Cyberbrethren — Exciting New Mission Program – Revolutionary!

Found on Cyberbrethren .. an excerpt from The Church from Age to Age: A History from Galilee to Global Christianity:

 

“By the year 250, Christianity had spread to the limits of the known world. . . . The Church spread rapidly over a wide geographic area, increasing phenomenally in numbers . . . This work was done by ordinary Christians. We know of no missionary societies; we hear nothing of organized effort. Wherever Christians went doing their regular tasks, the pagan saw a different kind of individual and heard about ‘the Savior.’ … When the early Christians themselves recount how they learned of the Gospel, they usually confess that their faith was the result of casual contact with that “way of life.” . . . The work was not done by people who called themselves missionaries but by rank-and-file members. The least among men, even the unknown, are indeed the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

The Church from Age to Age, p. 13. Print edition. Kindle edition

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Cyberbrethren — Exciting New Mission Program – Revolutionary! — 9 Comments

  1. A healthy LCMS parish is one where the laity are inviting their
    unchurched friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers to
    come and worship with them. When Christ crucified is
    proclaimed from our pulpits, then people will want to hear
    the message of new life in Christ where sins are forgiven
    and the joy, peace and love of Christ changes them.

    When the laity are sharing their faith in Christ with those
    who are not Christians, then the Holy Spirit can work on
    the hearts of unbelievers and lead them to a church
    where Christ crucified is preached. The Holy Spirit’s tools
    are Word and Sacrament to bring people to Christ and
    give them faith.

  2. @David Hartung #2

    I’d prefer that to program, program, program. We grab to much non-Lutheran stuff with non-Lutheran baggage. And let’s be honest, we don’t really do well Lutheranizing it. Besides, if we don’t have laity that honestly believes what we teach them, we should hire out people/programs to market outsiders into our church? To teach them things that they, too, will not believe? I think if we are sincere about vocation and discipleship, laypeople would actually WANT to talk about their faith and share the Good News that they have. Let the Holy Spirit lead us wherever we are to wherever we will go.

  3. I don’t want to pick at nits, but the growth of the early church wasn’t just elbo bumping with the average layman. St. Paul planted most of those early churches, and others were planted by folks taught by the Apostles. The missionary surges into Europe and Asia, not to mention the Americas, appear to have happened the same way, with bishops or priests often penetrating into previously unchurched lands, and planting the church among them.

    I think we have to make a distinction between evangelism that occurs in a context where the general area already has a Christian outpost (i.e., a place were Word and Sacrament are faithfully administered,) versus a place where it does not exist. Where there is already a faithful congregation, folks are invited to that place in order to hear the Word and eventually to received the Sacraments. In a truly pagan context where a congregation has not been established, a congregation must be planted… and I think that requires the guidance of a properly called and ordained servant of the Word.

  4. In response to Brad #4, I think it’s presumptuous to think we don’t need missionaries in the United States and Europe, where the Gospel was once preached and florished. Secularism and anti-religiousity has taken over much of our society. A number of people have no inkling of what is in the Bible, let alone the teachings of Christianity from the Bible. There are ways of conducting Evangelism in our communities, without being consumerist or being based in Decision Theology. I don’t like the attitude of ‘We are the frozen chosen’ that I see in some congregations.

  5. @Larry Nelson #1

    I have to say that we need to bring our own children, too. It seems that as long as we did that the church grew and the church was dynamic and attracted others. Perhaps members have become more focused on material gain and less on families. Our own children have to be welcomed. Evangelistic efforts have not diminished, but our families have. The Lord blessed prior less prosperous generations with many children and we have every reason to believe he would continue to do so if they were welcome. Every time I read about attracting new members, this is what always comes to mind. It seems that so many want growth in the church, but not always from their own homes. Some still welcome children, but many really don’t. We also need to teach our children to seek marriage and family more than just comfort and convenience.

  6. Mrs. Hume :@Larry Nelson #1
    I have to say that we need to bring our own children, too. It seems that as long as we did that the church grew and the church was dynamic and attracted others. Perhaps members have become more focused on material gain and less on families. Our own children have to be welcomed. Evangelistic efforts have not diminished, but our families have. The Lord blessed prior less prosperous generations with many children and we have every reason to believe he would continue to do so if they were welcome. Every time I read about attracting new members, this is what always comes to mind. It seems that so many want growth in the church, but not always from their own homes. Some still welcome children, but many really don’t. We also need to teach our children to seek marriage and family more than just comfort and convenience.

    I’ve heard older members of my Lutheran church, former church council members at that, say they are embarrassed to invite anyone to our church. They claim that traditional Lutheran doctrine drives away the educated members from the church. (I’ve gone to college and I have no idea what they’re talking about…) Maybe we just have a lot of liberals here. These are the same people who’s children attend congregations that unscripturally kick out their pastors, promote alternative worship styles, and practice open communion.

    We have never grown by attracting new members. Now we can’t keep them. Most of the children of LCMS members I know in any given location have stopped attending church or have become Methodists, Pentecostals and Baptists because of the larger and more active youth programs. Assuming half the children in a Lutheran church leave and don’t come back, each family will need to have four children merely to keep numbers the same. Baptist and Non-Denominational churches also steal sheep from Lutheran churches at our public high schools via organizations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

    There have been no Lutherans marrying Lutherans within my congregation for at least forty years, even among those who transfer in from sister congregations. I see the same thing in other congregations in different towns. They’re all “mixed” marriages where the non-Lutheran spouse receives very little catecheses and quite a bit of apathy is passed on to their children. They have very little appreciation for the Lutheran vocation (including marriage) or the Means of Grace.

  7. A Plan:

    1. Procreate.
    2. Teach your children well.
    3. Yes, invite people but try never to lack an adult class with at least one student in it. Have the courage to invite visitors to adult instruction repeatedly *and practice closed communion so there is a reason for instruction*. Let them say no. You don’t have them now. So ask.
    4. Do not, I repeat, do not start missions with the 200 member+ big opening service idea. Begin with a few families and a preaching station plus a person in adult instruction. Give it time. Make it financially sustainable from the very beginning. **Keep all mission progress positive by not creating ridiculous expectations at impossible expense.**
    5. Work at it.

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