances, and minister with spiritual gifts."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 283f.

Lutheran Pietists Lap This Stuff Up
"Follow-up Gap. The difference between the number of persons who make decisions for Christ in a given evangelistic effort and those who go on to become disciples."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 290.

"Perfecting. The process of nurture and development (following discipling) that is required to take believers from the initial acceptance of Jesus Christ to mature faith and obedience; sanctification."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 296.

WELS DP Mueller and District VP Paul Kuske Approved
"PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY AT CROSSROADS...Conduct seeker services... Provide small group leadership. At Crossroads, as people come to know Jesus they are encouraged to participate in groups of 8 to 10 people who meet weekly for 2 years of fellowship, holding one another accountable, discipleship training, encouragement and support. 1 Thess. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."
Pastor Rick Miller, (WELS), Crossroads Community Church, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
[GJ - Later, Kelly Voigt and Mark Freier joined this winning team, which is no longer Lutheran.]

"Introduction to Small Groups. Purpose of This Segment. 1. To introduce the concept of small group ministry. 2. To present the rationale (benefits and need for) small groups. 3. To impart a vision for small groups as a strategy for accomplishing our disciple-making mission."
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 2.

"The Rationale for Small Groups...5. It Follows Biblical Practice. a. Jesus and the Twelve Apostles (Jesus concentrated on investing Himself in His small group of disciples to teach and model spiritual truth, attitudes and behavior for them and to train them to be spiritual leaders. b. The Early Christians (Acts 2:42-47; 16:40; 20:20-21).
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 3.

"For the Love of Pete,"...presents "The Master's Plan for Making Disciples"...."Planned Parenthood for Churches"...Church growth principles are communicated with warmth and humor. Donald A. McGavran and Winfield C. Arn, Ten Steps for Church Growth, New York: Harper and Row, 1977, p. 132.


Win Wins Winsomely
"In the Great Commission, Jesus makes clear that the command to 'go and make disciples' includes the concept of winning. Today the term 'discipling' has almost universally evolved to mean the process of spiritual perfecting--tutoring, learning, growing, maturing. Few 'discipling' programs in churches today accurately reflect Christ's vision to make disciples, or measure their success on the basis of new disciples they produce."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 10.

"His words, now called the Great Commission, were simply a restatement of His entire life and teaching, as He endeavored to make the matter as simple and easy to understand as possible...'go and make disciples.'"
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 20. Matthew 28:19

"Being a disciple in the early church meant a first-hand involvement in the mission of Christ--making disciples. The goal was clear and all-encompassing."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 21.

Gerlach Studied at Fuller, Began Exporting This Bilge
"A new convert's commitment to Christ included the assumption that he/she reproduce themselves and continue in the disciple-making chain. New disciples were instruments used by the Holy Spirit...in making disciples."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 21.

"While the goal of the early Christian was, as Christ had commanded, to make disciples, there was a definite process by which the early church grew so explosively. The means of church growth was through the individual Christian's interlocking social system--the family, friends, and associates."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 25f.

Can You See Where Valleskey and Crew Got Their Doctrine?
"The Master's Plan is a strategy of disciple-making to help lay church members identify and reach the people in their web, or oikos, for Christ and the Church. It is a process that works within natural characteristics of human behavior and relationships, and relates the unique needs of friends and relatives to Christ's work in their lives."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 57.

"Effective disciple-making combines intentional growth principles with an 'evangelistic mix' that fits the local church and its unique situation. Tremendous power results in a local church which intentionally focuses on specific growth goals."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 59.

"'Making disciples' has become, in most congregations, a compartmentalized function, isolated from the mainstream of church thinking and life."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 7.

Lawrence Otto Olson, D.Min. Fuller, Said This Too
"Disciple-making is most effective when Biblical insights and church growth research are integrated."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 75.

"A 'disciple' suggests a commitment, incorporation into the Body, then an on-going, reproductive life-style as a follower of Christ."
Win and Charles Arn, The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, How Every Christian Can Be an Effective Witness through an Enabling Church, Pasadena: Church Growth Press, 1982, p. 9.

Gerlach's Disciple Factory
"His plan for making disciples included more than lesson plans. It included a relationship. In fact the quality of that relationship with his disciples had to be one of the primary factors in transforming them into disciplers."
Pastor Joel C. Gerlach, "The Call into the Discipling Ministry," Yahara Center, April 24-25, 1987, p. 15.

A Fuller Education Is a Terrible Thing to Waste
"Disciple making teachers know that while course content is important, what they teach in connection with the hidden curriculum is just as important."
Pastor Joel C. Gerlach, "The Call into the Discipling Ministry," Yahara Center, April 24-25, 1987, p. 15.

"If I were asked: What is the key thing in the disciple making process that demands our special attention in our effort to become better disciple makers, without hesitation I'd say it's the role of modeling. We need more disciple maker models in our classrooms. It isn't enough just to tell others to go and make disciples. We need to show and tell them. Modeling is an essential, integral part of showing and telling."
Pastor Joel C. Gerlach, "The Call into the Discipling Ministry," Yahara Center, April 24-25, 1987, p. 18. Matthew 28:18-20

"Jesus did not send his disciples out to make disciples without first making them disciples. He gave them a course in disciple making by making them disciples. He knew that you have to be a disciple yourself before you can help someone else to become a disciple."
Pastor Joel C. Gerlach, "The Call into the Discipling Ministry," Yahara Center, April 24-25, 1987, p. 6.

"A disciple is also expected to be a witness."
Pastor Joel C. Gerlach, "The Call into the Discipling Ministry," Yahara Center, April 24-25, 1987, p. 8.

Kelm Channels Yoda
"Doctrines in controversy and applications to those doctrines are a disciple's meat. They are swallowed only after patient doses of discipling milk. The art of mission work is to preserve that sequence despite a prospect's desire to chew what he can't swallow."
Rev. Paul Kelm, "How to Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good to Mission Prospects," p. 3.

David Kuske Supports "make disciples" in Matthew 28:19
David Kuske, "Exegetical Brief: The Meaning of matheteusate in Matthew 28:19," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1997, p. 115ff. Matthew 28:19. Kuske also studied under Lyle Coleman (cell groups).

"When Frederick Horn faced that situation, the Holy Spirit moved him to accept the call, and for the last few years he has served as the [lay] Minister of Discipleship for Grace Lutheran in downtown Milwaukee." (Pastor James Huebner, Fuller alumnus)
Professor Lawrence Otto Olson, (D. Min., Fuller), "Another Kind of Minister, There's a lot to do in a church, and a staff minister can do a lot of it," The Northwestern Lutheran, March, 1994, p. 9.

"But when our Lord told us what our mission should be, he was quite clear: 'Make disciples.'"
Lawrence Otto Olson, The Evangelism Life Line (WELS), Summer, 1988, p. 3. Matthew 28:

Proud Pentecostals Thrive at Fuller
"Pastors become disciples so they can make disciples. As a proud Pentecostal I thought I had everything because I belonged to a Full Gospel church. Little did I know how much I had to learn until I came together with other pastors--Baptists, Presbyterians, Plymouth Brethren, and Catholics. As a proud Pentecostal I had to become a humble elder of the church."
Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 100.

"Every disciple had responsibility over two types of cells, one cell where he formed the lives of the new converts, and another cell where he took the most advanced of those new converts and taught them how to be leaders, knowing that cell would soon be divided and the most advanced disciples put over additional cells. So came the multiplication."
Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 101.

"In this way, the entire church is comprised of ministers. The ministers are not a special breed of sheep coming from the seminary. They are simply believers who go on growing. Thus the purpose of the pastor is to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples." Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 18.

Totally False Exegesis from Fuller Student Valleskey
"Accordingly, when Christ says, Disciple (matheteusate) all nations by baptizing them, matheteusate can mean nothing other than to make disciples, to turn unbelievers into believers; for that is the Spirit-produced effect of baptism."
David J. Valleskey, We Believe--Therefore We Speak, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1995, p. 127. Matthew 28:18-20

"Is the mission of the church to preach the gospel or to make disciples? The two--preaching the gospel and making disciples--are closely connected. Making disciples is the goal, or end result, our Lord had in mind. He does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance and faith. He wants all to be saved, to come to a heart knowledge of the truth. Preaching the gospel (employing the means of grace) is the means by which the Lord will achieve his goal of making disciples and so of gathering in his elect before he returns."
David J. Valleskey, We Believe--Therefore We Speak, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1995, p. 134.

Valleskey Overturns Sower Parable
"It is true that only God the Holy Spirit can effect the end result of making a disciple out of an unbeliever; all we can do is sow the seed. But it is also true that our Lord, by speaking specifically of making disciples in his commission to his church, is encouraging it to keep that intended goal in mind when it does its seed sowing."
David J. Valleskey, We Believe--Therefore We Speak, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1995, p. 135. Matthew 28:18-20.

Werning Has Church Growth Eyes
"Your church will grow by God's grace because members will want it to grow in obedience to God's will and because you are using strategy and methodology in making disciples. Then nongrowth will be called nongrowth, and growth will be accepted as a gift from God."
Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1975, p. 159.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Power is Given, Not Taken


The biggest mistake pastors and laity make is in their assumption that synods and officials have taken power away from them. That is not true. As Stuckenberg, the 19th century sociologist wrote, power is given, not taken. Over the years, bullies have grabbed power away from pliant congregations and pastors. One is the call list. A congregation can call anyone who is qualified to be a pastor. By manipulating the call list, and sitting on it like the dog in the manger, the district president has power over congregations and pastors. Take away that call list power and the DP has no leverage against anyone.

For example, Pope John the Malefactor has seized power in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and some congregations have surrendered to him. He can remove a pastor by fiat only if the congregation surrenders that power to him. River Heights quaked and surrendered. Other congregations have not allowed Pope John to approach their meetings.

The ELS has lost a considerable amount of revenue from expelling pastors and congregations. The members do not wish to polish the hob-nailed boot that delivers the Left Foot of Fellowship.

WELS Meltdown - "Michigan has sent Milwaukee $6,300 less than last year, so far, according to the April stats. And WELS has received $147,800 more than last year so far. The April Easter offerings probably make the figures look better than they are."

My favorite ELS Blog is:

ELS Bad Boy, Trouble in Paradise

This may surprise some - I like polemics.

Another ELS site is: The Plucked Chicken This site has good updates on doctrinal issues.

A typically bland WELS site is: Issues in WELS.

Sources for Material



BD asked for my original source for the Mark Schroeder statement. Whenever I have a link, I post it. I looked for it at Issues in WELS, but it is not there. All I can say is that three people sent it to me, so it must be on the email-a-friend list, getting 100% coverage.

In Missouri there are secret email lists. Some are so large that they are populated with synod spies. One might as well assume that any meeting of any dissenters in any synod will be bulked up by people reporting to synod officials. The same thing happens in congregations, especially in WELS. The late Missiouri Synodical President, Jack Preus, referred to the "WELS KGB."

I hear many credible stories, but I only report what can be verified.

Yes, most of the facts have been kept from the laity, who are expected to pay, pray, and not ask questions, in that order. My intution tells me that things are even worse in WELS than the figures indicate. An editor told me Missouri is no better financially.

WELS' Besetting Sin - Denying the Efficacy of the Word


The Wisconsin Synod denies the efficacy of the Word...consistently, ruthlessly, to the point of excommunicating anyone who says the Word alone is efficacious.

KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Several programs of self-destruction would be stopped in a moment if the sect followed what the Scriptures and the Confessions teach:


  1. There would be no dispute about the Moment of Consecration because everyone would realize that the Word effects the Real Presence. Claiming that "no one knows the moment" is worse than Calvinism.
  2. The Church Growth Movement would be repudiated and rejected, not for its utter failure in WELS, but for his repugnant doctrine.
  3. No one would be confused about ordination and the ministry. They would realize that the true Church brings Christ to people exclusively through the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace.


Schroeder would have to admit to this basic error in WELS for the document to have any meaning at all. Otherwise he is proposing an extreme make-over for a patient with terminal cancer. False doctrine is a cancer that must be cut out or treated with the harshest medicine.

KJV 2 Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker [cancer]: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus.

Mark Schroeder Reclaims the WELS Mission


Three people have sent me the Mark Schroeder plan, copied below, so I surrender. Yes, I will post all 11 pages. Soon the servers for this blog will occupy most of Southern California.

Reclaim the Mission is terribly wordy and bureaucratic, but it does point out serious flaws in Gurgel's command of the WELS-tanic. The fatal flaw in this long document is Mark's refusal to face the besetting sin of false doctrine in WELS - truth on the scaffold, error on the throne. Nevertheless, this document does spell out many of the problems in WELS mis-management, most of which developed once WELS fell in love with Management by Objective. One reader thinks the main problem is with their budgeting magic, called PPBS.

Mark Schroeder is one of the good Schroeders, three brothers serving in WELS. The previously misspelled Marc Schroder is the son of Morton Schroeder. Marc's only call has been at Prince of Peace in Reynoldsburg (Columbus), Ohio. He and his congregation were kicked out of WELS by DP John Seifert, even though they were doing and saying no more than the bosses in Milwaukee.




Reclaim the Mission


A proposal to foster renewed unity in purpose and direction in WELS

Mark Schroeder
May 16, 2007
FINAL VERSION

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Ph 1:3-7)

Introduction

Many people believe that our synod today is at an important crossroads. The Conference of Presidents has even described the situation as a crisis. There is a growing conviction that something is clearly wrong; that the God-given partnership we have enjoyed as a synod is at risk; and that real changes must be made in order to restore unity and focus as we carry out our common mission of proclaiming the gospel to the world.

In discussing the problems facing the synod, we will not want to minimize God’s rich blessings on our synod or to give the impression that there are few positive things happening in our synodical efforts. Nor will we want to focus blame on individuals or groups for past decisions. Christian charity demands that the actions of brothers be viewed in the best possible light. Nothing in this document should be seen as questioning the motives or the intent of anyone.

In spite of the best of intentions, however, decisions have been made, directions taken, and programs and policies adopted, which have not had the desired results. We find our synod in a difficult position on multiple fronts. As we try to identify the nature and cause of the problems facing us, and as we search for remedies, we must not hesitate to evaluate past decisions which have brought us to the current situation. Making such an evaluation is not impugning motives or questioning faith. But unless we identify where we have taken a divergent path, we can’t expect to return to a path which has us walking together in proclaiming the gospel to the world through joint mission work and through training qualified workers.

Secondly, as we struggle to look to God for help in solving theses problems, we need to look first at our own hearts, our own stewardship, and our own attitudes. When that examination takes place, there is no one among us who can say anything other than, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” It is only in repentance, both individually and collectively, that a true solution can begin.

Evidence of a synod in crisis

What is the evidence that the synod is facing a genuine crisis – a crisis not primarily of finances but of purpose, focus, and mission? What are some of the specific problems confronting the synod?

Some of the evidence of the problems facing the synod is factual and quantifiable:

1. The small number of traditional home mission openings funded by the synod in recent years
2. The significant reduction of world mission manpower because of the lack of funding
3. The steep decline in enrollment at our ministerial education schools, due primarily to spiraling tuition and continuing uncertainty about the status of the schools
4. The insufficient level of funding of ministerial education schools, resulting in reduced school budgets, program cuts, increased tuition, rising tuition rates, the requirement to undertake development work (mission advancement), and, more recently, the recommendation of the Synodical Council to close Michigan Lutheran Seminary
5. The significant increase in that portion of the synod’s budget which funds programs not identified by the 2005 convention as core ministry priorities (home missions, world missions, ministerial education). In the latest budget presented by the president and recommended by the SC, fully 25% of the budget is earmarked for non-priority areas. While it is true that gospel ministry does take place in the non-mission areas of the synod, the convention was clear in its intent to emphasize the three areas listed above and itemized in convention resolutions.
6. The lack of significant increases in congregational financial support for synodical programs, even though overall giving by WELS members has reached record levels
7. The decision of the Synodical Council, reacting to continuing budgetary shortfalls, to recommend that the synod depart from the priorities established at the last convention, when only two years ago the convention overwhelmingly resolved to maintain the current four-school ministerial education system.

Other evidence may less tangible and measurable, but reflects a growing sense of concern:

1. Over the past decade the synod’s mission and purpose has been shifted and broadened, resulting in a blurring of organizational focus, and, subsequently, a loss of constituent support. This has taken place in a number of different ways as the synod has gradually departed from its original core mission. Historically, the synod has served as an instrument or mechanism to “do together what we cannot do separately.” Over the past decade, however, the synod has taken on the characteristics of a denomination—a large congregation of 400,000 members. It has changed into an entity no longer merely an extension of the congregations but has become a charitable organization existing apart and distinct from those congregations. Instead serving simply as a means for God’s people to pool their resources to accomplish joint gospel outreach, it has assumed a leadership role, seen by some as the means to lead congregations and members rather than an instrument to serve them. In other words, some have come to view the synod either as primarily a service organization which provides programs and materials for congregations and individuals, or, alternately, as a leadership entity, serving as the catalyst for spiritual growth and Christian service.

This shift in the understanding of what the synod is and the broadening of its purpose into a service organization with denominational characteristics has led many to conclude that financial support given to synod is no longer primarily used for missions and training workers. It may do many good things, but many of those things are not what are normally thought of as included in the priorities adopted by the last convention. With this gradual change in purpose and focus, support for the synod—both financial and vocal—has begun to dwindle. The close connection between pastors and their congregations and synodical programs has eroded. Twenty years ago, pastors were able to use the words “synod” and “missions” virtually interchangeably. Congregational members had confidence that their faith-produced gifts to “synod” were gifts for “missions.” This change in purpose has indeed caused a disconnect. This has not made pastors and people “anti-synod.” But it has led many pastors to be less willing to advocate for the synod, because they sense that its mission-centered purpose has been diluted. It has led congregational members to become less eager to give to “synod” because they are no longer convinced that a gift to synod is a gift to missions.

2. The sense that the “Kingdom Balance” approach to budgeting, as understood and applied by synodical leaders in recent years, is distinctly at variance with the convictions of the synod’s constituents and the directives of recent synodical conventions. As a matter of history, the original use of the term “kingdom balance” was a reference to para-synodical efforts rather than an approach to “balancing” the areas of ministry in WELS.

3. The perceived lack of responsiveness by synodical leaders to the input of the grass roots. There is a sense of that the leaders of the synod are disconnected from the constituents of the synod and do not fully recognize this disconnect.

4. The proposals by synodical leadership to increase centralization of decision-making and authority, potentially aggravating the sense of disconnect between the synod and the people who comprise the synod.

5. The apparent view of some synodical leaders that it is the synod’s role to lead congregations and members to increased spiritual health and more faithful stewardship, when, in fact, that responsibility lies at the congregational level, as gospel is proclaimed and the Spirit accomplishes his sanctifying work through the means of grace.

6. The loss of the credibility of synodical leaders because of what many perceive to be inaccurate, incomplete, inconsistent, contradictory, and unresponsive communication. There is the perception that synodical communications often seem to ignore, minimize, over-simplify, or sugar-coat problems rather than to address them.

7. The threat to synodical unity brought about by the formation of groups viewed as either “traditional” or “progressive” in their approach to ministry, mission, and worship

8. The development of adversarial relationships among areas of ministry brought about in part by budgets and decisions that seem to pit one area against another

9. The perceived inability of the Conference of Presidents to take a strong pro-active approach to leadership and direction, especially in matters where it differs in the approach taken by the Synodical Council

10. A structure which does not enable the Conference of Presidents to have meaningful input on budget priorities, even though the COP is the body charged with funding the budget. The original recommendation of the Independent Panel on restructuring would distance the COP even farther from financial responsibilities by removing the current responsibility of funding the budget from the COP and assigning it to the Synodical Council.

11. The proliferation of WELS-affiliated ministries and organizations, which draw increasing financial support from congregations and individuals and which bring about a loss of focus in synodical efforts and a loss of support for the core priorities of the synod

12. The tendency of synodical leadership to react to financial shortages by repeated reductions in our mission and educational programs with no clear plan to provide a long term solution

13. The tendency of synodical leaders to blame the synod’s financial crisis on poor stewardship, rather that recognizing that it may be a result of faithful stewards determining that their gifts may be better utilized elsewhere because they disagree with the current priorities of the synod

14. The recent proposal of a business model for top down management in spite of the previous efforts to have areas of ministry function from a grassroots base

15. All of the factors listed above have combined to create a crisis in confidence in the synod’s leadership and direction—a situation in which those who are to lead are no longer being wholeheartedly followed

There will be those who deny the existence of many of the problems listed above. Some will take issue with individual points and dismiss the validity of the entire list. But the purpose of listing these problems is to demonstrate an undeniable atmosphere of growing pessimism, uncertainty, and lack of confidence among many of our clergy and lay members. Rather than explain away the problems, deny their existence, or dismiss them as imaginary, it is time to find ways to work together to solve them. Decisive action is necessary—not as an exercise in casting blame or inciting division, but rather as a positive means to change the direction of the synod in order to restore confidence, unity, the carrying out of our mission, and the spread of God’s kingdom.

In summary, we believe that it would be a mistake to characterize the synodical crisis as primarily financial in nature, as so many do. The financial shortages, rather, are a symptom of a different, deeper problem—a problem that involves the very purpose and nature of the synod and a loss of confidence that the synod is heading in the right direction.

Some of the individual problems facing us can be solved relatively quickly and simply. Others can be addressed only over time and with much effort. The short term solutions are primarily structural and procedural in nature; the long term solutions are primarily spiritual and philosophical, as the gospel generates a change in thinking and attitudes, as God’s people grow in their stewardship, and as we once again reach agreement on the true nature and purpose of the synod. Certainly, the first means to solve any problems is to approach the throne of grace and ask God to guide and motivate all discussions and decisions.

A Road Map for Change

No positive change ever takes place without a plan to bring it about. No solutions to problems are ever found without serious analysis and discussion. And no real, God-pleasing progress can be made without a firm commitment to look to the Lord of the Church to guide and bless what we do.

What follows are concrete proposals to address some of the most pressing problems. Some of the suggested steps may be more important than others. Some may be only the starting point for godly discussion. And certainly there are other ideas and actions that are not listed here. But this proposal is respectfully intended to be a beginning that must, with God’s help, be made now.

This proposal to “Reclaim the Mission” involves a committed change of direction in the following areas:

1. Reaffirming our purpose and priorities
2. Re-defining our method of support
3. Restoring clear, responsible, and responsive lines of authority
4. Re-establishing effective communication
5. Reviewing and revising current programs

Action 1: Reaffirming our purpose and priorities

1A. Re-affirm the historic purpose and priorities

1A-1 The synod in convention shall re-affirm the core priorities adopted overwhelmingly by the 2005 convention. In re-affirming those priorities, the convention will reiterate that the purpose of the synod is not to lead but to serve; that is it not a denomination or an over-arching structure to oversee member congregations, but rather primarily an instrument to facilitate, foster, and enhance joint kingdom work

1A-2 The convention shall direct the synod president to communicate to the members of the synod his wholehearted support for the adopted priorities and his commitment to see those priorities funded adequately.

1A-3 The convention shall declare that the responsibility for preaching the gospel and for administering the Means of Grace lies primarily at the congregational level. The synod is not to be equated with a large congregation of 400,000 members; rather it is simply to be an orderly, effective, and efficient mechanism or instrument for congregations and members to carry out joint kingdom work—a means for us to do together what we cannot easily do separately.

1A-4 The synod shall direct the synod president and the Synodical Council to adopt a budget which reflects the established priorities, with strong and primary emphasis on missions and ministerial education and with substantial reductions in all areas as necessary (including programs in core areas which can be eliminated or altered). Any contention that “no further reallocation of funds is possible” and that “no cuts can be made in other areas” shall be rejected as misleading or inaccurate, since reallocation is always possible depending on budgetary priorities.

1B. Conduct a thorough review of the synod’s programs in light of established priorities

1B-1 The synod in convention shall direct the synod president to conduct a thorough review of all programs of the synod and give him the authority to eliminate any programs and staff that, even though they may be good and beneficial, are not necessary to support the primary mission of the synod. This gives the president the specific authority and responsibility to carry out the expressed will of the convention. It also recognizes an authority to terminate divine calls under the directives of the synod convention. In carrying out this process, the president is not to act independently, but will seek the counsel and input of various groups, especially the Conference of Presidents and the Synodical Council.

1B-2 The president’s review shall include programs and staffing in the all budget and program areas, including, but not limited to, communications, technology, fiscal services, consultants’ fees, Christian giving, debt structuring, benefit plans, meetings, parish services, and travel. The president will also examine the budgets of the priority programs and will eliminate lower-priority, unnecessary, or unproductive items.

1B-3 This review shall be carried out with input from the grassroots constituency of the synod, including input from every pastoral conference and the COP. The president will consult with various synodical groups and individuals to determine the most effective way of seeking this input.

Action 2: Restructuring our method of support

2A. Adopt a new approach to funding the synod’s mission (see Appendix 1)

Congregational and individual mission offerings have not kept pace with the cost of operating the current programs of WELS, much less increased sufficiently to allow for an expansion of mission efforts. At the same time, overall giving in WELS for all purposes has grown significantly over the past decade.

Sixty WELS congregations provide no financial support for the synod of which they are a part; 120 congregations give less than $10 per communicant to the synod. (The synod average is $65 per communicant.)

There may be many reasons for the current level of synodical support. Congregations and their members are being asked to support dozens of programs and organizations that did not exist a generation ago. But it seems clear that one primary reason for the small increase in giving to the synod is the conviction, both by people in the pew and by pastors, that offerings to “synod” are no longer necessarily seen as offerings to “missions.” Years ago, those two terms could be—and were—used interchangeably, both by people who gave the offerings and by pastors who encouraged members to give. Over the past decade, as the synod expanded its programs beyond what are seen as priority areas, many members and pastors are increasingly uncertain and even skeptical that their gifts are really going to support missions. We need to take steps to once again allow people and pastors to equate “missions” with “synod” and to be confident that when they give to WELS their offerings will be used to do together what we cannot do separately.

To restore the connection between the core mission of the synod and its people, the synod shall fund the necessary administrative costs (“administrative” is defined as all programs outside of the established priority areas of ministry, i.e. world missions, home missions, ministerial education, and church-wide publications such as hymnals, catechisms, and official magazine) through a synodical membership subscription (based on communicant membership) paid by all WELS congregations. If a congregation is a member of WELS, (thus benefiting from WELS programs and from called workers trained by WELS), that congregation will be happy to provide at least a minimum amount to fund the infrastructure that provides those services. Congregations would handle this fee as a line item in their budgets, just as they do VEBA insurance and pension costs. Everything gathered beyond this subscription amount as mission offerings would be freely given by congregations and individuals as a true offering for missions and training missionaries. The amount of the fee—initially suggested as $25 per communicant—would be established by the synod in convention and raised only with convention approval.

The result is that 100% of Congregational Mission Offerings (CMO) and undesignated Individual Mission Offerings (IMO) will be earmarked for the established priorities of the synod. All necessary non-core and non-priority programs and administrative costs would be covered by the membership subscription. This will insure that every dollar freely given to the synod (whether by congregations or by individuals) is used only for the core priority areas of the synod’s work. In doing this, five things can happen: 1) Members will be assured that their mission offerings are truly offerings for missions and will regain confidence in their giving for mission; 2) Pastors, knowing that gifts to synod are truly gifts for missions, will be eager to encourage increased mission offerings. 3) The synodical membership subscription would enlist at least minimal support for the operation of the synod from every congregation. 4) Good and necessary activities, including those pastoral functions of the Conference of Presidents (such as the pastoral assistants for district presidents and the support for needy called workers and their families, etc.) will be fully funded. 5) It can also be safely assumed that, as confidence grows, the newly defined CMO and IMO (individual mission offerings) would grow with it.

Two examples: St. Luke is a congregation of 1,000 communicants. It’s current CMO is $100,000. St. Luke would take the suggested synodical membership subscription ($25 per communicant—see the appendix) of $25,000 and place it as a line item in the congregation’s budget, with the amount to be paid with such things as pension and VEBA payments. This would leave $75,000 as the congregation’s CMO. Every penny of the $75,000 would be used to fund the core priorities of the synod. Every penny given would be an offering for missions. At the very start, St. Luke would not be increasing what it sends to the synod. There would be no additional burden to the congregation’s budget. In a very short time, however, as pastors and people regain the confidence that their mission offerings are being used for missions, that $75,000 is likely to grow significantly.

In a second example, St. John is a congregation of 100 members which, for whatever reason, gives nothing to the synod. It would be required, since it belongs to the synod and benefits from its programs, to submit $2,500 as its synodical membership subscription. In doing this, St. John is still not contributing to missions, but at least it is carrying out its responsibility to support the administrative infrastructure. It would not be surprising that in this same congregation, the members themselves would see the importance and need to devote at least some of their offerings for missions.

Several objections to this plan may be raised. Some will try to discredit this approach by labeling it an “ecclesiastical fee” or a “return to the pew tax.” It is neither. Rather, it is simply the recognition that the synod does have legitimate and necessary administrative expenses and that all congregations and members who desire to be a part of the synod have a true responsibility to contribute a fair (and minimum) share. Some will contend that this proposal is legalistic and that gospel-motivation is lacking. In fact, it is no more legalistic than sending congregations bills for the health insurance they provide for called workers, for the payments congregations make for pensions, or for repayment of a CEF loan. The motivation never enters the picture when a congregation makes payments for its obligations. Gospel motivation takes place in the heart of the giver as he brings his thank offerings to the Lord. Some may feel that membership in the synod has always been confessional rather than financial. But confessional unity ought naturally to translate into a desire and responsibility to support what you confess with the dollars you give.

Action 3: Restoring clear, responsible, and responsive lines of authority

3A. Clarify the authority of the Synod Convention and the Synodical Council

3A-1 The constitution of the synod shall be revised to remove or highly restrict the ability of the president and/or the Synodical Council to ignore or significantly alter synodical resolutions between conventions. Provision shall be made to allow emergency SC action to carry out—but not to undo—synodical decisions. Conventions should set the general priorities for programs to be implemented or discontinued, depending on the level of funding available. To enable the synod convention to made major decisions between conventions, we should explore the possibility of re-convening conventions through electronic means when necessary.

3A-2 We shall reaffirm the constitutional principle that the final decision-making authority in the synod is the synod in convention. We shall declare clear opposition to ideas, suggestions, or proposals to change the synod convention into a “reporting and rejoicing” body rather than a decision-making body.

3A-3 We shall defeat any proposal to have all area administrators called by the Synodical Council rather than by their grass-roots elected boards.

3A-4 We shall affirm that the synod president is directly responsible to the synod in convention (the calling body), not to the Synodical Council

3A-5 We shall plan and structure synod conventions in a way that enables more effective and informed decision-making, with emphasis on sharing information prior to the convention and dedication of more convention time to significant decision-making rather than to reports and public relations.

3B. Enhance and emphasize the leadership role for the Conference of Presidents

3B-1 The Conference of Presidents shall be provided with the ability to give increased input and direction as planning and decisions are made. The COP must be given the opportunity and responsibility to work more closely with the SC in program and budget decisions. Since the Conference of Presidents is composed of leaders who have a direct connection with the called workers and lay members of the synod, their wisdom and expertise should be extensively utilized, not marginalized. One way to accomplish this is through a joint meeting of the SC and the COP early in the budget process, insuring that both groups have the opportunity to input and discussion.

3B-2 We shall reject any plan to make the Conference of Presidents responsible to the Synodical Council.

3B-3 We shall reaffirm the role of the Conference of Presidents in overseeing both doctrine and practice.

3B-4 The president shall work with the COP in formulating a plan to address the concerns of synodical members and groups in the area of fellowship, worship, and outreach strategies. The COP shall work to address the concerns of various groups such as Church and Change and Issues in WELS, mindful that such groups arise when concerns and problems appear to be unaddressed by synodical leadership.

Action 4: Re-establishing effective communication

4A. Require clear, open, and accurate communication

4A-1 The synod president shall communicate clearly the challenges and issues confronting the synod with no spin or gloss. Within three months after the 2007 convention, he shall develop and deliver an accurate “State of the Synod” report, analyzing and summarizing the both the positive and successful elements, as well as the problems facing the synod today. The report should include a thorough and accurate evaluation and analysis of the past 5-10 years—detailing losses in membership, cuts in world missions, lack of home mission openings, reductions in support for ministerial education, fracturing of the synod’s unity in purpose and spirit, etc. The report shall also communicate a clear plan for addressing problems and for expanding the synod’s efforts to carry the gospel to the world.

4A-2 Special efforts shall be made to insure that communication is seen as two-way, as the synodical leaders communicate to members and as members are encouraged to communicate with responsive leaders.

4A-3 The synod president shall direct a study of the various communications tools and methods currently used and shall formulate a plan to streamline and coordinate all communications done in the name of the synod or any of its agencies

4A-4 The synod president shall direct the synod’s fiscal office to investigate ways to streamline the synod’s accounting structure, with special emphasis on simplifying and reducing the number of special funds, as well as developing a means to communicate the synod’s financial picture in a clear, simple, and understandable manner. Comprehensive budget information is to be included in the 2008 Report to the Twelve Districts and in the 2009 Book of Reports and Memorials.

4B. Give accurate picture of the reductions that have taken place in world missions

In the area of world missions, we have justified and defended the withdrawal of world missionaries from various fields by saying that our withdrawal enables national churches to stand on their own. This may be true in some locations at particular times, but the fact remains that in at least some cases the withdrawals were driven by finances rather than by the conditions in the mission field. It’s also a fact that the total number of world missionaries has been significantly reduced. We shall be accurate and open in our portrayal of these reductions, and we will be careful not to give the impression that a reduction in world mission manpower for financial reasons alone is a desirable or good thing. This is not to argue against new approaches in carrying out mission work, since many of the new approaches may indeed be beneficial to the spread of the gospel. In general, mission manpower withdrawn from a field for the right reasons should be redeployed to other fields.

4C. Give an accurate picture of the reductions that have taken place in home missions

In the area of home missions, traditional mission starts have dwindled to near zero. We have stated that, while we are not opening new home missions in the traditional sense, we are beginning dozens of new “ministries.” Presenting cutbacks in mission openings in this way gives the impression that we are doing as much or more now than before. Establishing a new ministry program, even one which utilizes full time pastoral manpower, is not the equivalent of opening a new home mission, and it should not be portrayed as such.

Action 5: Reviewing and revising current programs

5A. Investigate cost-efficient support programs

The synod shall continue to investigate cost-effective alternatives to WELS VEBA and improvements in the pension plan. Christian love demands that we provide adequate health care to our workers; Christian stewardship demands that we find the most economical way to provide it.

5B. Re-visit synodical salaries and staffing

5B-1 Since many qualified lay people would desire to serve in the church if the opportunity were given, the synod shall adopt a policy that states that, as a general rule, lay employees of the synod will be compensated at roughly the same levels as called administrative workers, not at rates dictated by the secular market place.

5B-2 The salary of the president should be established by the synod in convention, not by the Synodical Council.

5B-3 We shall publish all salaries or salary ranges for all synodical workers; we shall publish regularly the number of positions employed in the administrative areas of the synod.

5B-4 We shall explore whether outsourcing work is an economical alternative to permanent staffing.

5C. Incorporate and coordinate para-synodical efforts into the overall priorities of the synod

We shall work to reverse the fracturing of the synod’s programs, member support, and institutional focus by incorporating appropriate para-synodical efforts into the overall program and planning of the synod as appropriate. This does not imply that these para-synodical groups would be funded by the synod’s budget. Rather, it would insure that the programs of these groups are in keeping with the overall priorities of WELS and are considered in the planning process. WELS as a church body must re-assert some degree of control over the many organizations operating under the WELS banner. Supporters of para-synodical organizations shall be encouraged to recognize that support for para-synodical efforts should not come at the expense of support for the broader mission of the synod

5D. Increase world and home mission manpower and openings

5D-1 We shall adopt the goal of increasing foreign expatriate mission manpower by 20% or more over the next four years, while continuing and expanding the training of national pastors and church workers with the intent of fostering indigenous churches.

5D-2 We shall adopt the goal of increasing traditional home mission starts to 5-10 per year, while continuing to explore and encourage innovative methods of planting churches.

5E. Fund Ministerial Education at an adequate level

5E-1 We shall provide adequate support for ministerial education, insuring that the schools are adequately funded and able to carry out their assigned tasks.

5E-2 We shall make it a goal to set tuition at MLC at a level equivalent to tuition charged by typical state universities and to set tuition at the prep schools at a level equivalent to the average tuition at area Lutheran high schools. Limiting tuition costs will enable enrollments at the schools to rise, since it is commonly recognized that the increased cost of education to parents and students is one of the primary reasons for recent enrollment declines.

5F. Long Term Debt

Current debt service consumes millions of dollars annually—money which could be utilized for gospel outreach and other necessary synodical programs. Every effort should be made to present a thorough summary and explanation of all long-term external or internal debts, along with plans for timely amortization. We shall investigate all possible means to reduce and eliminate more quickly those debts.

Conclusion

In recent years the synod has dealt with its financial problems primarily by cutting budgets and programs, by pleading for increased support from congregations and individuals, and by taking steps to insure financial accountability. But the financial problems have only persisted and grown worse. It seems clear that we have been treating the symptoms but have not confronted the deeper malady.

This proposal is intended to respond to what appears to be the actual problem: the disconnect between the synod and its people and the loss of focus and direction at the synodical level.

It is our prayer that the Lord of the church will guide us in these difficult times. It is our prayer that he will give us both the wisdom to make the correct decisions as well as the courage and conviction to carry them out. It is our prayer that the Lord would give us the joy of serving in his kingdom, a faith that trusts in his promises, and a unified spirit as we do his work. And, most of all, it is our prayer that the Lord will bless our efforts, knowing that it is only with his help and strength that we can succeed.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix 1 The Synod Membership Subscription (SMS)

Each WELS congregation is required to remit an annual Synod membership subscription in the amount of $25 per communicant; this fee would cover the cost of the administrative and non-core programs of the synod
Congregations would be expected to include this amount as a line item in their local budgets. Congregations would be free to shift this amount from their current CMO total if they choose
All CMO and IMO offerings would be used to fund the core priority programs of the synod
This system would insure that necessary administrative programs are funded, and it would assure that all congregational mission offerings are truly for missions and training called workers

From the 2005 Statistical Report

WELS Communicant members: 313,000
Total CMO* $ 20,230,000
Average Per Communicant: $ 65
*does not include congregations closed in 2006

63 congregations gave -0- to WELS
120 congregations gave less than $10 per communicant
250 congregations gave less than $25

Scenarios:

If all congregations were required to submit a $25 Synod membership subscription (to cover non-core programs), the synod would receive an additional $600,000 per year. This would happen even if all other congregations take the $25 Synod membership subscription from existing CMO totals
Example: St. John is a congregation of 120 communicants which currently remits no financial support for the synod’s budget. If St. John remits the $25 Synod membership subscription, synod will receive $3,000 in revenue and St. John would cover its cost of synod membership and services.

If congregations increase their congregational mission offering (all funds beyond the $25 synod subscription fee) by 5%, it would result in an additional $700,000 in mission support received, for a total of an additional $1,300,000
Example: St. Paul is a congregation of 500 communicants which currently remits $50,000 to the synod. If it takes the synod membership subscription from its current total (500 members x $25= $12,500) and increases the remaining $37,500 by 5%, it would remit an additional $1,875 for missions.

If congregations increase their congregational mission offering by 10%, it would result in an additional $1,400,000 in mission support for a total of $2,000,000 in additional support
Example: If the same congregation increases is mission offering by 10%, it would result in a $3,750 increase in its support for missions

If all congregations pay the Synod membership subscription in addition to their current mission offering level, the increase would be an additional $ 7,825,000 in mission support. Example: St. Mark is a congregation of 400 communicants which currently gives $50,000 to the synod. If St. Mark adds the entire Synod membership subscription to its total ($10,000) it will result an increase of $10,000 for mission support.

Conclusion: While the last scenario will not happen immediately, it should be the goal that within 3 – 5 years all congregations have increased their CMO to the levels prior to deducting the synodical membership subscription. This can be accomplished as pastors are once again able to encourage increases in CMO as increases in mission support.

These figures do not even take into account an expected increase in Individual Mission Offerings as individuals also realize that their offerings are being used for mission and not administrative purposes.

Appendix 2: Suggested resolution for adoption as a recommendation to the 2007 Synod Convention

Whereas, a) The document entitled “Reclaim the Mission” identifies and describes many of the problems and challenges facing the synod today; and

Whereas, b) The document accurately reflects the heartfelt concerns of many WELS members, both lay and clergy; and

Whereas, c) The tone of the document is positive in its attempt to avoid blame and to offer positive solutions; and

Whereas, d) The document identifies five key areas of concern that must be addressed, namely

Reaffirming our purpose and priorities
Re-defining our method of support
Restoring clear, responsible, and responsive lines of authority
Re-establishing effective communication
Reviewing and revising current programs; and

Whereas, e) There is now no viable comprehensive plan to address these problems other than to appeal to the synod’s members for increased offerings; and

Whereas, f) This document offers a multi-part strategy to address the problems cited; and

Whereas, g) If adopted, the successful implementation of this plan will require synodical leaders who are fully committed to following it; therefore be it

RESOLVED 1) That we declare our support of this proposal and the steps it outlines; and be it further

RESOLVED 2) That this plan be presented to the 2007 synod in convention for discussion and adoption; and be it finally

RESOLVED 3) That the convention planners place this issue on the agenda at a point prior to any elections.

Cell Groups




The lay-led cell group or conventicle is at the heart of Pietism, Reformed doctrine, and the Church Growth Movement. Below are quotations from WELS, LCMS, and various non-Lutherans, all saying approximately the same thing.



"Small Group Fellowships are not, as is sometimes supposed, a formal Bible class. Instead, Small Group Fellowships are a 'relationship,' a relationship among members of the group, a relationship with God, a relationship based on and centered in the Word of God. Small Group Fellowships are gatherings of people who study God's Word together and then put the Word into action together by (a) applying it to their lives, (b) by worshiping the Triune God, and (c) by serving others--sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and their very lives."
Campus Ministry Foundation (WELS), Inc., Small Group Fellowships, Madison: Campus Ministry Foundation, 1990, p. 3.



"The Rationale for Small Groups...5. It Follows Biblical Practice. a. Jesus and the Twelve Apostles (Jesus concentrated on investing Himself in His small group of disciples to teach and model spiritual truth, attitudes and behavior for them and to train them to be spiritual leaders. b. The Early Christians (Acts 2:42-47; 16:40; 20:20-21).
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 3.



"Small Group Fellowships are lay-led."
Campus Ministry Foundation (WELS), Inc., Small Group Fellowships, Madison: Campus Ministry Foundation, 1990, p. 8.



"HomeWORD Bound Groups, Fairview (WELS), Milwaukee, WI. The Boards of Elders and Education of Fairview Ev. Lutheran Church Prayerfully Extend A DIVINE CALL to____________________ To Lead a Small Group Bible Study along with ________. Purpose: A Bible study leader in Fairview's HomeWord Bound program shall facilitate lay-led, home Bible studies which assist Fairview in its ministry...."
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison.

"Definition: 'A small group within the church is a voluntary intentional gathering of people, varying in number, regularly meeting together for mutual Christian purposes.' - Serendipity
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 2.



"Types of Home Groups, by Karen Hurston (Church Growth Assoc.), from material by Bob Fulton."
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 10.



"A Look at Several WELS Small Group Ministries. 1. Fairview in Milwaukee (Pastor Jim Aderman) 2. Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel in Madison (Mr. Rolf Wegenke) 3. Emanuel in New London (Pastor Steve Witte)"
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19.

"The Network of WELS Small Group Leaders. 1. Information on active/interested small group leaders. 2. The Resource Sharing Network led by Divine Savior in Indianapolis, Indiana [Pastor Dan Kelm]."
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19.



"A Look at Several WELS Small Group Ministries. 1. Fairview in Milwaukee (Pastor Jim Aderman) 2. Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel in Madison (Mr. Rolf Wegenke) 3. Emanuel in New London (Pastor Steve Witte)"
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19.



"A cell group is the basic part of our church. It is not another church program--it is the program of our church."
Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco: Word Books, 1984, p. 42.



"We have many different types of cell groups. I have found that there is a basic sociological principle which must be maintained in order for them to be successful. The principle is one of homogeneity."
Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco: Word Books, 1984, p. 44.


"The unrelenting growth is based on a multiplication of home cell groups led by lay leaders." Harry Genet, "Big Trouble for the World's Largest Church,"

Christianity Today, January 22, 1982 p. 30.



"Students of Church Growth realize that a good structure for the church that really wants to grow is the organization of celebration plus congregation plus cell. When we see the importance of the organization of the church we are looking with 'Church Growth Eyes.' We are looking from an x-ray perspective and understanding the internal organs of the body of Christ—the Church!"
Kent R. Hunter, Launching Growth in the Local Congregation, A Workbook for Focusing Church Growth Eyes, Detroit: Church Growth Analysis and Learning Center, 1980, p. 81.

"In an article on the small group movement, J. A. Gorman notes that 'both the Church Growth Institute of Fuller Seminary and the American Institute of Church Growth became centers for influencing the use of this means for evangelizing." (Christian Education, Moody Press, 1991, pp. 509, 510)
Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 126.

"This writer's acquaintance with this current phenomenon is threefold: 1) he has attended one of the workshops held by Lyman Coleman; 2) he has read about a dozen books in the last ten years coming from evangelical sources [i.e. false teachers] that deal with small groups either wholly or in part; 3) he has also inquired about why a number of WELS congregations have begun to conduct small group Bible study and how they have structured these groups."[1]
Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127.


"The point being made here is that the reason for having home Bible study in small groups seems to have shifted from the Pietists' or parachurch groups goal of creating cells of people who will reform the church to having small groups as an integral part of a congregation's work."
Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127.



"PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY AT CROSSROADS...Conduct seeker services... Provide small group leadership. At Crossroads, as people come to know Jesus they are encouraged to participate in groups of 8 to 10 people who meet weekly for 2 years of fellowship, holding one another accountable, discipleship training, encouragement and support. 1 Thessalonians. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."
Pastor Rick Miller, (WELS), Crossroads Community Church, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.



"Every disciple had responsibility over two types of cells, one cell where he formed the lives of the new converts, and another cell where he took the most advanced of those new converts and taught them how to be leaders, knowing that cell would soon be divided and the most advanced disciples put over additional cells. So came the multiplication." Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 101. "A cell has five elements: 1) devotion; 2) discussion; 3) programming; 4) mobilization; 5) multiplication. It takes all five to form a cell group." Juan
Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 106.


"The cell groups are used to teach sound doctrine...Sound doctrine is not just belief in the millennium, the rapture, and the tribulation."
Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 111.



"Another cause for the misplacement of believers is the Sunday school. The early church knew nothing about Sunday schools. They knew the best way for believers to grow and multiply is not through Bible lectures, but through living cells. This means small groups of four or five persons who meet in homes under a leader so their lives may be shaped so they may mobilize and multiply themselves in other cells."
Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 29.



"Resources mentioned in this 'Bulletin' are available from CHURCH GROWTH, 709 E. Colorado Blvd. #150, Pasadena, CA 91101. Or call 1-800-423-4844."
WELS Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, Mission Counsellor Newsletter, Austin, Texas, May, 1988



"Types of Home Groups, by Karen Hurston (Church Growth Assoc.), from material by Bob Fulton. Copied with the permission of Charles Arn."
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 11.



"The dynamics of assimilation into active church membership have very little to do with theological issues. Rather, a new members' class should focus primarily on relational issues of involvement and belonging." (Defining an Assimilated Member, by Charles Arn, copied with permission from EVANGELISM, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive, Mequon, WI, 53092. Annual subscription rate for EVANGELISM is $12...Charles Arn is Vice President of Church Growth, Inc. in Monrovia, Ca.)
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 150.



"What Are Affinity Groups? by Pastor Wayne Vogt, Fount of Life, Colorado Springs, CO."
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 8.



WELS Mission Counselors' NEWSLETTER, April, 1992: authors are - James Woodworth, Disciples of Christ; "Net Results," March, 1991; Roger K. Guy, Disciples of Christ; Arnell P. C. Arn, American Baptist Church; Jane Easter Bahls, Presbyterian; C. Jeff Woods, freelance writer and minister; Lyle Schaller, United Methodist; Pastor Paul Kelm; Pastor Jim Mumm, WELS; Pastor Peter Panitzke, WELS; Pastor Randall Cutter and Mark Freier, WELS,; First Congretional Church, Winchester, MA." [2]
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, April, '92, 2929 Mayfair Road Milwaukee, WI 53222



"The church is no longer the community of those who have been called by the Word and the Sacraments, but association of the reborn, of those who 'earnestly desire to be Christians'...The church in the true sense consists of the small circles of pietists, the 'conventicles,' where everyone knows everyone else and where experiences are freely exchanged."
Martin Schmidt, "Pietism," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1899.



"Some 15 years ago, Peter Wagner's equation read 'Cells + Congregation + Celebration = Church.'"
Ken Sidey, "Church Growth Fine Tunes Its Formulas," Christianity Today, June 24, 1991, p. 46.



"Wouldn't it be terrible to sleep through the Second Reformation? Cell Group Churches. The New Lifestyle For New Wineskins. Cell Group Churches Are Really Different! A 'Cell Group' Church is built on the fact that all Christians are ministers, and that there is no 'professional clergy' hired to do the work of ministry. According to Ephesians 4, God has provided 'Gifted Men' to equip 'Believers Who Are Gifted' to do the work of ministry...The life of the church is in its Cells, not in a building. While it has weekly worship events, the focus of the church is in the home Cells."
Touch Outreach Ministries, P.O. Box 19888 Houston, TX 77079 1-800-735-5865


Short answer:

No!




"Cell Groups For Reaching The Unchurched Are Called...SHARE GROUPS. Touch Outreach Ministries has spent many years experimenting with the best way to train Cell Group members to form 'Sub-Groups' called SHARE GROUPS which specifically target evangelizing the unchurched. SHARE GROUPS are 'pre-Bible study' Cells, which bond relationships between three Christians and six unbelievers. A series of three small books are used over a 27-week period of training. The first book, called 'BUILDING BRIDGES, OPENING HEARTS,' guides the SHARE GROUP Team through the first part of the strategy."

Touch Outreach Ministries, P.O. Box 19888 Houston, TX 77079 1-800-735-5865 p. 7.



"The cell groups have probably become the universal trademark of Full Gospel Central Church...A cell group is a cluster of church members who meet weekly in a home, factory, office, or other place for the purpose of evangelism and Christian fellowship through singing, prayer, Bible study, offering giving, announcements, sharing of needs, and praises and ministry to one another."
John N. Vaughan, The World's Twenty Largest Churches, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984, p. 44.



"Cell. Sometimes called a kinship circle; a small group of 8-12 believers; an important part of the church's struct which has the primary functions of spiritual accountability and intimacy and secondary functions of Bible, prayer, and healing."

C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 283.



"Cell groups of Christians fellowshipping together date back to the first century, for it was largely through the activities of little groups or cells of believers that the message of Jesus Christ spread throughout the Roman Empire."
Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1975, p. 93.



"Bible studies from Serendipity. Serendipity makes available Bibles (with outlines and discussion questions) and topical study booklets for adults and teen-agers. See appendix D for sample study courses. Order a SERENDIPITY SMALL GROUP RESOURCES CATALOG from Serendipity, P.O. Box 1012, Littleton, CO, 80160 or call 1-800-525-9583 (In CO call 1-303-798-1313)."

Notebook, WELS School of Outreach IV, p. 225.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] CLC Pastor David Koenig was anxious to prove that David Kuske was not trained by Lyman Coleman. Koenig even published a letter in Christian News about it. Koenig was always eager to start cell groups and heatedly supported Pietism while trying to quash any criticism of his beloved Church Growth Movement.

[2] Two of the featured WELS authors, Cutter and Freier, have left Lutheranism.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

WordAlone (sic) - To Yeastify Concordia Seminary, St. Louis


WordAlone (sic) is the slightly conservative lobbying group within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. They could not possibly believe in the Word alone and still hold their beliefs, so that is why I used the Latin sic. For those of you who were listening to Punk Rock instead of studying Latin, the word means "their error, not mine." If I quoted someone who claimed Chicago was the capital of Illinois, I might add (sic) to prove I knew the difference. This little word is great fun when Lutherans misspell Lutheran in writing one of their hair-on-fire emails to me.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Concordia Seminary has invited these tepid Lutherans to study at their posh seminary in Clayton, one of the tonier suburbs of St. Louis. They used some Schwan loot to buy the school next door, so that place has plenty of room to expand. My prediction is that Gerald the Bold will move Ft. Wayne to St. Louis to save money, installing some nice Church Growth hive at The Fort, as they like to call it. The Fort has been surrounded and eager to surrender for years.

Here is the link to the story from WA. Hide Your Sister, No Your Brother - WordAlone Is on the Clayton Campus!

My problem with WA is their turn-back-the-clock-ten-years approach to ELCA's feverish dogmas of apostasy. WA definitely does not trust the Word alone. They are nostalgic about the times when they could read PR news releases from ELCA and not wince or answer strange questions from their co-workers, like, "Does your pastor know all the Broadway show tunes and the original cast names?"

More troubling still is Missouri's willingness to "dialogue" about false doctrine. This is what Bartelt,their LCMS seminary rep, said to WA:

While noting some areas of theological agreement between WordAlone and the seminary, Bartelt did not ignore two potential areas of dispute. He wrote, “Indeed, we welcome those who are willing to engage in honest dialogue and conversation about controversial theological matters, including issues such as the historical-critical method [of biblical study] and women’s ordination.”

He also wrote, “With others in our faculty and administration, I am pleased to continue to foster, as appropriate, the relationship already nurtured through dialog with your leadership and network.”


Why not welcome the chance to debate about the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and other settled questions of doctrine? WA is not even close to historic Christianity, and Bartelt's open-mindedness shows the seminary is not either. Both Concordia seminaries are only a few years behind ELCA in progressive thinking. That is why WA is welcome. The differences are slight.