Great Stuff — Why I spoke against TCN

Another great post by Pastor Philip Hoppe’s blog, Meditations of the Heart:

 

At the Kansas District Convention, we discussed the program called TCN (Transforming Churches Network) that is being used in many of our districts.  Actually, more accurately we discussed a resolution about TCN.  Unfortunately, much of the discussion ended up being a debate about the nature of the resolution, it’s origin and intention, and why it had not reached the floor in a normal way.

As anyone who was there knows, I spoke on this resolution several times.  As I reflect on what I said, most of it I stand behind firmly. The only part I regret is that I assumed that all of the delegates there had read the rationale for the resolution. Having attended several conventions, I admit that assumption was naïve.  Many do not read the material beforehand due to their other vocations. Also, our chair, district president Keith Kohlmeier, chose not to have the “whereas” statements read when the resolution came to the floor.   I referenced them but I should have done a better job at simply explaining the rationale for the resolution.

So why am I opposed to our Kansas District spending money on this project and promoting it vigorously?  Let me refer to the gospel text for this upcoming Sunday in our three-year lectionary.

Mark 4:26-29  And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.  The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

We are to scatter seed. Every pastor and congregation must be about the job of scattering seed onto the ground. The seed is the word of God. On this, no doubt myself and those who support TCN are in agreement.

When we scatter the seed, it sprouts and grows. God’s word is effective for the purposes which he sent it. And certainly, one of his purposes is that through the planting of his word, his kingdom would grow.

The parable says of the one planting, “he knows not how.”  All the farmer knows is that when he puts the seed in the ground it sprouts and grows. He can only explain it by observing what he sees happening right before his eyes.

TCN and others like it suggest that they do know how it all works. They suggest that there are certain processes and systems that are essential to making sure the seed sprouts and grows.   In one sectional I attended with Dr. Terry Tieman, the director of TCN, he said that if you followed his processes and systems, it would work unquestionably.   This suggests he knows how. He has figured out the secret to effective mission work through human reason and verifiable evaluation.

I believe there is no secret. The secret has been revealed already in parables like the one above.  The Church spreads the seed. The seed sprouts and grows when and where the Spirit wills and is not rejected.  The Church reaps the harvest.  It really is that simple.

The obvious problem is that so many times we do not simply scatter the seed. I am painfully aware of this sin in my own life and in the lives of my people. But I do not believe that we need systems and processes to fix this.  We simply need to confess that sin, be forgiven, and be raised up with open mouths full of good news about Jesus.

When we get wrapped up in the how, we lose the amazement that comes from the fact that the growth only comes through God’s doing.  We should instead simply confess with humble amazement, “We know not know.”

When we get wrapped up in the how, we can easily begin to believe that it is the process and the systems and not the seed itself that is effective unto growth in the kingdom of God.  And to become convinced of that is to no longer give the Father the glory due to him in giving us a powerful seed. It is to rob Word incarnate Jesus the glory due to him for placing the power in that word through his death and resurrection. It is to rob the Spirit of the glory that is his in working faith.

This is why I spoke against TCN. If I did not make this clear at the convention, I apologize wholeheartedly. To God alone be the glory.

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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

Great Stuff — Why I spoke against TCN — 43 Comments

  1. How about posting the resolution? And could we see the results of the vote?

    A visit to the redesigned TCN link on the LCMS website is not encouraging. Grab your Maalox and visit here:
    http://transformingchurchesnetwork.org/

    Be sure and visit the “Hinge Training Events” link (#1). You really need to have those “hinges” to succeed (I assume they are well-oiled, as well). I should add that in the Construction Industry, the common term for “hinge” is “butt.” Don’t ask me why, but that’s the orthodox term. You could look it up. Really! No kidding! Honest! Yep!

    TCN is simply the latest mutation of the Church Growth virus.

    But, please share with us the resolution and the vote, before I become unhinged.

  2. I found this on the TCN website:

    “Church members and clergy can both fall into cycles of blame and guilt and a sense of hopelessness — even as they worship a God of eternal hope and promise. Yet what can be done? Is there a magic bullet that will solve the problems associated with decline and propel the church to a more happy and fruitful time? Certainly faithfulness to the Word and promises of God and the ongoing nurture through the sacraments are indispensable in caring for hurting people. But solutions that are easy and quick (magic bullets) exist only in our imagination. What we need are real solutions.”

    http://transformingchurchesnetwork.org/about/coaching/coaching-for-revitalization/

    Maybe I am reading too much into this, but it seems to me that Word and Sacrament are being compared to magic bullets and their (Word and Sacrament) effectiveness is being discounted. Do we really want an organization the promotes this unscriptural idea to be a Recognized Service Organization ?

  3. I read this posting immediately after our pastors’ Bible study on the upcoming Gospel Reading cited above. It is interesting and even important to note that “scattering” the seed for planting is called “broadcast” seeding. It is so prodigal, we discussed. It is so careless or is it carefree? Free of our fleshly worries? A retired pastor said that the Word, the “sporos”, is quite powerful and it will do what the Lord intends it to do. Our vocation is to broadcast it, into the ears of men and women, listening or not. There really is no mission “strategy” as denoms put forth, except the Lord’s Mission to call men to broadcast the Word, i.e. preachers, beginning with the 12. In verse 29, our Lord says quite literally, “When the fruit is given-up, immediately the sickle is sent-forth because the harvest has come.” The word for “sent-forth”, translated in ESV as “puts in” is the same root for apostle. We discussed that pastors/preachers maybe are the sickle for the harvest of the Word broadcast upon God’s earth and that’s His plan, not ours, clearly. Sola fide.

    So what is deeply disturbing about “mission strategies’, TCN, etc. is that they are saying “if you do this, then you insure the results.” Further, to insure the results, we will make the Word palpable, package it and take away the sharp edge of the Gospel to attract new members (customers?). I have heard such for years and have more than once bit that forbidden fruit. In other words, we can save the Church and others by our techniques. But this type of fallacious and man-centered reasoning has been declared anathema in the Church in her Symbols: works-righteousness which is finally rank unbelief.

    “Preach you the Word and plant it home
    To men who like or like it not,
    The Word that shall endure and stand
    When flow’rs and men shall be forgot.”
    (LSB #586)

    And I hasten to add: when denominational strategies are soon forgot.

    Peace in His Name,
    Mark

  4. TCN is almost devoid of references to the Gospel, treating it as a “given.” The LCMS’ version has fallen into the trap of interpreting the Great Commission as making NEW disciples only, and frankly has little, if anything, for the present disciples, whom the Church ought to be about building up, rather than taking them for granted.

    If Church Growth is so great, why doesn’t the LCMS have 10 million members? We’ve been doing this stuff for 30 years or more, and the results of this ecclesiastical stimulus technique are about as good as the Bush and Obama economic stimuli.

    Supposedly, the CTCR or CCM is looking at it. Not holding my breath.

  5. Win :
    If Church Growth is so great, why doesn’t the LCMS have 10 million members?

    Agreed with everything you wrote, Win.

    We need to gauge the effectiveness of such Church Growth programs. Have they been good investments? Have they achieved the intended results? A financial audit of TCN and of the ABLAZE! programs are in order. Surely, even the most “mission-minded” LCMS pastor would be willing to examine the numbers. If the districts are not willing to do this, then can the Synod carry out this task?

  6. In Kansas and your district may be the same, we sat through 6 of these “Missional Moments” at times throughout the Convention which combined lasted about 2 hours. A person went up on stage, talked about mission work, showed a video, talked more. Mostly foreign, minority based, but TCN also presented.

    We heard about how poor people got blankets, medical aid, reaching out to others, praying with people, community service events, gatherings on the front porch, etc. Thanks be to God!

    With all these presentations and all this time, NOT ONCE did you hear about baptisms, Luther’s catechism/catechesis, the Lord’s Supper, Confirmation, people becoming Lutheran, pastor’s preaching the Word in Divine Services, forgiveness and absolution. (I wonder how many in the Convention hall even noticed?) We are told how they got blankets, but do these native Americans or Manika people get Luther’s Catechism? Are there any adult baptisms? Is anyone becoming Lutheran? Is anyone getting the Sacrament? I pray so, but we don’t know. I know a bunch of Law stuff that’s being done, and yes there were some short comments about some people were told about Jesus, but where’s the Gospel? So many Lutherans draw their theology and practice of mission work, evangelism, outreach, youth and family ministry from overwhelmingly non-Lutheran resources, and then wonder why we and others take issue with groups like TCN.

  7. @Win #5
    The failure of the Church Growth Movement might help the Confessional side win district and synodical elections, but on a more basic level it is irrelevant. There’s nothing the matter w/ pointing out that this bologna fails by its own standards, but we also need to keep pointing out that the CGM standards and priorities are not God’s standards and priorities. If the CGM HAD produced 10 million members, it would still be bad theology and worse praxis. Pastors are called to be faithful stewards of Christ’s Church, not her effective CEOs.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  8. In his day Dr. Walther insisted that the only way to renew the Church is by a wholehearted return to her Confession in which the Church says back to her Lord all that He has said to her which is therefore most true. So many of our clergy and people seemingly no longer understand themselves as the Church of the Augsburg Confession. Isn’t the chaos concerning the Predigtamt/Pastoral Office rooted in ignorance – or still worse rejection! – of Articles V, XIV, and XXVIII of the Augustana? And as one reads about such horrors as TCN, Ablaze! and all the frenzied “Church Growth” literature it becomes very clear that Article V’s “ubi et quando visum est Deo” – that God works faith “when and where it pleases Him” – has also been forgotten. The conditions produced by this amnesia are – so it seems to me – pitiful.

  9. @Matthew Mills #8

    My point exactlly. I’m not advocating for electioneering, or anything of the sort. In fact, the failure of Church Growth has not stopped its snake oil salesmen from successful marketing and selling it, I suppose due to the PT Barnum phenomenon–“there’s one born every minute.” Witness the kudzu-like growth of TCN. My point about the 10 million members is only that CG is an abysmal failure. And I could not agree more about the pastor-as-CEO heresy.

    @Pastor Charles McClean #9
    You are spot-on. The Great Commission, with its twisted emphasis on only “NEW” disicples, has effectively replaced A.C. IV as the material principle–the article by which the church stands or falls. Article V, XIV, and XXVIII have been at least forgotten, or ignored. Perhaps you are right–they may have been rejected.
    The conditions produced by the amnesia, as you put it, are not only pitiful–they are tragic, for in giving lip service at best to A.C. IV, this church has put itself in grave danger.
    Clara Peller was right, “WHERE’S THE GOSPEL?!!!!!!!”

  10. @Pastor Charles McClean #9

    When an enthusiastic church member listens to evangelical radio 18 hours a day, 7 days a week; and attends BSF an additional two hours a week; but truly hears the Gospel one or two hours a week at most; combined with an enlightened Lutheran pastor who believes God changes with time…

  11. Our overtures which we had submitted from the circuit level and multiple circuits at that were all set to be placed into an omnibus resolution without any discussion. There ended up only being one resolution which made it to the floor which spoke of TCN at all. That resolution encouraged the revitalization of congregations and urged congregations to consider using TCN for that purpose.

    Since this was our only chance to speak on the topic, several of us went to the microphones and finally one person moved that one of the original overtures be considered as a substitute resolution for the one on the floor. The delegates voted to allow it as a substitute resolution and the debating began. Sadly, there were a couple things in the resolution that had to be changed in order to make it say exactly what it needed to say. Because this took a few amendments, some of the delegates grew weary of the process.

    To be honest, by the time it got to a vote, I feared it would be defeated by a huge margin. However, while it was defeated, it was quite close. I believe many of our lay delegates are sick of all of the programs and strategies and processes as well. They too want the church simply to be the church. Had our resolution come to the floor naturally and then perfectly worded, I think it would’ve prevailed. After our substitute resolution failed, we went back to the original resolution. The resolved including the encouragement of TCN was removed by amendment and the amended resolution passed.

    On the whole, the convention therefore neither affirmed nor condemned the TCN. However, seeing as how our district has already partnered with TCN for three years, it will continue on here in Kansas.

  12. This resolution passed the South Wisconsin District with 85% support and without debate:

    RESOLUTION 6-01

    TO REQUEST THAT THE SYNOD DIRECT THE CTCR AND THE SEMINARIES TO EVALUATE TRANSFORMING CHURCHES NETWORK

    WHEREAS, the Transforming Churches Network (TCN) is listed on the Synod’s Web site as a “Recognized Service Organization”; and

    WHEREAS, TCN is concerned for the health of existing LCMS congregations and appears to determine a congregation’s health on numerical measurements, but not on its adherence to the teaching of the Scriptures or the Lutheran Confessions; and

    WHEREAS, TCN advocates changing the main emphasis of a pastor’s duties from “being the lead caretaker of the existing congregation to the lead missionary to lost people in the community” (Pastor Survey,” TCN, question 7 at http://portal.tcnbackup.com/Portals/0/5%20Pastor%20survey.pdf); and

    WHEREAS, TCN initially asks pastors to respond to this statement, “If we do not achieve the 5% growth goal in the next 24 months, and 5% growth annually thereafter, I will put my name out for another call” (“Pastor Survey,” question 8d); and

    WHEREAS, TCN also asks congregation leaders to determine if “The leaders of this church hope to initiate a style of worship service that appeals to unreached people” (“Leader’s Survey,” TCN, question 3e,
    http://portal.tcnbackup.com/Portals/0/6%20Leaders%20Survery.pdf); and

    WHEREAS, the Holy Spirit alone is responsible for converting people to saving faith by His Word and Sacraments, when and where He pleases (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 10:17; Act 2:38); and

    WHEREAS, Jesus says, “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed” (Jn. 8:31, NKJV); and

    WHEREAS, we as Christians are called to be in this world but not of it (Jn.15:18-19; 17:11, 14-17; Col. 2:6-8; James 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:16-17; 4:4-6); therefore be it

    RESOLVED, that the South Wisconsin District memorialize the LCMS at the 2013 convention to direct the CTCR, Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne to give a theological evaluation of the premise, methods, and materials of Transforming Churches Network; and be it finally

    RESOLVED, that the results of this theological evaluation be published and disseminated according to the usual procedure utilized by the evaluating body or bodies.

  13. @Pastor Philip Hoppe #14

    That’s great that it did so well, considering “career politicians” that occupy various leadership positions. I know that sounds flamitory, but considering a few districts elected new DP from mission staff people… well, it is just different for long serving DPs and district staff who have done programming for so long, and have been removed from a parish setting for a stretch. Different perspectives on ministry.

    What I find encouraging, especially if it is true, is that lay delegates are aware and smart enough to know “enough with the b***s*** programing already.” Just BE the Church. Proclaim Christ crucified. Live your VOCATION as a witness of Jesus and the difference He make sin your life. I pray for an awakening in the LC-MS. And your vote report indicates people are thinking and seriously considering what is going on. That gives me hope. Come, Holy Spirit, come.

  14. Rev Hoppe,
    Do you recall how many voted for and how many voted against the resolution?

  15. I am not Rev. Hoppe, but I was there.
    104-97 to consider this resolution in place of the other one.
    86-121 the amended resolution failed.

  16. Thanks Justin! That gives me hope that maybe enough lay and clergy will tire of Kohlmeier and get someone new as DP. Although looking back the last few, Bruns, Patton, Schmidt have all been very liberal. But maybe the laymen are waking up and getting sick of the liberals.

  17. @GaiusKurios #21

    A district convention’s voting delegates are half of them pastors, and I should think they would influence the other half (laymen). So, why aren’t more pastors “waking up and getting sick of the liberals”!?

  18. @Scott Diekmann #20
    Agreed; however, let us first play by the rules for a successful church as defined by the Willow Creek Association and by Saddleback.

    As you already know, LCMS promoters of TCN and ABLAZE! want the pastors to function as CEOs managing their congregations as businesses. Let us therefore require all districts to perform a comprehensive financial audit and encourage all Willow Creek Association LCMS congregations to do the same.

    How else can anyone discover whether the congregations are benefiting from the financial contributions to the districts? How effective are those Church Growth programs? Show us the numbers. What is the return on investment?

    Surely all the “missional” LCMS pastors would agree to an audit, since conducting one is standard business practice.

  19. Helen,
    In the Kansas District there seems to be a concerted effort by the DP to make sure that any pastors coming into the district are liberal or of a CoWo bent. There are some confessional pastors in the Kansas District but for the most part they are liberal and the DP wants to keep it that way. When my congregation was calling a pastor a couple of years ago the list from the DP was stacked with liberals. We ended up not selecting a man from the DP’s list. Unfortunately, most congregations select one of the liberals the DP offers them. That is why more pastors are not “waking up and getting sick of the liberals.”

  20. @GaiusKurios #24

    Part of why I wish desperately the seminaries would tighten up. Dry up the libereal CoWo supply, and then good luck the DP’s finding enough of those types left to fill vacancies. Remeber, last century, wasn’t that the moderates’ tactic? Start with the Missions dept. (tug on the heart strings) then retrain seminarians (Seminex). I should find the paper where I read that.

  21. @GaiusKurios #24
    Helen,
    In the Kansas District there seems to be a concerted effort by the DP to make sure that any pastors coming into the district are liberal or of a CoWo bent.

    And any Pastors to be gotten rid of are confessional…. (SIGH)
    Is there any district (besides Wyoming) that is not as corrupted as Texas!? 🙁

  22. @Lumpenkönig #23
    I understand your point Lumpenkönig. Sometimes these types of congregations are “successful,” if you are using their definitions. The Law, when (im)properly used, can make fine pharisees. Gimmicks work good too. Give everybody that walks through the door a doughnut and a Starbucks gift card and you’ll have all kinds of growth.

  23. @Scott Diekmann #27
    Give everybody that walks through the door a doughnut and a Starbucks gift card and you’ll have all kinds of growth.

    Right, Scott!
    Until the confessionals [givers] are all run out of your organization,
    and you run out of money for donuts and gift cards. 🙁

    @Lumpenkönig #23
    Surely all the “missional” LCMS pastors would agree to an audit, since conducting one is standard business practice.

    Surely you jest! 🙂

  24. Jason,
    I agree 100%. The biggest problem I have with the two seminaries is that they are letting CoWoers and liberal get through. They need to tighten things up and dry up the CoWo and liberal crowd.

    Helen,
    I fear that the Kansas District and Texas District are quite similar.

  25. @GaiusKurios #29

    And it is way easier to let the SMP’s slip through. Don’t tell me “but it is rigorous” and “they spend time of campus.” It is not even close to the same of being in residence, to absorb the environment, and have all that enormous time to be watched and analyzed. Really, all this stuff needs a multi-prong approach to correct. And it will take some time.

  26. Jason,
    I believe that in large part the SMP was put in so that liberals and CoWoers could be assured of getting through and not being weeded out at the seminary.

    I agree that all this stuff nees a multi-prong approach to correct.

  27. “the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.”

    He knows not how it sprouts and grows, but nevertheless a skilled farmer sows thoughtfully with the knowledge he does have: He choses seed carefully and stores it properly. He knows what type of year to plant, understanding that the soil should be neither too wet nor too dry. He knows where to plant, aware that it is not profitable to throw seeds onto the road, onto the rocks, into a weed patch, onto unplowed ground or onto a neighbor’s property. He knows that planting too densely reduces yields, and he has learned that some parts of his field are more fertile than others.

    Saint Paul seems to indicate that results of his outreach depended on his behavior where he says, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22) Are sowers not to consider how the manner in which they sow appears to affect yields?

  28. @Carl H #32
    “Saint Paul seems to indicate that results of his outreach depended on his behavior where he says, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22) Are sowers not to consider how the manner in which they sow appears to affect yields?”

    If your thesis is true, then CG ought to be wildly successful. St. Paul may be describing his methods, and the manner in which he sowed, but he said elsewhere, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (1 Cor. 3:6). After all is said and done, the mystery remains–God gives the growth. “Methods” consist of this: Preaching the Gospel in its truth and purity, and properly administering the sacraments. From there, the Holy Spirit works faith and when and where He will….

  29. @ralph luedtke #33

    Church Growth and PLI guys. Because TCN also talks about measurable statistics, business models, hints at pastor-as-CEO, no results in three years = “you’re fired!”

    Last decade synod pushed for this dreck. The former SP and many DP’s are in the age range from the Baby Boomer and Seminex environment. CSL grads in the immediate years up to 1973 were taught by the Seminex profs before they left. Even though Gen X is more conservative, they were only taught lib CoWo type stuff. Seems like the Millenials have a certain conservative streak. (anything compared to the radical Boomers is conservative, trying not to disparage ALL Boomers)

    Anyway, that’s a part of my observation and opinion.

  30. Most of our parishes have historically operated with a structure that is similar to a township or even a village. This structure balances various interests, respects minority opinion, requires much mutual understanding, and universally acknowledges a common confession under which all stand.

    TCN, on the other hand, makes one man a kind of CEO with a BOD and thus the church operates more like a public company. The practical value of this structure, if that were the only issue, would need to be measured in decades, not years. Please do not try to argue that a church with a weekly attendance of 100 that has confirmed three or four a year for 150 years is automatically less valuable than one that is twice that size after just three years. No one can know that.

    In my view, our old constitutions show much practical use in that many parishes, like mine, have had many different pastors (27 in our case) and lived through every sort of problem and struggle and yet still continue. When TCN can show even a couple of these, then the risk of using the methodolgy it advocates might be considered.

  31. I wonder if these district presidents, vice presidents, BOD members, and staff who push TCN would be willing to resign if their districts did not show a 5% increase in membership within 24 months (and 5% annually thereafter). And if they are not, why not.

  32. @Rev. Steven W Bohler #37

    Yeah…. My district a few years ago closed three congregations. One is trying to close right now. Not sure why it is being held up. (some concerns about what the pastor would do, and BTW, it’s resources are to go to CTSFW upon dissolution) Why have shurnk some, have lately had to combine two circuits for synod convention because one is too small, and we might have three circuits that don’t qualify this time….

    makes you really wonder….

  33. @Rev. Steven W Bohler #37
    I wonder if these district presidents, vice presidents, BOD members, and staff who push TCN would be willing to resign if their districts did not show a 5% increase in membership within 24 months (and 5% annually thereafter). And if they are not, why not.

    I love your sense of humor, Pastor Bohler!

  34. @Jason #38
    Not sure why it is being held up. (some concerns about what the pastor would do, and BTW, it’s resources are to go to CTSFW upon dissolution)

    It might be expedited if its money was going to the District? 🙁

  35. The deep irony is that as a parish diminishes in numbers it actually becomes *more* rather than less sustainable -in numbers. As it grows, it becomes *less* rather than more sustainable in numbers.

    So a parish of twenty per Sunday can add a new member every few years and sustain. Many such parishes in the Western States have done this. You will have parishes a century old with the same (low) numbers, usually in a two or three point arrangement. On the other hand, a parish that now numbers five hundred a Sunday probably needs to bring in fifty or sixty people yearly just to stay even. And if they can do this at 500 they probably cannot at 600.

    So it is utterly pernicious to destroy the spirit of the smaller congregagtions for their lack of size when this dis-spirited mindset is probably the main thing that closes them.

  36. Our pastor was major gung ho in us doing TCN. We had the town hall meetings, consultations, etc. What a train wreck this whole deal has been. Besides not having the money to pay for these consultants…this issue has completely divided our fairly new congregation (less than 10 years old) So much so that even our pastor was forced to dump the TCN Business before we could vote on it. Thank God! I just hope we can heal after this mess. TCN did not cause all our problems, but they sure made a mess of things. We are now down 2 elders who quit, plus our brilliant finance board member quit as well. I found the whole process ridiculous-consultants come in and 24 hours later they tell us what is wrong with our church..um, can you say pre-scripted?
    And it is so true-you cannot go out and save the lost if your home sheep are starving. Outreach is of course important..but you can’t forget about your home sheep either.

  37. Please allow a late-arriving question from a somewhat disconcerted layperson. Our congregation (wisely) bounced TCN when it came knocking. Not long after, however, we lost our long-time pastor. Synod rep promised no support with call process if we did not take on an intentional interim pastor & SMP. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Now in middle of SMP, which bears great resemblance to every b.s. rah-rah, this-will-make-us stronger/better/more productive/more prosperous group breakout garbage I’ve experienced at several large corporations for whom I’ve worked. IIP even created an “exec cmte” working with him. I fear we’re being force-fed TCN, albeit under a new moniker. What say you?

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