The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central Daylight Time.
Wednesdays Romans 1-5 in Greek

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Friday, January 2, 2015

WELS Documented Blog - Shocking Truth about the Lutheran Quest for Apostasy

Jeske's Koine rock group expects $3,000 just to show up.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Contemporvant Worship: Coming Soon to a WELS Church Service Near You

First watch the video, which is meant to be a parody on contemporary worship, then read the actual statements below that made by WELS pastors, teachers, churches & conferences and compare.

Is this video a parody of contemporary worship or is this the future of our WELS worship services?

When Dale Witte [WELS Composer, Choir Director, Christian Educator and Musician] first watched this video when it came out in 2010. He had to this to say about it:

Everytime you hear the phrase "contemporary worship," ask yourself the question, like a good Lutheran, "What does this mean?", because it means something different to everyone who says it depending on their background.

This video is an extreme, albeit humorous example. Unfortunately, this is what I think a lot of people think contemporary worship is, or should become. I hope not.There is a lot to be said for doing Lutheran liturgical worship well:
  • the musicians and pastors planning each service so well that the the same message is preached from the balcony by the choirs, instrumentalists, and organist as the pastor preaches from the pulpit and lectern,
  • that message is evident to all worshippers as they are worshiping, and
  • it is memorable enough that they can tell someone else who was not there what worship was about that week.
There also is a lot to be said for remaining true to the heritage of the Lutheran Church, reclaiming who we are, boldly proclaiming what it means to be Lutheran,and not experimenting with whom we are not.

Is the video still an "extreme" parody or in the four years since he wrote that has it become reality for worship services in WELS? 

This is what we found throughout the WELS when we looked at what congregations were doing:

Relevant - We will seek to preach and teach timeless truths in timely ways. Our various ministries are also designed for the age in which we live not for the 1500s, 1900s, or 1960s. As Luther took the German Bible and made the prophets speak German - our goal is to take the Bible and use the language and technology of today in order to speak to the heart of people, and not over the head of people 
One of their listed values on the church website
Amazing Love Church

Frankfort, IL

The CORE exists to transform lives for Christ through faith that is Real, Relevant, and Relational. We deal with life's issues through the lens of God's Word. We come face to face with sin and the havoc it creates in our lives.
From The Core Website
The Core Church
Appleton, WI

Join us on Sunday mornings for an uplifting and relevant message focused on what God's Word means in your life.
St Paul's Church Website
St Paul's Lutheran Church  
Menomonie, WI

Casual Atmosphere – Reclining movie theater seats with cup holders. Need we say more? Modern Worship – Relevant messages, musical variety, helpful videos.
Victory of the Lamb Website
Victory of the Lamb Church
Franklin, WI

We strive to make every message and every service relevant and applicable to real life, as well as excellent in quality.  At the same time, you can come to church in your jeans, or your shorts (or even in your jean shorts) and feel perfectly comfortable in one of our services.  Grab a cup of coffee and a bagel on your way in and settle in for a high-octane hour of power-learning about God.
From the Crosswalk Website
Crosswalk Church
Phoenix, AZ

St. Matthew is a friendly, focused, family church, striving to be relevant and responsive to your needsRELEVANT - The message of Jesus really does provide answers and hope for our generation.
From the St Matthew Website
ST Matthew Church
Port Washington, WI 

We’re relevant! Our messages are meant to apply to your everyday life. They’re practical and filled with comfort. We believe that everyone needs to know what God expects of us, and what God offers us in His love. If you come to CTR, you’ll hear just what God has to say about this – straight from His Word, the Bible! With our upbeat music and our fun and creative worship, you’ll go home encouraged and equipped each week!
From the Christ the Rock Website 
Christ the Rock Church 
Round Rock, TX 
Watch Easter Worship Music Video Clip 
Watch Christmas Video Clip  

May I suggest that the kind of preaching needed for the nineties and beyond is somewhat different: personal, intense, eye-to-eye, well-researched and yet down-to-earth, poured out from the heart, with the smell of spontaneity, clearly outlined, simple, logical, with real applications to real life, talking and thinking out loud with your friends rather than orating at an audience, using all the storyteller’s arts, even humor, radiating the joy of being a member of the royal family of Jesus Christ.
Worship in the WELS: Changing Practices
Presented to the Southeastern Wisconsin District Convention, at WLHS on June 12, 1990 by Mark Jeske

One of the noteworthy WELS examples nationally is St. Mark Lutheran Church in De Pere. About 80% of the music that its praise band plays comes from top-selling contemporary Christian music. The church has a $150,000 audio-visual system with two big video screens.
Old time rock 'n' roll
Traditional hymns get fresh beat as interest grows in contemporary church services
By Tom Heinen of the Journal Sentinel 
Dec. 25, 2006

There is a celebration going on.  We feel Sunday morning is the highlight of our week.  We celebrate that God loved us so much he give his life for us. We use music that helps us celebrate whether it be a Chris Tomlin ( song you hear on Christian radio or great hymns like, "How Great Thou Art."
From the Amazing Love Website
Amazing Love Church
Frankfort, IL

Our contemporary service includes some of the liturgical elements of the traditional worship service. Guitars, drums, keyboard, and vocalists lead the congregational singing of contemporary Christian songs and hymns. This service is also in the church sanctuary. The Bridge is our newest worship offering, designed with a casual, come-as-you-are worship atmosphere. Humor, video, lighting effects and contemporary Christian music combined with the pastor’s message help us all grow closer to Christ. Every Sunday a team of volunteers transforms the Trinity Gym into a modern worship environment complete with stage, large screen projectors, stage lights, and curtains.
St Paul's Website
St Paul's Church
Muskego, WI 

The contemporary worship services at St. Mark Lutheran brings together dynamic music, compelling dramas, moving real life stories, and stirring Bible-based teachings. In a sense there is something for everyone. .... (There is) a praise ensemble consisting of an electronic piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drum kit, bass guitar, violins, woodwind instruments and three or four singers. The music is upbeat, vibrant and worshipful. The music is performed in a professional manner and with relevancy yet, there is always a sense that God is the focus.
Contemporary Worship-Pro and Con
Presented by Jeff Londgren
Great Lakes Pastoral Conference at Holy Cross Church, Madison, Wisconsin, April 24, 2007 talking about St Mark's in Green Bay, WI

The Bridge meets in the Trinity Gym, where you’ll find a casual atmosphere and modern music and lighting. The Bridge includes band-led singing, helpful spiritual messages, and moments for prayer and encouragement. You’ll notice that our pastors wear jeans. 
The Bridge Church Website
The Bridge

Muskego, WI

[the] first shows a decade ago, were "OK, but we had a lot to learn technically," [Mark] Jeske said. They were harshly lighted and his black-and-white clergy robes were "terrible colors" to wear on TV. They "drive the camera iris crazy," he said. A creative consultant told him to get out from behind the pulpit and to wear business clothes to "create a much more colorful, balanced image."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article
Mark Jeske
Time of Grace/St Marcus Church 

Singing in a worship band is very different from singing in a choir. This session will talk about many things that are important to singing well and effectively. Although this session will focus mostly on singing in a worship band, many of the topics covered can also be applied in other vocal settings. Topics to be covered include vocal warmups, blending with other vocalists, the importance of non-verbals, proper microphone technique and handling, lead vocals vs. harmony vocals, and vocal dynamics.
Session description for workshop conducted at the Heart and Hands of David Workshop 
Jonathan Favorite 
Director of Worship Arts at CrossWalk Church 
CrossWalk Church
Phoenix, AZ 

Good audio is one of the most critical elements in worship today. Learn real-world, practical methods on how to get the most out of your sound system and how to apply that knowledge properly in a worship context. Topics covered include fixing common noise issues (hum, buzz and hiss), dealing with acoustical challenges, how to approach the mixing console and "put together" the mix, solving the mysteries of EQ, and plenty of Q & A time.
Session description for workshop conducted at the Heart and Hands of David Workshop
Craig Basten
Systems Engineer for Koiné 

Get an inside peek at how Koiné approaches hymn arrangement. This hands on session will demonstrate Koiné's method for deconstructing a hymn from the hymnal and rebuilding it so it is usable for congregational participation. Learn their approach to melody, meter, lyrical highlighting, and composition flow. The session will start by highlighting hymns Koiné has already arranged and will end with a live demonstration of the method in action as Koiné arranges a new hymn.
Session description for workshop conducted at the Heart and Hands of David Workshop 
Five unique artists came together in 2003 to put a new twist on traditional, Christian music.

Kristen is responsible for planning and implementing all worship opportunities.Music is the largest part of the worship ministry at St. Andrew, but the worship ministry also includes lay readers, dramatic and visual arts, hospitality ministries and audio/visual tech support. Kristen works with Pastor Hunter to study biblical worship principles and practices, evaluate current worship practices at St. Andrew, and define future directions for St. Andrew's worship ministry.
Speaker Profile 
Kristen Koepsell 
Staff Minister of Worship at St. Andrew Church 

Modern church in a gym providing a concert setting with music and a message.
About Section on The Bridge Church Facebook Page
The Bridge Church
Muskego, WI 

The Savior of the Nations band (SON bandplays a wide variety of styles from different musical genres including: Blues, Jazz, Funk, Reggae, Rock, Soul and Inspirational! They refer to the mix of styles as their "groove style." The music from the SON band shows the need for a Savior, and that Jesus Christ is truly the Savior of the Nations. The SON band is part of the Savior of the Nations Experience (SON Experience). The SON Experience is unique. Music is provided by the band, and amazing visuals fill a giant screen with rich imagery in pictures and video, lyrics to songs, and the message of love, peace, and forgiveness found in the Bible! The environment is very casual and relaxed, as we all gather together to hear more about how real God is in our lives, and how he truly wants us to know him and his love.The SON Band regularly supplements worship at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN.
Band Profiles on the Christian Leader Experience Website 
Pilgrim Lutheran Church
Minneapolis, MN 

[Pastor Tim] Glende said the premise behind the downtown campus was to bring The Core’s less traditional, multimedia and music-centered services to young adultsinstead of waiting for them to come to the Freedom church.
Appleton Post Crescent Newspaper Article about The Core
The Core Church
Appleton, WI 

Inside, visitors will find upbeat Christian music played by a live band in which theRev. John Backus will play acoustic and electric guitar and will deliver the sermon later. The sermons themselves will be conversational, in keeping with the informal style of the service.The idea is to be more of a concert setting that incorporates a message and a prayer, said Sally Wallner, St. Paul's community outreach coordinator."We'll be ramping the music up for The Bridge and be rocking and participating," she said.
Muskego Now News Article
The Bridge Church/St Paul's
Muskego, WI

Martin Luther wrote the lyrics centuries ago, but the eighth-note rock rhythms that pulsated through St. Marcus Lutheran Church on Christmas Eve clearly proclaimed that this was new terrain for "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come." Such sounds would have been verboten in the distant past within the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, known for staunch theological conservatism. But new ways to deliver God's message have been evolving. Even the familiar tunes usually are there - just with a blues, pop, folk or rock 'n' roll setting, all played by the "house" band Koiné. Pete Reese, 32, a string bass player from Milwaukee, describes the music as "bombastic pop, to classic rock, to folk. Even a touch of metal, a touch of punk here and there." There has been some experimentation with full-blown praise bands in WELS churches for at least 10 years, but it is not widespread, [James] Tiefel said.
Old time rock 'n' roll
Traditional hymns get fresh beat as interest grows in contemporary church services
By Tom Heinen of the Journal Sentinel 
Dec. 25, 2006

If you are striving for excellence in contemporary, blended or modern worship settings in WELS churches we would love to find a way to help.
From the Mike Westendorf Website
Mike Westendorf Musician
St Paul's/The Bridge
Muskego, WI 

Wayne Mueller, first vice president of synod mission and ministry for WELS, estimates that 25% of the denomination's 1,263 congregations offer some type of regular alternative worship.
Old time rock 'n' roll
Traditional hymns get fresh beat as interest grows in contemporary church services
By Tom Heinen of the Journal Sentinel 
Dec. 25, 2006

WELS Endorsed Entertainers [Note: they are listed as "entertainers"]
Note on their website: (Many have CDs available at

Drive-Through Church 

A parody that tries to please everyone. The video is meant to be the extreme but, again, how far are we from this in our WELS churches?

The statements below are what our WELS churches are doing trying to please everyone: 

Outward Focused - We must continue to ask and be driven by this question, “How can we reach others with the saving message of Jesus?” Driven by the needs of those outside, not the desires of those inside. Those with the food of the Gospel sharing food to the starving, not commenting, “I’m not sure I like how this meal tasted.”
One of their listed values on the church website
Amazing Love Church

Frankfort, IL

St. Andrew looked at possibilities for its new satellite location, such as storefronts in area strip malls, but instead was able to acquire an existing church building. The only problem was the interior didn’t match their “casual about church” approach. So the congregation hired a popular coffeehouse designer—coincidentally someone who didn’t attend church—and asked him to design the kind of place where he’d feel comfortable coming to hear about Jesus. Hunter says the result looks and feels like a café, complete with chairs, couches, coffee tables, and coffee machines in the back.
Forward in Christ Article
St Andrew's Church 
Waunakee, WI

But "I don't like the word" televangelist "and never use it," [Mark] Jeske said. "I don't like the words preach or sermon, either. Why would people who don't want a sermon Monday through Saturday want one Sunday?
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article
Mark Jeske
Time of Grace/St Marcus Church 

The goal is to reach them by keeping potentially off-putting religious symbols and practices at a minimum to let the love that is the real message shine through, [Sally] Wallner said. St. Paul's even has dropped the evangelical Lutheran parts of its full name for general purposes, she added, though it is still formally St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church and School.
Muskego Now News Article 
Sally Wallner, St. Paul's community outreach coordinator 
The Bridge/St Paul's 
Muskego, WI

The only furniture with an obvious religious connection is a baptismal font donated by another church. It doesn’t fit the still spartan bar-like decor, and Reeder says Illumine will likely use it to collect aid for the poor.
Herald Online Newspaper Article
Illumine Church
Rock Hills, SC

Christ the Rock strives to be a “church for unchurched people.” That means that we’re all about meeting people where they’re at.
From the Christ the Rock Website 
Christ the Rock Church 
Round Rock, TX 

At Hope, we are here to create a church that unchurched people love. We are thrilled that we are having success in our goal of reaching unchurched people.
From the Hope Church Website 
Hope Church 
Oconomowoc, WI

Is this the way of the future beginning in Seminary already? Granted, this is a Christmas party, but is this how it starts? Watch as future pastors of our Synod sing "O Holy Night" as a bluegrass song (note the audience laughter halfway through the song).