Here are the top ten areas of our ministries in which I would like to see changed.
1. Myself. I trust God too little...
2. We don't prize our synod and our ministry relationships enough... Our called workers at 2929 will tell you that they take a lot more abuse than encouragement.
3. We need to loosen up.... Our public worship/praise/prayer style seems stiff, overly formal, unemotional, smotheringly doctrinal. I personally do not think that our synod in general has a good balance of head & heart in our worship life. There. I said it.
4. Our schools are not being fully utilized to draw unchurched people into the fellowship.
5. We need to love cities more.
6. We need to welcome diversity, prize new racial groups and the cultural and ministry treasures that they bring. New people groups coming in to the WELS will not pollute our "pure" (quotation marks in the original) Lutheran practices. but enrich them.
7. We need a little more sanity and calm in our discussions of church fellowship. Things I can't stand:
· Assigning a seminary professor a paper and then letting all applications and conclusions become canon law instead of each of us getting into Word [sic] personally.
· Passing off crude oversimplification as WELS canon law, such as, "You can't pray with anybody who is not WELS," or "if anyone rejects a clear word of God, he is in rebellion against the most High God and you can't be sure that he/she is really saved.
· We have a very highly developed sense of what we can't do with other Christians, to the point that it is safer to have nothing to do with other Christians. We lack the positive side of dealing with other Christians in practical ways.
8. I think we need a little more sanity in dealing with men/women role issues in the church... sometimes the WELS position is described as asserting male headship in all relationships: in family, church and society. Scripture speaks only of the first two areas, and so should we.
9. We need to declare a moratorium on negative comments about public schools. It is possible to be proud of our WELS system without running down Milwaukee Public Schools. There are many wonderful educational programs and innovations happening in MPS that we would do well to study and learn from.
10. There is a price that we have paid for our unity of practice in the WELS, and that is we have only each other as ministry models. We have many weak areas of ministry, such as in cities, and need to get around more to learn from other successful ministries even if they're not WELS. It is not helpful if our attempts to learn from other Christians is ridiculed as "sitting at the feet of the Reformed" or "capitulating to the papacy.”
Remarks delivered at a conference on March 3, 2000 by Rev. Mark Jeske, vice-president of WELS' Southeastern Wisconsin District.
At some big civic occasion in Milwaukee a few years back, he was one of the “preachers” invited to do an invocation or something. The mayor was up on the dais with Jeske, another preacher of some sort, a Roman priest, and a Jewish rabbi, and maybe even others (kinda sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, huh!?). Anyway, they all – including Jeske – did some spiritual foofaraw of some sort. It was in the Journal/Sentinel, and some made a big stink about it, and DP Dave actually had to strip Mark of his District VP job. Of course, he did so by asking nicely, and Mark had so many other things on his plate that he didn’t mind. And I believe when it was announced to the District, the joint prayer was NOT given as the reason.
Maybe the story is still in the newspaper archives.