Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Comment on CEO ministries

A new comment from an older post:

William said...

Imagine a ministry without the politics of dancing of trying to impress or please men with intellect or a degree of education.

Independent from tradition yet never forgeting it.

Spreading the Gospel message with zeal, spirtual fervor, boldness, excitment, enthusiasim, all while holding to the true teachings of the Bible.

One average working man who travels puts in 60 + hours a week, in addition to maintaining his wife and family. He Built a team of Pastor's lay-men, women, and teens, to act as mentors for guidance and leadrship yet remains compelled by God's Word to share with everyone he comes in contact with about the passion that Christ has for us.

There is not a self-seeking or self-promoting bone that CEO Ministries was founded on.

Established with love that Jesus has to offer the world. Cautious, and careful about the balance of Law and Gospel in all his presentations, he delivers a message that God prepared in advance for him speak.

God Bless
-- That is CEO Ministries.


Anonymous said...

Pietism, Enthusiasm, and anti-clericalism...Nothing new here.

Anonymous said...

Here is a somewhat different topic regarding the public ministery.

How much work should be expected from a pastor?

We have a pastor who seems to believe that it is the church council's (of which I am a member) responsibility to come up with a "ministery plan" to spread the Gospel bring more people to church.

Our pastor does not believe in canvassing the neighborhood or other old fashioned outreach programs. As far as I can tell, he has never come up with a ministery plan of his own. Don't they teach things like this at the Seminary?

Our church is aging and has been shrinking over the years.

Some have complained that our pastor does not work hard enough, does not due enough shut-in visits, etc. Our church only has one service per week; no midweek service; no bible class during the summer (although we do have a vacation bible school for one week). People are asking how he spends his time.

Be honest, what is working in your churches (at least those that are experiencing non-shrinking membership)? Be specific as to the programs that you have enacted in your congregations.

Also, have any of you experienced what might be considered a "lazy" pastor in your congregation? Pastors and called workers, have you known fellow workers who might be less than ambitious in fufilling their duties?

I really don't know where to begin

Anonymous said...

You ask:

"Be honest, what is working in your churches (at least those that are experiencing non-shrinking membership)? Be specific as to the programs that you have enacted in your congregations."

The ONLY thing that "works" is the WORD proclaimed through the Means of Grace (Word and Sacraments). And it is the Holy Spirit that "works", not us, not programs. It is NOT about shrinking memberships. It is okay if your membership is shrinking. Encourage your pastor to faithfully proclaim God's does not return void...and God's will and purpose is done through His Word.
I hope you do not think that you need to implement "programs" that "work". I hope you have not been led in that direction.
You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Have you bothered to ask your pastor what he does with his time, or are you just complaining about him behind his back?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous #2,

Your Pastor may well be more concerned that members of his congregation actively consider the infinite value of Christ's work on their behalf, the benefit of which is freely given to them through faith, that from the wellspring of genuine Joy and Gratitude which follows they struggle to find ways to express it in overt attempts to spread the Gospel -- to joyfully struggle in the task because they desperately want others to hear the precious Gospel message.

Through the 1990's, our congregation of about 150 communicant members suffered a 16% loss of membership, while our community grew by 30%. All other things being equal, this was a rather unexpected statistic. At the same time, our Pastor's direct participation in areas that were the responsibility of the men of our congregation's various Board's seemed to wane during this period. Not that our Pastor is anything but diligent and hard working, but the counseling issues are more complex these days, district work is more taxing especially with the insidious doctrinal challenges that continuously barrage us, and the tooling to do the job (i.e., technology) has changed dramatically over the course of his ministry, and keeps on changing. The reasons could go on. It's harder work now than it was 60 years ago, and there is not as much of one pastor to go around like there once was. Not that any of this has anything to do with our decline in membership, but we certainly were constrained by the facts from pointing to him as the cause. In many ways, we felt that our little flock was being culled by our Good Shepherd.

Regardless, in 2002, being lean and mean by that time, our congregation's Board of Evangelism took the bull by the horns (that is, showed the leadership expected of us) and embarked on a six-year redevelopment of our entire approach to congregational-level evangelism -- to include considerable mass-appeal, to emphasize Bible study and Church attendance of our members, and to put to use those individuals in our congregation with the motivation and gifts to serve as evangelists. 2002 was the first year of my two three-year terms on the Board. In the ensuing time, our congregation has grown stronger and closer, we are more outgoing and more visible in the community, we have a reputation in the area as doctrinally strong yet evangelical. More importantly, the Holy Spirit has worked through the overt use of Law and Gospel that is present in our mass appeal efforts, by drawing visitors to our congregation, and has further worked through the personal efforts of individuals in our congregation, not to mention terrific Law & Gospel preaching on Sundays, to produce prospects from these visitors, to produce new Christians, and also new members. We are no longer shrinking, but growing. The Holy Spirit works through the Gospel in Word in Sacrament, no doubt, but confining the propagation of the Gospel message to the church sanctuary on Sunday is in no way shape or form evangelism. The Word must go out, and it ought to be a deliberate effort. This is what we did.

But don't kid yourself, while it is the Holy Spirit alone, working through the Gospel in Word and Sacrament, Who produces and strengthens faith in the hearts of individuals and causes the Church to grow, the job of sending out the Word in a way that effectively communicates it's message is a Boatload of work. Yes, that's Boatload with a capital "B".

For example, early on, as we were struggling with the why's and the wherefore's of what we were doing, our Board spent several hours a week in meeting, researching, writing, debating, brainstorming, etc. For a couple of years I was up all night at least once a month. Finding ways of spreading the Word in our community, and then actually spreading it, was (and continues to be) important to us -- it's worth the effort. And, yes, evangelism is our effort, it is something we do.

At the end of my second term on the Board of Evangelism (last January), I produced a written report detailing our development process, and justifying our approach to doing evangelism in our community, along with reporting our current status and future objectives. You're welcome to it, if you like. But don't expect it to be a recipe that will work in every congregation in every community. You have to do the research (especially if your Pastor can't or won't). You have to understand your community (it's specific needs) and your congregation (it's specific capabilities), to determine where true evangelism opportunities lie for your congregation, and where to direct your limited evangelism resources. What you may get from my report is the type of information we considered, where we got it, what questions we sought to answer with it, etc. It may give you some ideas.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me what is wrong enthusiasm for God, worship, and spreading the Gospel? Oh that's right, "It's not the WELS way" Please

I haven't found a hint of pietism when it comes to the topic of CEO Ministries.

Anti-clericalism? Did you know that CEO Ministries has 6 WELS Pastors as spiritual mentors?

Nothing new here? Wait until after July 31 and see what's new.

What's new the WELS? Nothing same old traditional leadership sinking this denomanation faster than the titanic.

Anonymous said...

No hint of pietism???? Nah. What color is the sky in your world?

Nothing new, as in, the errors found in this "new" ministry are not new but more than a century old. While waiting for July 31 with baited breath, perhaps you should learn some Lutheran theology and church history.

Anonymous said...

First subject to look up: Enthusiasm. Not the emotion, the error of. Start in the Book of Concord.