Can you imagine having 20% of your regular worshipers in a Confessions reading group? That’s what Pastor Ted Cook gets at Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsburg, Kansas. Their average worship attendance is 50 per week and Tuesday night I was able to join them for their regular Confessions reading group and they had seven men there with two regulars missing.
A few weeks ago when I decided to attend the Augustana Ministerium conference in Kearney, MO (just outside of Kansas City) I got to wondering how close I would be to Pittsburg, Kansas, the location of the very first chapter of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Turns out it was about 2 1/2 hours away. That was close enough to draw me onto the highway and make my way south to check out this group of steadfast pioneers. The congregation may be small in stature but they are rich in confession.
Pittsburg, Kansas is more refined than one might think. Pastor Cook was able to find some Warsteiner pilsner at the local liquor store that we used to get the evening started with a toast to John the Steadfast. Pastor Cook grilled up some brats for us and the guys brought side dishes and we had a great meal. After the meal we simply picked up reading and discussing the Confessions where the group had last left off in article IV of the Apology. You can see why I was able to forget all about the synods problems. There I was, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, visiting a church with same number of regular worshipers as my church has in its senior choir, and we were sharing in the confession that we have in common, the true exposition of Holy Scripture.
Each of these men is a steadfast hero and deserves mention by name. Those in attendance were Mark Hoffman, Dale Grotheer, Pastor Ted Cook, Theodore Cook Jr., John Shipley, Larry Dunekack and the chairman of the congregation Martin Dupslaff. (I did not get the names of the gentleman who were missing – one of whom was cleaning up the tree that fell on his porch due to the violent storms they have been having in the last few days. Maybe Pastor Cook can add those names in the comments below.)
There is no desire for a TCN consultaton in this church. They have simply been well shepherded and are content being faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.
We now have 11 chapters of BJS in such places as Southern California, Illinois, New York, and elsewhere. We are even international since we have a chapter in Canada. If you are interested in joining the Brothers of John the Steadfast with a chapter in your congregation or region send me an e-mail.