Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WELS Fellowship

Feel free to address the issue that is important to you. (I have updated the opening post on Fellowship)
Here's something. The material below came from a recent WELS Q&A.

Q: I am the volleyball coach for our WELS school team. We have combined our sports teams with a neighboring Missouri Synod church due to the fact that neither of us have enough students for form our own teams. I would like to have a short prayer with myself and our team before each match simply asking God to help us remember proper sportsmanship and the like. Is it wrong for us to pray with others, even small children (grades 3-6), if they are not WELS?


A: There are a lot of questions you have to address in order to answer your question.

The first is why does the Bible tell us to not join together in worship with those individuals and groups that hold to false teachings? The primary reason is to give a clear testimony against falsehood. A secondary reason is to not entangle ourselves with false teachings and false connections. What will give a clear testimony in this case?

Why are we not able to be in fellowship with the Missouri Synod nor they with us? What is the position of this Missouri Synod congregation to the teachings that separate us from them and to the sharp internal divisions in the LCMS? Do they reject any of our teachings and practices as false? Since the Missouri Synod has an unscriptural position on prayer fellowship, do we have to be especially careful in this case?

Whose teams and whose prayers are these? There is no reason we cannot pray our own prayers when others are present as we do when we have visitors at VBS or Sunday school or church. But do you have a right, for example, to give a table prayer at someone else's house when you are a guest? Can we impose our prayers on others? What if the joint team was with Catholics or non-Christians? Would you still have the prayer then? Would the other parties then have the right to lead our team in prayer?

When children are involved, is our responsibility to avoid offense less of an issue or is it greater? If prayer in this situation is okay with 3rd to 6th graders, what about 7th and 8th or teens? What if this is an adult league? Is the only factor here the effect on the children or is it the testimony to the congregations?

If this joint team is cooperation in an external thing, why do you feel a need to introduce your prayer for the group? Why can't each person just have his or her own silent prayer?

What did the pastors and boards of the two churches say when you asked them about this? What understanding did they have when they set up the joint teams? Are you introducing an unnecessary complication to the arrangement?

All of these are questions you should be discussing locally in order to answer your question.

Friday, November 23, 2007

How Lutheran Are You?

www.How Lutheran Are You?

This unscientific quiz does not necessarily represent the view of all Lutherans (or even those in the WELS).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

What a wonderful time to pause and reflect upon the blessings that our Heavenly Father has given each of us. I am thankful that a remnant remains faithful to God's Word and our Lutheran Confessions. I'm thankful that I have stumbled upon a Lutheran church that offers the Holy Supper every week (yes it is WELS). I'm thankful that I'm apart of the church militant and pray that others will join the fight for salvation.
Guest comments:
Anonymous said...

I just wanted everyone to know that this Thanksgiving I will be thanking God for the WELS and for all of the wonderful things that he does through the WELS. I invite all of you to do the same.

November 21, 2007 10:44 AM

Anonymous said...

I will be thanking God for the "Holy Christian Church" this Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2007 11:45 AM

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping the discussion alive.

I truly believe the focus at the recent WELS convention was about money not the theological issues that plague the WELS. If these aren't addressed the water will keep pouring in.

August 28, 2007 12:59 PM

Feel free to add your Thanksgiving blessing.

(I was thinking about giving out a Madden drumstick award to the most original comment posted ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


There is still time to enter the WELS hymn writing contest. A chance to win $300 and you may even have your very own hymn tune in the next WELS hymnal.


"Kumbaya, my Lord"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Synodical Council meeting highlights

The President's Newsletter -

The Synodical Council (SC) met on Nov. 2-3, its first meeting since the synod convention last summer.

Year of Jubilee offering

The Synodical Council decided that all offerings received for the synod’s debt in the Year of Jubilee offering will be used toward the principal of the debt, which will reduce the length of time for repayment. This is similar to what happens when you make additional principal payments on your home: your payments don’t decrease, but the length of time before your home is paid off is shortened. We’re pleased that offerings have already begun to arrive for this effort, even though it does not officially begin until next summer.

Other actions of the SC

  • Established a compensation committee to review synodical salaries.
  • Approved a proposal to conduct an independent study of our program for health care coverage.
  • Released funds for the MLC chapel project.
  • Combined and restructured the synod’s capital debt.
  • Approved a revised “Support Forecast” based on indications of increased offerings and improving financial conditions.

SC okays synod debt consolidation

At the Synodical Council meeting Nov. 2-3 in Milwaukee, Wis., a proposal was approved to consolidate the synod’s four debts, totaling $22.4 million, into one single debt.

The move helps reduce confusion over the variety of interest rates and a feeling of inequity—a feeling among some that the Board for Ministerial Education was carrying a disproportionate share, $15.1 million, of the debt load. Now the entire debt will be consolidated into one line item in the synod’s general operating budget.

Even though all but $7 million of the debt is from internal borrowing from synod special funds, the loans must be paid back to honor donor intent.

The four debts are as follows:

  • $7.3 million—for costs associated with the amalgamation of Dr. Martin Luther College and Northwestern College, and Martin Luther Prep School and Northwestern Prep in 1995.
  • $7.3 million—for operational borrowing for 2001-03.
  • $6.9 million—for the boiler house at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., and the science wing at Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Mich.
  • $900,000—for a dormitory at Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, Wis.

The consolidated debt will be repaid over 10 years at four percent interest. The annual payment will be $2.7 million, an amount which will result in $550,000 in savings for the 2008-09 fiscal year budget.

http://www.wels newsletter

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What Now?

It has been almost 3 months since I took over the "Bailing Water" blog. I thought that there was a true need for lay people and called workers to come together and discuss important synodical issues. It was my hope that this blog would provide one avenue for this process. I believe that this blog has begun an important process that may help in dealing with diverse perspectives that have arisen in the synod. I truly believe that there are many issues that plague the synod and need clarification and discussion. I believe that the Church and Change camp has taken a minority control of the synod. I also firmly believe that the majority of clergy in the WELS are confessionally sound but "synodically" afraid to take a stand against those that promote Methodist methods such as effective and efficacious.

However, I have some major work projects that need my full attention for the next few weeks. Posting and moderating does take time. The last few weeks comments have dropped a bit so I wonder if interest is wavering.

So is there a reader who would like to continue the process?

Does "Bailing Water" need a vacation?

Is "Bailing Water" a beneficial discussion board for the WELS?

I do appreciate your comments.

(oh..a few errors on the folow-up page have been corrected...)
http://www.church and change Folow up)
November 14, 2007 5:03 PM
John said...

Back on the original topic, I have decided to continue the blog. I appreciate the open, diverse, and honest opinions. This blog has allowed me an opportunity to struggle with important Scriptural issues.

I will try to work with randomdan offline to see if it is possible to format a discussion board. In the meantime I will continue posting as time permits. I do appreciate the suggestions (rnn - I will open a topic on Wauwatosa theology soon).

Do feel free to go where the discussion leads. If you have a new topic I will just cut and paste your comment as a new blog post. By all means if you have a "hot" button issue or a "newsworthy" item please post it.

I will allow the comments to post automatically. This does help me immensely but beware that spam or trolls may post a comment. So I will monitor the comments as time permits. For the one or two that suggested the blog go on a permanent vacation I guess you can keep posting or not return to this site.

November 14, 2007 5:03 PM

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

Monday, November 5, 2007

Effective vs. Efficacious - explained

Below is an explanation of the 3 relevancy scenarios from the Church and Change presenter.

1. Information that does not address your felt need is perceived as irrelevant. For example offering an investment seminar for a congregation of young people who carry a great deal of credit card debt. Yes, they will need investment planning in the future but their immediate need will be getting a handle on their debt.

2. Informaton that you aren’t convinced you will ever need is perceived as irrelevant. For example, people who volunteer to lead a small group Bible study may understand they need biblical training but not training in group dynamics. After one meeting, they then realize they need some training in group dynamics and realize it is very relevant.

3. An uncomfortable context can distract us to the point where we perceive relevant information as irrelevant. For example, distracting church decor, cleanliness issues, bad PA, too cold, no nursing mom, or a confusing worship format.

To be relevant . . .

1. We have to be aware of current felt needs.

2. We need to elevate the awareness of unfelt needs (sin, need for a Savior, real purpose in life) of our audience before we start to address these needs.

3. We need to address needs in a way that people consider helpful.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Don't confuse "effective" with "efficacious".

Currently the Church and Change group is responding to the recent article --
A Shocking “Confession” from Willow Creek Community Church
By Bob Burney
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Here is a post from the C&C discussion board. This WELS C&C presenter wants to be sure "effective" and "efficacious" are not confused.

Don't confuse "effective" with "efficacious"
. The Gospel is timelessly efficacious, the church and its
representatives may or may not be effective. I pray we are all seeking better methods of delivering God's truth. The Means of Grace demand an audience.

We do want to seek to be effective as we share THE efficacious. To fail to differentiate these two will likely cause one to either fall into the liberal left ditch of "Church Growth Theology" or into the loveless right ditch of "Us Four, No More, Shut the Door" or "All I Have To Be Is Faithful" mentality. If it is not important for us to be effective communicators and ambassadors of THE efficacious in our 21st Century culture, then the Seminary needs to stop requiring homiletics and education classes (I have a hunch that's also why we switched from German to English and today translate our materials into Spanish).

The WillowCreek study was to examine how to help people better mature in their faith -- the very thing Scripture wants all of us to do. I believe we would all agree with this same need for self-examination in our own churches and church body.

Below are the three senarios I had used at the C & C conference as I discussed relevance.

Three scenarios

1. You are on the side of the road with a flat tire and someone pulls up behind you, pops open his trunk and approaches you with a set of jumper cables . . . .

2. The previous week, your boss offered an optional seminar in the parking lot on tire-changing techniques and roadside safety . . . .

3. You’re on the side of the road with a flat tire at night and a car pulls up behind you. Three really big, scary looking guys jump out speaking a foreign language . . .

Church and Changer presenter - jp

Friday, November 2, 2007

A New Poll

A new scientific poll has been constructed by a guest WELS pollster.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The most important or controversial issue facing the WELS today?

The results are in from the very valid and scientific blog poll. You can expect a detailed research report in a future issue of Charis. The author will discuss how these numbers will impact the future growth of the WELS.

Maybe what this research shows is that
"the name (Church and Change) itself should tell us something is wrong here."

The Church and Change Group 36 (47%)

Other 20 (26%)
The current financial crisis 14 (18%)

Educational system 6 (7%)

76 total votes