Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Guest review on the '07 C & C Conference

wswelstar said...

I was at church and change. I thought the conference was wonderful and very encouraging. I told people who asked me that it was like a ministry candy store- so many wonderful ideas for sharing the gospel.

I went to JP's workshop. I thought it was insightful and well done.

I thought the keynote speaker also said some insightful things. He also gave good reasons for change. There was a doctrinal survey of our people that was done recently. The results were disappointing.

Was anyone else present at C&C 07 that can add to the discussion? I'd be happy to try to answer any other questions.

Who's the guy who thinks Church and Change is divisive by its name alone? Why do you think that?

Pastor Fred Guldberg
Star of Bethlehem
Winston Salem, NC

40 comments:

John said...

Pastor Guldberg,

I posted your comment as a new blog post. Thank you for the review.

Pastor Mark Bartling is the minister who wrote an article and stated the Church and Change group is divisive by its name alone. You can find out about the context of this under the post involving Dr. Braun.

Thank you also for being willing to answer questions.

I'm sure that some of the readers will have some questions about the content of the C&C Conference.

Anonymous said...

There was a doctrinal survey of our people that was done recently. The results were disappointing

I am wondering what these results said.

Anonymous said...

"There was a doctrinal survey of our people that was done recently. The results were disappointing"

Yeah, turns out there are still a few people left in the WELS who believe in the efficacy of the means of grace. What a huge disappointment to the C&C group.

rlschultz said...

Concerning the doctrinal survey and the disappointing results, I have several questions.
Who was disappointed by the results?
What questions were asked on the survey?
Who was the survey given to?

I don't have a name and I like it that way said...

Yeah, I'm confused on the doctrinal survey thing...more info please!!!

John said...

I believe Pr. Guldberg will be back to answer these questions.

I wanted to note that there are some new readers jumping in and some are leaving comments on older posts. I'm not sure how many readers check back to the older comments. Below is a comment just posted under the topic of Dr. Braun's sermon.

Anonymous said...

"Never in my life have I ever heard one WELS pastor use another as the object of ridicule in a sermon to get some cheap laughs. That's what those of us in the WELS who are still confessional are to the C&Cers--a joke."

How can you claim to know what motivated Dr. Braun? Can you read a man's heart? And how can you know what persective "the C&Cers" have of their WELS brothers who prefer more conservative methodology? Having attended the C&C conference, I can tell you that all of the WELS pastors I sawe in attendance are all, to my knowledge, confessional men.

November 7, 2007 11:02 AM

Anonymous said...

This comment actually belongs under another thread, but it's a bit older, so I don't want it to get buried. In his "Throw me a bucket" entry, John refers to what he calls Church and Change's:

"history of inviting heterodox Unitarian speakers"

There was a Unitarian speaker at a Church and Change conference? Which speaker was that? Was he a an ordained minister of the Unitarian Universalist Association? Have you checked the facts on this?

John said...

anonymous,

Welcome to this discussion. You might not know that the C&C group invited the Unitarian Leonard Sweet.

You can read about his beliefs at:

http://www.leonardsweet.com/

Let me know if what you find out is in line with the Lutheran Confessions.

Anonymous said...

Umm, John? Leonard Sweet is a Methodist, not a Unitarian. Not that it makes things any better, but you should probably represent the facts correctly.

Anonymous said...

To get back on topic, does anyone know what doctrinal survey Pr. Guldberg is talking about? If so, is there a link that could be posted?

Thanks,
mav

John said...

I have contacted Pr. Guldberg off-line. We may be hearing more details soon.

I don't have a name and I like it that way said...

Well, to be fair, Leonard Sweet is not just a "Methodist"...he is a "United Methodist." Just wanted to point that out as just as there are differences in the Lutheran church (i.e. we aren't all ELCA), there are differences in the Methodist denom as well (i.e. United vs Free Methodists).

With that said, having read quite a bit of L. Sweet...he's not anywhere close to being orthodox in his doctrine....he has a lot of "new agey" humanistic ideals.

John said...

The doctrinal survey is suppose to be posted on the church and change website. Here is the response from Pr. Guldberg:

The slides from the keynote were supposed to be posted on the Church and Change website along with other items, but not there yet. I know of guys who wanted other things from the conference who just had to ask the presenter. For example...

For the closing service there was a responsive Nicene Creed. I wanted to use it for Last Judgment. He sent it to me yesterday. (In a world that rejects the creation of the world what do you believe? I believe in God the Father almighty...)

I attended, JP's irresistable environments - really good, tons... one more example - paying (with gift certificate to grocery store) unchurched to visit your worship for feedback. I've thought about that. I and the pastors around me have new members of each church to be the "new visitor" to get that feedback. School of Outreach helped too.

Jeff Gunn's Priming Passion, about taking care of yourself, a really good reminder for me to exercise and make my marriage a priority. It's so easy to let that stuff slide, one pastor said he didn't have enough time and Jeff asked him if he had any late night meetings - the answer was yes - Jeff asked him 1) if he had to be at the meeting, 2) was there a time limit set?

READ your Bible. The Bible is free to listen to online - that I think was just posted on the web and is on my churches site too. MP3 for free.

Steinbrener's Which Niche, Also excellent - about his after school program and other possibilities for reaching out to the community - that was great because you could hear about all the other ideas people tried. Encouraged - if you're not failing you're not trying - can be overstated, of course.

Forget presenter's name - video guy - using video in worship, I dabble, gospel's of Matthew or John on video. But they really opened up the door for lots of possibilities. Like a video of a woman who just lost a husband who was angry with God - that's it - presenter wanted to get people to that point. Mostly guys in the room, but most eyes weren't dry. Video can accomplish something powerful and frankly that's what our people are used to and how they learn best. (Part of my problem here is me - I'm a hearing auditory listener - I don't really like PPT, I love lecture and taking notes, I'm finding out that I'm in the minority.) Covered the cost and expertise needed too.

Stuck my head into grant writing - Fischer, I think. Can get Gov't grant for leadership training - this is the one thing I want to do over the next year. Guy from Michigan hosts their own race. Gives bags to participants chocked full with their church's stuff. Hosting a race? Who thinks of this? great community awareness though.

I went to the contemporary worship thing last time and it was reinforced this time - I'm in Winston Salem, NC, the Bible Belt - VERY common around me. 1) I don't really like the music 2) I really don't like the words to some of the songs - in defense, some are very good though 3) I don't have a praise band. 4) worship style is relatively low on the list of why visitors will or will not stay - #'s 1 and 2 are sermon and friendly people.

Contemporary is a worship style - like having a three person praise team a keyboard and singing really cool songs from the hymnal that are too hard for the flock to handle on their own... Using a gathering rite with simple refrain... Using the projector, because that's best for my flock and easier to sing up and out.

Anonymous said...

So, in Pastor Guldberg's synopsis of what he witnessed at the C and C conference-- Where's the lack of trust in the means of grace? I don't see it. But I do see practical, common sense ideas that we should all be considering and utilizing.

Anonymous said...

"Where's the lack of trust in the means of grace?"

Um, how about paying the "unchurched to visit your worship for feedback."

Anonymous said...

Wow. Paying people to come to church?!? That's probably the most outrageous thing I've heard from C&C yet--and that's saying something!

ABC

Anonymous said...

Why do unbelievers come to church to begin with? Is it to hear law and gospel? I thought we were dead in our tresspasses...until the Spirit makes us alive through Word and Sacrament. Do unblievers ever come to church for the RIGHT reason? What's the difference between "paying" them to come to church, or offering a soccer clinic, or having a big sign out front welcoming visitors on a special friendship Sunday...and if they come, they get in on the free meal afterwards? Can someone enlighten me?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 2:01 PM,

I'm about to blow your mind here. Are you ready?

What if we didn't invite unbelievers to worship at all? (gasp!) What if we stopped using worship as an evangelism tool? (Something it was never meant to be in the first place.) How would you feel if we did like the early Christians and threw visitors out and locked the doors before celebrating the Lord's Supper? What if, instead of using gimmicks and programs to get people into worship, we used the personal witness of ordinary Christians to get them into instruction classes instead? What if we stopped dumbing-down worship to the lowest common denominator, so that it was actually edifying to faithful Christians? What if we stopped basing our worship on what opinion polls say that unbelievers want in worship? Since when do we let unbelievers dictate worship?

Is your mind sufficiently blown yet?

ABC

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the purpose of the "pay to come to church" thing is to get an outsider's perspective, which is not a bad thing to seek every now and then, no? It is not intended to be some gimmic to get people into the pew, but if the means of grace works (which would seem to be the rationale for the existence of this blog) and some person paid to attend church is brought to faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, the kingdom benefits. Agreed?

So if this is the "most outrageous thing" associated with C&C, it looks like the WELS is in pretty good shape, we can shut down this blog, and we can all go back to more worthy endeavors like proclaiming the gospel like brothers, instead of attacking one another in a public meadium? Deal?

Anonymous said...

' "Where's the lack of trust in the means of grace?" Um, how about paying the "unchurched to visit your worship for feedback." '

Please explain how seeking the impressions of the people with whom we seek to communicate shows a lack of trust in the means of grace. Please do so without judging motives.

Anonymous said...

"How would you feel if we did like the early Christians and threw visitors out and locked the doors before celebrating the Lord's Supper"

Interesting -- that's exactly what Crosswalk in Phoenix does, only they have it before the service. Looks like there might be more common ground within the WELS than you imagine.

Is your mind sufficiently blown yet?

Anonymous said...

ABC said:

"What if we didn't... What if we stopped... How would you feel if we did like the early Christians and threw visitors out and locked the doors... What if, instead of using programs... etc."

What if we heeded Paul's example and became all things to all men, so that BY ALL MEANS we might win some. Do what you want to at your church. The rest of us will feel free not to follow suit.

RNN said...

Here's my problem with paying people to evaluate a service: 1) Will they keep coming when they stop getting paid? Their first impression of church is someplace they have to be paid to go--which gives the impression that it's not a place you would spend your time otherwise. That sends a strong message about what we think of the word (and sacrament).

2) Why are we seeking an evaluation from unbelievers? That's like asking a person who has never seen an NFL game to evaluate the catch and fumble call from the Redskins game. Before they can evaluate it, you have to tell them what the criteria are. You determine the results by telling them what to look for. Did he have both feet down? Did he make a football move? Their answer will depend on what you tell them to look for; by themselves they will not understand the question at all.

The same is true with unbelievers. Why are they evaluating our worship services? They don't know what to look for. So you can tailor the results by telling them what to look for. In other words, their input is meaningless.

Of course, from the comments received about church and change (Thank you, Pastor Guldberg, for posting them--please continue to contribute to this discussion.), I'm not sure that all of us Lutherans agree what makes a good worship service. We see this in the presentation on video.

The section on video in worship is telling. Is video an emotionally powerful medium? Yes. Is that the goal of worship? No. We come to worship to receive God's gifts--given in Word and Sacrament. We do not come to be moved to tears. Now, emotions can and do follow from the proper preaching of law and gospel--I am not denying that. But if video is good because all the men were sobbing afterwards, we are using the wrong measuring stick.

God sends out men to stand in Christ's place and distribute his gifts. That is where worship starts and centers. How does video relate to that? It seems to me that it will overshadow it and detract attention from it. Video has an uncanny power to draw our attention. It also takes away from the flesh-and-blood quality of a real man standing in Christ's place--Christ who came as a real flesh-and-blood man and not a neatly packaged DVD containing the Word of God.

Also, learning is not the primary reason to come to church. Again, everything revolves around God's gifts given in Word and Sacrament. As this happens (particularly as the word is read and preached) we do learn; but again, this is not the primary goal. So to use this as a criterion for evaluating video in worship is to use a faulty measuring stick.

This use of video is telling then, not so much in the medium itself, as in the reasons given for its use. It displays a different understanding of worship and what makes a good service.

And it is in this that I see a lack of faith in the means of grace. Preaching and the sacrament aren't putting butts in pews, so let's use video to get them in there. God's gifts are no longer at the heart of worship in this approach; they are not as important as moving to tears and allowing people to learn.

Much better is to teach people what God gives in worship and how he gives it, and then do those things that he has given us to do that in them he might bless us with life and salvation.

RNN

Anonymous said...

"What if we heeded Paul's example and became all things to all men, so that BY ALL MEANS we might win some."

If the Apostle Paul were alive today to see how many ridiculous and sinful things are done and excused by quoting that passage, he would be rolling around in his grave. Check out the Issues in WELS website. There's a fantastic paper there that explains the real meaning of that section of Scripture. It's not at all what C&C claims it is. It will blow your mind.

ABC

Anonymous said...

The Apostle Paul set up soccer camps, paid people to come to worship, and made decisions based on surveys of unbelievers?

Anonymous said...

"Interesting -- that's exactly what Crosswalk in Phoenix does, only they have it before the service. Looks like there might be more common ground within the WELS than you imagine."

What concerns me about CrossWalk in Phoenix isn't so much having communion before the service (although I've heard conflicting things about that), but what happens during the service itself. Sorry, but I only share common ground with those who treasure and trust the means of grace.

ABC

Anonymous said...

"we can shut down this blog, and we can all go back to more worthy endeavors like proclaiming the gospel like brothers"

How about if I go proclaim the gospel, and you go watch more sob-story videos?

ABC

Anonymous said...

"that's exactly what Crosswalk in Phoenix does, only they have it before the service."

Is the Christian church in AZ suffering persecution like the early church was? If not, why are they hiding the Sacrament of the Altar?

Now, excuse me while I toddle off and ask Pr. Gunn these questions before I get hit with the 8 & 18 switch. If any of you know the answer before I hear from him, please let us all know.

Anonymous said...

RNN said:

"Here's my problem with paying people to evaluate a service: 1) Will they keep coming when they stop getting paid?"

Again, the stated purpose of paying a non-churched person to atend church is to get their impressions, not, primarily, to get them into church.

"Their first impression of church is someplace they have to be paid to go--which gives the impression that it's not a place you would spend your time otherwise. That sends a strong message about what we think of the word (and sacrament)."

Not necessarily. The only message it sends is that, for whatever reason, they are not there right now.

"2) Why are we seeking an evaluation from unbelievers?"

The church that is doing this is seeking the impressions of the unchurched. This does not necessarily imply that they are not believers (so the football analogy is unfounded, thougfgh, in the casde of unbelievers, it may be true). These may be people who have spent years in churches but have become disenchanted for whatever reason -- clergy scandals, false teaching, boring sermons, you name it.

Concerning the use of videos, I have seen them used well, and in a way that detracts. in itself, video is a neutral medium -- it's all how you use it (much like music, spoken word, symbols, art, etc).

By the way, where I have seen video used in WELS churches, it was generally used well. I never got the impression that it was being used to "put butts in pews." Once again, watch out for judging motives.

Anonymous said...

"video is a neutral medium -- it's all how you use it (much like music, spoken word, symbols, art, etc)."

No. Music, videos, words, symbols, art, etc. mean things. They are not neutral.

Anonymous said...

"No. Music, videos, words, symbols, art, etc. mean things. They are not neutral."

If you read my post carefully, you will see that I was speaking of the MEDIUM, not the content. The content of video, music, words, art, and symbols carries meaning, of course. The media themselves are neutral--it is their content that relays meaning. (Marshall McCluhan might suggest that that the very use or non-use of specific media carrys subtle meaning, and you could make an argument for that. However, if we were to reject all media because they their very use use carries meaning, then we would not be able to proclaim the gospel.)

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the "video guy" is an ELS pastor. His antics have created an "infection" in my own ELS congregation.

Anonymous said...

"If the Apostle Paul were alive today to see how many ridiculous and sinful things are done and excused by quoting that passage, he would be rolling around in his grave."

Substantiate please.

Anonymous said...

"Substantiate please."

Umm, I cited a paper that further explains and substantiates my point.

Read it.

ABC

RNN said...

Dear Anonymous of 3:46pm,

Paying people to come to church gives the impression that church is not a place where you want to be. Where else do people get paid to go? Places they want to be? No; places they have to be and would not be unless they were paid to be there.

Even if you only want them to attend to get their impressions, you are still sending the message: we know you don't want to be in church, so we'll pay you to be there. Which is only going to reinforce their staying away from church.

Motives are irrelevant. That is why I have not judged them. I am judging only the practice of paying people to come to church.

You write that these people might be believers, but unchurched. If so, they are seriously misguided believers, for they are ignoring God's commands to come together for worship. Which means that their impressions of a worship service will be just as misguided as the unbelievers.

By the by, why do we want their impressions? What can we do with this information? You have not commented on the underlying argument in my previous post. That is, that worship ought to center and flow from God's gifts in word and sacrament. Do you agree with this as the center of worship?

Since that is the center of worship (I contend until proven otherwise), how do videos fit into this? When did God promise to deliver salvation through videos? And what of the detraction from the flesh-and-blood reality of the preacher proclaiming law and gospel? This can never be replaced by any video, no matter how touching.

But to return to the main point: Worship is to center on God's gifts, given in word, baptism, absolution, communion. These are the means of salvation (or, if you prefer to use the Latin, the MEDIA SALUTIS--perhaps that should say something about the media that we use in worship). If that is the case, the impressions of the unchurched are irrelevant; they will not know what to look for. And if that is the case, I see no place for videos in the worship service.

RNN

Anonymous said...

Dear RNN,

We don't change the message, just the methods or media, because if the methods or media don't work we change them, not the message, because it is the methods or medium that work, not the message. Got it?

RTMM

Anonymous said...

"If the Apostle Paul were alive today to see how many ridiculous and sinful things are done and excused by quoting that passage, he would be rolling around in his grave."

Actually, if the Apostle Paul were alive today, he couldn't roll around in his grave!

Anonymous said...

Many are asking "why would you want to get the opinions of unbeleivers" regarding the service/s at church and similar questions. Some here realize what the Church is and what it is not. If you really want to know what is going on with CGM and WHY, you have go to the link below and get this video. They also rent it if you can't afford the 24.99. It is insightful and spot on based on my observations in WELS over several years now.

www.membersdirectoryonline.com/roomc/ustnhendersonville/klenck.htm
or google chuch growth movement defined and go down the the second from the bottom on the 1st page.

It seems as though we reached a tipping point, a rush over the falls, if you will, in the last 6 years. We nay sayers with regards to CGM and C & C need to know that many have been duped by heterodox teachers and false teachers outside of our fellowship, but I guess the "apple" looked way too appealing for many of our leaders and laymen to turn away from it. They have eaten of this fruit and have been, I beleive, deceived and beguiled with what's at the core of it. ELCA, penticostals, reformed...everyone is going down this path. Why would we want to eat of the same fruit? Why copy them?

Many have been fooled with the little steps that are taken and get closer and closer to believing that CGM is o.k. and it can fit with Lutheran doctrine. They have been unable to refute it's very subtle (at first) errors. There was no struggle put up.

We nay sayers get hung up on "Conptemporary Services" video screens and the like. These are just the symptoms of a much deeper, darker issue I fear is at the core. A guitar is not wrong. Beer is not wrong. It's what has been done with it (them) and why it makes it seem "creeoy." I don't want beer at my service, neither do I want a rock band. It's the reasoning behind why you would want to trade in died for doctines for "simple truths" that is the problem! I've been told WELS is trying to make a paradigm shift by the enthusiasts. They have told me that they want to make people feel "comfortable and at home." And they are. The question is why? When, oh pray, will the unchurched get the UNCOMFORTABLE message of the LAW? If they don't, the Gospel has lost its sweetness and we have failed at our calling. If you dare to speak the law in all of its severity, you may lose your new friends and turn them away. One WELS pastor I know with C&C leaning has described a lack of specific Gospel being proclaimed now that he senses in various ways. Is it because there is no or less specific Law? I pray for him.

What is going on today in WELS with the seeds of CGM and now its flower, the "21st Century Church" is NO different than the seeds that JOHANN SEMLER planted during the rational period in Germany and its flower "Higher Criticism." We howled about it and waged our fingers at the Liberals in the ELCA. Semler thought that no one will believe God's Word with all of the irrational and unbelievable writing in it and he figured that we have to make it rational and somehow palatalbe to man so that man will accept it. (making it efficaious?) He wanted to show man the "kernel of truth" behind and the hidden message in God's Word. Did he want to reach more people with the Gospel? Yes! Do we want more people to believe and trust in Jesus? Yes! Do we trust God's Word and sacraments and the efficacy thereof to do that job? Or do we go down the parrallel path of Higher Criticism with CGM? Did Johann Semler think he was changing the message? No, he was opening the the eyes of the intellectuals to the "message." He probably even thought he was "being all things to all people in order to save some."

Tico

Anonymous said...

"Actually, if the Apostle Paul were alive today, he couldn't roll around in his grave!"

I was hoping someone would catch that. Well done.

ABC

Anonymous said...

Read The Motley Magpie.