Worldview Everlasting and BJS Join Forces, Sort Of…Rev. Fisk Accepts Call to Bethany, Naperville, by Pr. Rossow

I will need to watch my step from now on because the Worldview Everlasting samurai swords will be hanging on a study wall not more than fifteen feet from where I am writing this post in my own study.

The members, pastors, and staff of Bethany Lutheran Church and School, Naperville, Illinois are very pleased that Rev. Jonathan Fisk has heard their call to come to Naperville to serve as pastor. Rev. Fisk will serve as associate pastor alongside fellow associate Stephen Schumacher and me, the administrative pastor.

We have a saying at Bethany when it comes to ranking pastors. “A pastor is a pastor is a pastor.” We do have some man-made lines of accountability for the orderly administration of the office of the ministry but no pastor has it over another when it comes to forgiving sins, preaching the Gospel, serving up the body and blood of the Lord and determining false gospels from the One, True Gospel of Christ.

Pastor Fisk will be taking his turn preaching, teaching and administering the sacrament and focusing on youth, technology, publicity and teaching us all how to reach postmodern ears with the Gospel.

Worldview Everlasting is not really joining forces with BJS but it will be nice to have it emanating from the same place as the work of the Brothers and also the same place that is home to Cantor Phillip Magness’ Liturgy Solutions, a resource for musical settings for the liturgy and liturgical consulting.

Reverend Fisk’s installation is tentatively set for Sunday afternoon, November 20th. If you are in the Chicago land area we would love to have you for this joyous occasion.

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.


Worldview Everlasting and BJS Join Forces, Sort Of…Rev. Fisk Accepts Call to Bethany, Naperville, by Pr. Rossow — 35 Comments

  1. Rev. Rossow,

    Keep up the great work! What a blessing to have Rev. Fisk on your staff. God’s blessings.

    Pastor Nathan Raddatz

  2. And who is going to replace Rev. Fisk on the Philadelphia project?

    [No criticism of Rev. Fisk but he’s not exactly a CRM or graduate left waiting, Pr. Rossow.]

    Putting all the “blessings” in one place is nice, for that place, maybe not so helpful for synod?

    (But maybe it was time, for Fisk.)

  3. Wow… I kind of agree with “helen.” I hope that St. John’s will prayerfully consider (doesn’t that sound pious?) a pastor on CRM status or a pastor who is being “forced out” or a candidate, “left waiting.” It is not technically my biz-ness, of course. But since BJS and WE are such widely known internet media ‘sensations,’ shall we say, I think I can at least offer my two cents. AND Rossow should come back to NICL.

  4. Helen and Steven,

    We considered several CRM and similar types.

    Our first priority was someone who was liturgical and confessional. We were also interested in calling someone to serve primarily with our youth. In a multi-pastoral staff there are many things to consider. Several candidates had no experience with youth or were not interested in working primarily with youth. We did find some pastors who had both.

    Of those that were confessional, liturgical, interested in serving primarily with youth and with some experience with youth, Pastor Fisk rose to the top.

    Hope that helps.


    P.S. Steven, I never left NICL and plan to attend when I have the time. I consider it to be the strongest of all the confessional groups around the synod and it funcitons pretty much as my circuit. The brethren of NICL are a great blessing. Maybe having a third pastor will free up some time for me.

  5. It was an honor to work with Jonathan the last three months here in Philadelphia. Bethany is getting a top-notch pastor.

  6. Gosh, betwen BJS, WE, and Lutheran Satire, Northern Illinois is going to be the major leagues of internet Lutheran outreach. If the LLL and other LCMS groups that are always seeking to be up to date wanted to get smart, they’d pay you guys to do seminars.

  7. Helen, PLM will forge ahead. When the question was asked on Facebook not too long ago, Pastor Fisk explained it this way:

    “PLM is a registered RSO of the LCMS, under the leadership of Pastor Tom Engler. Pastor [Joshua] Gale is (y)our full time missionary to Philly. My role has simply been that of publicity, in which I will, to some extent, continue via youtube.”


  8. We rejoice with our brothers and sisters in Christ of Bethany, Naperville, upon the Call of Pastor Fisk. With you, we celebrate the news that our Lord has directed His servant Jonathan to accept the Call to Bethany. We promise our fraternal prayers and support!
    Our Lord’s continued blessings!

  9. Okay, I don’t know a thing about Fisk’s congregation but I wonder what they are like and whether they knew what they were getting when they called him. Hey, I mean that in a good way. Fisk seems, uh, very very busy. Now maybe that is just due to his visibility, and like I say I don’t know. Anyway, if we got a new young pastor, I would figure he might get off to a slow start just because of learning curve, etc. Fisk seems more like hit the ground running. I just wonder if that is what they thought or if that is even true, because I am looking from a distance. I have wondered this since I first stumbled onto a WE video via this here blog. Does his congregation watch WE? Just curious what kind of feedback he got from them.

  10. Pastor Rossow – Blessings to Bethany. Perhaps your cat can secure a cameo in an upcoming WE episode.

  11. I think that Pastor Fisk’s videos are wonderful.
    I appreciate the fact that he consults with other pastors in answering questions from his viewers.
    More than anything else, I appreciate his orthodox Lutheranism and clear communication of it. He expresses the nuances of our Faith extraordinarily thoroughly and well. And in the process he is also entertaining, which is very cool.
    And from what I can gather he is a fine parish pastor as well, and also heavily involved with mission.
    His video about the ULC was encouraging beyond compare.
    Any church would be blessed to have him as pastor.

  12. @Rev. David Mueller The production staff has often extended invitations to Synodcat to join us as a guest on Worldview Everlasting, however, he has declined to return our calls. I am certain that he is very busy with more pressing Ministreh. 😉

  13. I personally say, “bummer.” I will miss having Pr. Fisk out east. I am just grateful to have visited his two congregations out here and hear his wonderful preaching. And I hope he left a good inpression upon St. John so that they are edified to make a sound choice for their next pastor. Heaving just been there, my family was greated warmly, and I pray for them to remain strong and steadfast in their faith.

    And wow, Bethany is becoming a power horse. May they be a shining example within synod.

  14. Great news! I’ve learned a great deal from Pr. Fisk’s videos. Bethany is blessed to have him. I’d like a cameo of the cat as well. Synodcat is probably in executive session, takes a rather large litter box for those you know?

  15. Rossow’s cat, like all cats, are wicked creatures. They make certain pastors snot, sneeze and take benedryl.

  16. @Helen There are no plans to cancel WE. Even throughout the transition, I will do all I can to keep the schedule on track. 🙂

  17. Andrew,

    That is excellent! I will forever have the picture engraved in my mind of the good Rev., his wife Meridith and their four young children sitting in a big ‘ole Buick pointed toward Chicago, all wearing sunglasses ready to embark on this next great adventure in their life. (Oh, and samurai swords sticking out the back window.)


  18. Dear Pastors Rossow, Schumacher, and Fisk,

    Congratulations on your new partnership in the Gospel ministry! What an awesome combination of talents, including your cantor, Phillip Magness, and many others. I have found that my most creative years have been those spent in team ministry with those committed to the same doctrine, goals, and values as myself. You will find that you are together more than the sum of yours parts. New ideas, new practices, and new experiences will benefit your congregation and all of us!

    For those BJS readers who don’t know, Du Page County in Illiinois (where Naperville is located) is still the big suburban “boomtown” of the Chicago metropolitan statistical area. There are still pockets of undeveloped land in DuPage, really wonderful parks and conservation areas, and really fantastic LCMS churches and schools. The LCMS presence is a product of over a century of growth in Cook County that, in the late 20th century, headed north (Lake Co.), west (Du Page Co.), and to a lesser degree, south (Will Co.).

    For those BJS readers who don’t know, the Chicago metropolitan area has more LCMS churches, schools, and members than any other metro area in the USA; a distinction it has held since the early 20th century.

    I’m glad you all are there, Pastor Rossow. May our Lord continue to bless your ministry!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  19. Thank you, Dr. Noland, for giving a little information about Lutheranism in the greater Chicago area. I am blessed to have served in the City of Chicago for my entire 12 years in the Office of the Holy Ministry. Bethany is a wonderful church and school and they are very blessed in their confession as well as their clergy, faculty and staff. There are other confessional Lutheran congregations with schools that struggle mightily to keep a true Lutheran presence in their community. We are one of those. We operate the last LC-MS school in the southwest side of Chicago (there is one ELCA and one WELS). We struggle to keep it open. It would be great if we (and others in our situation) could work with other confessional Lutheran churches for joint work, sharing of resources and so forth so that Chicago does not become like other major metropolitan areas, where Lutheran congregations have all but disappeared.

  20. His Will be done. I always feel sad for a congregation when their pastor accepts a call. I know how I would feel if my pastor left, but all we can do is trust that God puts these men where he needs/wants them.

  21. As a young, confessional, liturgical pastor on a call list for close to three years now, it is always encouraging to see that there is some amount of mobility out there. Churches are still calling, even if had been extremely sluggish. I’ve been without a call now for about one and a half years. Meanwhile I’ve worked about a dozen odd jobs, including Labor Ready and being a truck stop janitor. My STM will be completed this coming May. I’m also teaching computer technology two days a week at a Lutheran school and doing weekly pulpit supply at a small liturgical congregation about an hour outside of Chicago.

    In the massive, unwieldy bureaucracy of synod, it can be tough for a young unknown preacher to show up on congregational radars. Maybe I need a YouTube series XD

  22. @Pastor Jason Harris #29

    Jason, I am sad to know you are without a call. The Lord bless you and keep you.
    I am happy that God has placed his man at Naperville, and trust that God will provide a new man to preach and teach the Gospel in Philadelphia.

    Jason makes a great point, one that is not often discussed. How do good and faithful pastors who would like to be considered for a call to a new congregation become known to those congregations who are actually needing to call a new pastor? Other than outright campaigning and “knowing someone”?

    Pastors with much more time in the ministry than I have, have told me that in days long ago, certain confessional Lutheran leaders in our Synod, who had positions of authority in various places, looked out for confessional Lutheran pastors and actively worked, behind the scenes, to get the names of these men placed before calling congregations by district presidents. Those men who did such work today are in the grave. Who looks out for confessional Lutheran pastors today, who acts as God’s hands and feet and voice to find places for men in need of a call, and thus acts as well to provide the many flocks in need a faithful shepherd?

  23. @Rev. Jacob Sutton #31
    Who looks out for confessional Lutheran pastors today, who acts as God’s hands and feet and voice to find places for men in need of a call, and thus acts as well to provide the many flocks in need a faithful shepherd?

    Reading various lists over the last few years, so many confessional men have mentioned being relieved of their calls in one unorthodox way or another that it is hard to block the thought that there must be method behind this madness. [E.g. A confessional Lutheran Pastor between calls cannot vote in convention?]
    The “hands off” attitude of the DP’s, even when Circuit Counselors protest dismissals, really makes me wonder what the DP function is supposed to be.

    The seeming “hands off” of confessional men grieves me more. It may be self preservation. If so, what does that say about the “brothers”? “Oh, he must have done something wrong” when no wrong is cited or evident is not the appropriate answer.

    And now we’ve gotten a little incensed because a confessional congregation has gotten the chop. (Its faithful Pastor has, too, but perhaps he has enough ‘visibility’ to get another call appropriate to his skills, should the campaign to save ULC turn out to be “sound and fury, signifying nothing”).

    When the removal of individual Pastors, seemingly all over Synod, caused no alarm, why wouldn’t confessional congregations be next?

    I pray the tide is turning toward Lutheranism but the tide is very far out and many who are stranded may well see their credentials expire before it comes in again.

    It would appear the answer is “Nobody”, Pr. Sutton, or too few.

    I won’t do this again; it’s pointless.
    Even the “Temp Services” are preferentially hiring people who already have a job!

    [Cynic: an idealist who’s been beaten up by reality]

  24. Pastor John Fisk is a pastor at my school (Bethany Lutheran church and school) and we our blessed to have him as our youth pastor. I am in 6 grade currently and next year going into 7th, so that means I will be going into confirmation next year so it will be great having 3 pastors teaching us about God and the kids in our class love pastor Fisk, his wife and his four children Chloe Anasteia (sorry if I spelled that wrong) Trinity and Fedace (And again sorry if I spelled it wrong) And having a younger pastor I think will boost popularity of bethany.

    Thank you for your time
    Chris 6th grade

  25. @Chris Sweet. XD It’s “Anastasia” and “Fides,” and we’re so glad about the way all of you great kids in the school have adopted all of us, from the oldest to the youngest. It’s so much fun to walk into the gym at the end of the day and see kids from every grade want to come say hello to Trinity (2 years) and Fides (7 mo.) Very cool. Glad to be here!

  26. I, too, have been mightily impressed with Pastor Fisk’s videos, and believe that he has a gift for communication, a agile and active sense of humor and a support group at home that can’t be beat. May God richly bless him, his ministry, his family and the powerful way in which he has been led to reach out to those around him.

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