Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book: A Lutheran Primer for preaching

A Lutheran Primer for Preaching is designed to provide new pastors with a sound, biblical method to construct a sermon. And all pastors, new and experienced alike, will benefit from this first-published proposal for a theology of preaching from a distinctly Lutheran perspective. Rev. Dr. Edward Grimenstein outlines this uniquely Lutheran theology for preaching, while at the same time offering a scriptural model for sermon construction that may be employed by all pastors.

Over the past fifty years, many negative practices have snuck into the Church's preaching which still hold influence to this day, such as: regarding the Scriptures as distant stories with little impact upon the present world, viewing sermons as times for moralistic and educational teaching, and even treating Jesus more like an idol on a shelf rather than as the Creator of the universe. Theologies like “historical criticism” continually question the inerrancy of Scripture, authority of the spoken Word, and the role of Scripture in becoming normative for the life of the Church.

This primer provides pastors with a practical guide that counters common challenges that all modern preachers face during their ministry.


  1. Beginning of the theology of the Word
  2. The fall
  3. Rising from the fall
  4. A Trinitarian approach to preaching:  God the Father
  5. A Trinitarian approach to preaching:  God the Son
  6. A Trinitarian approach to preaching:  God the Holy Spirit
  7. Preaching Law and Gospel
  8. Preaching the Bible
  9. Preaching is "for You"
  10. Preparing
  11. Sermon Preparation Worksheet 1
  12. Sermon Preparation Worksheet 2
  13. The Law and Gospel are "for You"
  14. Returning to the Sermon

Monday, August 24, 2015

Confirmation Lessons online

A number of congregations are offering their confirmation lessons online.  Check out:

King of Kings Omaha

Living Word Lutheran Church, Ashmore Gold Coast

If you are aware of other congregations offering their confirmation lessons online please email

Online Lutheran Video Courses from Institute of Lutheran Theology

Institute of Lutheran Theology has developed video courses for congregations to use free of charge.  The courses include:

  • The only thing necessary - listening to Jesus
  • Communications and relationships
  • Ten Commandments
  • New Testament Survey
  • Learning to follow

To view these courses visit!courses-for-congregations/c1s8b

Friday, August 21, 2015

Conference: LIfe@Work Conference

Life@Work Conference
Thu Oct 29th, 10am-4pm
Our society is post-Christian and secular - what does it look like for Christians to live out their faith in this context, to be salt & light in the workplace, and to share their faith with their colleagues?
Coinciding with "Witness: Word & Deed", our third annual Life@Work conference, this year we are excited to introduce for the first time a special day for pastors. Join us Thursday October 29 as we consider the pressing need to pastor those in our churches for their public life in the workplace.
Don't miss this special day, co-hosted by Melbourne City Bible Forum & Ridley Marketplace Institute.
Ormond Anglican Church vicar Kevin Pedersen is looking forward to the day:
"This conference presents me with an opportunity to review work we've already done in integrating peoples' work with their faith.  It will help remind me of the tensions my people experience every day as Christians working in a secular environment".

Make sure you're there too.
When: Thursday October 29, 10am-4pm
Where: Metropolitan Hotel (263 William Street, Melbourne Victoria Australia)
Cost: $70 (includes full lunch, morning & afternoon tea)

For an extra $30, join us with members of your churches at the Wednesday or Thursday night session of our Life@Work conference, "Witness: Word & Deed".

In partnership with:

Conference program
10:00am  Conference welcome
10:05-10:30am  On the coalface: A Biblical sketch of work
(Robert Martin, Melbourne City Bible Forum, director)
10:30-11:15am What Christians in the workplace want to know...and need to know
(Andrew Laird, Melbourne City Bible Forum)
11:45-12:15pm  The Pastor goes to work (including "The pastor's perspective", featuring three local pastors)   (Kara Martin, Ridley Marketplace Institute)
12:15-1:30pm  Evangelism in post-Christian Australia today
(Sam Chan, City Bible Forum national communicator)
2:30-3:15pm  Panel: Charting the way forward
Featuring Melbourne church and para-church leaders
3:15-3:45pm  Suggested resources
(Kara Martin, Ridley Marketplace Institute)
4:00pm Conference close

Registrations available at

Monday, August 17, 2015

A rich but simple model for sharing the Gospel

It’s not easy to share the Gospel briefly and do justice to its glory and majesty at the same time. In our morning devotions we are enamoured with the infinite depth of the Gospel. But a few hours later we stutter as we try to share it over a cup of coffee, during a break at work or at the end of a sermon.
But what if we can do both?
What if we can share the Gospel in a few minutes and maintain at least some level of its depth and richness?  If we can do that, Gospel renewal will spread through our churches and neighbourhoods.
This will happen because people will hear a message about Jesus that is different (but more biblical!) than the one they rejected years ago. They will hear a message with power.
Where do we go for this rich but simple model for sharing the Gospel?
We need look no further than Ephesians 1:3-­14.
Paul’s Trinitarian Gospel Presentation 
In the opening verses of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul summarises the Gospel. But he does so in a unique way. Paul presents the Gospel so as to show how each Person of the Trinity contributes to the accomplishment of salvation.
1. The Father Adopts (Ephesians 1:3­-6).
The fact that we need to be adopted implies that we are orphans. We have all ‘run away from home.’ Just as Adam and Eve hid from God after eating from the tree so also, in sin, we have all hidden from God. As spiritual runaways we have no way to return to our Father.
We are locked up in the orphanage of sin. But our Father still loves us. He hasn’t forgotten about us. He has planned from eternity to adopt us back into His family.
2. The Son Redeems (Ephesians 1:7-­12).
As with all adoptions, there are costs and fees involved. God had to purchase our adoption. Jesus, God’s true Son – the only one who didn’t run away – gave His life to pay the cost of our adoption. Our sins are forgiven on the basis of Jesus’ blood.
3. The Spirit Seals (1:13-­14).
How do we know we won’t run away again?  The Holy Spirit seals us as God’s own children. By giving us the Spirit, our Father guarantees that we will be His forever. This is not much different from the parents who immediately bestow their last name on the child they have just adopted. That’s the proof that the child has a family forever.  And the sealing of the Spirit is the proof that we are in God’s family forever.

Paul’s Model Is As Timely Today As It Was 2,000 Years Ago.  Besides providing a framework for sharing the Gospel, Ephesians 1 contains two themes that address common unbiblical beliefs held by those without faith in Jesus.
1. Sin Is The Problem. When we share the Gospel, how often does the conversation
turn to politics, social injustice, or natural disasters? Ephesians 1 locates the problem inside us, not ‘out there.’ We ran away, and that sin condemns us forever.
2. Jesus Is At The Centre. Postmodernism may be dead, but pluralism is alive and well. We will continue to hear claims that all roads lead to God somehow. All of the ‘in Christ’ and ‘in him’ statements refute this notion  (only verses 8 and 14 have no such reference!). Salvation lies only in Jesus and through Jesus.

This model is enriched by the mysterious workings of the Triune God.
He is one God, in three Persons, with each Person fulfilling a unique role in the single work of salvation. This is incomprehensible stuff. Yet it is also simple.
It’s a three­point presentation, so you can remember it.
It follows the analogy of adoption, so the person you share it with can identify with it.
This model doesn’t hit everything.
But the point isn’t to hit everything.
That will paralyse us from sharing the Gospel.
We need something that is rich and simple.
Paul provides that for us.

This resource us from Eric McKiddle of and   He serves as the Junior High Pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, USA.

Study Tours relating to the Reformation in Germany

Australian Lutheran College/Lay Ministry Study Tour to Germany
1 July – 14 July 2016
The tour begins and ends in Neuendettelsau, Germany and will run from There will be a maximum of 32 people on the tour so it’s time to act quickly. The tour will visit key historical sites like Wittenberg, Erfurt, Wartburg and Regensburg.
The aims of this tour are:
•    to experience and explore Reformation history and culture;
•    to build deeper relationships and share dialogue with tour participants;
•    to see, hear and experience many key German cities and towns;
•    to gain a clearer understanding of the historical and cultural stories and journeys that have shaped Lutheran history; and
•    to undertake professional development and spiritual growth which will impact your life and work.
Costs of the study tour are not expected to exceed $1900AUD per person. This cost includes accommodation, most meals and the bus for touring. It does not include your air travel to and from Germany, your travel to Neuendettelsau, incidentals and some meals.
For more information contact Tania Nelson

Reformation Tour 
29 March - 16 April 2016
REV Gerald Vanderwert, minister of Donvale Presbyterian Church, Vic, is leading a tour focusing on significant places where the Reformation took place. It is mainly centred on Germany (Luther), Geneva (Calvin) and Zurich (Zwingli).  For more details contact Mr Vanderwert’s 0414 407 404 (Australia) or

Reformation Tours 
Reformation Tours offers the following tours
Lutherland Tour
Heroes of the Reformation
Luther 500 Festival
Reformation Fathers Tour
Reformation Heritage Tour
Reformation and Music Tour
Grand Reformation Tour
Lutheran Heritage Tour
Reformation Heritage Trail
Reformation Spring Jubilee Tour
Leisurely Lutherland Tour
Reformation Fall Jubilee Tour
Reformation Celebration Tour
For more details on these tours visit

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Book: Faithfully wrestling with the scriptures in the midst of church conflict

Conflict is all too common in the church today. But as Frances Taylor Gench reminds us in this book, conflict over scriptural interpretation has been with the church since its earliest days. Gench reflects on those early experiences of conflict, presenting substantive studies of biblical texts showing that discord (such as Romans 14-15; Matthew 14; Jeremiah 28; 1 Corinthians 12-14; John 13-17) and drawing lessons from each about how it informs current conflicts in the church. In the process, she provides a constructive resource to help Christians wrestle with Scripture in the midst of their disagreements. This innovative book can be used by individuals and in groups. Numerous study questions conclude each chapter.

Book: Faithwebbing

Faith webbing is about wrapping our children and youth in a web of faith so loving and caring that they will know Christ and always want to be a part of a local congregation.
The goal is to envelop our children and youth with as many people of faith of all ages as possible—people whose faith they can look  up to and admire.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. From a spiritual viewpoint, it takes a congregation. That means we need a faith family in which members have an understanding of their parts in passing on the faith to our young people. Faith webbing is a concept we have been developing at St. John’s since 1982. It attempts to help all members of the congregation to fill the relationship voids in each other’s lives. These people are like surrogate grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, cousins, and nieces and nephews.
In this book, you will meet various youth.
Youth like Christopher, who at a young age has learned to turn to his church family in a time of need. Youth like Tori, who jumped into a congregation at the age of twelve and six years later graduated from high school totally immersed in her congregation. And you will meet youth like Josh, who at the age of fourteen has over one hundred people in his life whose faith he admires. From our standpoint, that is true youth ministry. That is faith webbing at its best, and that is what our young people need in order to grow up strong and true.
So, jump on in, meet some youth, and start thinking about how faith webbing can not only
impact your children and youth but your entire congregation.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Leaders resource: Ministry Library

Ministry Library help pastors and their teams succeed through summaries of leadership books on video, action plans and team workshops.
Ministry at times can be very time consuming and often what happens is leaders and pastors neglect their own development, as they deal with the important and urgent matters of ministry, Ministry Library helps pastors keep up their learning through:
Video book summaries which don't just summarise the books, they focus on how you can apply the lessons and ideas to your ministry right away. Each video has lists, tips, how-to’s and extra material to help you better lead your ministry.
Action Plans - Notes don’t change anything, actions do. So don’t take notes, take action! Each video comes with a printable transcript that’s formatted to help you set goals, take actions and keep deadlines.
Team Workshops which are created to help you and your staff take your church to the next level, by providing you with actionable takeaways, done-for-you resources and discussion questions that will have immediate results in your ministry.
Explore today