Ablaze! Movement stories

So I was reading in the LCMS Reporter that the Ablaze! counter was bumped up by adding any children from the past three school years who attend Lutheran schools but are not a member of a Christian church. Which led me to go look at the Ablaze! counter.

The goal of Ablaze! is “reaching 100 million unreached and uncommitted people with the Gospel by 2017.” (Side note: for all of the hundreds of thousands of dollars we spend on consultants, how come LCMS, Inc. produces such horribly written promotional material?) Anyway, we’ve been at this for four years — or over 30 percent of our time goal– and we’re apparently willing to count anything as a Gospel touch and yet we’re at less than 10 percent of our goal.

Anyhow, my visit to the Ablaze! page led me to check the top three personal witnessing stories that LCMS, Inc. is currently featuring. And I thought the stories were interesting. Let’s look at them.

Here’s one:

I was waiting to catch a plane at Memphis and a young man from Cuba asked me for the time. We talked a bit about this and that, although he was very hard to understand. After a white [sic], he asked me if I knew any Spanish, which I don’t. Then it dawned on me that I had a Spanish tract in my briefcase, just for such an occasion, which I gave to him. He looked at it very intently and was very excited that it was in Spanish, then he asked me if I was a priest. It was too hard to explain to him that I was just a layman, so I just said no. He read a few pages of the tract and put it in his pocket. Our conversation ended because it was time to board our plane.

Another one was about a short-term mission trip to Nicaragua where folks were asked to talk about moral living with police officers. Having a friend who just moved out of Nicaragua, I hear the police corps could use some help in this area. Anyway, here’s how our correspondent sums up his witnessing:

Each speaker related incidents in his career where the Lord was with him in dangerous situations and used Bible verses to make his point. At the conclusion, we presented the Gospel and the officers were given an opportunity to accept the Lord in their lives.

I was struck by the language used. Decision theology. The third story had an element of that as well:

In early 2006, I shared my faith with my friend Steve, who lives in Minneapolis, Minn., while he was visiting for the weekned [sic]. Two weeks later, I received a phone call from Steve telling me the great news that he had trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior.

The story goes on but we never hear if Steve, the Cuban, or the Nicaraguan police officers were baptized. It’s such an odd metric we’re using for this Ablaze! campaign, isn’t it?


Ablaze! Movement stories — 10 Comments

  1. Like an old Soviet Politburo with it’s five year plan, it isn’t going to matter whether the goal is accomplished or not, in 2017 the effort will be declared a success.

  2. I am not clear about this: are all non-LCMS students at one of our parochial schools automatically added to the Ablaze numbers? If so, that inflates the numbers without meeting the stated criteria — at our parochial school, about half of the students are non-LCMS, but virtually all of them belong to another Christian church (many of them are VERY active in those churches). I would assume that similar numbers would be found at many of our schools. So, are ALL non-LCMS students added to the Ablaze stats, or just those that are reported as not attending anywhere?

  3. If you report statistics to the synod and district, they will use those figures for such manipulative purposes. Let ’em guess. The dishonesty makes me wonder if the LCMS has adopted a higher critical view of Exodus 20.

  4. “he asked me if I was a priest. It was too hard to explain to him that I was just a layman, so I just said no” heh, it’s really not that hard to say no I’m not a priest or a pastor. Is it?

  5. The Mormons baptize for the dead… maybe team Ablaze!â„¢ could start counting “unchurched” buried in Lutheran cemeteries? Hmm… I better not give them any ideas.

  6. The lack of theological understanding, the shallowness, the obvious pandering to the uninformed, but enthusiastic “Americanized Lutheran” crowd in our churches is so evident in the “Ablaze” program (I know JK say it’s a movement, not a program – but it’s still a program foisted on the LCMS by her, “I’m not a theologian” synodical president.) is so obvious to all but those who ought to know better, but want to believe in it that there is probably no hope that it will either be allowed to die a natural death or be rejected at the next convention. As long as JK is synodical president this abomination will continue to track “critical events.” God help us! And for your sanity’s sake: Stay away from the Ablaze counter.!

  7. If you think about it, we should also count every family member of any non-Lutheran student attending a non-Lutheran school, as well. Don’t parents have to sign permission slips and stuff? Furthermore, aren’t there fundraisers? Therefore, we can count every co-worker of the parents. All we need is $100 million to prepare the paperwork!

  8. When I was on a mercy trip,(we stayed at a LCMS camp)when I asked if they had any Bibles or tracks I could give to people we had been talking to, I was told that I should write down a number of people we had talked to. I told them I didn’t believe in that. I was told to just write the number 4. (Now, I wasn’t counting,but know it was way higher than that) I was told it helped get them grant money. I still didn’t write a number down. If all confessionals that don’t count(I think it really counterproductive in so many ways) counted, think what the number would be? Oops, maybe I shouldn’t even think like that? I am just saying I know we non counting confessionals also confess our faith to others with joy! We don’t need to count.

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