Transforming Congregations Network seeks $200K

One of the many frustrations confessional Lutherans had in recent years was the bizarre official synodical support shown for programs that could hardly be described as Lutheran. One of these was the Transforming Congregations Network. You can read about some of their less-than-Lutheran practices here and here. Actually, what you should do to get up to speed is read this great introduction to the program here. The next eight entries by the tireless Scott Diekman can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Okay, so the program received some serious funding from your offering dollars. You want to give generously to your synod so that it can help send forth missionaries, train pastors and teachers, and uphold our doctrines. When it’s taking that money and spending lots of it on non-Lutheran church growth schemes, that’s frustrating. Particularly when the economy is in dire straits and church, district and synodical budgets are strained.

So I was very interested to receive this fundraising letter from TCN. Dr. Terry Tieman begins by saying that it’s the best of times — and includes some anecdotes about how people are motivated by their feelings regarding the Holy Spirit (and various other nonLutheran language) — and then he writes:

And yet, it is also “the worst of times.” The reason for this is very simple. “On October 29, the LCMS Office of the President announced that…as a result of financial issues and the Synod-mandated restructuring of ministries,” the North America Missions Department would be closed, effective December 1, 2010.1 Since we have been funded through this department, unless something changes, it appears that this action will result in a loss of $200,000 a year in funding to TCN.

I can only say that I hope that the Board of Directors and other governing entities would be making sure that our limited missions funds are not going to places like TCN. It wouldn’t even be acceptable if we were flush with cash. But we’re not. We need to be making wise, prudent financial decisions that support Lutheran efforts and doctrine.

Full letter after the jump.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

No doubt you recognize this famous quote from A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. It describes life in 1775 England and France. I would suggest that it also describes life in 2010 America. More specifically, it describes the ministry of TCN (Transforming Churches Network).

“It is the best of times!” When it comes to the revitalization of churches through the TCN process, times have never been better. Just consider the following stats:

* 420 churches in our network
* 206 consultations conducted
* 63 Learning Communities
* 30 Partner Districts

The reason that this is such good news is that most of these churches were among the 80% of LCMS churches that were previously plateaued or declining in worship attendance. Now, according to a recent study conducted for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, many of these churches are vital, growing, outwardly focused congregations. In fact, 46 churches that responded in the study, reported an average growth in worship attendance of 12% over a two-year period. There were also significant increases in conversion growth, offerings, new leaders, small groups, and outreach to the community.

Even more importantly, TCN churches report a change in attitude toward the unreached and unsaved. Listen to this quote from a brand new member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, TN:

“I remember the feeling of the Holy Spirit coming over me [that] this was exactly where I was supposed to be. I have been attending regularly since then and my life has seen so many positive changes since that day. I know Alyssa didn’t ask me to come to church with her that Sunday because she felt that I needed God in my life, she did it because she just wanted to share something with me. But, I do believe God & the Holy Spirit worked through Alyssa because he knew the only way to get me back was through her. I will always be grateful for that.”

Or this quote from Pastor David Zachrich of Tallmadge Lutheran Church, Tallmadge, Ohio:

“The Lord, through His Spirit, has opened many new doors of opportunity for the congregation, and the congregation has pledged to be faithful and obedient in accepting the opportunities to witness for Christ.” (In the past year, Tallmadge has seen an increase of 28 people per week in worship attendance, 5 adult baptisms, and 13 confirmations!)

And yet, it is also “the worst of times.” The reason for this is very simple. “On October 29, the LCMS Office of the President announced that…as a result of financial issues and the Synod-mandated restructuring of ministries,” the North America Missions Department would be closed, effective December 1, 2010.1 Since we have been funded through this department, unless something changes, it appears that this action will result in a loss of $200,000 a year in funding to TCN.

Our mission is to help equip Districts and congregations across North America to reach their communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The tragedy, of course, is that as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, there are millions of people who do not yet know the real meaning of Christmas. They may be our neighbors, our co-workers, or even our friends. With only 18 percent of the U.S. population attending church on a given week, the United States is now the third largest mission field in the world.

TCN is working to change all of that. As a Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, TCN provides training and resources to empower churches to begin reaching their communities with the Gospel. TCN is able to provide these services to churches thanks to the efforts of individuals like you who believe in God’s command to “go and make disciples of all nations”.

This Christmas, I invite you to prayerfully consider how you can further support TCN as we work to impact the lives of those who do not yet know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Click here to give a gift to TCN, so that by God’s grace and power, we can help make this “the best of times” for someone who needs to know Christ!

Thank you for your support. Together, we can continue helping churches make a difference in their communities by spreading the love of Jesus Christ!

Your partner in the Gospel,

Rev. Dr. Terry Tieman
Executive Director,
Transforming Churches Network

“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:10-11 NKJV)

1As stated by Kurt Buchholz, Interim Executive Director of LCMS World Mission, in the December 2010 issue of Missionary to Missionary.


Comments

Transforming Congregations Network seeks $200K — 46 Comments

  1. The Holy Spirit came over me just now and told me to tell you “Great post Mollie.” Oh, wait a moment, that was my editorial conscience telling me that.

    This is a great example of how a simple election can change so much. Thanks for digging into this and sharing this encouraging news – well, not engouraging for TCN.

    I know there are some good things that come out of TCN but hopefully this will be the beginning of the end for them.

    Everybody – you don’t need TCN – just read Walther’s “The Proper Form of a Christian Congregation,” note the six scriptural duties, see how effectively you are doing with each one, where you are slacking, address the lack and press on.

    There – I just saved you thousands of dollars in consulting fees. BJS is good for so many things!

    TR

  2. I hearken what Pr. Rossow said and question the reason money is needed to to what we can already do for free. For example, it costs me nothing to talk to coworkers about Christ. In fact in all my vocations it costs nothing, monetarily, to talk to someone about Christ.

    We already know what we need to do, so why pay someone, or an organization, to tell us something we already know? Christ didn’t use fundraising techniques to draw in the crowd, and neither did the apostles, they just did it through their vocations, just like we ought to through our vocations.

    It makes no sense, and I hope the entire TCN program is quashed so we stop this incessant spendification of our coinage on trite marketing agendas and just go out tell the Good News for free. OK, I am off my soap box 🙂

    Kiley

  3. Kiley,
    Too perfect…yep, we do all do it for free. Textbook way to get rid of a bad program….
    defund it.

  4. When I was an Elder and on the Church Council at Elm Grove Lutheran Church we paid thousands of dollars in fees for a ‘counselor’, a self styled prophet to lead us in a number of meetings to come to a conclusion which was pre-ordained to come about by the very nature of the material and the way it was presented.

    I have never seen such a Theology of the Cross become a Theology of Glory in a vote by the congregation to institute a 20 year plan to slowly become a non-denominational Heterodox church.

    The congregation was split between those who wanted to stay Lutheran and those who vociferously politicked to become more heterogenous in doctrine and practice, to the point of openly calling for the Senior Pastors resignation during a meeting saturday afternoon during the TCN process.

    Alternative Worship Styles and practices as well as Alternative Music etc, will be gradually introduced to bring bodies into the church.

    Unbeknown to the Congregation was the stipulation that the Senior Pastor would become a CEO like position with he becoming the sole authority in matters of staffing and who would sit on boards etc,.

    TCN is really transforming orthodox lutheran congregations into heterodox fanatical churches. Zwingli and Calvin have won and a dove sheds tears.

    Now generations of souls will be subjected to the devil’s doctrine and practice and how many souls will be lost? We do not know but it will be more that if the Congregation remained within the Holy Spirits teachings.

  5. I received an email with the same letter contained. I emailed them back that they were to remove my name from any and all future mailings, both the snail mail and email. That was about a week ago. So far no notice that they noticed save the note on the unsubscribe page.

    Unfortunately, it is my humble opinion, that programs such as this feed off the smaller congregations–who can ill afford their costs, but who are looking to try something, anything, with the “promise” of increased attendance and/or membership. Never understood the “music man” hawker mentality–until the visit of the previous SP to our district convention and use a take off from the music man for his presentation.

    Confirmation class calls!!

  6. TCN is just another in a long string of LCMS programmers adopting the methods and theology of Pietists, Arminians, and charismatics all in the name of outreach or recruitment or solving budgetary problems or building a cult of personality. It is just an amalgamation of sociology, marketing, group dynamics, replacing the means of grace. TCN, PLI, SMP, need to take their leave of the LCMS. Bible, Catechism, and Hymnal – stick with those.

    1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:1-7

  7. And may it never recover!

    I’m saddened to think of all the funding that went to Abomination…err…Ablaze and TCN that could have been much better spend funding missionaries and subsidizing the cost of Pastoral education at the seminaries.

    Ablaze could have fully funded 1000 seminarians

  8. I had the misfortune of leading a congregation through the TCN program-it literally killed us. We went from 110 worshipping on a Sunday at the time (from a peak of 175 several years before I arrived) to 35 worshipping on a Sunday when I left because there was no money for both a pastor and the mortgage (and the congregation decided a building was more important).

    We were taken in by the idea of a set of outside eyes helping us see what was wrong in the way we were functioning as a body of believers.

    While I think TCN is misdirected on its theological basis (or should I say buisness basis-we read more buisness books than theology books-and I’m including the church growth books as theology books), there is a need to help congregations that have lost their way.

    I had never heard of Walther’s “The Proper Form of a Christian Congregation,” does anyone have a link to the text?

    Is there any confessional group that helps congregations see where they are not applying Word and Sacrament ministry properly??

  9. Coastal Confessional,

    That is the full text. It is not long. I think the CPH book is a newer translation. The one on line is copyright free because it is an older translation. We used it as the backbone of the new constitution we wrote a few years ago after a group tried unsuccesfully to run me out of the church.

    I do agree with you that a set of fresh eyes can help. I actually do church consulting but it is based on Walther’s six duties and is done for the cost of travel and a small fee. But, as I said above, it can be done by a pastor with average leadership skills based on the simple model I outlined in the first comment above. What I do is provide a seminar framework, lead the seminar, and help lead people through the process, help analyze congregational statistics, facilitate a brainstorming session around the six duties, etc.. No hidden agendas. Everybody is asked to read “The Proper Form…” before the seminar.

    TR

  10. @Pastor Tim Rossow #12

    THank you Pr. Rossow. I tried to help update our 30 year old constitution ay my churhc, but even some of the better leaders (I though tthey were better leaders) had scuttled past reforms. We were running council on unsanctioned modifications. But then we got this new pastor, returning memebers who have gone to training seminars, and the next thing you know we are trying TCN. ANd we are not even fully doing it, or right. Talk about peopel in power making up their won rules…

    Anyway, I remember froma blog way back how you lead a cahnge in your congregation, and I was always curious on what it was. Again, thank you for sharing a much better resource for properly structuring a congregation aroudn a Christ-centered focus.

  11. Were I to get fired, with the pastor in charge of staffing under the TCN model, would that also mean that I was excommunicated?

  12. Terry led he Mid South District down the road to temporary music as necessary to church growth.

  13. Of course, had the presidential election gone the other way, TCN was poised to monopolized even more of the national mission budget (if not take over national missions altogether).

    The only thing I can say is “just in time.”

    TW

  14. When my parents’ LCMS church was restructuring with a TCN model (though I don’t think it was ever called that), my parents were concerned about it but were starting to be taken in because the church does need help. Knowing the congregation, my personal, free “consultation” was Acts 2:42. They got my point. The congregation needs to fix their devotion to the Apostles’ teachings, fellowship with one another, and “The Breaking of the Bread” before it can honestly and scripturally evaluate the direction in which they need to head.

  15. TCN is a consulting firm. In this economy, it is perfectly normal for an organization to cut costs by firing the consultants. Therefore, cutting funding from TCN is a “business decision.” Besides, I thought the Church Growth Movement has already run its course. What are the other denominations doing, now that this fad has passed. Or will this fad continue under another catchy marketing name?

    Well, I guess “It’s Time” to place a checkmark on the section of my weekly offering envelope that says: “designate X% for the building fund.” Let the LCMS waste someone else’s missions money. I will ask that all of my weekly offerings remain with my local LCMS congregation. Maybe if enough people in enough congregations were to do this, the LCMS, Inc. would feel the ELCA-style pinch and wake up.

    Matt Harrison is only one man. How many pastors in the LCMS are *really* against church growth concepts? Koinonia Project? And if some concepts are good and some are bad, then how much of it is useful. How many Church Growth Concepts are good and don’t violate confessional Lutheran doctrine?

  16. @James #19
    I am not sad to see the consultants go away, we don’t need them as we have wonderful pastors and theology that can act as fellow encouragers to tell the Good News. Pr. Rossow mentioned he does this in post #12. We all need a good kick in the pants, not to “share” Christ’s love, and other seeker-friendly terminology, but to genuinely and ardently encourage one another in Christ to tell the Good News within their vocations. No fluffy, feminized programs that neuter Christianity is needed, just goof ole, faithful proclamation; and its free! Lets use the money we do get donated to serve our neighbor in their need and not use it to pay polished salesmen to spread a sinless, Christless Christianity. 🙂

    Kiley

  17. Ummm……has LCMS, Inc. cut the cord yet? I still see TCN prominently displayed on the LCMS website (scroll down to see the “Mission Revitalization” section on the ABLAZE! page):

    http://www.lcms.org/pages/default.asp?NavID=5247

    What is ABLAZE! without the TCN guiding it? Fewer fans into the flame? Does this mean ABLAZE! will be revamped?

  18. That TCN is “defunded” as far as the synodical budget is concerned will save our involuntary $$$. I hope the whole “Buy a non Lutheran opinion” mania will disappear, one way or another.

    How do we best support the new officers as they strive to run a Lutheran organization? The legitimate jobs of the synod need to be done and paid for. Do we starve Matt Harrison’s efforts to turn things around because we’ve tardily waked up to the money wasted over the last decade? That would be defeating ourselves!

    [Frustrated over the local versions of “the Alley” and other district waste, one individual wondered if we could bypass district and send money directly to synod!]

  19. From the linked video: “Have read Your book and have come to help” — yeah, God needs our help. Whatever could He do without us?

  20. @Scott Diekmann #23

    The sermon is classic CGM. Gotta leave the boat! Just another iteration of “gotta leave your comfort zone.”

    If one more person tells me I gotta “leave my comfort zone”…….. i’m gonna … I’m gonna (well…I’ll leave it to your imagination)

    Here’s the perfect response to that by the way: “If I took off my shirt and led worship bare chested, that would be leaving my comfort zone, but that wouldn’t make it right.”

    They heap scorn on the word and sacrament ministry that Jesus commanded us to do as they refer to it as our ‘comfort zone” They do this because they want us to follow their command instead of his. Na-gonna-doit (Dana Carvey doing Bush I)

    I don’t know where this comfort zone of the word and sacrament ministry is supposed to be! I have yet to find it? I have had a roller coaster ride of thrills and spills as I struggle to do what my Lord has told me to do. Wouldn’t want it any other way! You want to leave your comfort zone? Try being faithful! Just try it! The world, the devil, and your own sinful flesh will make you most uncomfortable.

  21. @Coastal Confessional #10

    Dear Coastal Confessional, et. al.

    The online version of the “The Proper Form of a Christian Congregation” is only the theses, so it is a shortened version of the full book edition. Jim Pierce points you to the full book version. The full book version includes notes and explanations for the theses, but no new theses, so the basic ideas are the same, just fleshed out more.

    As Walther says in his preface, “The Proper Form of a Christian Congregation” (aka “Die Rechte Gestalt” from the original German title) is the practical application of the theological treatise and theses “Church and Ministry” (aka “Kirche und Amt”). “Church and Ministry” is the official position of the Missouri Synod, having been adopted in 1851, and re-affirmed in 2001.

    All officers of the synod and the district must support “Church and Ministry” and its position. It doesn’t make any sense to say “The synod has a position” unless its officers support it.

    The persons who were responsible for approving the TCN program and supporting it, in the synod and at the district level, were in violation of their duties for upholding the theological position of the synod, due to TCN’s “Accountable Leadership Model” and TCN’s pushing of non-Lutheran worship practices on congregations. I don’t know who approved the TCN program initially and have not tracked who has supported it. I have been little concerned about the “who” in the program, but very much concerned about the “what” and “why” and “how.”

    Perhaps, with its defunding, TCN will simply go away to the “Graveyard of Defunct Synodical Programs.” R.I.P.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  22. I had a serious crisis of faith after seeing two presentations from Dr. Tieman during my time as a seminarian. The faster this thing dies, the better off we are as a church. If people think about these tactics for more than two seconds (like I did) they will realize that the shepherds of the church are resorting to marketing techniques in order to give the church life. This is scandalous.

    There are some positives to the program. Its never a bad thing for a congregation to analyze its activities, which is what TCN was encouraging. I’m not sure this is worth scandalizing people though.

  23. #26 – Rev. Mike Trask, you make excellent points. I’ll tell you, having been raised in a Lutheran church that has slowly gone contemporary over the last 25 years, then going out into the Evangelical world for a time (because I didn’t see the difference at that point) and having come back to the Lutheran church because my husband is now a confessional LCMS pastor, I can’t think of any place more outside of a person’s comfort zone than when we are faced with the reality of our sin and God’s grace in Word and Sacrament. The faith that we must have to believe in these things the Lord has given us is truly something from outside of ourselves!!

  24. The Board of Directors must take decisive action to absolutely forbid any LCMS District or organization such as LCEF or LCMS Foundation from providing “covert” funding to this group, which has happened in the past, for example with the Pastoral Leadership Institute. Also, Pres. Harrison should make clear to Thrivent that there are more important priorities for funds they may have available for LCMS causes. If they are so successful, let them raise their own money like all other Recognized Service Organizations have to do.

    By the way, I would also be very curious how much Dr. Tieman’s salary and benefits are as Executive Director of the Transforming Churches Network. Based on similar positions at the International Center, his combined salary and benefits probably approach the $200,000 per year that he is seeking. It does no good for the Synod in convention to pass a massive restructuring specifically intended to reduce the number of such extravagant positions if there is an “end run” by the Districts et. al., which continue to subsidize them with our limited funds by siphoning off more at the District level, in direct contravention of the will of the Synod in convention.

  25. Since TCN likes to rave about “success stories” 2 years back after our pastor left because we were down to 25 in the weekly Divine Service the District Mission Exec dropped by and this was one of the things he tried to push on us (TCN) We ran him and that flea bitten dog out of town. We stayed faithful to the Word and Sacrament ministry and were blessed last year with being able to Call a retired man to part-time status. Since then we have 40-45 weekly attendance, we’ve had lost members return and have taken in 10 new members ( 2 adult catechumens, 2 e!ca refugees, 3 from local LCMS escaping the nonesense) I think we’ll have a look at “The Proper Form…” mentioned previously. I am glad we didn’t get involved with these programs (TCN, ABlazy, et al) that our DISTRICT was selling as our savior. (I still think they were waiting for us to fail so they could $$ in our paid off property-no proof…just my FEELINGS, since there seems to be so much emphasis on emotions)
    Yep, were a 100% liturgical Lutheran congregation and the LORD is growing us. And He doesn’t have to share His glory with TCN!

  26. I hope that headline doesn’t give anyone the impression that we are fundraising for TCN on this site!

  27. Scott Diekmann :
    If you’re looking for a short snippet of the theology of TCN at work, you can watch the devotion given by the head of TCN at this summer’s LCMS Convention, appropriately titled “Three Simple Steps on How to Walk on Water:
    http://www.lcms.org/ca/convention/vids/monday/4.html

    You had to remind me! I walked out on this sales pitch in Houston!

    I wish it had been formally “cut loose” rather than defunded as a budget move.

  28. @Martin R. Noland #27
    Here’s the background I know on TCN. Rev. Tieman seemed to be the main push behind the start of TCN (originally called Revitalizating Congregations-but people didn’t like the idea that their congregations needed to be revitalized). He’s a charasmatic guy who led several congregations through periods of growth in the MidSouth District. He caught the attention/drew the attention of district officials and he became the district mission executive.
    So as the Mission Executive he started the idea for TCN (I don’t know where his ideas came from). His “original” material was created by a mission group (one man operation) out of Nashville. I assumed the guy was Lutheran, because I would see him at various LCMS events and congregations-but I don’t know.
    It seemed to really catch on in the Mid-South. Looking back, I’m not sure why. Maybe the promises of growth? Maybe Rev. Tieman’s personal track record of church growth?
    Then the budget strains started to hit the MidSouth, interestingly about the same time Rev. Tieman wanted to go full time with TCN. Now, I don’t know if his position at district was being eliminated. But there was no rush to fill it.
    So what about who was supporting it? I know less about it once it went National. I was at a coaches conference for TCN and the DP from CNH was there, also the president (or was it his wife? I can’t remember) from Concordia-Bronxville. I also know the leadership in the FL-GA district, OH district, and, of course, the Mid-South have been big supporters. I don’t know who, but from my conversations with Rev. Tieman, these were some of his main sources of funding.

    Just a little background for everyone!

  29. @Martin R. Noland #27
    Dr Noland,

    At the end of your comment, you said:
    “Perhaps, with its defunding, TCN will simply go away to the “Graveyard of Defunct Synodical Programs.” R.I.P.”

    I don’t think this is enough. Both the theology and the practice need to be exposed for what they are, and (in my opinion) condemned. As a historian, you know the damage done by the Statement of the 44, which was never addressed and condemned, but “withdrawn.” TCN will keep reappearing in different forms as long as church coffers and church buildings can be gained by telling people “you’re doing it wrong.” That is why I say we must address it squarely, even if we have stopped funding it. By its nature, TCN needs a “host” and will find one.

  30. @ Jim, I found something else to do as well during his presentation.

    @ Coastal Confessional — Dwight Marable is the man you are referring to who created much of the TCN material. His website is http://www.missions.com/index.htm. I don’t think he is an LCMS Lutheran.

    @ Dr. Noland or Dr. Winter — Is it possible for the LCMS to “un-endorse” TCN. That is, remove their RSO status?

    I know there was an overture to the 2010 Convention for the CTCR to give TCN a theological review. I was disappointed to see that it was rejected by the floor committee. It was instead put into an omnibus resolution and referred to the Board of Missions.

    TCN has been active for several years now, it seems that it is losing rather than gaining steam, which is a good thing.

  31. What’s a quicker way of getting rid of a bad program? Combined effort. Defund & call the board, ceo of TCN to the Principal’s Office,…for a little chat.
    Although, this may not do the trick outright.
    When you close & defund, they may go solo, like Elton Stroh (T.T. TCN counterpart) in WELS. But…even then….ya can still call/send the to the Principal’s Office.

  32. >>Is it possible for the LCMS to “un-endorse” TCN. That is, remove their RSO status?

    Formerly such status was determined by the Board for Mission Services. The “replacement” Boards for National and International Missions are not “program” boards like those they replaced, but only advisory. Rev. Harrison is wisely granting them more of a programmatic function than specified or intended by Res. 8-08A. However, RSO status would now ultimately be determined by . . . the President of Synod. It could be pulled at any time.

    However, there is probably no need for that — the Transforming Churches Network is taking care of it themselves just fine. It is a miserable failure and already word has gotten around through the Synodical grapevine that this is indeed a surefire way to “transform” a congregation — if by transform you mean devasting the membership, attendance, and finances and bringing the congregation to the brink of closure. TCN has succeeded it making itself irrelevant and without the extravagant and unwarranted Synodical subsidy they used to receive they will wither on the vine.

    What always gets me is these guys preach “transformation,” “running the church like a business,” not sticking mindlessly with the status quo in the church — until it comes to THEM. They will never “transform” their miserable failure of an idea or organization or program. WE OWE THEM because they’re so brilliant and they demand we keep on subsidizing them ad infinitum. The FAILURE of TCN is obvious from their current predicament. “Consultant, transform thyself.”

  33. I could write a book of commentary on the TCN and its ilk, but I will just simply apply their own methods to themselves. They claim that the methods should be judged by the results. I checked on the Mid south dist. loses/gains stats from the 2009 Lutheran Annual, which is 2007 stats.
    Gain in Mid South. 1651 souls.
    Loss in Mid South 1855 souls

    Net loss of 204.

    Interesting, Verrrrry interesting. (Laugh-in) from a billion years ago.

  34. @Conv. Delegate #36

    First, I am not due the honorific “Doctor”, although I acknowledge it was offered in a proper spirit. (Reading that actually made me…and anyone who knows me…laugh out loud.)

    Second, to your question: Yes, RSO status is revocable. Actually, though, RSO status is a bit like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval: it doesn’t guarantee funding. It DOES give an organization some credibility when approaching LC-MS members and congregations for gifts, or when offering their services to these same people. I think the value of being an RSO is declining with each generation. Corporate identity and approval just doesn’t have the same value for post-Boomers.

    Since Wheat Ridge is still listed as an RSO (look under “Illinois” here: http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=14357 ), this supposed imprimatur means nothing to me, either.

    This is why the underlying theology needs to be addressed. In the original post above, Mollie shared the links to Scott Diekmann’s pages on this, and I suggest you read them.

    But the short answer is: yes, you can lose RSO status, but I don’t consider that very likely, or a very big deal.

  35. Rev. Winter — ooops!

    I more than agree regarding the bad theology of TCN. I participated in a TCN consultation weekend and it was eye-opening and not in a good way. I found Scott Diekmann’s pieces spot on. A family friend, a life-long LCMS Lutheran was, (and the key here is “was”), a member of Trinity Lutheran in Columbia, TN. She along with several other families left Trinity and joined the local WELS church a year into the TCN process.

    I agree TCN needs to rise and fall on its own merits and I am relieved that the latter is taking place. I would just rather it wouldn’t have the LCMS imprimatur on it.

  36. In addition, those in the Missouri Synod who promoted the TCN abomination need to be called to account for their actions.

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