Monday, March 31, 2008

A monthly magazine from LCMS Evangelgram

Every month LCMS offers a monthly magazine that contains useful information, resources, and news regarding outreach efforts in congregations throughout their Synod.

There are some helpful stories and real life examples that may help you and your congregation

Go to to obtain current and backdated online copies

A model for Urban Church planting

In the light of the ever-increasing urbanization of today's world, the need for
effective urban church planting is becoming acute. The following article offers one model
for the initial phase of planting a cross-cultural urban congregation, a model which has
grown out of the authors' combined experiences – in all, nearly 30 years in urban Latin
America. This model has been used successfully in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, a city of
nearly one million people, and characterized by strong resistance to the Gospel
(approximately 3% of the population are practicing Christians). Following this model, a
congregation was formed with a core group of 25 regular worshippers. Since that time 4
years ago, the church has grown to over 80 worshippers – every one of them a new
convert to Christianity!
Even before reading this model, we offer the following four recommendations to
any urban church planter: 1. Pray regularly. 2. Be creative, open-minded, and flexible. 3.
If you choose to follow this guide, do things in order! 4. Don't assume that something
written here does not apply to your situation until you have first tried it out!...

read more

Lutheran Lay Renewal

Lutheran Lay Renewal Inc. (LLR) is a independent evangelical organization of Lay people serving Northern California and is not affiliated with any specific congregation or synod within the Lutheran family of churches.
Their program is designed to provide a means for Lutheran congregations to recognize and define, or redefine their mission, by experiencing a spiritual renewal of their membership.
Through a variety of encounters during our programs the Lay Renewal Team comes to share their personal experiences in living the Christian life. In addition to their “success” stories they tell of personal growth through struggles and heartaches of everyday life, as well as the victories and joys of the mountain top.

Discover more by visiting

Discipleship weekly devotionals

Dr Mike Foss the author of Power Surge: 6 marks of discipleship provides a weekly devotional free of charge.

Visit to access current and past devotions since he has been at St Marks Lutheran Church

If you want to receive them directly into your email box contact and request the e devotions

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Challenging Growing churches: Theological Affirmations

This report was written to encourage congregations to keep on growing...and to keep following the Great Commission. It highlights:
Mission begins in the heart of God
God's Mission is necessary because of sin
God's Mission centres in Jesus Christ
God's Mission is for and to everyone
God's Mission is our mission
God's Mission is my mission
God Mission is urgent

Take a few moments to read Challenging Growing Churches: Theological Affirmations

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Communion Bread recipes

One of the puzzling questions in some Lutheran churches is their insistence that the cup...must be wine (not grape juice) because that is what Christ used....but at the same time they serve up little white wafers that some seem to believe are 'bread' . Why is that? Are they really bread?

So for those congregations who would prefer to use bread here are two links to communion bread recipes.
From Luther Seminary...
From the Shepherd of the Lakes congregation

For those congregations who would prefer to serve Matzah (Matzo) (ie. the bread that is served at the passover) Following is a recipe gained from
Matzah (Unleavened Bread)
Heat oven to 375 - 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 to 200 degrees celcius

2 cups Plain flour only (preferably kosher)
1 cup pure water (or 2/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of olive oil)

Making it:
Place flour in a bowl
Gradually add the water (and oil) until all is mixed well -- add more water or flour if needed.
Knead dough until the dough is no longer sticky - As you knead you may need to add a dash of flour

Roll dough out on a cookie sheet with a non stick finish (or a pizza stone) thinly, no more than 1/4 an inch or 6mm thick.
Use a fork or a toothed comb to puncture the matzah, making rows of perforations across the full length of rolled-out dough.

Then lightly stretch dough a bit closer to sheet/pan edges to enlarge the perforations made.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes (pizza stone times may vary) -- watch for browning -- when it's browned and crispy, it's done.

From the time water is added to flour until put into oven should be less than 15 minutes, to prevent any fermentation from occurring, otherwise it is considered unsuitable for the passover

MONTHLY FEATURE: Healing resources

Healing is part of the journey for all Christians.

Unfortunately though some people are very weary of healing in any Christian contexts, because of a limited exposure and view of healing.

The following resources we pray will help pastors, lay people and others see how healing is part of the ministry of the church.

Somethings to think about to get you started:
Healing can take place in a number of ways...physically, attitudely, spiritually, relationally and emotionally.
In all cases healing is God at work.
Christian healing is not restricted to supernatural powers, nor does it work in competition with the God given talents of Doctors, nurses and other health professions.
Healing can take time.
The amount of faith does not determine whether a person will be healed or not.

Health Ministries Network of Minnesota
Describes health as the unity and harmony of body, mind, and spirit in relationship with God, self, others, and the environment. It is not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. it is an interfaith organization committed to encouraging, supporting and developing whole-person ministries throughout Minnesota. Their web site offers a range of resources including:
Best Practice Modules
Educational Ministry Programs
Inner Spirit Newsletter
Links to other resources
Lutheran healing service 1
Lutheran healing service 2
Blessing for the laying on of hands

Wheatridge Ministries
Wheat Ridge Ministries is an independent Lutheran charitable organization that provides support for new church-related health and hope ministries. Wheat Ridge Ministries is Lutherans seeding new ministries of health and hope in the name of the healing Christ.
This mission statement continues to be a source of excitement as we encourage healing ministries being carried out by congregations, agencies, and church bodies. Reflecting Christ's concern for the whole person (John 10:10), we remain committed to seeding new and innovative ministries that focus on health of body, mind and spirit.
Wheat Ridge Ministries fulfills its mission by granting, connecting and equipping.

Their web site offers a Wellness Wheel, ideas on planning a congregational health fair, a health ministry congregational self study, grants for health ministries and health workshops.

North Tasmania Lutheran Parish Service of healing for mind, body and soul
A service of healing that encourages healing through God's word , sacraments and prayer. Those worshipping can be both receivers and interceeders of God's healing.

Healing with Prayer
Reclaiming a Lutheran view of healing.
Pastor Ron Rehrer (Counselor for Professional Church Workers of our PSW District) and Pastor Bill Dasch (Texas District) presented 8 workshops on Healing Prayer for the congregations and pastors of the Texas district of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Our Lord Jesus passed on to his disciples the command to preach, teach, and to heal. This third part of His command was the subject of our workshop. It was an education/practical workshop, presenting a balanced, non-charismatic presentation with a special emphasis on Word and Sacrament for healing (spiritual, emotion, physical, relational healing) as well as perspective on the use of anointing with oil, constructing healing services, how to pray, the use of touch, and how to answer questions in the congregation. Pastor Rehrer and Pastor Dasch believe there is a high interest in prayer for healing throughout our Church, and they want to offer teaching and practical guidelines for this ministry.

Trinity Healing Center Brooklyn
The Trinity Healing Center, Inc. was created in the year 2000, to respond to the needs of those who suffer in silence due to domestic violence.

St Matthews Lutheran Church Medina
An article discussing a healing service at St Matthews Lutheran Church Medina

The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria
Visioning for healing.

Michal Bongi identifies the following as ways of healing; Action, Change of Heart, Sacrifice, Integrity, Forgiveness and Unity.

Dr Edgar Mayer
Living Waters Lutheran Church Toowoomba has available a sermon series on healing.

Healing 1 Luke 5:17-26 Healing More Than Crippled Legs
Healing 2 Luke 12:22-34 Grey Squirrel Healing
Healing 3 Mark 5:21-43 Faith Healing
Healing 4 Matthew 5:12 Dying To The Cancer Of The Soul
Healing 4 James 5:14 Kooky Behaviour

The Lutheran Church of Australia
The Service to Holy Communion for the ministry of those who are sick COW statement 18
The worship services of the church and healing

ELCA Evangelical Lutheran Church
Prayers for healing

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
Medical Missions entry from Christian's Cycolopedia
LCMS Health Ministry mission statement
LCMS' response to the Charismatic movement including its approach to healing

Lutheran Renewal
The church's healing ministry by Rev David Dorpat
also available in hard copy from

Luther Seminary
Outline of a Course on Biblical healing, lists a number of resources (see below) that maybe helpful

Books relating to healing in the Lutheran Church and Christian circles
Morton Kelsey, Healing and Christianity (Augsburg, 1995)
Martin Marty, Health and Medicine in the Lutheran Tradition (Crossroad, 1986)
John Pilch, Healing in the New Testament (Fortress, 2000)
Klaus Seybold and Ulrich Mueller, Sickness and Healing (Abingdon,1981)
John Wilkinson, The Bible and Healing (Eerdmans, 1998)
Joel J. Shuman and Keith G. Meador, Heal Thyself: Spirituality, Medicine, and the Distortion of Christianity (Oxford, 2003)
Avalos, Hector. Health Care and the Rise of Christianity. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999.
Bakken, Kenneth. The Journey into God: Healing and Christian Faith. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 2000.
Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giraux, 1997.
Howard, J. Keir. Disease and Healing in the New Testament: An Analysis and Interpretation. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2001.
Kee, H. Medicine, Miracle and Magic in New Testament Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1986.
Kelsey, Morton. Healing and Christianity: A Classic Study. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1995.
Kinsley, David. Health, Healing, and Religion: A Cross-cultural Perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996.
Kydd, Ronald. Healing through the Centuries: Models for Understanding. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998.
Linde, Paul R. Of Spirits and Madness: An American Psychiatrist in Africa. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
Marty, Martin. Health and Medicine in the Lutheran Tradition. New York: Crossroad, 1986.
Marty, Martin, and Kenneth Vaux, eds. Health/Medicine and the Faith Traditions: An Inquiry into Religion and Medicine. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982.
Pilch, John. Healing in the New Testament: Insights from Medical and Mediterranean Anthropology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000.
Plante, Thomas O., and Allen C. Sherman, eds. Faith and Health: Psychological Perspectives. New York: Guilford, 2001.
Seybold, Klaus., and Ulrich Mueller. Sickness and Healing. Nashville: Abingdon, 1981.
Siirala, Aarne. The Voice of Illness. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1964.
Shuman, Joel J., and Keith G. Meador. Heal Thyself: Spirituality, Medicine, and the Distortion of Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University, 2003.
Wilkinson, John. The Bible and Healing. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

If you have anything further to offer in the way of healing please email me...

A congregation to visit: Living Grace Community Lutheran Church Toowoomba

Living Grace Lutheran Community Church
Vision includes:
Looking towards our amazing God who is at work around us and among us. He loves us.
Staying close to Jesus and be faithful in your everyday walk with him.
Developing the discipline of a daily quiet time with God (cf. Life Journal).
Committing to studying the course Experiencing God and while you learn Biblical principles commit to knowing and doing the will of God.
God may not yet reveal to us where he wants us to be in twenty years time but every new day we want to recognize where he wants us to be in mission as individuals and also as a congregation. THINK BIG. EACH ONE TEACH ONE. IT WILL COST US.

Dr Edgar Mayer, the senior Pastor of the newest Lutheran congregation in Toowoomba (a place with a large number of Lutheran congregations), has developed a range of resources for his congregation and the wider church...

On theire web site you will find the following:

Papers including:
Allowing The LCA To Repent by Edgar Mayer
Prophecy In Today's Church
Experiencing God

Sermon Series:
But Wait There Is More
How To Get Ready For The Infilling With The Holy Spirit.
Unlocking your life
Holy Communion
Sex and Marriage
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Answers to Agony
Justifying Grace
Law and Gospel

Small Group Material:
40 Days Of Unity Small Group Transcripts
Studies in Luke and Acts

Creative Worship Resources



To discover these and more resources visit

Friday, March 07, 2008

A missional web site: Allelon a movement of Missional Leaders

Allelon is a movement of missional leaders...
Its Board of Advisors consist of:

Their website was established to provide tools and resources to missional leaders from a wide array of local churches, denominations, schools and other organizations throughout North America and the world. Their Resources include Allelon Netcast, the Roxburgh Journal, Allelon Publishing, and Articles from scholars, researchers and practitioners.

The word allelon is a common but overlooked New Testament word that is reciprocal in nature. Christian faith is not an individual matter. Everything in the life of the church is done allelon for the sake of the world. A Christian community is defined by the allelon sayings in Scripture. We are to love one another; We are to pursue one another's good; We are to build up one another ; We are to bear with one another in love; We are to bear one another's burdens; We are to be kind to one another; We are to be compassionate to one another; We are to be forgiving one another; We are to submit to one another; We are to consider one another better than ourselves; We are to be devoted to one another in love; We are to live in harmony with one another.

Allelon's mission is to educate and encourage the church to become a people among whom God can live, as sign, symbol, and foretaste of his redeeming love and grace in their neighborhoods and the whole of society- ordinary women and men endeavoring to participate in God's mission to reclaim and restore the whole of creation and to bear witness to the world of a new way of being human.

Check out their web site at

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Monthly Feature: Small Groups

Did you know that small groups in Lutheran church's go back many years.....infact many, many, many years.....
A Lutheran character called Philip Spener encouraged small groups to meet, to encourage growth spiritually in the church. In 1675 he wrote something called Pia Desideria (meaning 'Heart felt desire for God pleasing reform'). The following were the main points:
  1. there should be "a more extensive use of the Word of God among us." The Bible, Spener said, "must be the chief means for reforming something." This was achieved through small groups who met for prayer and bible study.
  2. a call also for a renewal of "the spiritual priesthood," the priesthood of all believers. Here he cited Luther's example in urging all Christians to be active in the general work of Christian ministry.
  3. He appealed for the reality of Christian practice and argued that Christianity is more than a matter of simple knowledge.
  4. He then urged restraint and charity in religious controversies. He asked his readers to love and pray for unbelievers and the erring, and to adopt a moderate tone in disputes.
  5. Next he called for a reform in the education of ministers. Here he stressed the need for training in piety and devotion as well as in academic subjects.
  6. Last he implored ministers to preach edifying sermons, understandable by the people, rather than technical discourses which few were interested in or could understand.
Buy a copy of the book.

Small Groups can take any format, and are often influenced by the mix of people, the time available and the interests.
But here are two very simple formats...
Meal/Drink and nibble: Have a meal or at least something to nibble and eat together, encourage discussion around the meal about how your week had been, what people think of news events, how is family life, etc.
A bible reading or presentation on a issue from a Christian perspective (eg. dvd, or somethign someone found and shares) There is no strict rule on what you choose, You may wish to further explore one of the readings from Sunday worship...some reasources relating to lectionary worship are available from as part of their cctoolkit or from as part of their faith at home handout or even try . Alternatively obtain a video series or if you are looking for other ideas email me . Alternatively you may have particular issues that are relevant to your group that you are keen to delve into.
Talk about it..(usually someone needs to faciliate this in a safe way...ask questions like, what do you think?, what did you get out of it? What didn't seem to make sense?, How do you think this affects our lives? even give examples)
Pray..have a prayer leader who prays aloud, give others the opportunity to do so also but creating a time of silence where they can pray either aloud or quietly (some people are comfortable praying aloud whilst others appreciate the opportunity to pray quietly)
The idea of this format is to encourage families to come together, but for family meet and eat together for part of the night, and relate to other families for part of the night.
Gathering: Ice breaker games.
Meal: Families from the same family sit at the same table...Propose a question to talk about over the meal. Encourage families to talk about this question and other relevant issues as they eat.
Bible story: Have families listen to a bible story and even read it. Then ask them to discuss it with questions like. What is important for you in that story? Which character do you relate to the most and why? What are something relating to that story you are going to ask God about?
Activity: Do an activity together relating to the Bible Story!!....
Prayer: Pray for each other as a family
GAME TIME: Mix families up (dads in one group, mums in another, sons in another and daughters in another; or 2 or 3 families combine for a group). Play some games that encourage interaction.
PARTING WORDS: Finish the night off with some parting words...Summary of what we covered, and gaining feedback on what people liked and what people would like...and a blessing.

Alleluia Lutheran Church is a church organised around small groups/cell groups...Check out their web site to see how this works.
Another congregation with a significant focus on small groups is who emphasis them as life groups.
SMALL GROUP RESOURCES AND IDEAS has a huge range of resources and ideas for small groups and small group leaders. is an Internet-based ministry providing training and resources for Christian small groups. Our members are a network of individuals, churches, publishers, and other Christian organizations brought together in one place to provide ongoing training and support for small group leaders and administrators of groups. John Mallison an Australian Church leader has been very helpful to many church leaders in the area of small groups. Check out his book at located at has a huge arrange of resources relating to small groups...well worth a look at.
Lutheran Church Missouri synod's home page relating to small groups is at
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America relating to small groups is at
Augsburg Fortress books relating to small groups include One Anothering: Biblical building blocks for small groups, Building Spiritual Community in Small Groups, Starting Small Groups and keeping them going, plus a range of their teaching materials including No experience necessary...visit their web site at
CPH...Concordia Publising House has a selection of resources that are very suitable for small groups in searching the scriptures. Just visit their web site and explore studies
Zondervan has a wide range of publciations relating to small groups, why not visit their site at if this link doen't work go to and type in small groups
Willow Creek Association has a strong ministry in the areas of small group ministry, with regular conferences and plenty of material. Infact the Willow Creek church began as a small group. Visit their web site for an overview of their resources
if this link doesn't work go to and type in small groups
Serendipty House offers a range of bible studies, issue studies ideal for small groups, plus a range of small group leader materials
Group Publishing offers a variety of materials that help small groups in the areas of bible studies, leadership, outreach, marriage ministry, volunteer ministires. check out their site at
Upper Room Publishing has a specialist area for smal group ministries with free advice, a magazine for small groups and books available at
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Believe it or not I have turned up to a small group where the person leading the group has not had the time to prepare for the group and has simply picked up a book. This can cause problems because not all material is suitable for all groups (Some groups even in the same congregation require different material and can cope with different situations). Before using any small group material, please review it and think about whether the material will be helpful. Also not all of the above are from Lutheran resources, but have in fact been recommended from a variety of Lutheran resources so checking is important, not so much to exclude but to put a Lutheran slant on things.
ONE LAST THING: If you have any other recommendations please send them to me at I am sure there is more stuff worth sharing.