Thursday, April 30, 2009

Called Worker reductions

Massive budget slashing occurred last weekend. One has to wonder if all the grants to the Rock and Roll missions will be cut.

The Synodical Council (SC) met last Friday and Saturday to adopt a proposed budget that will be recommended to the synod convention in July.

President Schroeder

The WELS constitution requires the SC to submit a budget proposal that is balanced and in line with the anticipated financial support from all sources. A budget that would call for spending greater than anticipated support is not an option. The projected support for the next two years made it necessary for the SC to reduce the synod's ministry program by more than $8 million (from $38.4 million to just under $30 million). As it considered this situation, the SC was very much aware of the painful and difficult choices confronting us. It was clear that significant budgetary reductions in all areas of ministry will be necessary. Recognizing that, the SC made every effort to find ways to limit the size and scope of the reductions that will need to be made.

Some of these reductions will involve the loss of called and hired positions in our mission fields, at our schools, and at the Synod Administration Building. Since the boards and groups that oversee these ministries will be responsible for communicating with the called workers, congregations, and mission fields that will potentially be affected, the budget information in this communication is in summary form only; details will be released in the coming weeks. This will give those responsible the time to speak personally to those that will be affected. Complete financial information will be included in the Book of Reports and Memorials and will also be posted online.

Friday, April 17, 2009

They sold their soul for rock and roll

TIMiAM said...

"This is why we can't use contemporary worship, it was designed by Enthusiasts to carry out the goal of Enthusiasm."

Agreed; yet I'll see your Enthusiasm and raise you Satanism. Anyone who is not capable of identifying the SATANIC roots present in contemporary musical forms is either too engrossed in the culture to notice or is willingly turning a deaf ear.

The former was the case in my personal experience. I always despised my parents for taking away my tapes/CDs for what they saw as inappropriate lyrics and for what I saw as their lameness. I always assured myself (and my parents)that I was capable of listening with a critical ear.

The documentary "They Sold Their Souls for Rock and Roll" changed my perspective entirely. Please search for this "Rockumentary" on Youtube. The full version is 10 HOURS long, which is a testament to the extent that pop/rock has been infected by satan.

I implore anyone with children, anyone who listens to and enjoys pop/rock music, and particularly those individuals who want to see more "contemporary" music in worship to watch this documentary.

If this doesn't challenge the way you think about what forms of music are appropriate for worship, then it will at least (hopefully) challenge what you download onto your ipod and what you are programming into your brain.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ad Hoc Commission Report

I would be interested in opinions on the recent WELS Ad Hoc Commission study (available from this page:

I would hope that commenters would read and consider its recommendations before commenting.

Thank you very much!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rule Breakers

In a blog post below I mention how Rev. Jeske is promoting a Lutheranism that is encouraging leaders to be "Rule Breakers." A recent Jeske presentation was posted on Ichabod. In this presentation Jeske quotes the idea of breaking rules from a reformed author. Listen carefully to all of Jeske's words about Germanizing and Lutheranizing. The premise being promoted is that anything goes in worship.

Below is an editorial comment from Freddy Finkelstein about Jeske's friend Ski....


He's (Jeske) not the only one on record saying this, of course. I recently visited Ski's Drive '08 blog, and on his Day_5 entry, he has some very telling comments regarding "Rule Breakers," and the influence they ought to have in directing ministry.

Here's the link:

The final Main Session with Andy Stanley was just phenomenal. We began with awesome worship. Today though, they began with a Christian rapper, Toby Mac. Our school kids would have loved it. I’m not sure that they would have believed that it was church though.

When Andy began his session. He started by saying that he was not going to follow his notes in the Drive ’08 Journal Book. Instead he was going to do something that he called, “Recent Random Thoughts On Church Leadership.” He shared 5 points and 5 takeaways. I think that he was at his absolute best this afternoon. Here are the 5 point & takeaways:

  1. To reach people no one else is reaching we must do things no one else is doing. (Question: "What is the measure of 'reaching people not yet reached?'" Numeric Growth in the church? Numeric growth from among the unchurched? Who's to say that they haven't already been reached with the Gospel, and that the Holy Spirit hasn't been doing His work all along?" Stanley's first point, here, unquestionably arrogates credit for the Holy Spirit's work to Man and his efforts.)

Takeaway - Become preoccupied with those you haven’t reached as opposed to those you keep. This is easier said than done. (Church Growthers are not concerned with back-door losses -- just perpetual growth. It is part of the program. Those who stay for awhile and contribute, but later leave, are nothing but throw-away "scaffolding" anyway, according to Church Growth theories.)

Wow, it seems so simple. And yet so hard.

  1. The next generation product almost never comes from the previous generation. (In other words, every new generation re-invents itself, makes its own mistakes, learns from them etc. In response to this, the single word "catholicity" comes to mind -- a word which a Church Growth sectarian like Andy Stanley would never think to utter or contemplate. The New Testament Church has made mistakes and learned from them for 2000 years. What has been handed down to us in terms of public practice is the result of trial and error over this entire period. Human nature has not changed over this period, making such wisdom entirely "relevant," especially given that it is primarily the nature common to all men to which the Church must address itself -- not man's culture, whimsical and fleeting as it is.)

Takeaway - Be a student not a critic.

What more can be said? How do we approach things? When things are different & involve change are we scared? Do we criticize or do we look to learn and implement? (What? Critical reception of change is necessary, especially among those publicly confessing catholicity and orthodoxy -- doubly so among those who consider themselves to be Berean!)

  1. What do I believe is impossible to do in my field? But if it could be done it would fundamentally change my business. (Everything we are in Christ is impossible for man to accomplish -- this is the fundamental truth of our "business." Nothing we do can change this fact. The making of a Christian is a miracle from start to finish. It is the Holy Spirit's work, not ours. We employ His Means, according to the command of Christ, and the Holy Spirit does the rest.)

Takeaway - Pay attention to the people who are breaking the rules. (What rules? The "rules" of public practice handed to us in the Western Rite and embraced in the Confessions? The few strictures of public practice placed on us by the Scriptures? The voluntary and brotherly "setting aside of personal preferences" in favor of unity in practice? As if there isn't great enough freedom within these boundaries, now we are to regard them as "rules which need to be broken." The entire Church is called to a mind of adolescence by such statements, called to regard "The System" with disdainful suspicion, and to cast aside the sound wisdom of our fathers. Indeed, Church Growthers make a joke out if it -- "It's not your father's church, anymore!" But we are called upon in the Scriptures to exercise sound wisdom in our freedom. Catholicity offers such wisdom as it has been gathered over two millenia. Will the "unhistorical spirit of our times" cause us to disparage and forget such wisdom? Looks like it...)

Crazy sounding isn’t it? We can fight technology and change, but in the end it will pass us and we will become archaic and irrelevant. Not our Message, but the manner in which we present it. Who would have ever thought texting would be as big as it is? How about multi-site church? Video church? These are all things that have changed how we worship. (The use of "new technology" is not "breaking rules" of any sort. There is, however, great wisdom in exercising caution in our use of it, as certain usages may well carry us outside of acceptable practice. It is also unwise to invest in fads, but only in those aspects of "new technology" which are going to remain a fixture.)

  1. If we got kicked out & the board brought in a new CEO what would they do? Why shouldn’t we walk out the door & then come back in & do it ourselves?

Takeaway - Acknowledge what is NOT working & own up to why you are unwilling to change it. (Again, what is the "measure of what is working?" Numbers? If a given congregation doesn't have what "central command" defines as "positive stats," then the Holy Spirit is not working? Hogwash.)

Some thoughts on this - rarely does the church (in general) get concerned about change until they run out of money. What if we asked some questions before it was too late? (As in, "Why are we spending so much money on needless changes?")

  • What’s in decline? (According to whose standards of decline? Why is all decline considered to be evidence of something wrong? At one point, as a result of hard teaching no less, almost all the disciples abandoned Jesus until only the original 12 were left. What a failure He turned out to be...)

  • Where are we manufacturing energy? In other words pretending something is important. An example would be if I continued to say that Bible Study was important, but never attended. I’m blowing hot air, “manufacturing energy.” I don’t believe that anyone wants to stand behind that or get involved in something like that.

  • Finally, when are we going to unearth all underlying assumptions? Sometimes, what we assume, is not the reality. Are we willing to dig to find out the truth or are we happy with assuming. ("Underlying assumptions," as in, "If my stats aren't 'good' then the Holy Spirit isn't working, and it's all my fault?")

  1. When your memories exceed your dreams the end is near.

Takeaway - Don’t let success or momentum overshadow your vision. Keep the out front. (Again, what is success, and how does one know he has momentum? Given that it is "your vision" against which these are compared, I would assume measures of success and momentum are rooted in some aspect of man.)

How quickly can we be satisfied? How often do we look at things and say, “Well, it’s not great but it is better than such and such church.” Scary, but we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking like this. Some questions to ponder:

  • What the burden on your heart?

  • What breaks your heart?

(I stated above, "...rooted in some aspect of man." Yup. Look to yourself and into your own heart.)

That was it. After that Andy just ended and prayed for all the people there & for there ministries. As you can see from the pictures above, Buske & I got to get a picture with Andy, pretty cool. He is way down to earth. His wife Sandra was there also and she is just great. We actually got to talk to her a little more than Andy. You also notice John with the North Point member who played Bender in one of their sermon series called “Twisted”. The series was all about how Satan twists God’s Word. Finally, there is a photo of Buske & Todd Fields.