September 2014
Church Press Newsletter
What's the Answer to This Question: 

Why is the LCMS experiencing such enormous membership losses? Enough already! We desperately need to honestly answer that question and then do something about it. 

For starters we suggest that every church in the LCMS pray it up every Sunday for the next year. But not just for the numbers, but for the sake of blood-bought souls that will spend eternity in heaven or hell. What are your suggestions? Please email them to us. Pass your thoughts on to people in your District Office.
The Facts on the Mormon Church 

Do Mormons and Christians mean the same thing by the same words? Should Mormonism be considered an occult religion? Can human beings become gods? Does it believe in the Jesus of the Bible? Are there crucial errors and contradictions in founder Joseph Smith's writings and prophecies. Covers all the key points of Mormonism. 80 pages, #371, $5.99. Click Mormon to order. 
By Brad Powell, senior pastor, North Ridge Church, Plymouth, MI

Sometimes the best thing that can happen for the health of a church is for the right people to leave. By right people I don't necessarily mean bad or ungodly people. Though to be honest, this is sometimes the case. Rather, I mean those people who, for whatever reason, will never be a part of the church moving forward.

I strongly believe that you should let them go. But, be prepared. These people don't generally leave quietly or respectfully. I'll never forget the very public words one disgruntled lady directed my way as she was leaving for the last time: "You have the face of an angel, but the heart of a thief."

Ouch! When people leave this way, they seldom are content to leave alone. Just remember: The negative splash won't last long, but the health and peace that follows will have a long-term positive impact.
Son of Hamas  

A gripping account of terror, betrayal, political intrigue, and unthinkable choices. This is a must read, the true story of Masab Hassan Yousef. He was a devout Muslim, son of an Imam Palestinian leader, befriended by Jews and working for the Israeli "CIA", converts to Christianity while spying for Israel and still protecting the life of his Hamas father. If you read only one book in September, make it Son of Hamas

Amazon paperback $10.51. Kindle price $9.98. Order a copy today. Read it and then give it to a friend. - Pastor Don

It is possible...

to know all about doctrine and still not know Jesus. A person's soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him. Why was Mary weeping (early Easter morning)?

Doctrine meant no more to her than the grass under her feet. In fact, any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could never ridicule was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:2); yet His blessings were nothing to her in comparison with knowing Jesus Himself. - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

"Have you ever...

wondered why one church grows and another struggles? On any given Sunday in 'Anytown," America, a church may be thriving - growing spiritually and numerically. Just down the road, another church - maybe even from the same denomination - has not grown in years. The second church has begun the long, slow process of decline that may eventually lead to death, unless decisions are made to stop that slow, painful process." - Comeback Churches, pp. 10,11, by Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson.

Why not decide now to do something about it. A starting point would be to order Comeback Churches. 226 pages #305 $17.95. Just click Comeback or email us.

For Pastor's Eyes  Only

Elders and Leaders -God's Plan for Leading the Church by Gene A. Getz. It's from a Biblical, historical and cultural perspective. Gene has authored over 50 books - this is one of his best. New. $17.99. 362 pages. Free (including shipping) to the first pastor who emails us.

For Church Secretary's
Eyes Only

The Story - read the Bible as one seamless story from beginning to end. Unfolds the progression of Bible characters and events arranged chronologically from Genesis to Revelation using the NIV by Zondervan. New. Hard cover. 403 pages. Retails for $14.99. Free (including shipping) to the first secretary (or office administrator) who emails us.

An Excellent Church Website

We like the website for Christ Lutheran Church (LCMS), in Normal, IL. Rev. Christopfer Hull is lead pastor and Rev. Jonathan Hoehn.  
Every congregation can get ideas by examining this website. Look closely at the home page. We especially like how they promote the sermons. The home page is easy to follow. Covers all the activities and programs of the Church. Click Christ Lutheranto start your study. Jot down ideas for your website.
Pretty Good One

From Pastor Don Sonntag, Fayetteville, AR, in his August Newsletter: A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, age five and Ryan, three. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson so she said, "Now boys, if Jesus were sitting here, He would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.'" Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus." 

Welcome! Please come in. "How Great Thou Art" is a Swedish poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg in Sweden in 1885. The melody is a Swedish folk song. The words were translated into English by British missionary Stuart K. Hine. Here is a moving presentation by Carrie Underwood with Vince Gil. An excellent presentation. Go full screen. Watch, listen or sing along.
You're Going to See Jesus and That Will Change Everything. Hallelujah!
By Pastor Don Ginkel 

In anticipation of our arrival in heaven, who do we want to see first? Eighteenth century hymn writer Fanny Crosby expressed so well our answer:


Through the gates of the city in a robe          of spotless white,

He will lead me where no tears shall              ever fall;

In the glad song of the ages I shall mingle with delight -

But I long to see my Savior first of all.


Fanny Crosby was blind. When she died, the very first Person she saw was Jesus Christ. It will be wonderful to meet our loved ones. It will be exciting to visit with Biblical saints and to see where we will live in our Father's house. Our greatest delight by far, however, will be to know and see God and His Son in undiminished and infinite splendor.

I hold before you your little sister in the faith - Patti. Six years old. Leukemia. A member of my flock at Gary, IN. As death came nearer, my visits to her in the hospital became frequent. One day we finished our devotions together. She sat on the edge of her bed, legs dangling down. Her face was puffed up. It was getting close now. And so I asked her, "Patti, what's going to happen to you?" With a big smile she answered, "Oh, I'm going to heaven." I said, "But, Patti, what's so special about that?" With a twinkle in her eyes and joy in her voice she replied, "I'm going to see Jesus!"

Thank You, Jesus, for Patti! If a little girl can know and confess such joy facing death, then you can, too. Focus on this every day: You're going to see Jesus, and that will change everything. Hallelujah (joyous praise to God)!

[read more] (There's a very good freebie if you "read more")

Preemptive Peace Strikes
How to stop unhealthy conflict from sneaking into your ministry
By Shan Caldwell, Christianity Today, 8/15/14

I was doing some counseling in a side hall when my radio crackled in my ear, "We need you in the East Hall. A fist fight has broken out." It was Sunday morning "rush hour," that time between services with large crowds both exiting and entering the building. When I arrived I found that two of our greeters had started an argument that had escalated into a fist fight - not exactly something we'd covered in volunteer training.  The culprit in the argument was (drum role please): politics. The greeters were embarrassed. I was embarrassed. Conflict had made yet another visible dent in the church. [read more]
Is Your Ministry a Laser or a Light Bulb?
by Greg Stier, Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox, 8/8/14

A light bulb can brighten up a dark room. A laser can cut through steel. Light bulbs disperse soft light in every direction for a short distance. Lasers can only be focused in a single direction but, theoretically, one beam can travel infinitely. In the same way your ministry is either a laser or a light bulb. [read more]

Definition of A Blended Worship Service
By Christ Lutheran Church (LCMS), Lincoln, NE, on their website. Dr. Luke R. Schnake is lead pastor.

Meeting in the South Ministry Center, this worship service makes primary use of well-known hymns, sung generally with organ accompaniment. Special music is added from our various choirs, strings and brass, and sometimes from recorded contemporary music . . . soloists, duets, etc. [read more]

Stack of Stuff

Church signs of the week (on cursing, LOL, redemption) from Christianity Today, 8/15/14. These are winners! You need to take a peek. Click winners.

Six very important and popular books from Church Press (each 80 pages and each only $5.99 each): The Facts on Islam, The Facts on Jehovah's Witnesses, The Facts on Roman Catholicism, The Facts on the Masonic Lodge, The Facts on the Mormon Church, The Facts on World Religions. Go to our website to order.

Mark Twain was not a Christian, but he did have some worthwhile things to say. One of his great statements: "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them." One attainable goal: Read one good book a month!

A worthy WEEKLY GOAL for home visits by pastor: For every home visit to a member, make an equal number of visits to homes of non-members.

"The size of a church does not determine its health, but a church's health can determine its size." - Ed Stetzer

Every 13 minutes someone in our country dies because of a car accident. How about being extra careful including care in defensive driving. Develop the habit to purposely think about this every time you drive. Please share this with your people in a bulletin or newsletter.

Pastor friend - try to give a word of encouragement or a compliment to a fellow pastor as often as you can. It will be appreciated.

Consider forwarding this Newsletter to your church officers. Just click "Forward Email" at the the bottom of this Newsletter.

Five Ways to Have Transformational Small Groups
By Rick Warren, Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox

Saddleback Church might seem like a large church on Sunday, but what's really amazing is that we're actually larger when we're smaller. We're larger during the week. On a recent weekend at Saddleback, we had over 25,000 people gathering on our campuses in southern California for weekend worship services, but there were about 35,000 who met in small groups from Santa Monica to San Diego.


Our model for ministry isn't found in the list of largest or fastest-growing churches on earth. Our model for ministry is actually the very first church in the Bible. In Acts 5:42 it says this: "The first church met day after day in the temple courts and from house to house." We come together on weekends for a large group of everyone in the congregation. And then we scatter all week for small group gatherings from house to house.


This matters a great deal if you want to see lives transformed. [read more]


Awaiting the New Pastor 
By Diana Davis

The entire church is waiting expectantly. When your church is in transition - seeking a new pastor or other ministry staff member - there are a few things any member can do: [read more]
What Do You Expect? 
If you set the bar low for church membership, don't be surprised when people fail to commit.
An interview with Thom Rainer, Leadership Journal, 8/12/14

Your church membership stinks. That's what Thom Rainer might say if you fit the profile of the average church in America . . . The book he wrote on the topic, I Am a Church Member, has been used by thousands of congregations to cultivate a more robust vision of what membership means. We talked to Rainer about why membership is important, the mistakes most churches make, and how they can fix them. [read more]

5 Marks of Super Effective Youth Leaders 
By Greg Stier 
I just had the privilege of spending a week with 50 amazing youth leaders from across the nation. . . . Over this week of intensive training and interaction I witnessed 5 marks that identified these youth leaders as outstanding. These are what make a youth leader super effective when it comes to advancing God's kingdom in and through their sphere of influence.
  1. Super effective youth leaders lead with prayer. I've seen it again and again and again. The youth leaders who make the biggest impact on earth relentlessly aim their prayers toward heaven. As a result God gives them the wisdom they need to keep moving forward step by step with the Spirit toward building a truly effective youth ministry . . . The youth leaders who are seeing the most progress, both in discipleship and evangelism, are the most persistent in prayer. Maybe that's why Paul told Timothy, "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. . .  (1 Timothy 2:1).[read more]
Time to Grow Again
By Brad Powell, Outreach, September-October 2014, pp. 120, 121

When I'm not growing as a leader, I become the greatest obstacle to the success of the church I'm called to lead . . . Are you making a positive impact? If not, the solution is obvious. It's time to start growing again. Suggestions:

Surround myself with the right kind of people - those who challenge, stretch, and motivate me rather than those who allow me to be comfortable where I am.

Refuse to be satisfied with where I am. Here's the simple reality: when you're through improving, you're through. This principle of growth applies to our spiritual lives too. Growing spiritually precedes knowing spiritual blessing and impact. Peter urges us, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
After You Say "I Do"
Here is a study guide packed with practical ideas for couples. It will help you create a long-lasting, more intimate marriage. 97 pages, #308 $9.99. Order from our website or email us. We like the following on page 97:

I will be with you no matter what happens to us           and between us.
If you should become blind tomorrow, I will be             there.
If you achieve no success and attain no status in         our society, I will be there. [read more]
Thank-notes: A Tiny Human Touch Goes a Long Way 
By Tom Peters, The Business Journal

We wildly underestimate the power of the tiniest personal touch. And of all personal touches, I find the short, handwritten "nice job" note to have the highest impact.

A former boss (who's gone on to a highly successful career) religiously took about 15 minutes (max) at the end of each day to jot a half-dozen paragraph-long notes to people who'd given him time during the day or who'd made a provocative remark at some meeting. I remember him saying that he was dumbfounded by the number of recipients who subsequently thanked him for thanking them.
8 Tips to Be a Productive Church Secretary
By Bonnie Ferrso. She has been on staff at Lancaster Baptist Church for the past twenty years. She is Dr. Chappell's administrative assistant, and is also an accomplished church instrumentalist and a faithful soul winner.

In a ministry office, it can be a spiritual war zone. Between counseling and needs of people you must be Spirit-filled and prayed up. Be prayed up! (I believe the devil will fight harder in ministry work that he will at the bank down the street.)

You can set the temperature in your office. Make sure it is bright and conducive to spiritual growth. Bloom where you are planted and be the best support you can be to the one you are supporting.

With that in mind, here are eight tips to help those you work with. [read more]
Unlocking the Mystery of Revelation 
By Rev. James H. Knotek (LCMS) 

What about Armageddon, the millennium and other symbolisms in Revelation? Rev. Knotek is convinced that Revelation is a book of historical and prophetical parallels, not a chapter by chapter chronological or linear account. It is written in laymen's terms and is an excellent guide and commentary for teachers and pastors. Discussion questions are at the end of each chapter. The following is a brief excerpt from page 97:

"This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the the number of a man. That number is 666"(Revelation 13:18).

"No. 666 is not the not the number of a man, but, rather, a human number belonging solely to the beast. Let us remember that the beast is not a man, nor is it Satan, but it is a conglomerate of those nations which have opposed God's people . . . "Six" is that number in the Bible which frequently refers to imperfection and evil. Therefore, we are faced with a counterfeit trinity which is the antithesis of 777, a perfect holy trinity. The beast has failed, failed and failed to give mankind hope, life and security. It has received its authority from the dragon and, consequently, it scores failure upon failure and will be crushed." 

To order on our website click Revelation or email us. 166 pages. #180 $7.95
Think About It

Marine Corps Sgt. John M. Peck, 26, hugs his new service dog.

It's one thing to say you love your country. It's a whole different level to be willing to die for it. Think about this. Then ask what you and your congregation can do to support families who have a loved one serving in our military and soldiers who have returned home, especially those who have been injured.

Before brushing this off, go back and reread the first two paragraphs. Then take another look at the Marine and his dog. Then decide to do something. Thanks!
Be blessed and be a blessing
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