June 2013 Church Press Newsletter
Getting Closer to God (Special)

A Bible Study For Junior Confirmands and Adults

A 20 Lesson Course By Pastor Don Ginkel

For June order 1 sample copy for $4.75 (regular $9.50) plus free shipping. Just email us.

Joe's Reflections

Many years ago Joe Schmidt was a member of Pastor Don's church. On reflecting of what happened Joe writes:

Been thinking of you quite a bit lately. It seems to me, in my old age, that you truly worked at getting the "old, traditional Lutherans" to realize that there is more to salvation than just saying, "I was baptized and confirmed. Now leave me alone." Somewhere along the line people developed resistance and the idea that a personal relationship with Christ appeared secondary . . . With me Christ became a reality with whom I could talk, express frustrations, and find comfort.

I remember when Bettie was dying and I felt at the end of my rope, you came by and I unloaded about how I wished people would stop sending food that I did not want and was ashamed to throw away. You said, "Joe, these people are doing something, the best they can, and you have an obligation to accept the help". . . Frustrating, I am sure. But you kept at it. And I thank you. - Joe

Pastor friend, sometimes only eternity will reveal the fruits of your ministry, perhaps hidden now, but they will come to light soon. Keep up your good work for Jesus and His people!

For Pastor's
Eyes Only

THE BOOK OF GOD - The Bible as a Novel
by Walter Wangerin, Jr. The story of the Bible told with energy and detail. Hard cover. 850 pages. New. Retails for $44.00. Free (including shipping) to the first pastor who emails us.

For Church Secretary's
Eyes Only

ESTHER - A Woman of Strength & Dignity
by Charles Swindoll. New. Hard cover. 201 pages. Retails for $19.95. Free (including shipping) to the first secretary (or office administrator) who emails us.

Pray for Pam Davies (Burr), Her Dad & Mom
Years ago Pam, her Dad, Art, and her Mom, Jean, were members of Don's church. Art was blessed with a powerful saving faith in Jesus Christ. He became instrumental in bringing many to the Lord. Pam just wrote us:
Dad has lung cancer, bone cancer, prostrate cancer and skin cancer. The left lung is pretty much gone, and the lymph node close to his heart has a large tumor . . . He has bone cancer in his left leg and it is moving to his pelvic area.

I want you to write about Dad for two reasons. The first is that the power of prayer is unimaginable, and the second is if this is a way to reach someone for Christ through my Dad, then I know he would want that. We are still praying for that miracle but know it is in God's hands and His answer this time might be no.

Despite all this Art is still claims Christ as his Savior. Pam's Mom, Jean, has Parkinson's. Please pray for Pam, Art, and Jean. Thank you.

Then, think of the many people who are sick with sin, but they have no Savior. Perhaps you can share your Jesus with someone who desperately needs to hear about Him. Pray that you can meet that person soon. In all of this may glory come to Jesus.

IRS Audits Billy Graham
By Bethany Monk
Citizen Link, May 15

One of the world's most beloved evangelists was targeted by the IRS according to Franklin Graham. The agency also targeted the Biblical Recorder . . . The IRS eventually cleared the newspaper, It also cleared Billy Graham and Samaritan's Purse.

However, the audits wasted taxpayer money and donor funds that could have been used for ministry purposes.

Franklin wrote President Obama: "Will you take some immediate action to reassure Americans we are not in a new chapter of America's history - repressive government rule?"

A Fabulous Website

We like the large and very informative website for Christ The King Lutheran Church (LCMS), Southgate, MI, Rev. Jason Cashmer and Rev. Terry Cashmer, pastors. It's all inclusive. We like the statement on the home page: "We don't care where you've been... We only care where you want to go!" Take a peek for ideas. Click Christ The King. Well done!


Awesome. "Awe yir'ah... Described theologically as mysterium tremendum. Awe is a Biblical posture in the presence of God" (The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1, page 358). Also described as reverential fear and dread mingled with great respect and veneration.

Our Awesome God is an in-depth 10 lesson Bible study on the subject by Pastor Don. $6.95. Leader's Guide is available. For more details or to order click Awesome or email us.

By the goodness of God half a million copies of I Have Good News For You have been purchased worldwide and in all that time I've never heard a pastor teach it. On April 28th it was our joy to sit in on the Adult Membership Class (Lesson 7) using this course at Woodlands Lutheran Church (LCMS), Montverde, FL, Rev. Brian Kneser, pastor. It was unbelievably wonderful to watch and listen. Pastor Brian knows how to teach. He is also an extremely gifted preacher. In the sermon at the 11:00 service he shared some details from the FLGA District - Lutheran Hour Ministries Outreach Initiative. I pass on to you some excerpts from the Initiative and encourage you to read the entire article. God bless your efforts to bring the lost to Jesus. Standing tall with you because of Jesus and for the growth of His Kingdom - Don
FLGA District Lutheran Hour Ministries Outreach Initiative

Since 1998 the LCMS has experienced significant losses every year. The LCMS holds the dubious distinction of being the US denomination with conservative theology that has lost the most members. The percentage loss (13%) was also the highest for the 15 largest evangelical protestant denominations. . . . Around half of the congregations confirmed no adults. A significant number of the rest confirmed small numbers.

To be clear, the downward trend . . . should alarm, not because of institutional concerns, but it means that we are not reaching the lost for Christ. The impact of this loss is not only observed by empty pews on Sunday morning . . . but most importantly in precious souls being lost from Christ forever. 

The Barna study indicated that . . . "The . . . consistent practice among exemplary churches was well thought out and consistently executed follow-up with their contact lists." Congregations that added a lot of new members tended to speak of a robust system to maintain connection with those who were prospects of the congregation. After the initial connection was made, the congregation intentionally nurtured the relationship with the hope that eventually the contact would consider their congregation their spiritual home.

This process is critical. A congregation can be excellent at connecting to the community and even have a cultural outreach, but if they are not intentional about keeping track of these new friends and intent upon strengthening ties leading to discipleship, the congregation (and the Kingdom) will likely see little growth. Barna: "The second set of behaviors that was common to all the exemplary churches revolved around very persistent follow-up with visitors . . . These churches were excited to see new people, and they made sure to let those people feel valued. (They made sure to do this in a non-intrusive way that would not make their guests uncomfortable.)" 

Barna: "These pastors talked, and talked, and talked about the importance of reaching their community. They talked about it from the pulpit and in smaller settings. They communicated unequivocally to their people an expectation to be reaching those outside the church, and they provided concrete steps to do so. These conversations, over time, established a missional culture within the congregations."

In the congregational survey, when lay members were asked what helped them be effective in outreach, the preaching of their pastor was often mentioned. The power of the pulpit should not surprise  us.

[Note: To read the entire article, go to the FLGA District website at flgadistrict.org. Scroll down the middle column (Latest Updates)  until you find "FLGA District Lutheran Hour Ministries Outreach Initiative." Click on the green box at the bottom of the article (Find Out More). At the bottom you will find various links. Select the first one: "Power Point with notes." Browse the entire report and all the links. The complete Barna report is also there.] 


Helps For Growing Your Church

Consider the following books to help. We list them in the order of their importance.
  • Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer. 300 formerly declining churches share what they are doing to grow. 226 pages, hard cover, #305 $17.95.  
  • 12 Pillars of a Healthy Church by Dr. Waldo Werning (LCMS). Provides insights on church health and growth. 130 pages, #303 $12.00.
  • 44 Ways to Increase Church Attendance by Lyle Schaller. Specific and practical ideas on increasing church attendance. 128 pages. #300 $18.00.
  • Deep Preaching - Creating Sermons that Go Beyond the Superficial by J. Kent Edwards. Offers help on the entire homiletical process. 202 pages. #351 $19.99.
  • Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Morrow. Explains the problem and offers numerous practical solutions. 248 pages. #301 $14.99.
  • The Seed Planting Church by Dr. Waldo Werning. How to grow a church and not just maintain it. 168 pages. #304 $12.00. 

Go to our website or email us or call 888-772-8878.  


Why People Get So Mad at Pastors
There's more going on than clashing personalities
By Wayne Cordeiro and Francis Chan, Leadership Journal, Spring 2013

A friend of mine recently changed careers after being in pastoral ministry for nearly a decade. I asked him how his new job was going. "Really well," he said. "These days people get mad at me only once or twice a year. When I was in pastoral ministry, it seemed like someone was mad at me every other day."

I understood. I can still see the parents of a teenager in my office crying because their son was walking down the wrong path. They were desperate for help, expecting and even demanding that I intervene in their son's life. "Why doesn't this church offer a better youth group?" they screamed. [read more]

Stack of Stuff
It's good to say to someone who has served you well: "You do a great job. Thank you so much." Some employee needs to hear that from you this week. But how about going a step beyond this? When the above has happened go out of your way to contact the person's supervisor and tell them the person's name and the job well done. Wow! You'll make someone's day and then some. And good for you!

Boy Scouts Lift Membership Ban on Gay Youths.
Officials predict 350,000 may leave, 20,000 may join over decision. Assemblies of God and Southern Baptists suggest exodus. - Mellisa Steffan, Christianity Today, May 24, 2013. Maybe now is the time to find an alternative for Boy Scouts in your congregation.

An idea for quiet time -
In late Spring, Summer, and Fall I have tried to nurture a good habit to visit a nearby cemetery every other week or so around:8:00 to 9:00 P.M. I look at grave stones, sit down, watch the sun set, and think. Good meditation time. No noise, no phones, no criminals. This habit has produced abundant fruit for me. I encourage you to try it. - Don

Two is better than one for the worship service. A good organ and organist are fantastic. A good piano and pianist are excellent for worship. But if you put the organ and piano together, we are more than deeply moved.

A word of encouragement to all of our pastors: Day in and day out teach and preach the Law in all of its contents and consequences and the Gospel in all its contents and consequences. The first comes with severity and the second comes with all of its sweetness.

22 war veterans a day commit suicide. That's a very high price for America to pay. Watch for opportunities to help a vet.

"Barnabas" means "son of encouragement" (Acts 4:36). Can you be one today?

A church secretary once asked her pastor: "Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?" He couldn't answer. She chimed in: "Noah! His stock was afloat when everyone else's was being liquidated!"

If your church is having major trouble with trouble makers, do not become emotionally involved. Try not to let this group send your church into a nose dive. Consider getting some outside help.
We like this: "When Nadine and I were in Montverde, FL, in April, we took Pastor Brian and his wife, Debbie, out to lunch. After the waiter took our order Brian said to him, 'May I ask you a question?' The waiter said, 'Sure.' Brian said, "Is there anything we can pray for for you today?" The waiter said, 'Yes. My wife and I are expecting our first child.' Brian then led the five of us in prayer for mom, dad, and child." - Don
Seven (Hopefully) Helpful Hints after Seven Months of Visiting Churches
By Thom S. Rainer

I've been on the road a bit more than usual . . . I've visited many churches during the past seven months. So, even if I am the guest preacher, I enter the church grounds as a guest. I drive my own rental car, and I have to find parking and entrances just like everyone else.

So what have I found? . . . I could give you a fairly extensive consultation report about the churches, but I prefer to distill my words into just a few helpful hints. Each of these issues needed addressing in most of the churches I visited.
  1. Please have plentiful signage on the outside and inside. You can easily forget that we first-time guests don't have a clue where to park or where to enter. Most of the churches did not help us either. [read more
Eliminate Your Summer Slump

More and more congregations are discovering that the summer slump can be eliminated by
  1. Continuing the full schedule throughout the summer.
  2. Perhaps adding an extra service.    
  3. Scheduling a music group (not a soloist or duet!) for every service (see if you can "borrow" one from a neighboring congregation).
  4. Expecting the pastor to be in the pulpit on all but one or two Sundays during summer.
  5. Planning a special program or event for each Sunday during summer.
  6. Offering a choice of Sunday school classes every week.
  7. Scheduling one attractive evening event during the week for every week (one church schedules a Thursday evening ice cream social every week during the summer called "Sundaes on Thursdays").
  8. In various other ways expanding the program rather than cutting back on it.
  9. Undergirding all of this with an effective advertising program.

Also, two-thirds of all families who change their place of residence do so during the one-third of the year from mid-May to mid-September.


An excerpt from 44 Ways to Increase Church Attendance, pp. 72-73, by Lyle Schaller. #300. Order on our website or email info@churchpress.com.


Should Pastors Know What Members Give?
Compiled by Ruth Moon

A recent study found that churches where pastors know how much is donated and by whom were more likely to be doing well financially. However, only half of the 3,000 responding congregations (and only 39 percent of evangelical ones) told the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving that their pastors knew this information.

Here is what experts said (starting with "yes" and moving to "no"):

"This notion of pastors not knowing how much people give is a recent development, born of a materialistic, individualistic society. As a pastor, you're the doctor of the congregation. You've got to be looking at diagnostic information, and there's none better than financial giving." Jim Sheppard, CEO, Generis [read more]

Take A Moment for Some Comfort

God's promises are awesome. One of the hymns that presents this divine comfort is "Day by Day." This hymn is sung in the video by the Antrim Mennonite Choir. Hope you will watch and listen. God bless you richly today!

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