A report from the field:
Here's another (W)ELS mission church that has a lot in common with the (W)ELS emergent church The Core.
Jarod Oldenburg is the pastor and church planter assigned by the Synod. Things in common are sheep stealing to start the church. The church name avoids any reference to Lutheran or WELS, although it can be found by looking. They are using Baptist theological books for education and inspiration.
I had a run in with Pastor Oldenburg years ago following his attendance at a Reggie McNeal (Baptist) training seminar. He returned and was promoting the idea that if we didn't communicate God's word in the language of today we just wouldn't be communicating. He was also working on writing new creeds for his mission - Light of Life in Covington, Wa.)
Once a month preview services for the reasons given below. One year of preparation before the first service is to begin.
Starting a (W)ELS church called Eternal Rock. Quotes from Pastor Oldenburg's blog:
"Up until this point, our primary goal has been to locate mission-minded WELS members who would like to help our effort"
"During the Launch meeting, we will be sharing the Eternal Rock mission: “Follow Jesus: Live Love.”"
"To help us align, we chose to go through the book Essential Church. The book is not gospel truth, but it did provide some great points for discussion."
Once a month Preview Services - "will allow us time to follow-up on guests and make any necessary changes (location, timing, equipment, etc.)"
"September 2011 - Sometime after Labor Day we will launch our weekly services."
2009–September–The WELS Board for Home Missions decides to fund the exploratory mission in Castle Rock, Colorado. This decision is based on funding and the presence of an interested core group of families that live in and around Castle Rock.
2010–May–Pastor Jared Oldenburg [grew up in Appleton], at the time serving the church he started in Covington, WA, accepts the call to serve as the church planter for the Castle Rock Mission.
2010–July–Pastor Oldenburg arrives with his family (wife and three kids).
2010–August–first mission meeting to discuss schedule and general goals for the mission. It is determined that the group will meet every other week and read/study together the book Essential Church. The first meeting had 20 adults.
2010-September–New name! Eternal Rock Lutheran Church. The other finalists were Rock of Life and Christ Our Rock. New website is launched at www.eternalrock.org the same month as well as a serving Castle Rock task force.
2010–October–Serving Castle Rock task force starts the process of a “Community Needs Assessment” and makes plans to interview community officials and serve the community.
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Before we get into too many details, some general church planting principles ought to be laid out. First, it is generally good to start a church in the fall because many people are settling down into some routines after a busy/distracted summer. Second, if you are going to write about planting your church, make sure you use exaggerated blog titles that make it sound like you are about to send something to Mars. Third, in this day and age, it makes some sense to get to know/serve a community first and launch second.
Up until this point, our primary goal has been to locate mission-minded WELS members who would like to help our effort. It is not that we don’t care about the unchurched, but instead we figure we can best serve and reach the unchurched in the future if we strengthen our core group. To help us align, we chose to go through the book Essential Church. The book is not gospel truth, but it did provide some great points for discussion. It looks like we have just over 20 adults who are committed to our efforts and excited to help make it happen.
Prelaunch I (January-May)
Starting in January, our primary goals will move towards the planning aspects of launching a church. This will be divided up into two types of meetings: Launch and Planning.
During the Launch meeting, we will be sharing the Eternal Rock mission: “Follow Jesus: Live Love.”
The first meeting will cover the mission of Jesus and in turn our mission as a church. During successive monthly meetings, we will be explaining and expanding each of the parts. For example, “Follow Jesus” would mean follow Jesus through worship and by studying His Word. During the meetings, we will discuss/present what this will look like at our new church.
Anyone who may want to be involved is invited to these meetings. The first is January 16th at 4:00pm at the Castle Oaks Church (across from Nike) in the Castle Rock Outlet Mall.
If you think of the launch meetings as casting a vision for the new church, the planning meetings will focus on the business end of launching a church. Couples and individuals will be encouraged to focus on either worship, outreach, education, or service as we get ready to have our first preview service in May. If the Launch meetings focus on what it will look like, the planning meetings will focus on what it will take to make it happen.
Prelaunch II (May-August)
During this time we will be holding worship once each month. The weeks between preview services will allow us time to follow-up on guests and make any necessary changes (location, timing, equipment, etc.). This is also a time when we will start to emphasize outreach and service to the community. Not only will we have something to invite people to (worship), but we will also be mobilized to do some things in the community.
Launch (September 2011)
Sometime after Labor Day we will launch our weekly services. The idea is that by this service date and with the help of the preview services, we will have the location, signage, welcome, timing, equipment, etc, ready so we can focus our greatest efforts on reaching those who are far from God.
GJ - Somebody should do a census on the emergent churches already in the area. This congregation is another example of Stetzer-based work. "What we believe" is so watered down and vague that any denomination could post the same words.
Their pre launch meetings are being held at Castle Oaks Church - Evangelical Covenant
I noticed the links to WELS do not work, although the website is "crazy easy" to maintain.
If you do not like this development, write a letter!
If you did not speak to the pastor first, you will be accused of violating Matthew 18. If you did speak to him first, you will be accused of not writing a letter first.
If you meet with other members and pastors and try to do something, nothing will happen, even if the DP meets with you. He probably will not. If he does meet with you, he will blame this blog for getting you upset.
You will not be taken seriously. The DP will retaliate against you, your family, and your friends. Former friends. They will desert you as soon as they find out you questioned Holy Mother WELS.
Or send an email to the Synod President. He will send a secretive message back (if you are lucky) saying that he is working on it.