Reader Reports about a Small Congregation Rejected for Ablaze $$$, by Pr. Rossow

A comment was posted early this morning on my story on Rev. Harrison and small congregations that alerts us to the need to rethink our leadership to match the bold new structure approved yesterday by the synod. Here are the salient points of the comment.

I know of a small congregation in Illinois that needs some help. ABLAZE! wouldn’t help them, because they didn’t want to add a rock’n’roll service.

Yesterday, I heard President Kieschnick tlak about all the new congregations he hopes to start, yet the synod headed by Kieschnick refuses to help a young, small congregation, just because they prefer to receive Word and Sacrament, to use their hymnals in worship, and are not about turning the chancel into a stage and bringing in a drum set and stack of amps… My heart goes out for this congregation, which seeks to reach out to their community, yet don’t (sic) fit the non-Lutheran ABLAZE! Profile. I once supported ABLAZE!… We need a new president. If there is to be room for congregations that prefer ALL contemporary worship, there should be room for a congregation which does not wish to replace the Divine Service with entertainment and shallow, non-denominational lyrics and the avoidance of genuine Confessional Lutheranism. May God help this small congregation, and others like it.

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.


Reader Reports about a Small Congregation Rejected for Ablaze $$$, by Pr. Rossow — 17 Comments

  1. I know of an inner city congregation with a pastor who faithfully carries out Word and Sacrament ministry among over 100 souls. The members of this congregation are experiencing financial problems, but there is no help from the incorporated district or synod through funds they think are better used on billboards, coffee houses and consultants. Instead it appears that the LCMS just wants to shut this church down and scatter over a hundred sheep to fend for themselves. What will happen to this congregation? Maybe it will be told to close its doors and its members will just be given some train fare and told they can go to a Lutheran Church in the suburbs. Perhaps a mission society will help these brothers and sisters continue the ministry among them in this neighborhood. Maybe the new corporate synod will have a change of heart and place greater value on congregations like these. We will have to wait and see.

  2. Whenever I hear news like this, all I can do is shake my head.

    That, and put a new Matt Harrison button on My Flair on Facebook.

  3. Thank you, Anonymous, for sharing your story as well. It makes me somewhat angry when those who call themselves “church’ don’t feel the hurts of the other members of the body of Christ. How can that be??

    It is sad when we need to pray to God to protect the church from the church. Some elitists think they have been enlightened with a methodology they have borrowed from elsewhere to try to radically transform the LCMS and bring it up to date–yet they don’t have eyes to see how they are harming His existing church. Jesus did not erect billboards to draw people to Himself. On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit didn’t call St. Peter and others to construct billboards and erect them in strategic places to “move people closer to Christ.” The only billboard I know from Scripture was the small one Pontious Pilate commissioned for the cross, saying “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” And God used that billboard for His glory. Jesus’ methodology was rather “Go therefore unto all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all I have commanded you, and lo I am with you always, even till the end of the age (Matt. 28).”

    I join you, Anonymous, in praying for these sheep of whom some in the LCMS would shut down because they wouldn’t make the right propaganda story for The Lutheran Witness or our other publications. WHo would be interested in a hundred dirty sheep from the inner-city who aren’t turned on by loud, trendy ‘praise music’? What an embarrasment! But God knows them and He knows their needs. He knows every hair on their head, and every empty shelf in the pantries in their homes. He knows that our hymnals are chock-full of His Holy Word, and these hymnals are helps and not hinderences to worship and living, growing faith. May God have mercy on a church that would turn their faces away from these needy sheep for whom their Shepherd died. May God supply their need despite the cruelty of a hipocritical church that is all about facades and exquisite in-church cafes and state of the art, current technology for sound and projection, yet lack the love of Christ for those who would continue to learn about Jesus from “a pastor who faithfully carries out Woard and Sacrament ministry” among them. I can’t shout it loud enough: KYRIE ELEISON! Will anyone join my voice? CHRISTE ELEISON! Who could help direct the church in the way they should go? Could God speak to the church in convention? Could God raise faithful leaders who have eyes to see the suffering in the world? Something needs to be done at this juncture. Will God hear our cries? KYRIE ELEISON!

  4. Gregory L. Jackson:
    Please pray that God would forgive my poor spelling. My spell-check isn’t worried, and I should do a better job of proof-reading before submitting a reply. I apologize that my submissions were not polished. (BTW, I met you, Pastor Jackson, some years back in New Ulm).

  5. Well, at least you don’t have a district president who approved of members getting excommunicated and voted out of a congregation for being confessional.
    I’d love to live in a district that was just withholding money.

  6. Pr. Cwirla’s congregation was able to get some Ablaze money to call a Chinese-speaking pastor (Pr. Jason Li) and start a Chinese language service. This is Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, which has a large Chinese immigrant population. Perhaps they could offer some advice.

    I’ve only been to English language services and dual language services, but I as far as I can tell, they do the liturgy as well as any congregation in California.

  7. Sigh. Well, with the transfer of power to the LCMS popery, it’s only going to get worse I am thinking.

    Chris Rosebrough has had some good Fighting For the Faith episodes and articles about the leadership idol of evangelicalism. Sounds like half the LCMS is going to go that route too. Very sad.

  8. I have trouble understanding why a new plant church, with a vicar was started within a 3 mile radius of two other LCMS churches. When Graduates of Concordia Seminary 2010 couldn’t be placed. In zipcode 63090. ?????

  9. Well, we just got a new president!!!! Thank you, Lord. After listening to the convention the last two days, it was obvious which side was in charge of the music and the tone. The pastor of the church plant in Colorado meeting in a movie theater was appropriately (tongue in cheek) collarless and way cool in telling his stories about the single moms, etc. You are right Paula that the LCMS is heading down a bad, bad path and not many seem to recognize it. Sad.

  10. Watching the convention is very enlightening. When called for voting on whether to have debate on a question or not, the vote is overwhelmingly against having debate. I thought that is what one of our complaints was…….that we were being railroaded!!! I think people are just tired in mid afternoon and don’t want to drag things out. In fact, this whole convention seems to be more guided by the clock than the Spirit.

  11. @lutheran lady #13
    Yeah, I cringed when I heard, “The Church is about people.” Maybe I took the statement out of context, but I thought the Church was about our Triune God where He serves us in Word and Sacrament. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd uses of the Law get all mixed up with the Baptist-wannabes.

  12. @Anonymous #1

    For those who are interested in receiving evangelism training based on Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions you are invited to contact me about how this can be done. Also, visit the CLCC Website at for seminar information. We need a strong push now to supplant ABLASE! training with true training given right at the congregation that needs it. I invite anyone to think about such training as we are now open to requests for seminars starting in the Jan-Apr 2011 time frame. My cell number is 541-530-0900 and my email can be found on the Website under Contact Us.

  13. I need to repent. The “Baptist-wannabe” statement was unkind and unproductive. As soon as I hit “submit,” I knew an apology was in order, so I now offer it. I know neither the pastor nor his heart. I should have said that the speech (IMO) sounded very “purpose-driven” and left it at that.

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