Monday, December 29, 2008

Lutheran Worship services and sermons on dvd

The Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Wagga Wagga currently records its Saturday and Sunday worship services.

They currently offer them free of charge as a gift, you can either obtain them as a dvd or online.

They are suitable for people unable to leave their home or for congregations without a pastor.

For more information visit

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sharing the bible with kids and other who use LEGGO

The Brick New Testament has over 3600 illustrations of bible stories from the Old and New Testaments.

All the illustrations are made from LEGGO and you can either view the Bible Stories online or buy a book from the Brick New Testament.

The authors also offer churches and sunday schools the oportunity to use the illustrations and stories offline for nothing, except a quick email.

The goal of The Brick Testament is to give people an increased knowledge of the contents of The Bible in a way that is fun and compelling while remaining true to the text of the scriptures.

Why not take a visit to The Brick New Testament at

Most of the illustrations are suitable for children, however please check before using them

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Priesthood of all believers, vocation and mission bible study

The North West Synod of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has developed a four part bible study that helps people explore the significance of the Priesthood of all believers and vocation to being in mission.

The study is available at

Leaders notes are available at

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Theological foundations for outreach and mission programs in a Lutheran context

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod currently has a program/approach called ABLAZE.

The following paper explores and highlights what is a Lutheran approach for mission in the current context we live in. Although focussed on ABLAZE the paper highlights some foundational Lutheran approaches and understanding to mission.

To view the paper visit

Course: Masters of Arts Christian Outreach

Concordia University St Paul in conjunction with Concordia University Portland offers the Masters of Arts Christian Outreach.

This is ideal for those currently active in ministry and outreach to develop knowledge, skills and networks as the course is delivered by learners collaborate with a community of peers using weekly online class discussions, e-mail, Internet bulletin boards and a two week residency.

The primary mission of the church is to make disciples of every nation by bearing witness to Jesus Christ through the sharing of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments.The
Master of Arts in Christian Outreach equips church leaders with a deepened understanding
of a theology of God’s mission and provides the practical tools necessary to engage in the
outreach ministries of the church.

Spiritual Leadership Formation
Worldviews and the Gospel
History of Mission
Social Issues in Mission
Missio Dei
Outreach Ministry in Context I: Theory
Missiological Research
Outreach Ministry in Context II: Strategies
Evangelism in the Life of the Church
Capstone:Thesis,Project,or Portfolio

Care for the Whole Person
Outreach through Evangelism and Worship
Writing/Production of Evangelism/Leadership Development Materials
Planting the Worshiping Community
Outreach in the Urban,Suburban, or Rural Center
Independently Developed Practicum

For more information visit:

Monday, December 08, 2008

Free Study/Small group guides for Grace upon Grace

John Kleinig has produced two free study guides that can be used in conjunction with his book Grace upon grace.

The study guides are available at
Grace Upon Grace Study Guide 1
Grace Upon Grace Study Guide 2

The book is available at:
Australian Church Resources
Concordia Publishing House

Lutheran Leadership 5: Leading like John the Baptist

Leading like John the Baptist

Begin by reading Matthew 3:1-17, Mark 1:1-8 and Luke 3:1-20

Now when you think of leaders in the bible, the name John the Baptist doesn’t automatically come to mind, yet according to many popular definitions of leadership John the Baptist is a significant leader. A leader is a person people go to, read Matthew 3:5, Mark 1:4-5, Luke 3:7 .

Now as a leader John the Baptist wasn’t overly attractive. (read Matthew 3:4).
At times as leaders we are not going to be overly attractive, why?
What are some of the things we have done or are doing that are not attractive?

As a leader John the Baptist calls people away from things, behaviours and lifestyles that are inconsistent with God. This is calling people to repent.. (Mark 1:1-4)
What are the things, attitudes or lifestyles we need to call our community and those who make up our community away from?

As a leader John the Baptist doesn’t call people to follow himself, but points them to Jesus where there is new life, hope and joy. (Mark 1:7-8)
How can we show humility like John the Baptist and point people to Jesus?
What hope and new life from Jesus do people need to hear?

Read Matthew 14:1-12
John the Baptist lost his life for being a leader for Jesus.
What does it mean for you to lose your life in being a leader for Jesus?

Final thoughts
And who and what are the John the Baptists in your life?
Who are the ones who call you away from things, attitudes, approaches to life and people inconsistent with God to those consistent with God, to God’s new life?

For discussion: Communicating God's love and theology on the net and other media

Recently I have become a little annoyed with a few things I have been reading that facebook, the internet, email and some of the other media are not good places to talk theology or to share God's love.

If I am reading things correctly the whole gist of the argument seems to be that you can be easily be misunderstood and that it is difficult to dialogue. If this is the argument then we have a problem because you can use this argument for any sort of a communication. Just ask a husband and wife, a pastor who is shocked at how some people hear his sermon, or a parent and teenager who are having communication issues, they will all say at times we have been misunderstood and at times it is difficult to dialogue. Occasionally we hear but once you put it out there you can't retreieve it, but that is true also for what we say. Or is there something more to the discussion?

I think the real problem is that grasping new and different ways to communicate takes time, its a risk and often requires an adjustment in thinking and approach.

But these are not an excuses to avoid new or different communication mediums, especially if we are in God's missionary business.
Think about it what does it mean for Jesus to come down among us.
What does it mean for God's church who we are part of to come into the lives of those who use facebook, myspace, hourly use email and the internet, ipods, etc..
What does it mean not to have the answer for everything, but participate in a world that is continually changing?
Maybe these are some of the things we need to think about not just as individuals but as church, as God's missionaries.

What are your thoughts???

Worship for Shut ins

Came across this site that may help a few people who are shut in and have internet access

This site has a 30 minute worship service, plus sermon prepared and delivered by Lutheran Pastors for people who are unable to leave home...

The Lutheran Source

This web site is a collection of Lutheran resources compiled by a confessional Lutheran pastor from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

You will find the following at Lutheran Source:
Sermons and other devotional material
An evangelism resource that aims to prepare people to witness to a wide range of people.
Book reviews
Papers and bible studies

Thesis paper: Towards a Liturgical Missiology: perspectives on mission work in South Africa

Claudio Steinert has completed a thesis for the Doctorate of Theology in Missioology at the Univeristy of South Africa that looks at liturgical missiology.

Some of the chapters include:
Call for liturgical missiology
Revelations 4:8
Missio Dei and music
Doctrine of the Trinity
Concept of Missio Dei
Mission or evangelism
Mission and conversion
Liturgical missiology
Martin Luther and music
Music in Luther's reformation
Luther's theology of music
Music in Luther's liturgical efforts
Music in Luther's educational efforts
Music in Luther's reformation efforts
Consequences for Lutheran mission
History of music in Lutheran mission
Fundamental qualities of music relevant to mission work
Music and the contextualisation
Music and mission
Spiritual element in mission

to gain a copy of this thesis visit:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Story of a church becoming a discipleship church

The Community Church of Joy in Phoenix Arizona, is a church that is focussed on developing community and growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

In the Leadership Journal, the Pastor Walt Kallestad takes us through how this journey came about, why this is occuring, the consequences of this journey and how such a church defines success.

Take a few moments to read the article at
and a lot more to think about what it may mean for the church and ministries you are connected to.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Book: Evangelism for normal people

John Bowen takes a unique look at what it means to witness to one's faith.
Evangelism is something that all Christians can do as a "normal" part of being a follower of Jesus. The book encourages us to take a belonging before believing approach to evangelism.
Witty, wise, and biblically grounded, the book challenges in a gentle way.
Includes study questions for congregational use.

What others are saying about "Evangelism for normal people"
John Bowen is on a quest to discover what evangelism might look like for "normal" people who do not see themselves as evangelists or who may even be suspicious of evangelists. In his characteristic witty style, the "normal" person is contrasted with the "flasher" evangelist who assaults people's sensibilities with inappropriate expressions of spiritual exhibitionism.
His purpose is "to help rescue evangelism from the red light district of the church and put it back on the main street of church life, where it belongs" (16).
This is not just another "how to" book on lifestyle evangelism. It is particularly appealing because it is well grounded in missiology and seeks to address a number of critical issues in the encounter of the evangel and western culture, in particular.
Bowen's writing style is engagingly personal, narrative and witty. At the same time he lays a solid biblical/theological foundation and goes on to tease out the implications of the biblical material for an application to the postmodern pluralistic context of the West.
The language of the book is accessible to lay people and appropriate for use as a small group study book. At the same time, the breadth of biblical work and application to contemporary issues make it suitable as a textbook for an evangelism course. (from Amazon reviews)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dealing with a gift

Many people this year will receive gifts.

In Australia a considerable number of people will receive a sizeable gift of money from the government in order to stimulate the economy.

The following handout gives you something to think about in how we can view gifts as Christians...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Book: A field guide for the missional congregation

If you are interested in leading your congregation in mission, maybe very helpful.

A field guide for the Missional Congregation
by Rick Rouse and Craig van Gelder

The main idea of this book is to provide congregations and their leaders the main principles of transformational leadership.

The chapters include:
Encountering God's Work Among Us: A Journey of Discovery
Does the Church Have a Future?

A Missional Identity: God's Vision for Congregations
Develop a Vision for God's Mission
Focus on God's Mission and Discipleship
Cultivate a Healthy Climate
Build a Supportive Team of Staff and Lay Leadership
Stay the Course When Facing Conflict
Practice Stewardship to Build Financial Viability
Celebrate Successes and the Contributions of All
The Missional Journey: Bearing Witness to the Kingdom of God

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Lutheran resource site: feautor is a group that shares free religious resources, primarily from people within the ELCA and World Council of Churches

It has an easy to use search facility and a considerable number of resources (eg. Christmas search turned up 91 entries, confirmation over 60, mission over 160, worship over 500)

Well worth a visit.....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pax Domini Press

Pax Domini Press as they name suggests is a publisher of Christian materials for Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and Christmas events with a traditional emphasis.

They state they are sacramental, liturgical, incarnational, evangelical and scriptural.

The materials are produced by two Lutheran Church Missouri pastors who emphasis quality and the Word in everything.

Vacation Bible School: there are 8 different programs available...
Lenten Bible School
Sunday School Program
3 year old program

For more information, to view samples and buy their products visit

Simple ways to highlight Jesus at Christmas

Use Advent as a way to prepare for Christmas at home, workplace and church.
Theme for week beginning 30th Nov is Hope.
Theme for week beginning 7th Dec is Love.
Theme for week beginning 14th Dec is Joy.
Theme for week beginning 21st Dec is Peace.

Be creative, make decorations and posters for your home, workplace, church.
Talk about and share how God and Jesus is bringing the theme for the week into our lives and how we can share the theme for the week with others, then do it.

Participate in Advent and Christmas reflections, devotions
Dedicate some time each day to spend time listening to and reflecting on God's word.
here are some places to go:

Reflect God's grace.
Think about how you can reflect God's unconditional grace to the people you know and interact with and do it.
Offer to help a stranger at the shops, in the street, etc..
Be courtious to people even though you are busy and flustered.
Send a card or even a gift to people even if they don't deserve it, with no conditions.
Wrap presents up in simple basic wrapping and place a note in the gift that highlights that like this gift, reflects the true love of Jesus...

Invite people
Invite people to special events for Christmas that highlight how God is at work through Christmas.
Invite someone over for Christmas lunch or dinner. (or take them your lunch or dinner).
Invite someone who looks flustered for a coffee, milkshake, icecream, etc...and offer to pray for them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Books and Resources by Pastor Mike Newman (most free...all helpful)

Mike Newman is a pastor with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Currently his calling is with the Texas District, in the area of ministry and mission for what they call area C.

He has written a number of books, some of which he offers free as a download.

On this site you will find the following resources.
Satan's Lies: overcoming the Devil's attempts to stunt your spiritual growth
Steps Forward: this weaves the ups and downs of life into stories of an ordinary family. Each chapter guides the reader to a healthy dependence on God’s strength and faithfulness.

The following are available for free download.
Harrison Town: Stories of a family that help refresh your heart and soul with God's grace.
God in the dance: making sense of baptism and Holy Communion in the Lutheran Church.
Jesus and the afterlife: Biblical answers to what happens when we die and what will heaven be like.
Who believes what: Information about various Christian denominations and other religions
A case for Christianity: Discover facts about the Bible’s accuracy and formation; dig into the history of Christianity; find out who Jesus really is.

To review and obtain these resources visit:

Fresh Expressions

The Church of England (Anglican/Episcopalian) and Methodist Church has developed the Fresh Expressions.

It aims to help Christians of any denomination think about ways of starting and growing fresh expressions of church in their area. A fresh expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church.

The web site offers:
a directory of fresh expression churches
news and stories
training opportunities and information regarding jobs
details regarding pioneer ministry
resources and links

There is also a sister site based in Australia:
Which says
"We believe that it takes the whole church to know God and to make Him known across Australia today. We believe that God is calling Christians everywhere to be missionaries in their own backyard. This site is a gateway for all people interested in doing church differently. It is under development and will feature a marketplace with reviews, forums on Australian culture, tips on growing churches and pointers on starting fresh expressions of church."
The site is divided into three main categories:
Culture: which looks at the context we are doing mission in?
Missional thinking; how does scripture shape our thinking and preparation for scripture today.
Fresh Stories: the aim is not to provide a stepping stone into an existing church but to create a new church.
If you are exploring the idea of being missional, starting a new church, developing a new ministry or creating something new God may use these web sites to inspire and help you

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bible Studies and Bible Study tools

Here are some more bible studies and bible study tools that may help you...

Bible Studies and Technology
Bible Studies and Technology tools is an excellent blog to keep you upto date on the software and technological advancements relating to bible studies and teaching.
Logos for Lutherans One of the most popular distributors of bible software is Logos. Logos for Lutherans is a great way to keep upto date about Logos products, ask questions about using Logos products and find out about freebies.

Lectio Divina
Some find this method of bible study very helpful in their daily devotions as it calls one to study, ponder, listen and, finally, pray from God's Word. To discover more about it visit

Baseball approach to bible study
Kerry Nelson of Covenant Lutheran Church, Houston Texas has developed a baseball approach to bible study, to uncover more about this approach visit

Crossmark Christian Resources offers a range of bible studies and other topics that can be downloaded...
Current studies available include:
In the beginning...
Mark: Marked for Life
A Reading Guide to the Whole Gospel of Mark
A Six Session Study Guide to the Gospel of Mark
1 Thessalonians:
Encourage one another with these words...
1 Peter:
Tested by Fire: Living as a Christian in a Post-Christian Era
It's About Time
Pray this Way...: A Study of the Lord's Prayer
Two Shall Become One: A Biblical Perspective on Husbands and Wives
Habits of Faith: Each day PRAY and SCRIPTURE READ, WORSHIP, GROW, SHARE, and LEAD Parables and Paradise: Living the Paradoxes of Faith - NEW CD-ROM Available!
Matters of Life and Death

Atonement Lutheran Church (Newport Oregon) offers online, interactive bible studies.
Current online studies include:
Why read the Old Testament?
The Gospel of Judas, the church and politics of exclusion
Talking back; The Psalms as a critical conversation with God
Never Left behind: The true Revelation of God.

Lutheran Hour Ministries offers online, interactive studies
Current Studies include:
Our new life in Christ
The promise is for you
Foundations of faith

Lutheran Leadership 4: Leading during difficult times

Be clear who you are!!
Leading in difficult times is not easy. It can be hard to keep focussed on what your mission, purpose, values and goals are. There are many distractions and some of these are the result of either yourself or others in your organisation being anxious or panicking.
Matthew 16:21-28, Matthew 26:42, Matthew 26:47- 56 and Matthew 6:21

What do these verses say about acting in what appear to be difficult times?
How important is understanding what your purpose is?

Now what is your church’s or organisation’s mission, purpose, values and goals?
How well do you and each of the leaders know them?
Do they support them personally?

Does everyone treasure these as important, essential, if not why not?
If you are meeting together this is a good time to share them and be reminded of them.

Always consider God and others
When difficult times arise we often need help in making decisions that will sustain us and those we lead. In Exodus 28:15-30 God gave the Israelites a tool to help them in making decisions, a breastplate. There has been much speculation of what all the parts of this tool mean, however at the end of the reading we see what the purpose of the breastplate is, that every decision that Aaron the leader makes needs to remember the Lord and the Lord’s followers (the Israelites), especially their relationship with God. Have a look how Jesus says something similar Matthew 22:37-40.
Share what is involved in remembering God and others when making decisions.
What might this mean for us?
Now consider the decisions that we or you need to make.
How does remembering God and then His followers, especially their relationship with God affect these decisions?
Have you considered not just the immediate future, but also the long term?
How are our decisions reflecting God and his light into our organisation and the wider community?

How are they not?

Rely on the truth not assumptions
One of the major problems when difficult times occur is that people begin to assume things, and these assumptions often turn into gossip. This can even result in lies being spread as facts. And most of this gossip is nothing more than scare mongering, people wanting to build themselves up by putting others down.
The small catechism highlights that the bible says:
We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbour, betray them, slander them, or hurt their reputation, but we should defend them, speak well of them and explain everything in the kindest possible way.
Also read Proverbs 12:17-22, 1 Timothy 1:3-6, Proverbs 31:8-9, Mark 14:3-9, Ephesians 4:25, John 8:31-32
Are there beliefs or ideas that are not based on scripture or fact, but assumptions that you need to address?
Are there matters that have been brought to your attention as leaders that you need to check out?
What matters need to be checked out?
How do you discern what is correct and what is not?

What is the most important during difficult times?
Difficult times are not easy times, especially for a leader. However being focused on what is important will help.
Read Psalm 23, Matthew 24:36-51, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, Philippians 4:4-7; Romans 8:37-39.
During all times not just difficult times where should our focus be?
How is Jesus helpful during difficult times?
How does the focus that the above verses emphasis affect our decisions and life today?

Making disciples during difficult times
Read Matthew 28:16-20
What current difficulties are opportunities for us to bring the Good News of Jesus to people and help them become His disciples?

© 2008 Pastor Richard Schwedes, North Tasmania Lutheran Parish. Pastors and Christian congregations are free to use these to help leaders and others grow as leaders through bible studies or devotions. They are best used in group situations. If you wish to use them for another purpose or to publish them please contact Pastor Richard Schwedes (

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Living through the World's financial crisis

Recently I wrote an article called Down but not out, you can view part of the article here, that appeared in the Lutheran magazine November 2008 (Lutheran Church of Australia's national magazine)

If you would like to buy this magazine or subscribe to the magazine go here

There is also an accompanying bible study, which is available here that is suitable for individual and group study.

God bless
Richard Schwedes

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

illustration: realising what is important...amongst the frills

The Melbourne Cup is one of the most popular horse races around the world.
In Melbourne over 100,000 people attend, a normal horse racing event battles to get anywhere near this. It is televised to over 700million people in 120 different countries.

Now not everyone who attends the Melbourne Cup race came because they are enthuastic about horse racing.
Some come for the other horse races, some come to show how pretty they are(there is a major competition for this), some to look at all the pretty and handsome people, some to enjoy the company of others, some to get a free lunch, some to work, some to be weird, some to have a good time and some just to be there.

However many of them wouldn't be there if the Melbourne Cup wasn't being raced, if it was just another horse race. Every thing else relies on that race.

At church we often have many things going on. And in most cases these things are important they encourage people to connect with the church and with each other. It is important though that we always remember why we are there. It is because of what Jesus has done and is doing for us as a result of his life, death and ressurection. In some ways everything we do should connect to Christ.

illustration: Prepared for eternity

The race that stops a nation in Australia, the Melbourne Cup is one of Australia's longest horse races.
It is also one of the richest, this year the winner will receive not only a trophy worth around $125000, but also $3.3 million, with another $2.2million spread across the next 9 place getters.
Horse trainers and owners from around the world bring their horses to race in the cup.
However in a recent interview a number of trainers indicated that they train very few horses for the cup, preferring the shorter races and more immediate gains, which occur more frequently.

Many people live life like this.
Instead of having their eyes on eternal life, they focus them on the immediate and the quick gains they can make now.
They live life more concerned about today without any thought of the future.
They seek instant rewards rather than the long term reward that Jesus offers them in heaven.

However there is a major difference between a Melbourne Cup winner and someone who reaches eternity..
The Melbourne Cup winner needs to do a lot of work....some who reaches eternity needs to rely on Jesus.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Advent and Christmas Plays

The following plays have either been written by, used by or recommended by a Lutheran member, pastor or congregation.
If you have any to contribute or recommend please feel free to email me

Advent Candle Lighting Script based on characters of the Nativity by Pastor Richard Schwedes North Tasmania Lutheran Parish

Richard Fairchild's seasonal resources page includes both Advent candle lighting scripts and Christmas plays

Four Gifts of Christmas

Remembering Christmas

Tales of the Unexpected from Tea Tree Gully Lutheran Church

Twas the night before the Christmas Play by Pastor Ian Lutze of Immanuel North Adelaide Lutheran Church, Australia

Amongst a mess comes Christmas by Pastor Richard Schwedes North Tasmania Lutheran Parish

Family worship resources for Christmas includes a Christmas Play called Virtual Nativity

Don't Settle for the Wrappings and He makes all things beautiful by Kidskountpublishing can either be purchased via cd or downloaded. Kidskount is the publishing arm of King of Kings Church Omaha (LCMS).

A Religious Christmas recommended dramas

Concordia Publishing house suggests God's family tree, A shepherd's Christmas, From Heaven above, A way in a manger, Jesus born for us

Augsburg Fortress suggests The Surprising Christmas pagaent, Destination: BETHLEHEM , The Wonder: A Christmas Program for Children

North West Publishing suggests Singing with Saints and Angels ,The Savior has come, To us a child is born

Also look under last years entry as there are some other dramas and worship services listed

AND DON'T FORGET IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTION either email me or add them to the comments below

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Paper: A brief articulation of the Lutheran view of baptism

John Frasier has transferred his Christian affiliation from the Baptists to the Lutherans.

He was motivated by his belief that Lutheran distinctives were far more faithful to scripture than Baptists, see

As part of the journey he researched and wrote a paper...he says short, but at 50 pages it is detailed yet still reasonably easy to understand...that explains the Lutheran view of Baptism and why it is view it visit

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Free LSB (CPH) lectionary pocket and online diary

Concordia Publishing House (LCMS) offers a free lectionary pocket and online diary that allows you to put the lectionary readings and other church calednar events from Lutheran Service Book lectionary automatically into outlook, onto a pda or to view them only
For more information visit
Please note: If you are using another lectionary either RCL, LCA revised lectionary or another lectionary then the augsburg fortress calendar will more closely relate to your weekly readings

Monday, October 27, 2008

Free Advent Devotions

Lutheran Hour Ministries offer free Advent and Christmas devotion booklets for your congregation to customise and distrbute to members and visitors.

There is one series of devotions more suitable for Christians to reflect on their faith at Christmas and another more Christians to share their faith with each other, their family, friends and colleagues.

Visit to find out more, to add your congregation's details and download the booklet.

Free Church Calendar Year B for outlook and pda's

Augsburg Fortress offers free the Church Calendar that can be imported into your outlook or your pda


Please note if your country uses a date format day/month/year, then you will need to make some alterations as the dates are formated for month/day/year.

If you know of any other church calendars that can be imported for outlook or pda's please share them in the comments section

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prayer Roster

I have developed a prayer roster for our parish, that maybe helpful for other Lutheran Congregations, especially in Australia

It is available in a spreadsheet format .xls

And the roster allocates a week for:
each LCA congregation
each LCA aged care facility
each LCA community care agency
each LCA school
each LCA committee/group/commission
Lutheran churches throughout the world
Catechism sections
Other denominations

to help you and your congregation to pray regularly for others

Click here to obtain a copy

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bible: for reading, devotion, reflection and study

The Bible is essential for every Christian.
When it comes to the bible, Martin Luther once said the bible is the cradle in which the Christ lays.
Unfortunately though many Christians don't regularly read or study the bible, that is a little like denying yourself of fruit, vegetables, quality meat and medication.

Following are resources to help you in your bible reading and study and to encourage you to help others in this essential aspect of life. If you have suggestions for other resources, please feel free to send them to me.

Statements from various Lutheran bodies about the bible
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Bible
Lutheran Church of Australia; Scripture and inspiration, Gospel and the interpretation of scripture
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

George Barna article on the bible

Resources to encourage bible reading, devotion and study
Bible Literacy test this will help you identify what you know and don't know

Book of Faith an initiative to increas bible literacy and fluency for the sake of the world. Includes online conversations for those studying the bible and those leading bible study groups, articles on the bible and resources to help and encourage bible use

Ever wondered about Study the Bible offers a range of bible studies including the Gospel of John, exploring the bible, topical bible studies in English, Japanese, Spanish and Mandarin

ELCA discpleship resources including resources and ideas for bible study

There are at least two bible study resources based on each week of the lectionary....
You can find one by clicking here and the other by clicking here

Digging Deeper booklet from Pastor Greg Priebbenow. This booklet forms a course that covers:
Basics of the Bible, Origins of the Bible, Shape of the Bible, Theology of the bible, Benefits of Bible reading and using the bible in daily life (including versions, methods and tools)
Practice of Bible Reading article by Pastor Greg Priebbenow
Advice for personal bible reading by Pastor Greg Priebbenow
Quiet Time booklet and sheet by Pastor Greg Priebbenow
For any of the above resources please email me with 'GP Bible resources' in the subject line

Creative bible study methods for Youth Leaders

LCMS Bible listening program for schools

Lutheran Bible Study site influenced by LCMS. Includes bible studies, information on the bible, bible timeline, and bible lists

Faith Practices: Bible Reading article that appeared in the Lutheran magazine (Australia)

Crossways international has many resources for learning and sharing the bible, including a major bible survey course. Its aim is to promote bible study world wide.

Bethel Bible Study series mission is to lead members of a local church into disciplined study of Scripture in such a way that they encounter the Living Christ.

Concordia Publishing House Bible Studies

Augburgfortress Bible Studies

NorthWest Publishing House Bible Studies

Articles and papers relating to Bible, bible study methods and understanding the bible

Bible Reading Plans
Lutheran Church of Australia offers bible reading plans with a thort provoker for the Old and New Testament
Lutheran Layperson League offers a tract for each bible for each church year.
Navpress offers the following bible reading plans
5x5x5 (5minutes, 5 days and 5 ways) Bible Reading plan
Book at a time
Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan
Bible Society of Australia offers free bible reading plans
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod offers an online bible reading plan that will help you get through the bible in 3 years.
One year Bible on line....helps you to develop a bible reading plan to read the bible in one year
Lutheran approaches to bible study
Opening the Book of faith: explores how Lutherans read and study the bible. It offers 4 main approaches.

Books to help you understand the bible

Book: After McDonaldlization ministry, mission and Christian Discipleship in an age of uncertainty

After McDonaldlization ministry, mission and Christian Discipleship in an age of uncertainty
by John Drane

about the book
In his earlier book The McDonaldization of the Church, John Drane critiqued church trends toward "fast food" spirituality while offering suggestions for change. In this long-awaited sequel, After McDonaldization, Drane addresses key questions for Western Christianity in a global context. He argues that increasing numbers of people are turning to "spirituality" even while church attendance has continued to decline in the US and Europe, and that the continuing impact of globalization and consumerism has been joined by a post-9/11 culture of fear and a search for truth. In light of these developments, Drane presents a case for a more practical theology, a reinvigorated style of ministry, and a restatement of classic Christian beliefs for the twenty-first century. The book offers interconnected chapters on culture, community, mission, ministry, and theology and is, writes Drane, "an invitation to think outside the box of what we now know, and to imagine what the Christian future might look and feel like if we allow ourselves to ask new questions." This accessible book will appeal to church and culture readers, pastors, and those interested in the emerging church.

From the Back Cover
A New Rendering of Classic Christian Beliefs
John Drane's acclaimed The McDonaldization of the Church identified the catastrophic trend of Western churches offering uninventive, pre-packaged worship to dwindling congregations. Since its publication, church attendance has continued to decline even though increasing numbers of people are searching for spiritual integrity and turning to "spirituality."
In After McDonaldization, Drane argues that the continuing impact of globalization and consumerism has been joined by a post-9/11 culture of fear and a search for truth. He asks what it means to be Christian in a post-Christendom context. Where are today's mission opportunities, the places where God is at work? In our fragmented society, how should Christian community be shaped? And what values might inspire the leaders of the twenty-first century?
As he addresses key questions for Western Christianity in a global context, Drane presents a case for a more practical theology, a reinvigorated style of ministry, and a restatement of classic Christian beliefs for the twenty-first century. "To continue as we are may be comfortable, but could also be institutionally suicidal," writes Drane. "Our options are simple. We either do nothing, and the decline continues, or we ask fundamental questions and take whatever steps may be necessary to re-imagine church life."
"The continuing decline in both numbers and influence of Christian churches within the broader culture is increasingly evident in North America and the United Kingdom. I am delighted that John Drane's insightful book is now available to leaders in North America to alert them to the serious nature of the challenges they face."--Eddie Gibbs, coauthor, Emerging Churches; author, ChurchNext

Church Powerpoint

CHURCH PowerPoint offers visually dynamic, professionally designed power points.
Every week, lectionary based images are offered without charge, as well as many backgrounds, titles, seasonally appropriate ppts. At present churches from a range of denominations have subscribed.
You can subscribe free, although a donation would be appreciated

To look at these quality lectionary based power points visit

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

illustration: People are both good and bad

Most things and people in our lives are not entirely good or entirely bad, they are both.
Recently when i travelled through the country I noticed a beautiful purple plant in the paddocks and enquired with those whom I was travelling with what it was.
One person called it Salvation Jane, another said it was called Patterson's curse.
One name sounded quite good, the other something you didn't want much to do with.
It's real name is Echium plantagineumm and ironically it is believed that the two nicknames given are derived from the one person Jane Patterson, who planted the 'beautiful flower' in her garden, only to infest paddocks around the place and cause havoc to the farming community.
So why the two names...
well in Australia it is generally seen as a weed that overtakes paddocks and when eaten in large quantities it can kill livestock.
However there are some people who are very thankful for the plant. Not only does it look attractive, but when used in small quantities and in a controlled environment it can be used for cattlefeed and is especially benefical during droughts.
Now this got me thinking....
every person I know, including myself are a little like Patterson's curse,
we are both good and bad, or as the church puts it saint and sinner.
We have the potential to cause havoc and be seen as only bad, yet Jesus did something about this by committing himself to His father's will, that resulted in his suffering, dieing and coming to life again.
So sinners we are by nature, and saints because of the efforts of Jesus.
So how do you view others as a sinner, a saint or both?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Book: Grace upon Grace by Dr John Kleinig

Grace upon grace: Spirituality for today
About the book...
"Christian spirituality is, quite simply, following Jesus. It is the ordinary life of faith in which we receive Baptism, attend the Divine Service, participate in the Holy Supper, read the Scriptures, pray for ourselves and others, resist temptation, and work with Jesus in our given location here on earth." – from the Introduction

The longing for spiritual fulfillment, inevitably paired with spiritual frustration, is common among Christians.
Do we read and study the Bible enough?
Do we worship often and in the right way?
Do we pray enough, in the correct way, and for the right things?
How do we become truly spiritual?
And the answers from numerous self-help spirituality books only lead to confusion and the fear of missing key steps on the road to becoming spiritual.
In response, John W. Kleinig clarifies that there is no process for becoming spiritual. Instead, God graciously gives to us every spiritual gift that we need, beginning with the very gift of faith in Christ, our Savior. Because God has joined us to Christ, He continually comes to give us life.
Available from:
Australian Church Resources
Concordia Publishing House

Ideas for celebrating baptisms in the home

Our baptism is one of the most important events to remember and celebrate, it is the day God welcomes us into his family and gives us access to the future.

The North East Iowa Synod of the ELCA has available a brochure with ideas and suggestions to help families celebrate baptism in their homes. Go to to obtain a copy of the brochure.

Discovering Hope: a resource for rural and small town congregations

Discovering Hope is a process that helps rural and small town congregations rediscover their purpose and sense of mission. This evangelism tool is based on the book Discovering Hope: Building Vitality in Rural Congregations written by David Poling-Goldenne and L Shannon Jung. This resource celebrates the best practices of 26 rural and small town congregations highlighting their effective work in the areas of prayer, worship, discipleship, evangelism, congregational care and leadership.

The premise of this book is that the real experts on congregational vitality in rural settings are the people who have experienced it first hand.

For more information visit

Discovering Hope: the book
by L. Shannon Jung and David Poling-Goldenne
The chapters include:
Stories of Hope: Finding Vitality in Rural America
Prayer: Letting Go and Letting God
Worship: Building Community and Hope
Making Disciples: Learning to Live Jesus' Way
Evangelism: A Way of Life
Caring Ministries: Serving as Jesus Served
Leadership: Who's Driving the Tractor?
Context: Discovering the Gift of Place
Mission: Possible — Discovering Hope for the Future

Going Deeper: Resources for Further Study

To buy the book visit

If you are in Australia contact Augsburg Fortress' Australian agent: Australian Church Resources
phone: 1300 36 75 75

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Academic Paper: The heart of the Reformation faith

The heart of the Reformation faith

Ted Peters has written an academic paper that explores the heart of the academic faith...

It begins...

Faith, I believe, improves the quality of our daily life. To have faith in Jesus Christ makes us less anxious, less nervous, less defensive, more kind, more considerate, more loving.
How does faith accomplish this? The main contribution of faith, I believe, is that faith removes the need for self-justification. Deep down each of us feels a need to be justified, a need to feel that we are right, a need to believe that we are good and not evil.........

In what follows we will examine three models of faith: faith as believing; faith as trusting; and faith as the real presence of Christ. All three of these models are familiar to us in the Christian tradition. Yet, when we are looking for the heart of the faith that the Reformation has bequeathed to us, we need to ask: just how does faith justify?

and concludes
All three belong to our one faith, to be sure; yet it is the third, the presence of Christ within the person of faith, that we can connect with God’s justification of us. Christ’s presence is a gift of God’s grace. So is justification. So is salvation. The first thing a person of faith wants to say is, “thank you.”

To read the entire paper visit

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lutheran Leadership thoughts No. 3

Leaders not only deal with people but rely on people, especially the people they are leading.

Part of the leaders role is to identify areas that need attention. Unfortunately at times some leaders can find themselves only ever discovering and highlighting areas that need attention. However the role of a leader is also to remind and highlight to people how valuable they are.

In 1st Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:5, 1st Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2:13 Paul makes an important comment to the churches in Corinth and Thesselonica...he says "I always thank God for you...and we ought to always thank God for you.".

Now all these people who Paul wrote to weren't people that always did everything right. In fact Paul has some strong words to the Corinthians about their behaviour, attitudes to others and each other. They weren't perfect people and yet Paul makes that comment..."I always thank God for you".

Let's have a look closer...
In 1st Corinthians 1 Paul says it is because of the grace God has given them in Jesus Christ, that has enriched them in every way.
In Ephesians it is because of their faith and love for all the saints
In Philippians it is because of their partnership in the Gospel and the work they are perservering with.
In 1st Thessalonians it is because of the works produced by faith, labour prompted by love and endurance inspired by the hope in Jesus Christ.
In 2nd Thessalonians it is because that their faith is growing and their love for each other is increasing, and because God has chosen them.

Paul's thanking of people is inspired a lot by what God has been up to in the lives of the people he is leading and communicating with, and not just what they are doing.

For thinking and discussion
Is the value of the people we are leading based on what they do, or what God has done and is doing in them?
If what God is doing is important and foundational in people's lives, how does this affect how we lead people and what we encourage them to be involved in?
What benefits are there in thanking people?
What are the dangers in thanking people?....What can we do about these?
How can we make thanking people a priority in our leadership approach?
Who are some people we/you should thank and how?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Simple Church conference 2008 recordings and free book

The Simple Church conference was held in September 2008

Sessions included
Stories in Islamic Countries
Prayerfully Wrestling with Issues
Conversations with Wolfgang: Leaders of Church Planting Movements
Stories in Asia
The Chinese Phenomenon
Why movements rise or fall
Practical Skills for building House Churches
"The Aussie Church Landscape" Philip Hughes CRA
Highlighting the Aussie Stories
Conversation with Wolfgang: Ministry in Urban Contexts
The Starfish Phenomenon
The World of Difference
So how then should we be?
From what I Hear! Australia & the World
What They Might Look Like
Their DNA
What would it take in Aussie?

For recordings visit:

For the free pdf book visit:

Monday, October 06, 2008

A web site worth visiting: North West District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

This District web site has a wealth of material to support congregations, pastors, lay workers and members of the church in their call to be disciples....

This District takes seriously some of the following:
Prayer: take a look at their many prayer resources
Equipping pastors and congregations with computer resources and information
Expanding ministries, which include bible studies, devotions, resources, outreach ideas,
Leadership Advancement Process
Healthy congregations
Educational Services
And many missionary stories

Please visit them at

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Free Book: The way of salvation in the Lutheran Church by GH Gerberding

Published in 1887

This book is available free through Project Gutenberg at You can either read it online or download it.

chapters include:
Prepartory Scripture passages
All are Sinners
All that is Born of the Flesh must be Born of the Spirit
The Present, a Dispensation of Means
Baptism, a Divinely Instituted Means of Grace
The Baptismal Covenant can be kept unbroken--Aim and Responsibility of Parents
Home Influence and Training in their Relation to the Keeping of the Baptismal Covenant
The Sunday School in its Relation to the Baptized Children of Christian Parents
The Sunday School--Its relation to those in Covenant Relationship with Christ, and also to the Unbaptized and Wandering
Contents, Arrangement and Excellence of Luther's Small Catechism
Manner and Object of Teaching Luther's Catechism
The Lord's Supper
The Preparatory Service, Sometimes Called the Confessional Service
The Word as a Means of Grace
Conversion--Its Nature and Necessity
Conversion--Varied Phenomena or Experiences
Conversion--Human Agency
Modern Revivals
True Revivals
My Church! My Church! My dear Old Church!

Knowing your mission field: a demographer gives a big picture

Bernard Salt is an Australian demongrapher, columinist with the Australian newspaper and author.

He regularly comments on Australian society, the upcoming issues and some of the trends around Australia.

His articles in the Australian are generally easy to read visit,25201,14741,00.html for a selection.

His web site is at

And his books are:

Man Drought
Why are there so many single women in their 30s? What’s an offal? What is it with Generation Y?
In this entertaining new book, bestselling author and social commentator Bernard Salt answers these and many other pressing questions about contemporary Australia.
In exploring the modern phenomenon of the man drought, Salt provides invaluable research on the odds for finding love (or at least a date) in every Australian town, as well as capital-city hot-spots for meeting single men or women. He also introduces us to the Fella Filter and Hot Deflation Index.
Beyond the man drought, Salt serves up a selection of his take on contemporary social issues around lifestyles, work habits, the future, and an insightful analysis of Australian generations. From the Frelderlies and Frugals, through the baby boomers and Generation X, down to Generation Y and the Millennium Generation no-one is spared Salt’s irreverent scrutiny.
Drawing on current census data and his own research, Man Drought And Other Social Issues Of The New Century presents a quirky and enlightening tour through the world we live in today.

The Big Picture
When did it become socially acceptable, or at least not unacceptable, for a young couple to have children out of wedlock? The answer is at some stage during the 1990s. What events and value-shifts have had the most influence on us as a nation? Can the Fella Filter save us from the man drought? Is food the new sex for the over-40s? What is the chaperone syndrome? At what age do you cease being young?
In his groundbreaking new book, bestselling author Bernard Salt tackles these & other social and demographic questions facing Australia. Articulate, chatty & witty, it interprets the factors that have a bearing on where we live, when we marry & how we will work. This is a book that looks at the motivational forces that shape the Australian community.

The Big Shift
In The Big Shift author Bernard Salt provides an articulate interpretation of the settlement of the Australian continent, charting the shifts and shuffles that have made us who we are over the past 200 years.
This bold and landmark outlook chronicles Australia from the unique bush culture of the swagman, to today's world of boomers, Xers and Dotcoms. It considers the rise of suburbia on our national psyche and maps out the likely influences on Australian culture over the early decades of the twenty-first century.
Salt's conclusion is powerful - no less than the rise of a third Australian culture - the culture of the beach.
But what are the implications of such a seachange? What might Australia look like in 20 years' time? Will the rush to the CBD last? And how will the baby-boomer push to middle-age and beyond impact on our culture?

to view these books and discover where to buy them visit

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The real challenge: keeping forgiveness central

Recently I have been involved in a discussion that how difficult our challenge is in being church and ministering to others.
Here are some of my comments from that discussion.

The fringes and others will always struggle with the church and Christianity whilst they believe life and the church is all about looking good, being better and having good morals. And at times the church and Christianity haven't helped in this area because it has been unwilling to stand up to society about how important forgiveness is.
When we focus on forgiveness some people get disturbed, (recently I had a mother ask my why the church emphasises forgiveness rather than morals surely morals are more important?).
Sure people are happy to receive forgiveness themselves but feel short changed when others receive it.

For most of the fringes and others, forgiveness is a nice but not an essential thing for life. As a consequence they can't see how a person can really be a Christian and sin. (Remember the whohar about Kevin Rudd and the strippers.)

Surely our challenge is to help people see how helpful, how beneficial, how important, how essential and how central forgiveness is for life.
Forgiveness is not some accessory to our relationships with God and others but the necessity.
Also helping people see it also not about covering up a person's sin but about dealing with it.
Maybe as Christians, churches and pastors we need to be more forthright and clear in how forgiveness works, what it means to be forgiven and what it means to forgive!!!

What are your thoughts?

illustration: Always have hope

Often we can think life is too tough, that there is little hope.
There is often a strong temptation to give up, especially when seem to be struggling and never getting ahead.

Recently a Rugby League semi final between the Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm demonstrated the importance of never giving up and doing the right thing.
With their eyes on the premiership, some weeks before the finals all the players from Melbourne Storm agreed not to partake in any alcohol until after the Grand Final. Ironically leading up to their game with the Brisbane Broncos 3 Bronco players were in trouble for some antics as a result of over indulging in alcohol. One high profile reporter even quipped, "what a great story this will be if the Broncos beat the Storm, the team that does the right thing beaten by the team that doesn't"
And at half time with the Broncos leading 12 to nil that looked like what was going to happen.
At the 78 minute mark with the score now at 14 to 12 in Brisbanes favour Melbourne Storm have possession of the ball, but one of their players fumbles it and the Broncos take posession. The game and the seaon look over for the Melbourne Storm.
However with their never give in spirit, the Melbourne Storm keep up their tackles and shortly after the Broncos lose possession.
But still at the 79 minutes, 14 second mark it looked like Melbourne Storm's season was over, they had played poorly, they had been behind all day.
Then the Storm scored a try (similar to a touch down) and they were in front for the first time of the day 16-14.
The hooter sounded some 46 seconds later and they were the winners.
After the game the Storm Coach Craig Belamy was reported as saying that no matter how bad things look you never give up and that is why we won.

As Christians life can get pretty tough and there is always the temptation to lose heart. But there is something we should remember God has already defeated Satan for us, and we will experience life with God. So when things get tough or appear over bearing keep focussed on God and the fact he has already won and we are just waiting for the victory party.
However at the 79 minute
They were behind and struggling. Rugby League is played for 80 minutes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A fast growing Lutheran church

Each year Outreach magazine lists the largest 100 congregations and 100 fastest growing congregations in USA.

The Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines Iowa is listed as one of the fastest growing Lutheran congregations in the USA...

Why not take a look at their web site and discover more about this congregation

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pastor as evangelist

Reverend Sergio Fritzzler, Director of the Bible institute in Chile presented a paper at the 2004 International Lutheran Council conference that explores what it means for the Lutheran Pastor to be an evangelist.

The paper looks at:
Mission-evangelisation concept
The way the mission of God works
The Pastor as evangelist
The missionary perspective of the church

All with a look at the close relationship we have as church with God's mission

To read the paper visit

A gospel view of the Great Commission: A hand of life giving love

Eugene Bunkowske has written an easy to understand article for Lutheran Witness that expands what the Great Commission is on about....key to the article is the Gospel.

In one part of the article Eugene gives us an easy way to remember what it means to be living the Great Commission :
(thumb) All authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and earth
(index finger) so while you are going about in everyday life
(middle finger) disciple people of all languages and cultures
(ring finger) by baptizing and teaching them everything Jesus has told us
(pinky finger) and recalling that Jesus is always with you until the end of time

Now to read the article in visit

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Conference: Who do you say I AM? Getting honest about God.

Crossings Community are holding their annual conference

This year the theme is: 'Who do you say I AM? Getting honest about God.
Subtitlted: Why distinction of law and gospel matters more than ever to the world
St. Louis, MO
October 19-22, 2008

Some of the presentions include:
Digging for the Gospel: A Workshop in Six-Step Crossings Methodology.
The Heart of Bertram's Theology: A Study of "A Time for Confessing" and "Postmodernity's Crux"
Abraham's Paradoxical God: Fearing and Trusting the God Who Promises to Save Us from God's Self
"god" and God in Pop Culture
Singing God's Tune when the Audience has turned its Back
America's God: YHWH, Baal, or Golden Calf?
Six Steps Through a Text: A Thumbnail Review
Being Honest about God in Times of Confessing: Insights from Bertram
What Does God Require, Do, and Promise when the U.S.A. Holds Elections?
The Question of God in Pastoral Care
Reading Real Life through the Six Step Lens
"And there's no other God": Being Honest-to-God about God
Is the Lord's Prayer Christian?
Missio as Promissio: Lutheran Missiology Confronts the Challenge of Religious Pluralism
Encountering God at the End of Life
The Six-Step Parish Practitioner
Missional God Outside the Box
Confessions of the Lutheran Risk-Taker: Living Care and Redemption in the 21st Century
Discipleship and Equipping the Saints
Crossings Theology for Missions
Six Steps to Worship of the Great "I AM"

for more information visit

Outreach ideas from Southern District LCMS

The Southern District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod offers a free brochure of outreach ideas.
This maybe just the thing to get you thinking about what you can do in the place God has given you to be his salt and light

Visit for a copy

Growing in Worship: Children's resource for each Sunday of the church year

Concordia Publishing House has released Growing in Worship: a worship resource for children for each Sunday of the church year (they are designed to match the Lutheran Service Book's 3 year lectionary).

From the CPH website:
“Growing in Worship provides children with a weekly guide to the words, actions, people and Bible stories they encounter in worship each Sunday. It engages their minds and their spirits with Christ as He is encountered each week in Word and Sacrament, and then sends them home with Christ–centered ideas and suggestions for the week ahead. Every congregation should get Growing in Worship. It is truly a wonderful resource for our children!”— Revs. David Johnson and Jon Vieker LCMS Commission on Worship

Colorful, eye-catching, and interactive, this four–page weekly worship folder highlights the theme and message of the day and presents the time of the Church Year and special festivals through the following sections:
Pray! Child–friendly rebus format highlights the prayer of the day (Collect
See! Eye–opening activity focuses children on what they will see in worship
Hear! Clear instructions help children follow the Gospel reading
Do! Engaging activity unpacks the message of the Gospel reading
Words To Know! Simple definitions aid comprehension of difficult words
Did You Know? Intriguing fact sparks thinking
Family Faith Talk! Brief, daily ideas for family activity and faith discussion

This resource is ideal for children ages 5–10, but parents and others will be drawn to its content and appealing design. These 8-1/2” x 14” (unfolded) bulletins are available in the three-year Lutheran Service Book Lectionary.

To view a complete copy visit

For more information and to place an order visit:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Small Church in mission

Many Lutheran congregations are small because they:

  • are based in small populated areas.
  • are structured or operate in ways that deter or make it difficult for people joining their congregation.
  • don't have the resources; ideas, people, money, know how or attitudes to grow.
  • have historically been small.
  • don't believe in 'Church Growth principles' so decide to act in ways that deter their deter their congregation growing.
  • are not in a traditional Lutheran area.
  • have developed 'a belief' that being small is what God wants.
  • don't know how to reach beyond their current members.
Now if you are part of a small congregation, it maybe helpful for you and your leaders to explore the reasons why your congregation is small. The reason maybe legitimate or it maybe not especially if it encourages you and others to think that it is not important to share the gospel to all nations.

However whatever the reason, the reality is that there are many small congregations and small congregations operate differently to large congregations. Being small does not have to be a deterent for being disciples and sharing God's gospel.

Following are some resources that may help you as a leader in a small congregation (and if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments section, so others can benefit).

Town and Country Institute based at Gettysburg Seminary offers specialised courses online for Small Church ministries.

Small Groups Forum (sponsored by Village Missions) offers articles, discussion and help to small churches.

Presbyterian Presbytery of Kiskiminetas offers a number of resources for small church ministries in the areas of Description in a small church, worship in a small church, Leadership in a small church, strategy in a small church, revitalising a small church, ministry in a small church, Small Church institutes and programs, links to small church sites.

Small Church Music site offers music scores, lyrics, midi files, mp3s and other musical resources for small churches.

John Mark Ministries offers a range of articles relating to the small church. offers a range of articles and resources that help you better understand small churches and rural ministries; includes books, web links and conferences; helpful for information for pastors and lay leaders; and encouragement for small church ministries.

An article; A small church redefines its mission by Richard Bliese (professor at the Lutheran School of Theology)

General Board of discipleship Methodist Church offers a range of resources and information relating to the small church including events, articles and resources. Some of their resources include:
2. Biblical "Greats" for Small Church Leaders
3. Examples of Pastoral Leaders
4. The Christ-Centered Church
5. Options and Opportunities for Sharing Ministry
6. Questions for a Discussion on Mission and Ministry
7. Passion for People
8. Checking Your Church's Attitude
9. Ideas for Stewardship in Small Churches
10. Tips for Making NOW(rm) Work in Your Church
11. Assessing Your Nurture Ministries
12. More Outreach Ideas
13. More Witness Ideas
14. More Pointers on Lay Leadership Selection
15. Encouragement for Leaders in the Small Church
16. Organizing for Ministry

Episcopal Church blog for small church ministry

Transforming church article on growing a small church

With new books becoming available frequently, rather than suggest one or two books why not check out what Amazon offer (see below) in the way of resources for small membership churches. if you have used a particular book feel free to recommend or critic one of them in the comments page.