||Rev. Eric Johnson
Stop Church Growth
STOP! Take a breath. Relax, and let's talk about this.
I got a call Tuesday afternoon, a pastor excited about an opportunity to start a new worship service to attract millennials to his church asking for my input and ideas. (Sigh) I don't want to be a wet blanket, or pour cold water on someone's enthusiasm to reach new people, but the old church growth movement stuff of starting worship services and trying to attract people to your new service just doesn't work for most of our Lutheran churches.
If you are now, or are thinking about using your worship service to attract new people to your church in the future, let me encourage you to
STOP! Take a breath. Relax, and let's talk about this.
Experience, statistics, and common biblical sense indicate that most people, who are not already Christians, will not be attracted to our programs or services. There are some exceptions. If you have a School or Early Childhood Development Center, you can attract some parents and family to come to a program that feature their kids. But most people who have no connection to your congregation, who aren't in relationship with you or your people, will not be enticed, attracted, marketed, or motivated to come to your church program.
Relationships are the key! Most people won't be attracted to come to your church where they can hear the Gospel, but those who have developed a relationship with you and/or your congregation members outside the church building are far more likely to come to your church building for a special service or event. Remember this one statement,
"Relationships are key!"
We all desire to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and see new people come to faith, baptism, and discipleship in our local congregation. After all, the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and God does not desire that any should perish, but that all would reach repentance and come to a knowledge of the truth. We want to reach people, God wants us to reach people, if we can't attract them to our church then how do we connect with people who don't yet have faith in Jesus?
Relationships are key! Often, when a congregation decides to try and reach out to their community, they pour lots of energy, money, and talents into programmatic events that are mostly doomed to failure, then say see outreach doesn't work. Outreach doesn't work when by outreach you mean trying to attract people to come to your church building for worship. Attractional worship Does Not Work. What we can do is put our energy, money, and talents into creating opportunities to connect with people in relationship outside of the church building, out in the community where we can earn the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. When we go outside the walls of the church building, into the community to share the Gospel, we are going out into the harvest fields of our Lord and doing the work of sowing and watering his Gospel seeds, trusting him to cause growth and grant us a harvest from the seeds that are sown.
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
2019 LUTHERAN CHURCH MISSOURI SYNOD CONVENTION
The Synod is issuing the call for nominations for the 2019 convention. Nominations for several positions are due October 20. For information regarding this process, please go to
to go directly to the website.
Here is a link to the postcards that have been mailed to congregations:
https://www.lcms.org/convention/postcard-mailings. These postcards are vital in helping congregations prepare for the 2019 Synod Convention.
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2016 2017 2018
$900,000 $900,000 $820,000
Budgeted Income $600,00 $600,00
Actual Income $532,935 $507,263 $516,914
NEWLY ELECTED CONGREGATIONAL LEADERS
Congregations who have elected new congregational officers/leaders, please update the Southern District office with their information.
to submit your information online.
If you would like a paper form, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN SUBMISSIONS
Remember that submissions for the September/October issue of SOS are due by Sept. 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email (email@example.com). 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)
|October 1-3, 2018
noon - noon
|Pastors and Professional Church Workers Conference
100 Mission Dr., Slidell, LA
|November 9-11, 2018
||Southern District Junior
WATCH FOR ADDITIONAL INFO!
|Lake Forest Ranch
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS 2018
We are now in another "Hurricane Season." The Southern District takes this subject very seriously and wants to help as much as possible. First and foremost, if you receive a mandatory evacuation order, PLEASE heed it! Then, please take a few moments to register with the district so that information can be on file. This can be done by phone or on the District website, www.SouthernLCMS.org. This flyer can be saved in your evacuation file. It contains all of the information that you will need if and when the time comes.
If you can provide shelter, or are looking for shelter, you can also use the website to provide or receive information.
___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___
SOUTHERN DISTRICT EVACUATION REPORTING
In the event of hurricane evacuation, please contact the Southern District with the following information:
Name, Congregation, City, State
Report information to: www.SouthernLCMS.org
Evacuated (yes or no)
If yes, to: City, State
Church Workers (mandatory reporting) --
Contact Phone Number 985-259-6716
Congregation Members - 985-259-6716
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATION
Grace - Pensacola, FL
Redeemer - Mandeville, LA
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.
~ CALLED TO SERVE ~
Rev. Craig Boehlke, Lamb of God, Slidell, LA to Trinity, Memphis, TN ~ Returned
Rev. Warren Lattimore, St. Paul's, New Orleans, LA as a National Missionary through Mission Field:USA, Peoria, IL ~ Returned
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
130th Anniversary ~ First English, New Orleans, LA
~ September ~
Anniversary of Ordination
30th ~ Rev. Warren Ruland, Christ - Albertville, AL
5th ~ Rev. Anthony Robinson, Christ - Tuscaloosa, AL
TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH ~ MOBILE, AL
The Evangelism Ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church cordially invite you to join the church in celebrating the
45th Anniversary of
Rev. Dr. Ulmer Marshall, Jr. and First Lady Gwen Marshall
, September 29, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
The Admiral Hotel
251 Government Street
Mobile, AL 36602
The cost of the dinner is $35.00 and $280.00 for a reserved table. The Admiral Hotel will offer a room rate of $99.00 for Friday, September 28, 2018 and Saturday, September 29, 2018. Please use the following link to make reservations:
Your presence will be greatly appreciated at this event. For additional information, please contact Barbara Edwards at 251-607-8991 or Gary Douglas at 251-422-8141.
If you desire to send a congratulatory letter, please email it or mail to:
3655 Wenlock Court
Mobile, AL 36693
2018 Junior High District Gathering
November 9th - 11th, 2018
@ Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, MS
Registration is now open on the district webpage
MORE INFO TO FOLLOW AS IT BECOMES AVAILABLE!
Professional Church Workers Conference
Professional Church Workers encouraging one another through conversation, collaboration, and worship in the name of Jesus!
"Give Them Jesus"
with Keynote Speaker
Dr. Phillip Cary, Ph.D
Location: Mission Center in Slidell, LA
SAVE THE DATE: Teachers' Conference ~ "Joy Finders"
Please save the date for the 2018 - 2019 annual Teachers' Conference.
Here is the basic Information:
WHO: The teachers and DCEs of the Southern District
WHAT: Annual Conference and Retreat
WHERE: Perdido Beach Resort, Orange Beach, Alabama
WHEN: Sunday, November 18 - Tuesday, November 20
WHY: For Professional Growth, Worship, Rejuvenation
Please put this on your 2018 calendar and pass the word to all your teachers.
Please contact me or any of the Conference Team if you have any questions,
Dawn Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Price- Redeemer - Pensacola
Emily Barlow- Atonement - Metairie
Sara Braatz- Grace - Huntsville
Warren Paul- Retired Redeemer - Pensacola
Below is a link to reserve rooms at resort:
The goal of this conference is to enjoy the presence of the Lord in all we do. Our opening gathering will be in fun, food and fellowship with each other on the beach. Sectionals are intended to meet the needs of our staffs. CDC will have the opportunity to obtain the certification needed for the year along with sectionals for their areas. DCEs and schools will have the time to collaborate and share resources for the needs of today's children, along with sectionals that will bring joy in growth in service of our Lord.
It is shaping up to be a great conference
We are also looking for sectional leaders, so if you or any of your teachers would like to lead a sectional or if you have ideas for a sectional, please let me know!
the Life of Children in our churches
What: Dr. David Scaer (professor and chairman of Systematic Theology and New Testament and The David P. Scaer Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN) will be discussing the Life of Children in our churches, especially with respect to Baptism and the Lord's Supper. There is an accompanying
reading list that can help you prepare for this event, but such preparation is not necessary for you to attend and benefit.
When: November 14-16, 2018
Where: Camp Dixie Lutheran Outdoor Ministries
29711 Josephine Dr.
Elberta, AL 36530
Cost: $150 for Pastors and Professional Church Workers
$100 for Retired Pastors/Lay Persons.
Lodging: Registration cost includes your stay at Camp Dixie, if you so choose.
Meals: Wed lunch and dinner $6/meal.
Thurs and Fri breakfast and lunch $6/meal.
Thurs dinner not provided by the camp.
Register through Concordia Theological Seminary (Ft. Wayne) or at the web address below.
Coordinator: Rev. Randy Blankschaen, Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Pensacola, FL.
38TH BIENNIAL LWML CONVENTION
The 38th Biennial Convention of the LWML will be in Mobile, AL next summer! Mark your calendar for
June 20-23, 2019
, and plan to attend. Visit the official convention web page
for all convention details as they become available. Click here to read more
Also, many volunteers are still needed for the convention! Volunteers receive a discount on the registration fee and are asked to work only two four-hour shifts out of the entire convention. Please prayerfully consider volunteering! Here is a link to the sign-up form: https://form.jotform.com/81033220984148
And ... don't forget about the CRUISE!
Share the News---
Post-Convention Cruise Out of Mobile
After the 2019 LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama, the LWML is pleased to offer a cruise on the
Carnival Fantasy for FUN from June 24 - 29, 2019. This will be a time for well-deserved rest and
relaxation as well as fun and fellowship with your friends. The great fact is that you will cruise out of
Mobile, the site of the LWML Convention.
Would you like to take part in this fun getaway?
McGehee Cruise & Vacation Inc. will assist with all reservations for the cruise.
Registration is now open:
Please follow this secure link for further information and questions.
As with any cruise, it is best to book as early as possible so you can get the cabin you prefer.
Best Practices for Ministry : Heartland
One of the great things about Best Practices for Ministry : Heartland (October 10-12, 2018, in Columbus, IN) is that you can network with many awesome organizations that have amazing resources! Exhibitors will be set up all day Wednesday and Thursday and are very excited to network with you.
Here are some of the exhibitors that are currently registered: Lutheran camps, Valpo University, Acts 1:8, Run Hard: Rest Well, Rescue in Israel, Orphan Grain Train, Lutheran Hour Ministries, Kindle, Further Still, LCEF, CPS, LWML, PLI, Lutheran Marriage Encounter, Educational Opportunities, Christian publishers, and many more! You won't want to miss out on these great resources!
If you still want to sign up as an exhibitor, please register on our website:
After you register online, you will then receive a further email with specific details.
And if you haven't registered to be a participant, please register on our website:
All our exhibitors will be ready to help you to find best practices for ministry in your congregation and community!
Blessings on your week,
BPH2018 Planning Team
Regional Youth Partnerships
LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission
Pastors Leading Churches with Schools
A congregation with a school is truly a blessed place. With generations of students formed for faith and life in the world as servants of God, these congre¬gations are inextricably linked to their school ministry. However, as those generations have passed, there are increasing pressures placed upon congregations with schools. It costs more today to teach each student than ever before. Staffing costs including salary and benefits, curriculum costs and the inclusion of and maintenance for ever-changing technology have raised the cost to alarming levels. It is critical that congregational leaders take a serious look at their education ministry.
As the challenges arise, there is temptation to cut corners. There are those who hire teachers not trained in the Synod. Others simply balance the ever-challenging budget on the backs of the faithful workers by freez¬ing salary, increasing benefit contributions and the like. When this happens, there is a rise in "institutional survival" mode. This is a mentality that says that the institution must be preserved at all cost. This makes most congregations adverse to even considering other options for educational ministry.
For educational ministry to survive and thrive, corners must not be cut. Aggressive, out-of-the-box ideas must be pursued if the local Lutheran school is going to be the ministry that the Lord has given it to be. We will explore some of those options in the upcoming webinar on this topic on Aug. 16, 2018. Join us to add to the conversation. (Or if you can't join us for the live event, watch the recording in the RSTM archive at a time that's convenient for you.) We will likely raise more questions than provide answers. But this is a critical conversation to be had!
Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter by Rev. Dr. Nathan Meador.
Rev. Dr. Nathan Meador is senior pastor at St. John Lutheran Church and School in Plymouth, Wis. He also serves as assistant coordinator for LCMS Stewardship Ministry.
LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small-town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. Learn more about RSTM at lcms.org/rstm or by calling 888-463-5127. "Like" us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/lcmsrstm
The 2018 National Rural & Small Town Mission Conference will be
held Nov. 8-10 in Kansas City, Mo., at the Hilton Kansas City Airport.
A TRIP TO THE HOLY LAND IS LIFE-CHANGING.
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 email@example.com
or go to
for the online brochure or contact us for more information.
A Few Words on Life
On August 15, the church will observe the Festival of St. Mary, the mother of our Lord. The Propers of the Day are: Old Testament - Isaiah 61:7-11, the Psalmody - Psalm 45:10-17 (antiphon: v. 6), Epistle - Galatians 4:4-7, and the Gospel - Luke 1:(39-45) 46-55.
While your congregation may not formally observe this Festival, this can be a good time to pause and ponder all the things that Mary went through when she was found herself with child. God reveals some things to us in His holy Word, but not everything that she and Joseph experienced. Pause for a moment and imagine if the "fullness of time had come" today (Gal. 4:4). Imagine all of the pressures that she would face in our modern day which does not hold human life in high regard - cultural pressures, familial pressures, pressures from Joseph, pressure from her peers, and the list could go on and on. Of course, we know that just as God's will was done some two thousand years ago, it would also be done today if this was "when fullness of time had come". But it does cause one to stop and wonder.
So how do you affirm life in your personal life, within your congregation, and within your community? What are you doing to uphold God's view of life in the face of all the pressures in our modern day? Maybe you are already doing quite a bit. If so, keep fighting the good fight. Perhaps you wondering what you might be able to do to help uphold the sanctity of human life in our culture. If so, let me give you a couple of ideas.
First, check out the Lutherans for Life website, click here (https://www.lutheransforlife.org/). They provide lots of information and a wide range of resources to help individuals and congregations affirm life in their communities. You can sign up for their E-Newsletter here (Here) and their weekly Life Notes email here (https://www.lutheransforlife.org/media/life-notes-email/). They also have a great resource called "Life Thoughts in the Church Year" related to the Propers of the Day for both the Three Year and One Year Lectionary Series, click here (https://www.lutheransforlife.org/media/life-thoughts-in-the-church/). I find these very helpful as they help people see how God's transformative Word still speaks to matters we face today.
Second, I encourage you to consider talking with your pastor and congregational leadership about forming a Life Chapter and/or Team within your congregation or area. You can find more information about this here (https://www.lutheransforlife.org/life-teams/).
Third, consider connecting up with your local Right to Life organization to stay abreast of life-issue legislation being considered in your state and to help you contact your state representatives and senators regarding upcoming legislation. They will also be a good source of information regarding candidates' stated positions on life issues and their voting records.
Lastly, consider attending a Right to Life event, like the LFL National Conference (https://www.lutheransforlife.org/conference/) or the 2019 LC-MS Life Conference, "JOY:FULLY ALIVE > Body & SOUL", January 17-19 in Washington, D.C.
If you would like further information, or would like to discuss this matter, please contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone, 985.345.6008 (office) or 985.956.1766 (mobile). I will be glad to help in whatever way I can.
Rev. Louis Boldt (Hammond, LA), Southern District Life Coordinator
W O W
2nd. Corinthians 8:1-5 "We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints - and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us."
Reading the above Scripture, the only word that I could utter was: w o w! Here we have a group of churches though in much need themselves because of their challenges in the church and in their own families, because of harsh economic repression, extreme poverty, violent persecutions and perhaps church conflicts, such as divisions in the congregations, and personal family challenges; begged to help other saints of the church. They did it in the proper order by first giving of themselves to the Lord and then offered their help for the ministry of Paul and his companions.
Congregations in Troas, Samothrace, Neapolis, Philippi, Berea all a part of a Roman Colony made up of people such as Lydia and other women and persons of her household, a slave girl whom Paul healed, the jailer and his household and yes, just maybe a few other prisoners who did not break jail when the opportunity afforded itself. These Christians and others who joined them who were still being persecuted, begged to support the mission and ministry of the church. Indeed W O W!
May we the churches of the Southern District ** so put aside our needs and personal challenges and support the mission and ministry of our District and thereby the Synod.
May the Lord of the church help us: Amen
Written by: Rev. Dr. McNair Ramsey, First Vice President of the Southern District: LCMS
WE LIFT UP IN PRAYER. . .
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. 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
THE GIFT OF GENEROSITY-Electronic Giving
A definition of generous includes this phrase:
Freely sharing valuable things.
. . .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.
or contact Ronnie Giaise
at the Southern District office for more information --- email@example.com.
Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.