Author Topic: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?  (Read 43698 times)

Jeremy Loesch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2219
    • View Profile
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #315 on: February 10, 2011, 01:32:47 PM »
George, I don't know if it makes evangelism easier, but I do know that evangelism isn't supposed to be hard.

By my own fault (my own most grievous fault, thanks Compline!) I make evangelism hard.  What will they think of me?  What if they don't like me?  What if I say it wrong?  What if they are offended?  All of those questions and more are distractions.  They get me away from what I am privileged to do.

Evangelism does have an intentional aspect to it.  Going and making disciples by teaching them to obey all that the Lord has commanded is accomplished as we intentionally go about our daily lives.  And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  I intentionally go to the YMCA every morning.  I've had a few conversations with people when they see me get dressed in my clerical.  They ask where I serve and they then tell me the name of their church.  We part by wishing each other a blessed day.  Perhaps some day a non-Christian and I will talk.  Hasn't happened yet, but it might.  

Some people do respond to a knock on the door and answering the question about where they would be if the Lord returned that night.  Some people don't.  

The Christian is called to be the child God made them to be, to pick up their cross and follow Him.  Sometimes that means driving the FedEx truck that you are responsible for.  It's either intentionally unintentional or unintentionally intentional.  

Jeremy  
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

racin_jason

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1171
    • View Profile
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #316 on: February 10, 2011, 01:34:08 PM »
I admit to being ambivalent to this whole discussion.

On the one side we have the co-wos. They recognize that traditional liturgical worship doesn't work for everybody. So they try new and different things. I question, at times, the agenda. The adage "there are two reasons for doing something, first is the reason you tell people, second there is the real reason your'e doing it" applies a bit to many of this persuasion, who go out and innovate by doing what they think the world wants. Well, the changes are often not what the world wants as much as the changes are what the innovator wants.

Meanwhile, the traditional liturgists, who are the majority on this forum, are content to defend the status quo, and/or even advocates for higher liturgy, when we can see empirically that this style has scant attractiveness in the american context. Lutherans can look down there noses at other traditions and reject them all for not being Lutheran enough, but wow, they attract people who want to grow in their relationship with Christ. I see it all around where I live. Some among us are content to be stewards of the tradition whether there are (m)any people in the pews or not.

Recently I chaperoned my daughter's class on a trip to see our city's symphony orchestra. The orchestra went to great lengths to present classical music as relevant and interesting. They had lively dialogue, they played short pieces, they played scores from movies the kids would know. They even had powerpoint screens to accompany the music. The conductor was engaging in his explanations. I thought the whole effort was effective, but I looked around and saw many kids and chaperones who had fallen asleep.

At one point, they played an orchestral version of "Don't Stop Believin'", a song by the group Journey, a song popularized recently by the TV show "Glee". An opera singer belted out the lyrics. The powerpoint screen even had the "Glee!" logo projected. It was horrible, I was uncomfortable by the display, embarrassed, but also amused at how unintentionally funny it all was. The applause was lukewarm.  Afterwards my daughter's teacher, a woman in her 20's told me "they ruined one of my favorite songs".

What the orchestra attempted is pretty much what we are doing in the church with this co-wo discussion. It's a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you don't situation. Keep doing what you're doing, staying the course will have limited results. But innovation brings risks too, the biggest risk being coming across as being inauthentic.

    

« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 01:37:39 PM by racin_jason »
Recipient of the official Forum Online Get Us Back on Topic Award

Mike Gehlhausen

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #317 on: February 10, 2011, 01:39:08 PM »
George, I don't know if it makes evangelism easier, but I do know that evangelism isn't supposed to be hard.

By my own fault (my own most grievous fault, thanks Compline!) I make evangelism hard.  What will they think of me?  What if they don't like me?  What if I say it wrong?  What if they are offended?  All of those questions and more are distractions.  They get me away from what I am privileged to do.

Evangelism does have an intentional aspect to it.  Going and making disciples by teaching them to obey all that the Lord has commanded is accomplished as we intentionally go about our daily lives.  And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  I intentionally go to the YMCA every morning.  I've had a few conversations with people when they see me get dressed in my clerical.  They ask where I serve and they then tell me the name of their church.  We part by wishing each other a blessed day.  Perhaps some day a non-Christian and I will talk.  Hasn't happened yet, but it might. 

Some people do respond to a knock on the door and answering the question about where they would be if the Lord returned that night.  Some people don't. 

The Christian is called to be the child God made them to be, to pick up their cross and follow Him.  Sometimes that means driving the FedEx truck that you are responsible for.  It's either intentionally unintentional or unintentionally intentional. 

Jeremy 

Pr. Loesch,

Wow!  Great answer.

Mind fielding all of my tough questions for me?  ;)

Mike

kls

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #318 on: February 10, 2011, 01:54:08 PM »
Pastor Fiene deals with the other extreme:

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/02/ps-i-hate-you-part-2.html

Enjoy!

Jeremy Loesch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2219
    • View Profile
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #319 on: February 10, 2011, 01:54:29 PM »
To my former IM captain Mark, I'm on the side of not favoring CoWo.  Not my thing.  But in reading the blog piece, I found it to read that "The World" ignores both aspects of church- traditional and contemporary, hipster and non-hipster.  "The World" mocks the Fender Stratocaster and the Casavant Freres.  If you are called to CoWo, I suppose that is okay.  But the world will hate you or think you irrelevant just like they do the traditional church.  In my mind, hatred and irrelevant are related terms.  unChristian was a good book, lots of accurate thoughts in there.  

I would agree that the Word believes the Church to be irrelevant.  Nothing new there.  Sometimes the Church makes herself irrelevant.  My congregation falls within the boundary of the Diocese of Wilmington DE.  The Diocese reached a legal settlement with some plaintiffs to the tune of $77 million.  Do you think people are going to look to the Church for moral standards or guidelines?  The Church shoots herself in the foot all the time.  Nothing new there.  

The Church is irrelevant because she continues to preach the same "tired" message.  "Pastor, you keep having Confession and Absolution every Sunday.  Do we have to?"  "Yes, because you keep sinning.  Let me know when you are no longer a sinner and I'll stop doing what I am supposed to do."  

The part about what the church should be worried about is in my response to George.  And maybe the response is best taken from the Epistle this week.  Apollos watered, Paul planted, Barnabas sprayed the roundup, Silas laid the compost, John Mark prepared the compost in the first place, Lydia filled the watering can that Apollos used, and Luke brought the seed that Paul placed into the ground.  But the Holy Spirit brought the growth.  

The Church should be worried about the numbers of people in the seats.  Our worry is seen in the care we take for the proclamation of the Gospel.   Our worry is displayed in the way we respond to the situations we encounter.  

My response is likely too long because I think we are in agreement.

Good to respond to you, hope all is well.

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Jeremy Loesch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2219
    • View Profile
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #320 on: February 10, 2011, 02:02:03 PM »
Kim, glad you shared the second part of Rev. Fiene's "letter".  Very true.  Certainly lets us know of the work Jesus has given us to do. 

Did you find that blog while passing time recuperating from your Bieber Fever?  Remember, bourbon is wonderful medicine for fevers.  And you live in Cincitucky, so bourbon should be plentiful down there!   ;)

Jeremy (who lived in true Ohio- Columbus.  Toledo wants to be Michigan and no one really cares for Cincy, so that only leaves Ohio State University, Franklin, Union, and Madison Counties.  And maybe Dayton and Zanesville.  If you're not located along Highway 40...meh.) 
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Mike Gehlhausen

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #321 on: February 10, 2011, 02:08:58 PM »
Pastor Fiene deals with the other extreme:

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/02/ps-i-hate-you-part-2.html

Enjoy!

Thanks. To Pr. Fiene for posting this, and you for linking to it.

God's Word does indeed have power to regenerate the sinner in the world who hates Jesus.  That is indeed why we should speak it to those we meet in our vocations including those fairly-widely-defined like grocery shopper and citizen.

But some will always hate Jesus even after hearing His Word.  Soft-fatalism; hard-fatalism; I don't know. It is just what Scripture says.

And some will love Jesus for a while -- even fervently -- and then reject Him and hate Him because their heart is broken or they lose a loved one or the economy reduces their life to a mess.   Or because they become captivated by wealth and luxury and the work of their vocations which are no longer done with their eyes upon Christ.

Why? I don't know, but Scripture tells us this is true. God is God. We are not God. Let God be God and worry about why some are not saved even though He desires all to be saved.

Mike

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #322 on: February 10, 2011, 02:21:38 PM »
And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.


kls

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #323 on: February 10, 2011, 02:28:36 PM »
And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

I'm going on record to say that I have found that the best methods for evangelizing are through our vocations and also through human care (acts of mercy).

pr dtp

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #324 on: February 10, 2011, 02:32:05 PM »
Quote
So then, you can attract Generic American Protestants by singing music they know and like but, they can just as easily flow to the next church with the "hot" preacher or "hot" praise band. I am not interested in worshiping GAG-- Generic American God by presenting AGAPE -- Another Generic American Protestant Experience. I would rather go through the hard work of teaching new people the value of Lutheran Worship and thereby retain them over the long haul rather than take the easy course of pretending to be something we are not. I don't really care for organ exclusively and I don't enjoy most of the old chorales so I don't think we need a monolithic approach to worship either.

My old consultant career still haunts me some days regarding the concept of competitive advantage. A firm with a product or service can have a broad market that competes as a low cost provider. Or a firm can be highly differentiated and compete as a high value provider. No firm can survive long "stuck in the middle". In the middle of Minnesota or Missouri the Lutheran church might be the "community" church for its location. But in most of the U.S. the Lutheran church serves a small niche within the churches in the community. If we lose that niche by trying to broaden our appeal by becoming more "generic" then we had better have the money and the talent to compete with the "big box" churches on their scale. I think Lutheran churches that can play at that level are a handful. Most of us are better off being the "high value" provider rather than the "low cost" one.

Exactly.... next door to us is a large Baptist congregation with more mics than Shure, screens and projectors, a paid praise band, the generic handsome and attractive male and female lead singers and a stage that fits its CoWo format.  If we tried to emulate what they do, we would look foolish in comparison.  Now we are not small by Lutheran standards (300 on a Sunday).  But we are the only game in town with sung liturgy, large traditional choir, large pipe organ, high content Biblical preaching and teaching, and weekly Eucharist.  What sense is there for us to even offer CoWo as an option when we cannot match the big guns (of which our next door neighbor is but one of many).  So, cast theology aside, it is a marketing nightmare to try and be what they are.  We have Lowes and Home Depot in town but we also have two very highly successful local DIY centers -- why?  Because they do not match Lowes and Home Depot but compete in different ways and in different markets. 

Now I am not granting that there is no theological weight in our arguments -- there is -- but for those who won't go there, why do you insist upon ignoring the marketing wisdom of those who know the realities of competition.  Furthermore, the CoWo folks are not really competing for the same unchurched folk but actually competing for the same church changing, fickle Christian population that loves new things and quickly tires of them, moving from place to place in search of what they do not know... until they happen to enter our doors.

I had a young man (25) whose father was a Baptist preacher and he was looking for a more old time gospel hour style baptist congregation when he wandered in to visit us.  He sat in the pew for about six months watching, half scared to death, and yet attracted to what he had never experienced before -- the liturgy and a Eucharistic piety.  He went through membership class twice and ended up saying that his mind told him to leave many times but his heart knew that what he was experiencing in the liturgy and hearing from the pulpit was the truest form of Christianity he had ever experienced.  He said he heard the Gospel here for the first time...  -- just one of many such stories...

These stories are great - but they don't represent CoWO all that well.  For example - you set up a straw man that CoWo in Lutheran Churches is represented by your neighbor's baptist church and appear to be anti-sacramental.  Some may, but that is not my experience.  Most include the major parts of the liturgy - albeit it may be sung.  And I disagree with your generalization about competing for fickle people (and how do you know they won't be fickle and tire of you five years from now?)  You put things to extreme.. in order to defeat them.  But your stories are simply the extreme - not the real thing.

Our music isn't easy but rather a more relaxing and meditative sound.  And I could tell of the stories of people, like our newest couple - that is neither satisfied with high liturgy that is done dry, nor with the non-lutheran offerings around.  ee shucks, they found their home.



Mike Gehlhausen

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #325 on: February 10, 2011, 02:35:16 PM »
And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work. 

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

I'm going on record to say that I have found that the best methods for evangelizing are through our vocations and also through human care (acts of mercy).

Which are both face-to-face and also corporate through things like LCMS World Relief & Human Care, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Lutheran Malaria Initiative, etc.

I really have not seen anyone here reject people cooperating with others in evangelizing, providing care and relief, and working out their vocations.  So I really don't get Mr. Erdner's one-on-one complaint.  ???

Mike

kls

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #326 on: February 10, 2011, 02:40:12 PM »
Which are both face-to-face and also corporate through things like LCMS World Relief & Human Care, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Lutheran Malaria Initiative, etc.

I really have not seen anyone here reject people cooperating with others in evangelizing, providing care and relief, and working out their vocations.  So I really don't get Mr. Erdner's one-on-one complaint.  ???

My point exactly.

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #327 on: February 10, 2011, 02:49:42 PM »
And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

I'm going on record to say that I have found that the best methods for evangelizing are through our vocations and also through human care (acts of mercy).

Why is it that whenever I mention that there are multiple methods of evangelism, the only responses are which one someone thinks is "best"? Of course if there are multiple means for accomplishing any goal, those multiple methods can be ranked from best to worst.

So, what is your point? Are you saying that since you believe that one particular method is #1 on the list of methods, then methods 2 through 10 should just be thrown aside and never used? If the method you believe is #1 so good, so universally effective, that it will reach every person out there who needs to be reached? Are you saying that it is the one, single basket that all of our evangelism eggs should be kept in?

And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work. 

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

I'm going on record to say that I have found that the best methods for evangelizing are through our vocations and also through human care (acts of mercy).

Which are both face-to-face and also corporate through things like LCMS World Relief & Human Care, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Lutheran Malaria Initiative, etc.

I really have not seen anyone here reject people cooperating with others in evangelizing, providing care and relief, and working out their vocations.  So I really don't get Mr. Erdner's one-on-one complaint.  ???

Mike

I thought that those programs were to provide aid and support to those in need. If, in the process, of providing that aid and support, there would be the opportunity arise for one-on-one, face-to-face evangelism with the individuals receiving the aid and support, all the better.



FrPeters

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2388
  • An Obedient Rebel
    • View Profile
    • Grace Lutheran Church Website
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #328 on: February 10, 2011, 02:59:47 PM »
Since when are the means of grace NOT one size that fits all?  Unless you have been hearing nothing, the liturgy is essential the Word and the Sacrament, the means of grace.  Now it is not something we reinvent each Sunday but it has come down to us in a format and with words (mostly Scripture and mostly word for word of Scripture).  Do we disdain this simply because people like to listen to lots of different kind of music on the I-pods?  Is all music neutral?  Can all musical forms serve as handmaidens to the Word or are some more suited than others?  Should music be simply an expression of our taste and feeling or is it a means by which the Gospel is communicated (not with some watered down idea of love but the actual word of the cross)?  Worship and music that are a reflection of our likes or of the trends of our culture are suspect immediately in my book and always have been, I believe.
Fr Larry Peters
Grace LCMS, Clarksville, TN
http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/

kls

  • Guest
Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
« Reply #329 on: February 10, 2011, 03:02:21 PM »
George:

I didn't get your point . . . enough said.

I thought that those programs were to provide aid and support to those in need. If, in the process, of providing that aid and support, there would be the opportunity arise for one-on-one, face-to-face evangelism with the individuals receiving the aid and support, all the better.

In the LCMS, acts of mercy are attached to Word and Sacrament ministry whenever possible.  And at the very least, the Gospel is attached!