Featured Circuit October 2011

District:

North Atlantic

Circuit:

Hudson-Delaware Circuit

Circuit Pastor:

Mark Johnston (jamajoh@hotmail.com)

FC.2011.10 Hudson-Delaware Circuit

As you will see from the schedule below, the Hudson-Delaware circuit has six circuit meetings scheduled from September through May. They meet every month during that time except when there is a larger gathering (conference, district) scheduled during a particular month at which the whole circuit would already be present.

Here is the agenda from the circuit’s September meeting, which includes their meeting and study schedule through May 2011. Also included is a pulpit exchange plan (Word Doc) whose aim is increased awareness of World Missions and offerings.

Sample Agenda

Date:September 20, 2011
Host: Our Savior’s, East Brunswick, NJ

10:00 a.m. Devotion by Mark Johnston – General Devotion (CW p.150, Hymn 279), Zechariah 4:6

10:30 a.m. “Law and Gospel” VIII (Don Tollefson)

11:00 a.m. Pastoral Evaluation Process with Forms

  • Setting Personal Goals (includes continuing education opportunities), and Partnering
  • WELS Long Range Plan (if time)

12:00 p.m. Circuit Business

  1. Minutes – March 15, 2011 (Dan Olson)
  2. Circuit Pulpit Exchange (Word Doc) – Circuit Pastor Mission Awareness and CMO Encouragements
  3. Area Reformation Service October 29, 2011
  4. Reports – Home Missions and World Missions
  5. Calendar of Events: September, 2011 – June, 2012

October 2-3 Sun/Mon Circuit Pastors’ Meeting at Clifton Park, NY
October 18-19 Tu/Wed Colonial South Conference, Shepherd of the Bay, Lusby, MD
October 22 Saturday LWMS Freedom Circuit, Fall Rally, Grace of God, Dix Hills, NY
October 29 Saturday Reformation Service, Long Valley, NJ 3:00 p.m. Historical Review; 4:00 p.m. Worship
November 8 Tuesday Hudson-Delaware Circuit Meeting
Host: Peace, King of Prussia, PA
Contin. Ed.: Law and Gospel – A Reader’s Edition, Thesis IX – p.143-182 (Bob Green), p.182-227 (Dale Schulz)
Preaching & discussion (Tim Bourman)
January 14 Saturday Circuit Epiphany Party (Johnstons’)
January 29-31 Sun.-Tu Frost Valley Conference
February 21 Tuesday Hudson-Delaware Circuit Meeting
Host: St. John’s, Newark, DE
Contin. Ed.: Law and Gospel – A Reader’s Edition,
Thesis X (Jerry Enderle), Thesis XI (Dan Olson)
Preaching/Exegesis/Discussion (Mark Johnston)
February 22 Wednesday Ash Wednesday
March 20 Tuesday Hudson-Delaware Circuit Meeting
Host: Sure Foundation, Woodside, NY
Contin. Ed.: Law and Gospel – A Reader’s Edition,
Thesis XII (Roger Huffman), Thesis XIII (Don Tollefson)
Preaching/Exegesis/Discussion (Dan Olson)
April 8 Sunday Easter
April 17-18 Tu./Wed. Colonial South Conference, Christ Our Savior, Sterling, VA
April 21(?) Saturday LWMS Spring Rally, Our Savior’s, East Brunswick, NJ
May 15 Tuesday Hudson-Delaware Circuit Meeting
Host: Ascension, Harrisburg, PA
Contin. Ed.: Law and Gospel – A Reader’s Edition,
Thesis XIV (Bob Green), Thesis XV (Mark Johnston)
Preaching/Exegesis/Discussion: (Jerry Enderle)
June 11 (?) Monday Missionaries Conference
June 12-13 (?) Tu./Wed. NAD Convention
June 21-34 Thur.-Sun. LWMS National Convention, Winston-Salem, VA

1:00 p.m.(?) Closing Prayer and Lunch

There are several items about the study plan of the Hudson-Delaware Circuit worth noting:

  • During each circuit meeting, the pastor who is up to present what is listed as “Preaching/Exegesis/Discussion” has the option of preaching a sermon or presenting an exegesis on a future sermon text . For those who chose to preach, the sermon is either preached live or the circuit watches a recording of the sermon preached in a regular Sunday worship service. Time is then set aside for giving feedback on the preached sermon. The circuit just began this practice in May of 2011 and found the first experience of hearing a sermon and giving feedback to be helpful enough to adopt the practice for their regular 2011-2012 circuit meetings.
  • The circuit has also chosen to study together the new Reader’s Edition of Walther’s Law & Gospel. The Reader’s Edition provides a completely reworked English translation of the original German lecture notes. This revision (into what seems to be much more readable prose) provides the circuit with a fresh way to restudy this Lutheran classic. (If you would like to see a review of the Reader’s Edition, you can find that here http://preaching.wlsce.net/review/440.) (http://preaching.wlsce.net/review/440)
  • The circuit has also adopted a pulpit-exchange plan (see attached schedule) to allow the circuit pastor to lead worship in each congregation of the circuit between September and June. The focus this year will be in supporting joint gospel work as a synod. While the pastor loci certainly does have regular opportunities to speak such encouragement to his flock, there is also a benefit for the congregation when the circuit pastor, by his very presence, provides a tangible reminder that we do not do this work alone as congregations. The side benefit is that it enables the circuit pastor to be viewed not merely as one who puts out fires in the circuit, but as one who proactively encourages the circuit’s congregations in their mission.

Here are two suggestions for circuits that would consider adopting/adapting larger or smaller portions of the plans of the Hudson-Delaware Circuit:

  • Right now the agenda is focused on systematic theology (Law & Gospel) and preaching/biblical theology (alternating sermon feedback and exegesis). It would be good to look for ways to include at least one more area of study for each circuit meeting. This could be accomplished, perhaps with little or no extension of total agenda time, if the “business” part of the meeting could be kept to 15 minutes or less. For the Delaware-Hudson circuit, it is understandable that traveling in and around a major metropolitan area means staying away from morning and evening rush hour traffic. That provides some fixed boundaries to when circuit meetings begin and end.
  • This suggestion dovetails with the previous one. Since the circuit is working together to provide encouragement in having pastors put together a spiritual and professional growth plan (September), it may be possible to allow any additional study to flow quite naturally out of a circuit brother’s study plan. A pastor, who in his study plan has determined to read a specific book, or study a particular topic or area of ministry, could allow his brothers to benefit from that individual study. Without much additional work, he could find a way to incorporate the fruits of that study into a presentation/discussion for the rest of his circuit brothers. Since we learn best what we teach, he may gain even more from his study by sharing it with his brothers.

FC.2011.10.PulpitExchange 2011-2012

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