Visiting Churches Like this Makes Me Forget the Synod’s Problems (for a while anyway) – A Trip to the Very First BJS Chapter, by Pastor Rossow

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.

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.


Visiting Churches Like this Makes Me Forget the Synod’s Problems (for a while anyway) – A Trip to the Very First BJS Chapter, by Pastor Rossow — 14 Comments

  1. No desire for a TCN consultation? Don’t they want to be revitalized? Or transformed? It’s time to notify the TC Police (That’s “TC” for “Transformational Correctness”). Out with the Confessional reading–they need to read “The Shack”! Out with the Means of Grace! They need the Means of Growth! Only 50 in worship? Time to call the coroner! Where’s their “vision”? They lack “effectiveness”! Where’s their “purpose”? Organize those sheep! Change the name to Pittsburg Community Fellowship! Get with the program! This ain’t their grandfather’s church!

  2. Oh, Johannes…

    You have given me a side-splitting laughter cramp. The jargon density in your comment approaches the combined Slugging Percentage of my two best fantasy baseball players! I should have been wary as we now approach “The (Sn)Ides of May,” however.

    How good to know, though, that the faithful gather elsewhere, too. Pastor Rossow’s description of the Zion group provide the encouragement of some of the apostolic epistles to the gathered few.

    Blessings to all!

  3. “Can you imagine having 20% of your regular worshipers in a Confessions reading group?” –TR

    Hey, that’s about what we get here at Bonne Terre! Maybe 25%, even.

    And I like the photo of the Warsteiner and the Bekenntnisschriften. Beer, brats, and Brothers studying the Bible and the Book of Concord–what could be better?

    BTW, Pastor Cook was a circuit-mate in southeast Nebraska back in the ’90s. Good man.


  5. Pastor Rossow:

    Thanks again for inviting me to tag along with you Tuesday Night. The Men of Zion, Pittsburg, KS are a great goup of guys, and their hospitality was truly salutary. It was really exciting to study with such a steadfast group. I’m inspired to start a group at our congregation in Kearney.

    Pastor Cook was a wonderful study leader and a gracious host. I really enjoyed the lively discussions and interaction among the men of the group. Plenty of vitality there. No need for any re-vitalization.

    We didn’t discuss numerical growth, but there’s no doubt there’s plenty of spiritual growth. They were practically ablaze with it. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

  6. That was a fun evening. We sneaked the bbq in between thunderstorms. The brats and beer (both root and hopped)were great. The fellowship was better that the food. The confessions as rich as Camille Shipley sent with her husband John. I planted the seed in Pr. Rossow’s head that the next annual meeting should be in Pittsburg to celebrate our being the first charter group. Doug Grotheer was missing that evening cleaning up and repairing storm damage and hopeful recruit Louis Bonner was caring for family needs around a hospitalization of a family member.
    Hope we can do it again!

  7. As I recall, “TC” did NOT refer to Pastor Ted Cook. If it wasn’t so far away, I’d show up for the next meeting. Is this a “small group” Bible Study? Should I bring my journal?

  8. Great report, Pastor. Very encouraging.

    And as a sign of how well-read BJS is becoming: folks at choir last night were wondering where you are hiding our other 16 choir members! (There are 34 of us, not 50 – grin).

  9. Beer, bratts, and the Book of Concord? Pastor Rossow, I truly enjoyed reading your post! We certainly raised the roof ourselves at the Wabash BBQ in Excelsior Springs after the Augustana Ministerium/Confraternity meeting in Kearney. Take care!

  10. Hey Camille,

    I’m not sure I like my sister-in-law sending “cheesecake” to her pastor via her husband. Oh, wait, you mean real cheesecake. Never mind.

    Pastor Cook,

    Thanks for receiving Camille and John and feeding them the rich blessings of the Gospel.

    Rev. Steve Bagnall
    Camille’s sister’s husband

  11. Camille’s Sister’s Husband,

    I heard good things about you from Camille’s husband which would be your wife’s sister’s husband. Thanks for being a faithful pastor and for supporting BJS.


  12. Pr. Rossow,

    You should have had Larry Dunekack show you the video of the installation of the second pastor before Pr. Cook, back in 1990. The liberals/district did all they could to try to kill Zion in the 1980s and 90s, but, as you found, the Lord prevailed and has preserved His remnant in the truth.

    EJG (not in KS anymore)

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