Every One His Witness: a New Evangelism Training Resource

Witnessing. What’s it all about? The Every One His Witness Lutheran evangelism program puts sound doctrine into practical action for sharing the faith with people in our everyday lives.

Participants learn: What is witnessing? Why do we witness? And the “how-to” of witnessing using the LASSIE approach, LISTEN-ASK-SEEK-SHARE-INVITE-ENCOURAGE. Watch this video to learn more.

The Every One His Witness core module kit is now available through Concordia Publishing House. The kit provides everything groups need to implement this evangelism program at their church, school, or organization.

Each kit, which is designed for a group of 12, contains:
Every One His Witness workbooks (12)
DVD (1)
LASSIE journals (12)
Experience cards (6)
Pens (12)

Posted in Concordia Publishing House, Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Lutheran Missiology, Missional, Missionary, Rural evangelism, Small Town Evangelism, Urban Outreach | Comments Off on Every One His Witness: a New Evangelism Training Resource

God’s Word Makes His Treasure our Own! — Martin Luther

Martin Luther writes,

Neither you nor I could ever know anything about Christ, or believe on Him, and have Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel [1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 4:6]. The work of redemption is done and accomplished [John 19:30]. Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection and so on [Colossians 2:3].  But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew about it, then it would be useless and lost. So that this treasure might not stay buried, but be received and enjoyed, God has caused His Word to go forth and be proclaimed. In the Word He has the Holy Spirit bring this treasure home and make it our own. Therefore, sanctifying is just bringing us to Christ so that we receive this good, which we could not get ourselves [1 Peter 3:18]. — From Large Catechism, II III 38-39

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“Everyday Missionaries – Purposefully Deployed” — Peter Meier

In “Mission Moments” (September 15, 2017), Dr. Peter Meier, Executive Director of the Center for United States Missions, writes,

On a recent trip, we found ourselves behind one of those long lines of Army vehicles – a convoy!

My normal reaction is to get impatient. Convoys tend to slow down traffic, and I really don’t like to go slower than necessary.

This time, however, my wife’s comment focused my attention in another direction, “It’s like a mighty army, deployed on God’s mission.”

Hmmmm . . .

My mind was quickly engaged. I didn’t even notice the slowdown. These men and women were headed somewhere, on a mission of some sort. They were deployed, sent with a purpose – a mission to accomplish.

How different is that from you and me? Baptized into Christ, we become part of God’s mission force, deployed – purposefully, intentionally, to accomplish God’s mission.

The very word, “mission,” comes from the Latin missio, which comes from the Greek apostello, meaning “to be sent.” Strong’s Concordance defines apostello as “to send away, i.e. commission; (passive) “sent on a defined mission by a superior.” One who is a “missionary” is a “sent one.” Using Strong’s definition, a missionary is one who is sent on a defined mission by a superior.

Hmmmm . . .

The very nature of the church is to be a “sent” or “missionary” entity. The mission is God’s mission, specifically, to reconcile and reclaim lost sinners to Himself and to gather a group of followers (disciples) who will proclaim the Gospel message of God’s reconciliation to those who are not-yet disciples (2 Corinthians 5:19).

The church (all who confess “Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father,” Philippians 2:11) is purposefully sent on God’s mission. God’s intent is that they operate intentionally and purposefully as every-day missionaries in their own unique mission contexts.

The church is more than just a place a person goes to hear the Word preached and taught, to receive the Lord’s Supper and baptism. The church is not merely a vendor of religious goods and services, whose members are customers or consumers. The church is the people of God, deployed – purposefully sent on a defined mission by a Superior. In this case, the Superior is Jesus Himself. Read John 20:21.

The church gathers together, but not for our own sake or as an end in itself. We gather to learn and grow and receive the life-giving gifts of God so that we can be sent out into the world, deployed, as God’s missionary force.

God is the Sender. The mission is His. He has a church (you and me) whom He commissions and purposefully sends as His ambassadors to a people who don’t know, confess, or follow Jesus. He does this because He is love and He wants all people to be saved.

Jesus said to His disciples, and by extension to us, “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21). This sending doesn’t mean that we need to travel very far. We have only to step outside our front doors. Sometimes, we don’t even need to go that far. The purposeful sending involves relationships with others, loving and serving and living with our own family members, friends, neighbors, or co-workers, as Jesus lived among His family and neighbors. He was purposefully deployed to spend time with them, listening to them, understanding them and loving them – even to death on the cross.

Hmmmm . . . You mean I am called and purposefully deployed by God on His mission? You mean God might use me to gather a group, even to plant a church? You mean God intends that I live and love and act intentionally in such a way as to accomplish His mission?

Here am I. Send me!

Posted in Center for US Missions, Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Missiology, Missional, Missional Leadership, Missionary, Priesthood of all Believers, Rural evangelism, Small Town Evangelism, Urban Outreach | Comments Off on “Everyday Missionaries – Purposefully Deployed” — Peter Meier

Christ’s Death is of No Avail to Us if the Word of God is Absent — Martin Luther

Christ on the cross and all his suffering and his death do not avail, even if, as you teach, they are ‘acknowledged and meditated upon’ with the utmost ‘passion, ardor, heartfeltness.’ Something else must always be there. What is it?  The Word, the Word, the Word. … Even if Christ were given for us and crucified a thousand times, it would be all in vain if the Word of God were absent and were not distributed and given to me with the bidding, this is for you, take what is yours.” — LW 40:212-213

Posted in Bible, Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Missiology, Martin Luther, missio Dei, Missiology, Missional Leadership, Missionary, Rural evangelism, Small Town Evangelism, Urban Outreach, Word of God, World Missions | Comments Off on Christ’s Death is of No Avail to Us if the Word of God is Absent — Martin Luther

CLWR Continues to Respond to Worldwide Human Suffering and Poverty

Inspired by God’s love for humanity, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) challenges the causes and responds to the consequences of human suffering and poverty. Learn more about CLWR and the work you support in our new video.

Note: the Administrator of Go! is a member of the CLWR Board of Directors.

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BC Mission Boat Brings Christ’s Love and Hope to BC Coastal Communities

Take a moment to read the latest edition of The Compass — the newsletter of the BC Mission Boat. It shares the stories and pictures of the summer mission trips to BC Coastal communities.

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Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality

Preamble

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…” — Psalm 100:3

Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life. Many deny that God created human beings for his glory, and that his good purposes for us include our personal and physical design as male and female. It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences. The pathway to full and lasting joy through God’s good design for his creatures is thus replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God.

This secular spirit of our age presents a great challenge to the Christian church. Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity, and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age? Or will she hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus, and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life? Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin?

We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it — particularly as male and female. Christian Scripture teaches that there is but one God who alone is Creator and Lord of all. To him alone, every person owes glad-hearted thanksgiving, heart-felt praise, and total allegiance. This is the path not only of glorifying God, but of knowing ourselves. To forget our Creator is to forget who we are, for he made us for himself. And we cannot know ourselves truly without truly knowing him who made us. We did not make ourselves. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be.

We believe that God’s design for his creation and his way of salvation serve to bring him the greatest glory and bring us the greatest good. God’s good plan provides us with the greatest freedom. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it in overflowing measure. He is for us and not against us. Therefore, in the hope of serving Christ’s church and witnessing publicly to the good purposes of God for human sexuality revealed in Christian Scripture, we offer the following affirmations and denials.

To read the Fourteen Articles (i.e. Statements), visit: Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality.

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“Authentic Christianity: How Lutheran Theology Speaks to a Postmodern World” — A New Book to be Released by Concordia Publishing House

The Concordia Publishing House blog released the following information about a new book that will be released on October 10.

Burnt-out believers and spiritual secularists have given up any hope that an engaging and meaningful spirituality can be found in a single Christian denomination. So rather than attending worship at a local church, they attend to their spiritual needs elsewhere. Instead of being fed by a single denomination, they feast upon a smorgasbord of spiritual beliefs. And while these disaffected believers have not rejected the existence of God or the need for meaningful spirituality, they have strongly rejected whatever it is they think the church today has to offer.

To counter this trend, churches across America are constantly updating their culture to accord with the culture outside the church. But is this the best framework for recovering authentic Christian spirituality?

Authentic Christianity offers another idea—that the Lutheran tradition embodies a framework of Christianity that uniquely addresses the postmodern condition. It does so not by being “emergent” or by making up a new approach to church or to the Christian life. Rather, it does so in an unexpected way: by being confessional, sacramental, and vocational.

This book is a collaboration between an academic of the Boomer generation and a young Millennial pastor. Coming from two very different places—different generations, different vocations, different entries into Lutheranism—authors Gene Veith and Trevor Sutton offer their unique perspectives on how Lutheran theology engages contemporary life.

Authentic Christianity will be available for purchase October 10. To learn more about the book, visit: Authentic Christianity.

Posted in Concordia Publishing House, Confessional Lutheranism, Discipleship, Lutheran, Lutheran Missiology, Missional Leadership, Missionary, Priesthood of all Believers, Sacramental, Secularism, Vocation | Comments Off on “Authentic Christianity: How Lutheran Theology Speaks to a Postmodern World” — A New Book to be Released by Concordia Publishing House

“Two Branches of One Tree: The Fellowship of Confession and Mission” by Martin Franzmann

The following article is posted on Concordia Theology.

The following op piece from one of our former professors could have been written yesterday. It was written in 1952. It seems like the either/or that we so often experience in our synodical fellowship today has been with us for a very long while. But Martin Franzmann has put his finger on the tragic result: our infighting has made us theomachoi–fighters against God. If our church is declining, it shouldn’t be a mystery. But let us listen once again to the inestimable Franzmann:

“DER BAUM IST NICHT DICK SONDERN GRUEN”

Professor Kinder coined this phrase to characterize a phenomenon common in present-day theology: the setting up of false alternatives. One is reminded of it when one surveys the thinking and feeling on the question of church fellowship within our Synod and within the Synodical Conference. We are in danger, it would seem, of making two trees of what God intended to be two branches of one tree. Two points of view, the confessional and exclusive emphasis, on the one hand, and the witness and outreach emphasis, on the other, tend to absolutize themselves; and two things, both good and holy and altogether laudable in themselves, are in danger of becoming exclusive and antithetical opposites, and each is therefore in danger of becoming a one-sided caricature of itself.

The confessional and exclusive outlook or emphasis operates by preference with passages like Romans 16: 17ff. and 2 John 9-11 and has in it an uncompromising zeal for the glory of God and the truth of His Word. It emphasizes the severity and the inescapability of the either/or which loyalty to the One Lord and His Word involves. It therefore emphasizes the authority and the infallibility of the Word. It is conscious, too, of the weight of history, of the burden which the past imposes on the present; it reminds us that history is with us and upon us and that we cannot shuffle it off by saying so, that we are all of us since Adam born into a given situation with which we must deal. That is the health and strength of this emphasis, and the Church should be everlastingly grateful to the voices that sound the confessional note for us, in season and out.

But a thing that is good is not necessarily in itself complete. Romans 16:17 ff. and 2 John 9-11 are not the whole of Scripture on fellowship; and we must in charity warn our brethren against incompleteness and one-sidedness; they dare not, for their own health’s sake and for the sake of the health of the Church, continue to bite on iron until they lose all taste for honey and the honeycomb. They dare not, in their emphasis on the authority of the Word, unconsciously grow distrustful of the power and efficacy of that Word; it overcomes and has its victories still in the twentieth century as well as in the sixteenth or the nineteenth. They dare not, in their zeal to learn history’s lessons and to be guided and instructed by history, let themselves be hag-ridden by history until they lapse into a mood not far removed from fatalism, a temper that is likely to confuse rigidity with strength and is inclined to see in the oversimple answer the only and honest answer. (St. Paul, for instance, found it necessary to give a long and rather complicated answer to the question, ” May a Christian eat meat offered to idols? “). Such is the strength, and the weakness, of the confessional exclusive emphasis.

The other, the witness and outreach emphasis, is also marked by a holy sense of responsibility; it hears the Lord’s words: “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me!”; it lives in fear of hiding that one talent which is death to hide, of becoming the light under a bushel and the salt turned saltless. Over against the Word it shows a glad and confident trust in the power and efficacy of God’s Word and in the continuity of the Spirit’s working: it looks toward the one new man as the goal and intention of the Lord of the Church at work in the Church through His Spirit. Over against history it emphasizes the ongoing character of history, the fact that no situation in history is forever static; each new day in history is, for it, a new opportunity for the Church, which the past cannot completely overshadow or destroy. Such is its strength, and a healthy Church will thank God for those who sound this note.

To read the rest of Franzmann’s article, click on: Two Branches.

Posted in Alberta -- British Columbia DIstrict (LCC), Concordia Seminary, Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Church - Canada Central District, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Lutheran Church -- Canada, Lutheran Church -- Canada East District, Lutheran Missiology, Missiology, Missional, Missional Leadership, Missionary, Word of God | Comments Off on “Two Branches of One Tree: The Fellowship of Confession and Mission” by Martin Franzmann

“The Fatal Flaw of Planning” by Rev. Scott Gress

Rev. Scott Gress provides some thoughts on how congregational leadership teams can avoid fatal flaws related to congregational planning. He writes,

As fall is just around the corner, there are a number of things that are coming into focus for those who lead churches: fall programing. There is Sunday School that may need to start up in late August or Early September (assuming you have children in your congregation). That means recruiting and training teachers, promoting the classes to parents and children, organizing rally day and so on. You may be planning a special emphasis for the fall such as a stewardship, a new Bible class or ramping up those same old activities like you always have every fall. Perhaps there is a Fall festival, or something special for the 500th anniversary of the reformation. If you have a parochial school there is a lot going on with budgets and staff, preparing classrooms, ordering curriculum and so on. Many of the summer vacations are coming to an end and now is the time to get busy.

What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing really. That is if nothing has really changed in your church and community compared to last year.

But perhaps you are wanting to do some really serious planning at your church. You’ve noticed that your worship attendance has dropped off a bit. You’ve seen fewer children in Sunday school. Your offerings have not risen in the last five years. In fact they have gone down slightly. Many haven’t even noticed yet some of your faithful leaders have begun to meet with the pastor and are starting to ask some hard questions about what’s going on. You’re quietly asking each other in the meeting questions about marketing the church, contemporary worship, hospitality events and concerts and things that will attract newcomers to your property. It’s a bit scary.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Nothing really. That is if it is correct to assume what you are assuming.

To read the rest of Scott’s article, click on: Avoiding Fatal Planning Flaws.

Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, scottgress@me.com or scottgress.com.

Posted in Church revitalization | Comments Off on “The Fatal Flaw of Planning” by Rev. Scott Gress