The Brothers of John the Steadfast (BJS) plans on launching our new website on June 25, a date we see as highly appropriate since it is the day the Augsburg Confession was first presented to the Holy Roman Empire. As we prepare for our debut, we’d like you to review what we’ve done so far and let us know what you think. Please let us know what you think is good and what you believe we may be missing.
So that you can easily provide meaningul input for us, here is a recap of what BJS is, what BJS is NOT, and where we currently are:
First of all, it is important to realize what we are not. We are not the primary means by which you support the new Issues, Etc. We encourage you to donate directly through the link at Pirate Christian Radio. BJS will be financially supporting the new program, and it will initially be our only project. But once Issues is reestablished financially, we hope to expand our support to other evangelical and catechetical efforts.
Our larger purpose is to bring together Lutheran laymen to defend and promote the orthodox Christian faith which is taught in the Lutheran Confessions, provide financial support for Christian media (e.g. Issues, Etc.), and to support other endeavors selected by its membership that defend
and promote the cause of confessional Lutheranism. Our main areas of concentration are 1) growth in understanding Scripture and confessions, 2) supporting 21st century confessional media (e.g. Issues, Etc.), 3) upholding the historic liturgy, and 4) equipping spiritual heads of households.
Because we are more than a financial supporter of a radio show, we will be penetrating congregations more deeply. Our congregational chapters will be geared toward teaching the Lutheran Confessions, serving the congregation and her pastors, and supporting confessional Lutheranism in the media. To
accomplish this, each chapter will be encouraged to hold regular study of the Lutheran Confessions, undertake a service project for the parish, and sponsor an annual fundraiser such as a dinner, carnival or an auction. The proceeds from the fundraiser and will go towards the new Issues, Etc., bringing Todd & Jeff more support than can be generated solely via their lister base at their new website.
We will not be limited to chapters, however. In today’s cybersphere, we are able to create a group via the internet so that that individual members can participate in the group through our new website. This site will be of great interest to all our members–and many others. Not only will we have regular blog posts by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway and Pastor Klemet Preus and forty columnists writing twice monthly, but we will also have a regular feature entitled "Help, I’m a Confessional Lutheran Stuck in a Church Growth Church." Through the website, BJS will not just support its local chapters, but will support thousands of individual confessional Lutherans throughout the Church, providing them encouragement in the Gospel and an opportunity to connect with their brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world.
That’s the vision. Here’s how we plan on realizing it:
Our administrative costs will be covered by the $25 annual member dues. Because of our low overhead, much of that dues money will go to support Issues, Etc. We will also have an annual fund drive for Issues, Etc. and eventually, our potential future projects. Organizing our financial structure this way allows members to know exactly how their donated funds are allocated. We will be posting our financial statements on our website each quarter.
Some of the 40 columns on the new website will include news, notes and editorials from the various confessional groups around the synod. We already have columns being submitted from groups in Texas, Missouri, California and Illinois. By doing this, BJS hopes to take a small step forward in bringing some unity to the confessional cause.
In addition to our website, we will also be publishing a quarterly journal. The first issue is just about ready to go to print and will be available June 25. Both the website and the journal will include a regular letter from Pastor Wilken.
We know that much of the strength of confessionalism comes from faithful Lutheran women. We have already started working on a parallel organization for these strong and courageous women in the church.
There is even more to BJS but this should give you an idea of what we are up to. Please let us know what you think is good and right about our efforts and what you see missing. We will be far more effective with your input.
May God bless us as together we keep looking for ways to promote and defend the true Christian faith.