How?

How is it Weedon can get a packed church for Christmas Midnight Service and only four families come to Christmas Eve service at 7:30 p.m. here? I’m just puzzled. What in the world am I doing wrong??

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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8 Responses to How?

  1. You may not be doing anything wrong.

  2. Rev. Paul L. Beisel says:

    I realize that. It’s more of a rhetorical question. I just couldn’t believe it when I saw how many people were coming in…for a midnight service!! I think it is great actually. I’m very happy that there is a Lutheran church out there where people are well catechized and love good traditions like that.

  3. Rev. Shane R. Cota says:

    It is good to know that there are 3 or 4 Lutheran churches around, where the pastor isn’t the only Lutheran there. 😉

    The seminary trains men to be Lutheran pastors, but good luck finding a Lutheran parish to send them to!

  4. Weedon says:

    I second Ben’s wise comment. You are doing nothing wrong. But if you could have seen our midnight service back when I first introduced it, some 16 years ago, you would have nodded your head in familiarity. It has taken well over a decade to get the attendance up for that liturgy; same with Easter Vigil. So patience, and teaching, and encouraging, and then trust the Word to do its work. Once people get a taste of it, they won’t want to miss it.

  5. Rev. Shane R. Cota says:

    So basically, the wisdom of Padre Weedon here is to dig in and stay long enough to get through to a parish. You may have to endure some disappointing years, but many guys don’t stay long enough to have a lasting influence through patience, teaching and encouraging.

    I am convinced that we need to return to long-term pastorates, wherever possible (I know some situations are not). Jumping around every few years is not only unhealthy for congregations, it is also taxing on a pastor and his family. It is easy to get restless after a year or two of things not going spectaculary and casting about for another Call. Too many of us fall prey to that mentality.

    In other words, hang in there, bro!

  6. Rev. Paul L. Beisel says:

    Thanks Shane. I agree with you. The flesh wants ease and visible success.

  7. Rev. Tom Fast says:

    I love this little quote I culled from an essay on suffeirng written by Edward Schroeder. The best line, at least for me and my flesh to contend with, is: “At the point of failure we are most susceptible to evaluating by a theology of glory, instead of the theology of the cross.”

    Anyway, I found these words helpful and they came to mind as I read your post, Pr. Beisel. I wish someone in the LCMS would have spoken such words to me, especially when I was a younger pastor. But the leadership was too enamoured with success and statistics. The song remains the same.

    Schroeder’s words:

    “The apostle in prison and, even more so, Christ on the cross might well be labeled: the ministry of the faithful failure. If you looked at Jesus Christ any time before Easter Sunday morning, you would say, “Well, there was a faithful failure. He apparently trusted God but it did not work.” Now if our ministry is to be the extension of the
    ministry of Jesus Christ, we must have some place where we can incorporate “failure.” At the point of failure we are most susceptible to evaluating by a theology of glory, instead of the theology of the Cross to use Luther’s classic distinction. The faithful failure of Jesus Christ in dying at the end of His ministerial career is, however, the glorious success of God’s ultimate purposes, not only just for that one man’s life, that carpenter of Nazareth, but God’s ultimate purposes for all human history and for
    every human life.”

    IOW, things might not be so bleak as they appear. That is, of course, an understatement. Take heart!

  8. Juan says:

    Comparison is the death of contentment.

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