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F cus CLB

Living Faith

April Newsletter 2012


ch urc h planting summit 2012 April 14, 2012 • 10:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. CST Register online: Download sessions April 23, 2012


had didn’t believe in Jesus! Chad didn’t believe in God, but his wife Chelsey wanted to raise their son in a Christian home. The people of Living Faith Church in Watford City, ND reached out to Chad and Chelsey by inviting them to join in their worship gathering. As Chad sat surrounded by believers, hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ week after week, something amazing began to happen. Unknown to Chad, a foundation for faith, living faith, was being placed in his heart. Chad was hearing about Jesus Christ, about Jesus taking the sins of the world upon himself, about Jesus giving himself over to death, being crucified, and rising again to new life. Chad began to wonder, “Could this be true? Could someone really escape death?” A few months later, Chad found himself in a terrible accident. The front of his truck was twisted and smashed all the way to the cab. Those who saw the accident thought

Chad, Nicholas, and Chelsey Ellis

they were seeing the death of Chad. Those who have seen the wreckage can’t believe that anyone could’ve survived, but Chad did survive. As Chad limped away from the wreck, with a few scratches and a broken right ankle, he looked back at his truck, and he believed. Chad believed that God was with him, and that God had spared him so that he might come to know Christ. There have been stories like Chad’s since the beginning of time. Jesus is on a relentless pursuit of those who are lost. As the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, we have sensed God inviting and convicting us to be more intentional about reaching unchurched people in North America. Statistics show us that the best way to reach these unchurched is by planting new churches, churches like Living Faith in Watford City. Our Regional Pastors are inviting us, as congregations and as church leaders, to attend an online church planting summit

on Saturday April 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Central Standard Time. At this summit we will explore new opportunities, and we will discuss what the future of church planting looks like in North America. Join us as we seek God’s leading for what our part might be in the planting of new churches, and seeing people like Chad and Chelsey come to living faith. Visit to learn more about this event and to sign up as a group or an individual. The sessions will be available to download April 23, 2012. Troy Tysdal is Church Resource Coordinator for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren and serves as associate pastor at Stavanger Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, MN.

Serving Your Pastor You may not know what the regional pastors do other than sending an encouraging e-mail once in awhile, speaking at a retreat, giving a seminar on church management. The most beneficial things that the regional pastors do is what they can’t talk about. They spend time with the pastors and their wives, confidentially talking with them about how things are going in their marriage, family, ministry and personal. We don’t hear

Eastern Region My wife Kjirsti and I have been truly blessed through the ministry of our Regional Pastor, Warren Geraghty, and his wife Cindy. Last September our youngest son died and Warren and Cindy have been a key part of our support network as we’ve grieved and learned about this new stage of life. They’ve held us as we’ve cried, they’ve allowed us to vent our feelings, and have laughed with us and encouraged us as friends and spiritual mentors.

Central Region

I have very much appreciated the approach that Joel Nordtvedt has taken in his face-to-face visits with me. Those visits have proven to be very meaningful times of fellowship, for both of us. To be encouraged by such a good brother in Christ is a privilege and pleasure that I pray all believers may experience. It goes well beyond having someone to be “accountable to” and,

Western Region

As a trained and highly skilled life guard is in assisting a swimmer in peril, so I value the regional pastor position in our synod as a “lifeguard” to a pastor’s hurting soul, always available to come along side him as a “confidant” to listen, counsel and pray for him. He’s a “pastor’s pastor” 24-7. Whenever I’ve needed a listening ear to “confidentially” share and release my

Pacific Region

As president of the (then) Pacific Southwest District I worked with our Regional Pastor, Stan Olsen, on a constitution for the Pacific Region. It was complicated because it involved the combining of two very different districts into one region, each

CLB Canada

We recently called a second Pastor at Resurrection. Our call process felt like a dating service as the call team searched for a Pastor that would complement my gift set. Because of Pastor Art’s networks with the other regional Pastors, he was

about the pastor who is thinking about leaving his church or a congregation that is experiencing tough times and moving in the direction of a church split. Your regional pastor is not Superman saving the day wherever he goes, but he leads and points the pastor and their congregation to the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Pastor Tim Voth, Living Word Fellowship, ND Rev. Ryan Nilsen

Praise Christian Fellowship, CT

As a pastor I also see the impact Warren has had on our regional leadership. He has an uncanny knack for mobilizing leaders. He works so well with our Regional Chair, Pastor Roger Viksnes, and has drawn our pastors and leaders closer together. As I see new parachurch ministries blossom in our region, I smile knowing that quietly, behind the scenes, Warren is drawing people together for ministry, equipping and releasing people in mission. It’s exciting. Rev. Bruce Stumbo

Inspiration Lutheran Brethren Church, MN

in fact, I’ve not been tempted to see Joel in that kind of role. This is a true “partnership in the Gospel” in which we share our needs, goals, challenges, triumphs and, yes, even weakness and failure. To have someone like that, nearby, willing and able to talk in response to a phone call or text, or a personal visit is invaluable. Rev. Dan Chell

Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Brethren Church, ND

burdens with a caring, loving heart, he’s been there for me to bring healing. My regional pastor and brother in Christ, Pastor Gary Witkop, has gone the “extra mile” numerous times for me. I thank God for the value of the regional pastor position in our synod as “a ministry saver in action!” Rev. Steve Lazicki

Immanuel Lutheran Brethren Church, CA

with its own constitution. Stan’s help was invaluable at every level, and particularly managing the interplay between Pacific South and Pacific North, arriving at a document that met the need. Rev. Dean Rostad

Resurrection Lutheran Brethren Church, AB - Canada

introduced to Pastor Greg Pietz. Later Greg’s name came to mind when praying about a good match for Resurrection. For the past five months my congregation has been at awe at how perfect Greg has been for Resurrection.


Church Planting: Engaging in Business Jesus visited Zacchaeus’ house and Zacchaeus was changed forever. In Luke 19:10, Jesus tells us why He visited Zacchaeus and, in fact, why He visits humanity, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”(ESV). The next thing Jesus does after His visit with Zacchaeus is tell a parable about a nobleman who was leaving his servants in order to go receive a kingdom and then to return. He entrusted resources to each of his servants with instructions to “Engage in business until I come” (19:13 ESV). He was commissioning them to use what he had given to them to grow his business. When he returned, two of his servants had used their master’s property to expand the business—but another one had hidden it away because he didn’t trust his master and thought that he was unfair and capricious. It is clear from this parable that the nobleman who left to receive a kingdom is Jesus Himself. We, the Church, are the servants He left to “Engage in business” until He comes. But, in what business was Jesus engaged that He commissioned us to continue? I am reminded of Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem when He was 12 years old. His answer to his parents when asked why He hadn’t traveled back home from the Temple with them was: “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 NKJV). Jesus was engaged in His Father’s business. Jesus tells us to be engaged in His business until He returns. What is that business? Jesus tells us right before He begins the parable: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus expresses this commissioning to us again in Luke 24:47 right before He ascended to the Father: “that repentance and forgiveness of sins

should be proclaimed in His name to all nations…” In Matthew 28:19-20 He expresses the commission this way: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We often refer to this as the Great Commission. When the servants in the parable were left by the nobleman to engage in business, their master gave them the resources to enable them to do so while he was away. The same is true for us. We engage in the business of the King only as a result of what He entrusts to us. And what exactly does He entrust to us? The Word of Life! He has given us His Word and Sacraments and His Spirit through which He seeks and saves the lost! Everything we are and everything we possess has been given


to us so that we, too, can be about our Father’s business. One of the major ways to engage in the Father’s business in our world is in planting new churches to proclaim the Good News to those who are still dead. As you read in this issue of FOCUS the testimonies of those who have been transformed by the Gospel through the preaching and teaching of the Word in a church plant in their communities, please remember that they have received life because you have not hidden away the resources entrusted to you, but have put them to work and are engaging in His business until He comes! Thank you for your generous support of the joint ministry of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. May God continue to bless you so that you may continue to be generous to others. Roy Heggland serves the CLB as Associate for Biblical Stewardship.

Presented by

The CLB Regional Pastors Church Planting Summit Date: April 14, 2012 Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. CST Online:

Register in advance Pre-registration is required

c h u rch p la n t i ng

Sign up as an individual or group online at:

summit 2012

Sessions Available for Download Download sessions April 23 at

F cus Family Matters


he culture in North America is changing rapidly, but God’s promise remains the same. In the same way, church planting may look different today, but the mission of Christ’s Church remains the same. Our mission is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your financial support helps to equip and resource congregations as they reach out to their communities and serve as a light to those lost in darkness. We thank you for your past contributions to the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, and we ask you to consider this partnership in your future giving. Your continued support makes this ministry possible. Thank you, and may God continue to bless you as you serve Him in His mission.

Support the CLB:

The End of the Fiscal Year is Here! Please send your contribution by April 30, 2012

500,000 400,000

Projected through March 31, 2012 Received as of February 29, 2012

300,000 200,000 100,000 0 -100,000 -200,000 May










P. O . B o x 6 5 5 Fergus Falls, MN 56538






Accumulated Difference Anticipated vs. Actual


P. O . B o x 7 3 9 Birch Hills, SK S0J 0G0

CLB Focus: 2012-04  

The first online Church Planting Summit wil take place on April 14th, organized by our regional pastors and hosted by Lutheran Brethren Semi...

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