This Ministry
That We Share

       Southern District - LCMS
    May 15, 2018

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On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
John 14:20

The first and foremost point about Christ's being in the Father is that we do not doubt that everything this man says and does stands and must stand in heaven before all the angels, in the world before all tyrants, in hell before all devils, in the heart before every evil conscience and one's own thoughts.  For if we are sure that everything he thinks, says, and wants reflects the will of the Father, I am able to defy anyone who would be spiteful and angry with me.  In Christ I have the Father's will and heart.  If you comprehend and see this, then you comprehend and see Christ in the Father and the Father in Christ; then you see no anger, death, or hell, but sheer grace, compassion, heaven, and life.
     "Furthermore," he says, "if you know that and believe this, then you will also go on to recognize that I am in you and you are in me.  Then you will realize that I am your Savior.  You will show that you are in me in this way: Whatever you are, your failings and shortcomings, your sins, your damnation, your death, are all in me.  That is their proper place.  But whatever is in me must necessarily be perfect righteousness, life, and salvation.  By faith you also come to be in me with your death, sin, and every trouble.  If you are sinful in yourselves, you are justified in me; if you feel death in you, you have life in me; if you have strife in you, you have peace in me; if you stand condemned on your own account, you are blessed and saved in me."
Sermons on John 14. LW 24:141; WA 45:589f

I could not do without you, O Savior of the lost, whose wondrous love redeemed me at such tremendous cost.  Amen. (Frances R. Havergal, 1873)

Taken from Martin Luther Day by Day We Magnify You - Daily Readings for the Entire Yea
Marshall D. Johnson, Editor

Three convention videos are posted on the Southern District Website: Live Stream Video (All day Friday), "It's All About Jesus" Video, and Opening Worship Video.  To view any or all of these, click  HERE.

The Synod is issuing the first call for nominations for the 2019 convention.  For information regarding this process, please go to or click  here to go directly to the website.
District Mission Support Trends

        2016                    2017                    2018     
Total Budget                 $900,000            $900,000        $820,000

Budgeted Income           $300,000               $300,000            $273,333  
through 04/30

Actual Income                  $264,759                 $253,733             $260,381
through 04/30
Congregations who have elected new congregational officers/leaders, please update the Southern District office with their information. Click Here to submit your information online.  
If you would like a paper form, please contact



Remember that submissions for the May/June issue of SOS are due by June 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email ( Please send photos as JPEG files, attached to the email. Congregational news that is received but exceeds space in the printed SOS will be published on the "Around the District" blog of our website. Thank you for sharing your news!

                                                                                                                                                            (click on image for                                                                                                                                                              the current issue)

June 24-30, 2018 Sr. Youth Mission Trip
See notice in this issue for more info!
Nashville, TN
October 1-3, 2018
noon - noon
Pastors and Professional Church Workers Conference Banquet Room
100 Mission Dr., Slidell, LA


       Holy Cross - Mobile, AL                       Hope - Santa Rosa Beach, FL (Associate)

         Grace - Pensacola, FL                          Redeemer - Mandeville, LA      
       Resurrection - Pensacola, FL               Trinity - Meridian, MS
If your congregation has extended a call, had a call accepted, or had a call returned, please remember to notify the Southern District office.

Rev. David Tilney to Ebenezer, Alexandria, MN & St. James, Parkers Prairie, MN ~ Declined
Rev. C.J. Luttinen, First English, Metairie, LA to Holy Cross, Mobile, AL - Pending


Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People 



~ May 

Anniversary of Ordination

10th ~ Rev. Randy Blankschaen, Immanuel - Pensacola, FL


We're excited to announce a new continuing education opportunity for all LCMS pastors!

June 11-13, the Rev. Dr. Carl Fickenscher, Editor of Concordia Pulpit Resources, will be offering a 
summer workshop entitled Today's Options in Sermon Form.

It will be held at Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Atlanta, Georgia. Please email Rev. David Miller, Coordinator, at for registration  information. 

 This is a workshop no preaching pastor wants to miss!

What will most likely be the
will be hosted by
Resurrection Lutheran Church,
Pensacola, FL.
on Saturday, May 19.

Outreach Workshop 101
Intro To Lutheran
Outreach & Planning

Resurrection Lutheran Church, Pensacola, FL.
Saturday, May 19

Your congregation can reach people in the harvest and see your church grow with new people coming to faith, baptism, and discipleship!
Evangelism can be scary. Outreach on the other hand is fun, effective, simple, practical, and doable!
Following what you learn in this workshop, your congregation can reach people in the community and grow with new people coming to faith, baptism, and discipleship!

What Is This?
In this Workshop you and your congregation will learn how to begin putting a plan in place to reach people in fun, effective, simple, practical, and doable ways and see people come to Faith, Baptism, and Discipleship in your local congregation. Our Southern District Mission Executive, Pastor Eric Johnson, draws on his experience as a church planter to show you how his church plants reached people in the community resulting in 125 adult and 167 children baptized into Christ and His church over a 3 year period.

Who Is This For?
Every member of the congregation. The Workshop is for extroverts who love to talk to people, and introverts who don't like talking to people. You will learn how every member can be part of the outreach ministry.

The Details:
When: Saturday, May 19, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 9am till 1pm with "working" lunch.

Cost: Outreach Workshops are presented free of charge by our Southern District Mission Executive, Rev. Eric Johnson. A suggested offering of $5.00 per person to help cover cost for lunch is appreciated.

RSVP: Please RSVP with Pastor Johnson at the Southern District office:

There is help for congregations interested in reviving the Mission of their congregation. 
As your Southern District Mission Executive, I have 12 years of mission church planting and outreach evangelism experience. I regularly lead Lutheran Outreach 101 Workshops that help congregations learn how to take the Gospel outside the walls of their church buildings and into the community in easy, practical, and doable ways. 

As a mission church planter I and my congregation learned how to reach people in the harvest and saw over 220 adults, who were previously not Christians, come to faith, baptism, and discipleship in the local congregation. Your congregation can reach people in the harvest, the Outreach Workshop will show you how to start.

You can call me: 985-445-9339, or email for more info.
Your Servant In Christ's Mission,       

Rev. Eric Johnson
Rev. Keith Ringers, Pastor

On Sunday, April 22, members from St. Mark's held a benefit lunch and silent auction for Toby Moore, a member who was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  Toby is an alumni from Lutheran High in New Orleans (1985), and grew up at Prince of Peace Lutheran in New Orleans, (site of Camp Restore).   He has recently undergone chemo and radiation and members of St. Mark's wanted to help with his medical expenses.  So far, to date, over $5100 has been raised through this event.  Praise God!  This was one of our church's Thrivent Action Team events.


Consider for a moment how walking in the footsteps of Jesus would bring the biblical accounts to life. Imagine kneeling where the shepherds stood at Bethlehem's manger, seeing the places where Jesus grew up and worked, standing in the Jordan River where He was baptized, praying in Gethsemane, weeping at Golgotha, or singing hymns of praise at the empty tomb. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus and seeing the land where He lived will change your life forever.

Are there people in your church who might be interested in going with you on a trip like this? We would love to have you as cohosts. Join us, Pastor Keith and Diana Ringers (St. Mark's - Elberta, AL) to experience for yourself the sights, the sounds, and the smells of this historic and beautiful land. This customized itinerary includes places where the standard tours don't go. We invite you to join us from March 25 - April 3, 2019. For more information, click on the link for a brochure or contact Keith Ringers at

Click here or go to
for the online brochure or contact us for more information.

Diana Ringers
Rev. Jason Scheler, Pastor

Hope on the Beach Celebrates 20 Years

In 1998, people had the vision to start a church in Santa Rosa Beach. On March 14th, 1998, they had their first service with 33 attendees. The second service had only three. Hope's mission and vision was to be "A Light in South Walton". Twenty years later, we believe we have fulfilled this vision with our service to the community. Some of Hope's outreach include: layettes, blessing the lifeguards, Halloween, Egg Drop Palooza, Vacation Bible School, Chili Cook-Off, Christmas at the Beach and many others. In 2003, Hope believed God was calling them to start a beach service. Who knew that the service would grow to more than 80 attendees each weekend and 2,500 at Easter this year. God has blessed Hope on the Beach in many ways and this community is one of the blessings.

We would like to thank our community for their support from donations of items, time and energy, to a place to meet in the early years. We are honored to have the opportunity to serve the community and we invite you to celebrate with us at worship on Sunday, April 22nd. Our 20 year anniversary worship celebration will be held at 8:00 am at Ed Walline Beach and at 10:15 am at our main campus. You can find details about this event and others on our Facebook page or our website,

Hope on the Beach is located at 3834 US Hwy 98 West on the second floor. An elevator is located at the east end of the building for convenience. For more information, call 850-267-0322 or email
2009-Rev. Scheler is called.                2009-Hope worships at Crosspoint
  2009-Hope worships at Cherry Peppers      2010-Worship on the beach
2012-Hope purchases their first home                 2012-Children playing handbells
2012-Laborers for Christ     2013-First worship in our new home     2018-Worship at Hope on the Beach

2018 Summer Mission Trip
We are joining Southern District High School Youth in
Nashville, TN
June 24-30 ~ Cost: $299/person

We will have a wide variety of opportunities to serve the Nashville community. Our group may serve the elderly, sort donations, work in community gardens, serve alongside food programs or hang out with children at local summer programs. We will partner with local organizations to meet ongoing needs in the community.
In the evenings, we will have the chance to explore downtown Nashville or spend time at Centennial Park, (Nashville's Centennial Park is home to the only exact replica of the Greek Parthenon) taking pictures at the Parthenon, playing ultimate Frisbee or relaxing on the lawn. YouthWorks has partnered with Nashville since 2010.

Lodging, 14 Meals, Attentive Staff, Service Project Materials, Evening Activities.

Teenagers need to encounter Jesus outside their normal context to deepen their faith and broaden their perspectives. Plus, communities need to be valued-not as mere recipients but as partners who have stories worth sharing in.
When we bring the two together, incredible things happen.

Southern District Professional Churchworkers Conference
Give Them Jesus
October 1-3, 2018 District Office, Slidell, LA

 Our Speaker
Phillip Cary teaches philosophy at Eastern University, where he is also Scholar-in-Residence at the Templeton Honors College.  His research specializes in Augustine and Luther. He has also published a commentary on the book of Jonah in the Brazos Theological Commentary series, edited by R. R. Reno.

For information on Congregational Assessments, Lodging, and Meals, please see the Southern District website Click Here

Stewardship: Planning and Doing

As many of our congregations are experiencing declining membership and attendance, as well as "greying", and are looking for options, we believe it is time for a message saying simply it is time to begin just using God's already given gifts. Purposeful action always begins with a plan, and in churches planning is pure stewardship--the purposeful use of God's gifts. Unfortunately, organizational planning has morphed into something with its own peculiar, secretive zen of authoritative sounding books and programs to the point that many congregations elect "to continue doing what we have always done". What makes planning seem too hard is a vocabulary with innumerable recipes for preambles, mission statements, values statements, vectors, criteria, facilitators, etc. Nothing exotic has occurred beyond determining where you are, deciding what you want to become (creating a vision statement), listing what must be done to get there and then allocating resources, both human and financial. Every organization knows where it is, determining what it wants to become is the first step in active stewardship and planning, and agreement isn't usually easy to achieve. However, everything begins with crafting a short, two or no more than three sentence descriptions of what a congregation would like to become. God gives us three Biblical tasks: (1) care for the members of our congregation, (2) care for those outside our congregation who are hurting or alone in the world (the sick, unjustly in prison, or grieving, etc.), and (3) to take His word to all the world. We then select what we want to emphasize, usually proportioned to all 3. To be effective a vision statement must be short, one the entire congregation can understand, take to heart and explain. Then the real work of stewardship begins; evaluating, changing and doing. Stewardship is not a verb, the old school litany of I run, we run, they run makes no sense as I stewardship, we stewardship, they stewardship. Using all verbs stemming from God's gifts is stewardship. A church is a system of systems, where what we experience is created by several individual gift using systems, or ministries, which all too often become stovepipes without consideration for the overall effect. Balancing the use of our gifts is stewardship, not a year-end balance sheet or committee report. As one prophetic member said, "If everyone had a close relationship with Jesus, we wouldn't need a Stewardship Committee". Studying and evaluating individual systems that use the gifts of time, talent, treasure and testimony all too frequently reveals we have concentrated our time and treasure on our buildings and programs, almost becoming worshipers of the history of our bricks and mortar, virtually ignoring the three tasks God gave his church on earth. Change sounds easy and doable, but obfuscation and obstruction inevitably arise when determining changes to budget dollars and worship practices. That is why simplicity and getting the congregation to take the goals to heart is overwhelmingly important. With a vision, actions become logical and straightforward. Prayer along the way is also essential to get past shrinking, greying and disappearance. Without taking this first step of corporate stewardship, writing an effective vision statement for a plan, our Synodical President's estimation that we will shrink by half a million members will certainly come to pass. The Stewardship Committee is equipped and available for assistance, and additional sound counsel can be garnered from Pastor Johnson's Coaching, Pastor Scheler's work at Hope in Santa Rosa Beach and Pastor Angerman's 24 to Double effort at Good Shepherd Shalimar. We are certain there are additional successful efforts in the District, will share as we learn of them. HAPPY PLANNING.

Don Panzenhagen
Interim Chairman, Stewardship Committee

The family of Rev. John Ellermann (Emeritus) as he entered the Church Triumphant on May 3, 2018.  Rev. Ellermann is survived by his wife of 64 years, Elva, four children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He served the Southern District at Bethlehem, New Orleans, LA (1953-56),  established mission churches of Good Shepherd, Shalimar, FL (1956-65) and Trinity Lutheran Church, Scottsboro, AL (1965-70), Bethany Lutheran Church, Slidell, LA (1978-92), was elected as the first full time president of the LCMS Southern District, serving for two four-year terms. Services were held at Lamb of God, Slidell, LA on May 12, 2018.  
Jesus said to her "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;..."  
                                                                         John 11:25 (NIV)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with cancer:
  • Rev. Jerry Conley (Emeritus - Marianna, FL)
  • Mrs. Gloria Moritz, widow of Rev. Victor Moritz (Emeritus - Metairie, LA)
  • Rev. Sidney Ponseti (Emeritus - Baton Rouge, LA)
  • Mrs. Doris Taglauer, wife of Rev. Jim Taglauer (Emeritus - Folsom, LA) 
  • Rev. Robert Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
    These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with various health issues:
    • Mrs. Melodie Rupp, wife of Rev. Bob Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
    • Rev. Rory Hermann (Emeritus - St. Augustine, FL)
    • Dr. J. B. Marshall (Concordia College Alabama Board of Regents member)
    • Rev. Perry McCulllam (Unity - Birmingham, AL)
    • Rev. David Robatzen (Luth Church of the Resurrection - Pensacola, FL)
    • Rev. Anthony Robinson (Christ - Tuscaloosa, AL and Epiphany - Arlington, AL)
    • Mrs. Nancy Kaul (SD Board of Directors Member) Hattiesburg, MS
    • Rev. Sanford Stanton (Eternal Trinity - Cantonment, FL)
    • Rev. Charles Schaum (Christ the King - Muscle Shoals, AL) and family
    • Rev. Allan Hudspith (Trinity - Auburn, AL)
    May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed. Thessalonians 2: 16-17  (NIV)
                                    THE GIFT OF GENEROSITY-Electronic Giving
     A definition of generous includes this phrase: 
    Freely sharing valuable things.   Freely sharing
    . . .no strings attached. . .no tit for tat. . .nothing expected in return.   Valuable things: your child. What is more valuable than a life of someone you love beyond measure?   As we reflect on this message, remember Those Who Don't Yet Know Jesus.  Your continued support for the mission and ministry of the Southern District is requested. 
    If you need a convenient way to make regular offerings, we encourage you to look into our electronic online giving options.  

    Visit here or contact Ronnie Giaise  at the Southern District office for more information ---

    Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.              Southern District -LCMS               504-282-2632

    100 Mission Dr.
    Slidell LA 70460