Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Church visit

I have been sitting back reading the comments about everyone's a minister. I just thought I would share another recent visit to a WELS worship service. This service actually used hymns from CW and followed parts of the liturgy. What is interesting is that the only part the pastor partook in was the sermon and communion. Meanwhile, the staff (or is it staph) minister led the service and lay men did the Bible readings. Maybe the sermon is all the young minister can handle since he was parading around the altar and up and down the aisles during the 35 minute sermon. This is a church of about 400-500 members. I just found it odd that the called pastor did not lead the service.

28 comments:

dazed_n_confused said...

During the past 6 months at our small church (usually less than 45 in attendance on an average Sunday) our pastor has been constantly talking about our church's "ministery plan". There have been some pretty strange actions lately, and when asked about them the pastor talks about the "ministery plan". Implicit in his discussion of the "ministery plan" is that ALL church members are to be involved in the "ministery plan".

The strange thing is our highly educated pastor has NEVER presented a ministery plan of his own. Absolutely no suggestion, effort, or strategy, other than those things that existed well before this particular pastor was called to our church, was made by our pastor.

Ministery plan...ministery plan...ministery plan....

People are starting to roll their eyes when he starts talking about ministery plan, and never gives any concrete ideas.

Maybe than in itself is a strategy?

Is the WELS that fearful that non-denominational super churches will steal those members still left in the pews? Or is it copying strategies adopted by the super-churches?

Bruce Church said...

Church Growth Modeled Married to WELS union lethal for congregations

http://lutherannotes.blogspot.com/2008/07/church-growth-modeled-married-to-wels.html

twissted_sisster said...

Better get used to it. If the church and change gang have their way, our good old historical lutheran way of conducting worship services is a thing of the past. We traditional people are just not 'with it'. C'mon- you don't want to be one of those 'head-in-the-sand people', do ya?

Until people stand up and demand that these pastors do THEIR jobs, they'll continue to guilt you into doing it for them. Not everyone IS a minister. It's a gift that has been given to some. What about these pastors going out to visit the members that ARE on the books before you go knock on doors in an attempt to run up your numbers? C'mon laity, hold their feet to the fire. Many of the these pastors are getting paid a pretty penny to do their jobs and turn around and try to get you to do it for them.

rlschultz said...

I am getting that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that many of these pastors and lay leaders are attending the same CG seminars. We have a ministry plan at our WELS congregation as well. Our pastors don't talk about it directly too often. The plan seems to manifest itself in all of the new and allegedly great ideas to bring in more people and save more souls. Maybe you are fortunate that your ministry plan is all talk right now. The devil is in the details. When the plan is actually implemented, watch what they do more than what they say. You just might get the pastor parading around like a TV evangelist and lay lectors doing the readings.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, church growth methodology is almost always pushed by the laity, not the pastors. Most pastors fight it all the way, but get overruled by a council or by the voters.

It's always faster and easier for a pastor to do all of the work by himself. When you have to start to training and supervising people, that's when the huge investment of time comes into play.

So before people start blaming pastors for everything wrong in a congregation or synod, the members of that congregation or synod ought to look seriously at themselves first.

Anonymous said...

"This We Believe" says we are all ministers and may use the means of grace, preaching and using the Sacraments, in our personal ministries. I, and just not the pastor, can baptize and commune people, just not at church.

Dazed_and_confused said...

It's always faster and easier for a pastor to do all of the work by himself

We already have councilmen and lay people to do the church's yard work, count and record the money each week, write checks to pay the bills, file church records, and have elders to assist other type of church issues...


Aside from preaching the sermon, exactly what is the pastor supposed to be doing? Yes, we do have a few shut-ins in our church (no more than 5 or 6), and occasionally have people hospitalized.

We pay synod code for our pastor, pay the ENTIRE health insurance bill (no copay on the insurance premium), pay ALL of the utilties at the parsonage (the parsonage is nicer than most of the homes of the parishoners), and pay what some feel is an excessive amount for car/gasoline reimbursement (no monthly limit).

When do you feel it is ok to ask the pastor "exactly what are you doing with your time" and "what exactly is YOUR ministery plan"?

Anonymous said...

For the love, people! There's no "e" in ministry!

Anonymous said...

""This We Believe" says we are all ministers and may use the means of grace, preaching and using the Sacraments, in our personal ministries. I, and just not the pastor, can baptize and commune people, just not at church."

Umm, I think you had better go and read it again. That's not at all what it says. I'll assume the best and say that you simply don't understand the document rather than assuming you are purposely distorting and twisting it to say what it clearly doesn't say.

Anonymous said...

"Aside from preaching the sermon, exactly what is the pastor supposed to be doing?"

Please tell me you aren't serious.

Here's just a short list.

1. Personal devotion time
2. Sermon study of the original Hebrew and Greek texts plus related commentaries
3. Writing a sermon that correctly balances law and gospel
4. Writing Bible classes
5. Preparing Bible classes
6. Leading Bible classes
7. Counseling (you would be shocked how much counseling an average pastor does)
8. Visiting those in the hospital
9. Visiting shut-ins
10. Attending council and committee meetings
11. Preparing BIC classes for prospects
12. Teaching BIC classes for prospects
13. Fulfilling synodical responsibilities by writing papers and articles
14. Attending circuit meetings
15. Attending conference meetings
16. Planning worship services
17. Making sure that the lawn actually gets mowed, the bills actually get paid, etc
18. Planning special events at church

Not to mention...

19. Comforting those in tears
20. Keeping marriages together
21. Going to the hospital at 3 in the morning
22. Mediating between church members squabbling about meaningless things
23. Trying to find an evening a week to spend with his family
24. Trying to find a couple minutes to relax and enjoy a hobby or two

and of course...

25. Dealing with complainers who think the pastor is lazy and begrudge him for making what the synod says is the minimum amount.

That's the short list.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Why don't you read it? I will assume you haven't read it but think you have and are speaking from ignorance. What follows is from TWB, the revised edition. (Please not that in section VII. 8 on the public ministry it does not say that the laity may not do as I say I can do, baptize and commune, only not in church.) Note it says I must be deligent in using these means of grace, Baptism and Lord's Supper.

VI. 5. We believe that the Lord gave his Word and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper for a purpose. He commanded his followers, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19,20). Through God’s Word and sacraments he preserves and extends the holy Christian church throughout the world. Believers should therefore be diligent and faithful in the use of these divinely established means of grace for themselves and in their mission outreach to others. These are the only means through which immortal souls are brought to faith and to life in heaven.

VII. 7. We believe that every Christian is a priest before God (1 Peter 2:9). All believers have direct and equal access to the throne of grace through Christ, the mediator (Ephesians 2:17,18). God has given the means of grace to all believers. All Christians are to declare the praises of him who called them out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). In this sense all Christians are ministers, or servants, of the gospel. God wants all Christians to share the message of salvation with other people (Matthew 28:19,20; 10:32).

8. We believe that God has also established the public ministry of the Word (Ephesians 4:11), and it is the will of God that the church, in accordance with good order (1 Corinthians 14:40), call qualified individuals into this public ministry (1 Timothy 3:1-10; 1 Corinthians 9:14). Such individuals minister publicly, that is, not because as individuals they possess the universal priesthood but because they are asked to do this in the name of fellow Christians (Romans 10:15). These individuals are the called servants of Christ and ministers of the gospel. They are not to be lords over God’s church (1 Peter 5:3). We believe that when the church calls individuals into this public ministry, the Lord himself is acting through the church (Acts 20:28). We believe that the church has the freedom to establish various forms within the one ministry of the Word, such as pastors, Christian teachers, and staff ministers. Through its call, the church in Christian liberty designates the place and scope of service.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, in my post (12:23) in the first parenthetical remark it should read "Please note" not "Please not".

That is all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12:00,

Done reading?

dazed_and_confused said...

4. Writing Bible classes
5. Preparing Bible classes
6. Leading Bible classes


We do not have bible class in the summer...when we do have bible class, the Pastor uses synod provided material. True, there should be some prep time for this, but most of the questions are already listed in the lesson plan. However, this is NOT preparing a lesson plan from scratch, but following a lesson guide.

TexasPastor said...

Dazed and Confused ~

Following a lesson guide doesn't necessarily make it less work. Just for the record.

We have virtually year-round Bible class at the congregation I serve as pastor. We take short breaks throughout the year instead of a crazy 3-month hiatus in the summer.

I try to mix both original classes and "canned" classes. Here's my rationale:

1) It's not always feasible to write three or four original Bible studies/week.
2) Why reinvent the wheel? There are some pretty awesome studies on various topics done by top-notch theologians. Why despise their hard work?

Now, if I'm using a canned study, could I just sort of show up on Sunday (or Wednesday) morning and float through or read the answers from the lesson guide? Sure, I could. My sinful nature tempts me that way.

However, I've found, that when I use a canned study, what it allows me to do is actually spend more time in the Word and doing research in the Confessions, in commentaries, in church history, etc.

For example, we just finished a study of Revelation that I schmeared from a brother across town. Each week I spent at least 2hours reading, studying, and researching each lesson -- time I had because I didn't have to come up with all the questions to ask. Did I add some of my own or drop some of his, sure, but mostly I used what he had.

Now, when I do original studies, I try to do ancillary research other than just diving into the Scriptures (commentaries, church history, comparative theology and whatnot), but the time it takes to craft a lesson reduces that available time. So, rather than read the seven or eight commentaries I got to read each week on Revelation, I might have time for one or two outside resources other than the Bible.

Now, the second time around with these originally written courses, I'll have more time, since the course is already written.

The point of this long-winded note -- don't assume that because you're using a canned course that serious study and research and preparation is not going into it. Just because you didn't write the questions doesn't mean you didn't appropriate them for yourself first.

Also, just because you didn't write the course doesn't make leading the class all that much easier. Leading a 45-60 minute Bible class is one of the more physically draining things I do each week...and I love it!

dazed_n_confused said...

11. Preparing BIC classes for prospects
12. Teaching BIC classes for prospects


No BIC classes currently be run at a church (in the future, maybe...)

Anonymous said...

"Note it says I must be deligent in using these means of grace, Baptism and Lord's Supper."

Umm, it says that believers should be diligent in USING the means of grace, not ADMINISTERING the means of grace. I hope you can see the difference. Besides, even if it said that believers should be diligent in administering them, that administration would be done through called ministers (which the document clearly says later).

If that's your source for claiming that WELS says everyone should offer communion at home, you either have not comprehended the simple language in the document, or you are purposely distorting it.

Anonymous said...

"Please not that in section VII. 8 on the public ministry it does not say that the laity may not do as I say I can do, baptize and commune, only not in church"

Your contention is that since the document doesn't explicitly say that in normal circumstances lay people shouldn't administer the sacraments that it must be saying that they should. That's called an argument from silence. It doesn't explicitly say that monkeys shouldn't administer the sacraments either. Does that mean the WELS encourages monkey baptism? Of course not. Hopefully you see the fallacy in your argument.

Besides, the Church has always maintained that in extreme circumstances lay people should administer the sacraments, specifically baptism in an emergency. So if the WELS document specifically said, "Lay people should never, ever administer the sacraments" it would be going against what Scripture and the Church have always taught.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous.

Believe me, I have seen some monkeys.... Ah forget it, that was too easy.

You want this document to say what you want it to say. It doesn't. It plainly says, and I quote,

"Believers should therefore be diligent and faithful in the use of these divinely established means of grace for themselves and in their mission outreach to others."

"AND IN THEIR MISSION OUTREACH TO OTHERS."

Nowhere does the document say what you contend that "that administration would be done through called ministers". Show me that from the document. It simply says that the public administration is done by ministers, to wit, "publicly, that is, not because as individuals they possess the universal priesthood but because they are asked to do this in the name of fellow Christians."

Or are you saying that I cannot use the means of grace?

You "illustration" with the monkeys shows your desperation in this matter. First of all you misrepresent what I wrote and what the document says when you write,

"Your contention is that since the document doesn't explicitly say that in normal circumstances lay people shouldn't administer the sacraments that it must be saying that they should."

I do NOT, did not and nowhere contend that "since the document doesn't explicitly say that in normal circumstances lay people shouldn't administer the sacraments that it must be saying that they should". No, the WELS statement, which you do not quote, do not know, says just the opposite, it says quite clearly

"Believers should therefore be diligent and faithful in the use of these divinely established means of grace for themselves and in their mission outreach to others."

And

"We believe that every Christian is a priest before God (1 Peter 2:9). All believers have direct and equal access to the throne of grace through Christ, the mediator (Ephesians 2:17,18). God has given the means of grace to all believers. All Christians are to declare the praises of him who called them out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). In this sense all Christians are ministers, or servants, of the gospel. God wants all Christians to share the message of salvation with other people (Matthew 28:19,20; 10:32)."

There are no exceptions in any of that or in the paragraph on the public ministry, save that when believers do it on behalf of other believers they need to be called. In private I may use these means of grace according to the WELS statement, more than that I am told I "should be diligent" in my outreach to others.

Deal with what is written not the fantasies of your own mind cluttered with thoughts of monkeys. It is you who is distorting the WELS statement because it contradicts what you are contending. Hopefully you see the fallacy of what you contend. Again, deal with the document.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You write, "So if the WELS document specifically said, 'Lay people should never, ever administer the sacraments' it would be going against what Scripture and the Church have always taught."

The WELS statement does not refer to emergencies baptisms when it says that the laity should use the means of grace. The WELS statement goes beyond what the church has always taught.

Mark

Anonymous said...

"Believers should therefore be diligent and faithful in the use of these divinely established means of grace for themselves and in their mission outreach to others."

Note it doesn't say "each individual believer", it says "believers" (plural). I wonder what a group of believers is called. Oh yeah, church! So that statement says: "The church should faithfully use the means of grace."

And you disagree with that?

Look, what seems more reasonable to you:

1. The WELS statement says that the church should be faithful to the means of grace.

or

2. The WELS statement is encouraging each individual member to practice private communion with their neighbors for outreach.

If you seriously and honestly think number 2 is the correct interpretation, I doubt any further debate will be constructive.

Anonymous said...

"The WELS statement does not refer to emergencies baptisms when it says that the laity should use the means of grace. The WELS statement goes beyond what the church has always taught."

The document doesn't say that each individual lay person should use the means of grace, it says that believers as church should use them. It then continues by saying that the church administers the means of grace through called ministers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Oh please, you write "The document... says that believers as church should use them. It then continues by saying that the church administers the means of grace through called ministers."

It says neither. SHOW ME TEXT! What a spin! It nowhere says that they do this as a group and that they do this THROUGH their ministers. What a spin! Find this in text, please. It is nowhere there. Indeed it EMPHASIZES the very individuality of each believer, "We believe that EVERY Christian is a priest before God" and that they should all do this, and no where does it say, AS A GROUP. What you are saying is then is that no Christian then call proclaim the Gospel, because there is no differentiation between preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments.

You add:

"2. The WELS statement is encouraging each individual member to practice private communion with their neighbors for outreach.

If you seriously and honestly think number 2 is the correct interpretation, I doubt any further debate will be constructive."

That is what the text says. Indeed if you will not argue from the text and if you will continue to distort the text, indeed no further debate will be contructive. Additionally if you distort what I say, no debate is possible, for teaching and Baptism must come first before the Lord's Supper.

Anonymous said...

OK Anonymous,

If you seriously think that the WELS document is encouraging individual lay people to offer communion to people for outreach, there's not much using continuing this. I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make. You seem to have a problem with the fact that the WELS says each Christian is a priest. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with Scripture and Luther.

By the way, if the WELS really teaches that we should be offering communion to our neighbors for evangelism, then why is it that absolutely no WELS members are doing that? Hmm, maybe its because that's not really what the WELS teaches.

OK, I'm done with this conversation.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

A conversation requires that one listen to the other. You do not. You do not argue from the text and when shown from the text you are wrong you simply ignore it. Prime example (you see, I quote from what is written). You write "You seem to have a problem with the fact that the WELS says each Christian is a priest."

Unbelievable! Here is what I wrote, "Indeed it EMPHASIZES the very individuality of each believer, 'We believe that EVERY Christian is a priest before God' and that they should all do this, and no where does it say, AS A GROUP."

Unbelievable! I quote that statement in SUPPORT of the position I have outlined, yet you turn it around. How diabolical! How unscriptural! How un-Luther-like! Proof of your refusal to dialogue and of your blindness.

You write "if the WELS really teaches that we should be offering communion to our neighbors for evangelism..." And you completely ignore what I wrote, quote "Additionally if you distort what I say, no debate is possible, for teaching and Baptism must come first before the Lord's Supper."

You are operating with a deficient definition of "evangelism" which word simply means to proclaim the Gospel. Our pastor does that every Sunday from the pulpit. He is an evangelist, Gospel preacher, and he gives the Lord's Supper to those prepared.

You continue in your fantasy, "Absolutely no WELS members are doing that" Oh? Read the WELS Q/A.

When you want a conversation, which obviously you don't because you cannot address the argumentation from the text which clearly shows you wrong, I'll be here. But I suspect in your blindness and fear you will not.

Call me,
"No brag, just fact."

Anonymous said...

"You continue in your fantasy, "Absolutely no WELS members are doing that" Oh? Read the WELS Q/A."

Huh? There are questions in the WELS Q&A about lay people offering communion to their friends and neighbors as a form of evangelism?

Really?

Quote one for me. I dare you.

Anonymous said...

Anon.

This will be my last post to you for you do not read what I write,

You write, "Huh? There are questions in the WELS Q&A about lay people offering communion to their friends and neighbors as a form of evangelism?"

Where did I call offering Communion to someone a form of evangelism, other than in the context of baptism, teaching and preparation? Well, that would be nowhere. This shows your perversity.

It is about the laity uses baptism and the Lord's Supper which the WELS Q/A do not label wrong.

No Brag, Just Fact

Anonymous said...

Oh, and, Anoymous, and

when you address the other items where I have shown you are wrong, which you have not, then I will show you from the WELS Q/A.

No Brag, Just Fact