Confessional Lutherans Checking In from Southern California ““ Welcome SOCO

(Editor’s Introduction: We thank David Atkinson, a BJS steering committee member, for this description of the confessional group that meets regularly out in Orange County, California. They will be keeping us abreast of their activities via their entry on the “Regular Columns” page. Their membership includes some familiar names like Pastor Bill Cwirla, Craig Parton – an advisory board member of BJS, Rod Rosenbladt – professor of theology at Christ College, and Robert Meyer, also a BJS steering committee member.)


SOCO or South Orange County Outreach is a mission society of Faith Lutheran Church of Capistrano Beach – Pacific Southwest District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.”  The church website is:


Our Mission Statement reads:  “South Orange County Outreach (SOCO) will facilitate a broad evangelical outreach to the existing, new, and future communities in South Orange County in order to provide hope for the future through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”


We have been in existence since 2000 (over 8 years now!) and have “morphed” into regular luncheons and community gatherings at Concordia University in Irvine for the main purpose of gathering both laymen (some lay women too) and pastors to hear quality Lutheran speakers.  Our topics revolve around the high value that we put as a group on Christian apologetics and how we can make an intelligent presentation of the Gospel to the world around us.  This is not to mention the high value we ascribe to Confessional Lutheran Theology!


We’ve had such speakers ranging from local pastors to internationally-known theologians.  Such well-known men as Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, Craig Parton, Dr. Gene Veith, Dr. Angus Menuge, Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, Dr. George Forell, Dr. James Nestingen, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, Dr. Horace Hummel, and Dr. James Bachman have been among the distinguished speakers featured at our gatherings.  

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Confessional Lutherans Checking In from Southern California ““ Welcome SOCO — 5 Comments

  1. Orange County isn’t the only place where Confessional Lutheranism is taking a stand. Consider what is happening in San Diego County. For instance, this past April we had a “Catechism Convocation” where hundreds of catechumens and their parents, parishoners and ministers from nearly thirty congregations gathered for divine services and a series of lectures on the Ten Commandments within Luther’s Small Catechism. Fancy that – right here on the left coast!

    There is also a regular monthly meeting of confessional parish ministers that study the Augsburg Confession and Apology. We also shared in a Lenten pulpit exchange that involved more than twenty pastors. Those interested in our studies and second annual Catechism Convocation are welcome to contact me.

    Rev. John J. Bombaro

  2. Sounds like a good opportunity to encourage spiritual growth and promote a solid/Lutheran identity among the congregations.

    As a layman, what are the first steps to starting something like this and getting it off the ground in my own church?

  3. Whoa, a second clarification post: this is unlike me.

    To begin to answer my own question, I realize these things aren’t done renegade-style, and that would not that be my intent. I recognize the first step is go through the proper channels, so my basic question of how you might go about building efforts like these remains more general.

  4. David,

    It all depends on your situation. I would suggest that you request a BJS chapter start-up kit. (You can just do that via this comment page or send me an e-mail at [email protected] .)

    David happened to know a lot of big hitters in his area and so he was able to get them all together to form SOCO. That is usually not the case which is why I suggest you start a chapter of John the Steadfast. Is your pastor confessional? If not, we will do our best to hook you up with other people in your region to start a regional chapter or if he is confessional then you could start a chapter right there in your congregation. Let me know what you think.

    Pastor Rossow

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