Live Comments From the BJS Conference to be Posted Here

Can’t make it to the BJS conference in Naperville, Illinois this weekend? No problem. Starting at 4 PM this afternoon we will have attendees logging in the comment section of this post with their travel stories, comments on the speakers and whatever else they wish to talk about concerning the conference. Who knows, maybe we can even get our speakers, Pastor Wilken and Chris Rosebrough to drop a line here.

We will have a computer station available, open to this page for all the conference goers to make use of. We will also welcome your questions and comments as well.

One of Bethany – Naperville’s sound technicians is a Brother of John the Steadfast and will be attending the conference and recording for us and will, as soon as possible, get the conference presentations and worship on the website.

This post is being archived in our BJS Newsreel column on our Regular Columns page. If you are new to the site you may want to explore it and the other 25 columns archived on that page.


Here is Chris Rosebrough’s first presentation at the conference:


Here is the Vespers service:


Here is the first presentation on Saturday from Chris Rosebrough:


And here is Pastor Todd Wilken’s session 3 of the conference:


And finally, here is the audio from the Divine Service that closed the event. What a joy to end the conference in such a worshipful manner. Pastor Rossow was right when he said after the Vespers service that people don’t know how emotional a fully liturgical confessional service can be. I think his exact words were “Those baptists have nothing on us!”


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.


Live Comments From the BJS Conference to be Posted Here — 42 Comments

  1. Hi, Pr. Rossow and many new friends: Yes, one wishes that one could be present there with you. But I thought that, if it just might matter a little bit to someone, I would wish you well and blessings on what will surely be blessed time together. May God also make our joy in Christ stubborn, er, uh, I mean steadfast. 🙂

  2. Rev. W.,

    As you know, stubborn is good if one is right and confessional.

    Maybe someday we’ll come down your way and have a conference. Aren’t those “throwed rolls” close by you? That would be worth the trip.

    Thanks for the well wishes.

    Pastor Rossow

  3. I second Pr. Wollenburg’s wish of being there. Alas, I wasn’t able to do so, but I know you all are going to have a great time.

    Are the main speakers of the conference being taped so that we can all hear them at a later date?

  4. Hope you all have a wonderful time! Wish we could have made it out there too! 🙁 anxiously awaiting audio of the speakers! 😉 –

  5. If you are reading this daddy HI HI HI I hope you are having fun there!!!!! Today in art class we learned how to make valentines day flowers I saved one for you!!! Love you Bye!!!

  6. Chris R. is speaking and giving his “testimony” about how he came out of evangelicalism. We hope to have pictures up on the site in a few minutes.

    Pastor Rossow

  7. Best quote so far of Chris Rosebrough’s presentation: “I didn’t need Jesus to learn how to use a day-planner.” A great indictment of all the purpose-driven, life-lesson sermon series.

    –Chris Thilk

  8. What a wonderful experience it is to be at the first national conference! It was spiritually uplifting; the speaker shared his personal experiences which helped the brothers to see the need for confessional preaching, liturgy, and teaching. It was wonderful to experience the Vespers service with 80 men (and women) with the NID President Gilbert preaching. We recommend that you don’t miss the next one!

  9. Yes, thanks for sharing this with those of us not able to be there. The vesper service looks wonderful. Nearly worth the trip all by itself. God Bless everyone, have a great time!

  10. Hi daddy its me kate agian!!!!! come home soon we miss you and have a suprise to show you!!! (hint- I won it at family fun night!) Bye

  11. Pastor Rossow has been my pastor for almost 10 years now, and although I know well what he is capable of when he gets an idea in his head, I am blown away at what he has put together for this first conference of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. It is truly an historic happening.

    And I must agree with those who have already commented on tonight’s worship. Chanting from Pastor Earhard, preaching from Pastor Gilbert, and music from Cantor Magness and the Men’s Chorus of Bethany combined with liturgy and hymns to make for beautiful worship indeed. I wish everyone reading could have been there.

    As I left Bethany this evening I could hear the voices of ladies who had volunteered in the kitchen to serve supper to conference attendees. Their laughter warmed my heart as they stayed behind to clean up so that everyone else could leave for the No Pietists Allowed Parties. They are just a few of the many who have worked behind the scenes in recent days, weeks, and months to bring not only this conference but BJS from a dream to a reality. Thanks and God’s blessings to you all! This is just the beginning!

  12. Here is Chris Keynote speech from tonight:

    I guess I can’t include it in a comment, but only in an article; check the bottom of the article for it.

    I’ve posted the vespers service audio at the top as well.

    Thanks MUCH to Steadfast brother James Blasius for preparing these!

    As before, I couldn’t resist a couple more photos. These are of the pizza party. In MY opinion Chicago came out WAY on top. I await a report from others, but I really didn’t like the St Louis pizza, and the New York didn’t even look good enough for me to try!

  13. Excellent conference, thus far! Chris Rosebrough was simply fantastic this evening. There was no “cheesiness” in his testimony. It was (is) authentic, through and through. What a joy it was for him to discover the Gospel, and what a gift it is for all of us that the Gospel was revealed to him. He is right. We are at war and our enemy is the one who roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. My favorite line in Chris’ presentation tonight: “I was convinced that Rod Rosenbladt was defintely not going to heaven. He wasn’t even trying!” What a genuine blessing Prof. Rosenbladt was to Chris, for he showed him that heaven is reserved for sinners just like him, and me, and you – sinners who realize their desperate need of a Savior and, therefore, cling to the perfect life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

    DP Gilbert’s fine sermon picked up where Chris’ testimony left off, pointing us to the One crucified in our place on the cross.

    Kudos to Pastor Rossow and the good folks at Bethany for their wonderful hospitality and first-class accomodations. The food was great and the service outstanding. Lovin’ every minute thus far. Can’t wait till tomorrow! 🙂

    In Christ,
    Pastor Messer

  14. Pictures from Pastor Wilken’s talk; we should have it the audio ready from this tonight. All BJS members need to listen to this talk! For you organ lovers out there, the second picture is clickable.

    If you want larger images of any of these, just email me and I’ll “make it so”.

  15. Another blessed day at the BJS conference. It began with a “manly breakfast” (very good – thanks Bethany ladies!), and our group was privileged to have Chris Rosebrough join us at our table. Chris showed no ill effects from his late night (rather, early morning) theological discussions with Susan K.’s father (see comment #22) 🙂 He was sharp as a whistle (is a whistle sharp?), and ready to engage in good theological discourse. What a joy it was to have him join us. That dude knows his stuff – color me very impressed!

    As an after-breakfast treat, we joined in a sing-song, led by Pr. Henrickson. Funny stuff, in a sad-that-these-parodies-ring-with-truth kinda way.

    A personal highlight for me came as we broke from breakfast to go to Chris’ 2nd Session. I got to meet steadfast brother Scott Diekmann in person, and chat with him for a bit. Scott’s blog, “Stand Firm” (, is one of the best blogs out there. If it’s not part of your daily blogging diet, it needs to be! Anyway, it was an honor to meet Scott and his daughter, Paige (sp?), in person. Keep up the fantastic, steadfast work, brother!

    Chris’ 2nd Session was about starting a Lutheran radio station with the technology of the “New Media.” Very informative and very interesting. Give his presentation a listen when it’s posted.

    Then came Rev. Wilken. Wow! Simply awesome! This was the third time I had the privilege of hearing Pr. Wilken speak in public and he has never disappointed. He is, quite simply, worth the price of admission every time. As Norm said above, all BJS members need to listen to Pr. Wilken’s presentation. “The Gospel is always ‘small time'” – listen; you’ll see. The only disappointing thing about Pr. Wilken’s presentation was that it had to come to an end. A couple people in our group mentioned that they could sit and listen to him all day. Yeah, me, too. Thanks, Pr. Wilken, for pointing us to the Person and Work of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, as you always do so well.

    Lunch came next, and, again, kudos to the ladies of Bethany. Thanks so much for all the time and energy you spent feeding us so well over these past couple days.

    Finally, the conference ended as it should, as we were fed the Bread of Life in Word and Sacrament in the Divine Service. Pr. Rossow served as liturgist/Celebrant, Pr. Tony Sikora, from my neck of the woods in DeWitt, MI, served as Lector, and Pr. Henrickson served as preacher, proclaiming the pure Gospel to us. The beauty of the Service was greatly enhanced by the talents of Cantor Phillip Magness and the Bethany Choir and musicians. The Lord is good!

    Okay, enough rambling. 🙂 I’ll conclude by saying that I’ve been to a lot of conferences in my day and this one was one of the very best. Pr. Rossow mentioned that this one was going to be hard to top. I agree. But, then, we don’t have to top it next year. If next year’s is as good as this year’s, I’d say we’d be doing just fine. Get thee there next year, dear friends! You won’t be dissapointed!

    In Christ,
    Pastor Messer

  16. Fabulous work, everyone. I’m enjoying the Vespers service as I type the this comment (and singing along – so is my 6 year old daughter!)

    So grateful that I could listen to the talks and to Vespers even though I couldn’t be there in person. My husband and I will be sure to attend next year.

    After the Vespers service, I’ll listen Nosenboat’s next talk…

  17. Elephantschild – “Nosenboat” – Nice! 🙂 I think Rosencranz, while not an original name, is my favorite – but that’s b/c I’ve always loved the play Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead. Yes, I know I’m weird. I like Tom Stoppard. 😉

    Pr Rossow, THANK-YOU for the updates, and the audio files!!!! It was wonderful to listen! Hope we can make it next year!

  18. Pastor Rossow,
    Thanks so much to you and all the folks at Bethany that made the conference such a huge success. What hard work and hospitality!! We had a great time, and spent the 4 hours riding home discussing the speakers, our plans for starting our new reading group, and attending next year’s conference.

    I would absolutely encourage all who are able to try to attend in the future. Tremendous Job!

    God’s Blessings to you all,
    Kevin in Indiana

  19. Are these conference links downloadable? I have people not online that need to hear what was presented.

  20. Pastor Fehrmann, there is a “Click here to play MP3” under each audio item. You can right-click that and save the MP3 file to your computer.

    I don’t have an IPOD myself, so I don’t know how to make it easier. I’ll see if I can borrow my son’s in the morning and figure it out. email me if you have any tips for me.

  21. I’ll second Pastor Messer’s comment, “The Lord is Good.”

    This is the first conference of any kind I have ever attended and it was a pure joy. At this conference I was saturation in the Word of God, the grace of Christ, and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. Like Pastor Rossow told me this morning it was more like a family reunion than a conference.

    I want to thank Pastor Rossow, Pastor Schumachder, Cantor Magness, the choirs of Bethany Lutheran Church, Pam Mueller, and the members of Bethany Lutheran Church for your servant’s hearts and unbelievable hospitality. The food was great too.

    Chris Rosebrough and Pastor Wilken both gave excellent Christ centered presentations. There messages left me with a lot to ponder. Bishop Gilbert and Pastor Henrickson both pointed us to the Cross and the One this is all about and encouraged us in the faith. Our Lord’s worship services and the Lord’s Supper were such blessings.

    It was a pleasure getting to meet so many new people and spending time with new and old brothers. We Brothers of John the Steadfast have been so blessed by Jesus. I can’t wait to see what our joyful response will be in the days and years ahead.

  22. This weekend was very inspiring! It is good to always dwell in the Word and it’s good to realize that there are always fellow Christians to remain steadfast with you. Here’s to hoping each annual conference doubles our number.

    The Vespers and Saturday afternoon services were particularly beautiful. It’s been a long time since I had attended a Vespers service, and I had forgotten how great it is to be in God’s Word at the drawing down of the day. As I mentioned to some other brothers, it’s unfortunate that my home congregation, while a strong Lutheran church, does not follow the historic lectionary. Having been brought up in a congregation that followed the church calender more closely, I think being aware of the time of year in our church’s history allows one to be also closer to the kingdom of the right, even as we also follow the calender of the kingdom of the left.

    The Irish pub night was also fun too. I have to admit, oftentimes I’m not the best of German Lutherans, as I tend to eschew beer in favor of martinis or gin and tonics. However, I couldn’t refuse free beer, and I’m glad I did. I forget the name of the beer I was drinking…which is just as well, since I probably couldn’t afford to drink it regularly anyway 🙂

    I would like to get in touch with everyone who I met there. I have a Facebook profile, and would like to add anyone who also has a Facebook. Facebook is kind of how I do all my networking and online communication (in addition to e-mail). It’d be nice to see a BJS Facebook group and events in the future! Perhaps we could also get a forum or messageboard started on this website as well; I think it would be more conducive to conversation than just meeting occasionally in the comments. 😉

    Decatur, IL

  23. Now that I’m back home, during the conference, I took some series of photos to generate panoramic shots. Here are links to them. Your browser may shrink the photos to the width of the window; in IE, if you move the mouse off the photo then back on it, you can click and get it back to full-size. You can then use the scroll bars to move around the photo.

    • Pan 1: Here is a shot taken just before session 1.
    • Pan 2: This shot pushes the technology a bit — the staight line below the windows at the top is turned into a curved line, but to me the image is valuable in it shows the size of the church, the cross, and the light coming in at the top.
    • Pan 3: This was taken at breakfast on the 14th.
    • Pan 4: This was taken during Session 2.
    • Pan 5: This was taken during session 3.

    I hope you enjoy these images!


  24. Ariel #33,

    It was great to see you in church this morning at Bethany.

    BTW – I actually prefer gin and tonic as well but am working on my beer drinking skills. I have come to appreaciate Guiness with a once a month get together at the Irish pub with Susan’s father (see comment #22 above).

    Pastor Rossow

  25. Just adding my thanks here for y’all providing the audio links. I have saved both of Rosebrough’s sessions and Wilken’s talk so that I can burn CD’s for folks for whom CD’s are still new 🙂 , AND to try to get still others to realize what IS going on in the LCMS. By the way, you folks who are in congregations where your pastor has not gone the way of contemporary stuff, try not to take it for granted — sometimes, because folks have not seen the mess of contemporary stuff, they are tempted to take liturgical worship much for granted. 🙁 Oh, and re: #31 above, I patched out of my headphone jack into my microphone jack and played the presentations onto audacity so that I could do stuff to the files that way before saving them — a tad more tedious, but . . . .

    Anyhow, thank you so much for the audio files and for the pic’s. It was a distant second to being there but helpful!

  26. I just want to thank everybody at Bethany for such a lovely weekend. Mike and I felt so welcome, and were able to get so much out of the experience, even with the baby in tow.
    Thank you to the ladies who worked behind the scenes to keep everyone fed and comfortable. Thank you to Elaine Gavin and her Husband for hosting such a nice party Friday night.
    Mike commandeered my blog for a bit to write about our experience here:
    We look forward to next year!

  27. Andrea and I greatly enjoyed the conference, and have already shared the wealth of information we learned with others in our congregation and family. Several of them already plan to come with us next year.

    The hospitality at Bethany was also outstanding. Thank you so much to the many ladies and men of Bethany who provided such wonderful meals!

    Thanks again for the conference!

  28. To Pastor Rossow and the members of Bethany Lutheran,

    Thank you for a wonderful conference and the blessings of fellowship and worship with the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Chris and Pastor Wilken alone were worth the trip – the hospitality of your congregation speaks clearly of your love for the Gospel and fellow Christians. Blessings to you all.

    PS – I remain steadfast in my vote for the St Louis pizza!

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