News Letter August 1, 2018

August 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition


* Persistent Decline & Persistent Denial

* Leading Transformation

* Pastoral Placement – FIT

* for Ministry Support

* Pod Cast  Thrive – Leadership Is

* This Date in History- Jerusalem Falls






Persistent Decline & Persistent Denial


The OT Prophets voiced a powerful, accurate and persistent message. That message declared the aberrant, wayward, and disobedient conduct of God’s people. They ‘sounded the trumpet’, calling people to repentance. Repentance is a change of heart that also results in a discernible and radical change of direction – TURN AROUND. They not only ignored the message, they killed the prophet messengers (Acts 7:52).

There was a time, about 15 years ago, when so called leaders in the church denied the reality of decline and loss of spiritual power and effectiveness. That is no longer possible unless of course you have had a frontal lobotomy. The evidence of decline and loss of disciple making fruitfulness is overwhelming. The history of the church in America has been to measure effectiveness by numbers; attendance, offerings, baptisms, etc. Now that flawed metric also reveals persistent decline. Those using this reprehensible metric have been hoisted on their own petard.

The article that follows is from the Aquila Report dated July 24, 2018. It describes the consequences of denial in the state of Minnesota. However, the profile that emerges may be legitimately applied to most so called evangelical churches in all 50 states in the USA. This despicable portrait developed in spite of gracious, accurate, and persistent warnings that the decay in the church was rotting her very soul.

Paul declared to the church at Ephesus (Acts 20:31) that for 3 years he had admonished them with tears. That is my testimony as well. Since 2001 IUS has pleaded with Pastors and local church Leaders (selah) to abandon the flawed metric of numbers and focus on the NT objective of the genuine transformation of true believers. That message has fallen on deaf ears. The News Letter of July 15 provided a plethora of resources to accomplish an honest Assessment of the true status of ministry in a local church. How many engaged this profile? There is no greater JOY than leading a church to become robustly effective in making disciple in obedience to the Great Commission. Join that initiative. You will be thankful in time and eternity.

So, Minnesota is not the only state in which the church is impotent. Denominational Leaders in the SBC (2008)  and United Methodist (UM June 2016) predicted dire consequences if the ministry models being applied did not change. The United Methodist will be bankrupt by 2030 and will not exist by 2050. The SBC will close 40% of the existing (44,000) churches by 2030; (many of them need to close – they have not been true “Churches” for many years. They have no connection with the communities in which they exist). The SBC has been on an unbroken 65 year decline, but, their eyes are blind and their ears are deaf (Ezek. 12:2). That my dear reader is not the picture of a healthy Christ honoring Church!

FYI I spoke this week with a local pastor. They typically have 30-32 people attend on Sunday Morning. I inquired – “How are you doing?” His response = ‘Well attendance is down, but, we are holding our own!’ Of the few that do attend, the majority of them are 65+ years of age. I leave my readers to see where this is headed. I plead with my readers to pray earnestly and often for the American Church and for her Pastors. Thank You!

Article on Minnesota

Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations face unprecedented declines, altering communities and traditions celebrated for generations.

When La Salle Lutheran locks its doors in August, it will become the latest casualty among fragile Minnesota churches either closing, merging or praying for a miracle. Steep drops in church attendance, aging congregations, and cultural shifts away from organized religion have left most of Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations facing unprecedented declines.

La Salle, Minn. — For 100 years, Lutherans in this farming community on the Minnesota prairie have come to one church to share life’s milestones.

They have been baptized, confirmed and married at La Salle Lutheran. Their grandparents, parents and siblings lie in the church cemetery next door.

But the old friends who gathered here early one recent Sunday never imagined that they would one day be marking the death of their own church.

When La Salle Lutheran locks its doors in August, it will become the latest casualty among fragile Minnesota churches either closing, merging or praying for a miracle. Steep drops in church attendance, aging congregations, and cultural shifts away from organized religion have left most of Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations facing unprecedented declines.

“Sunday used to be set aside for church: that’s what families did,” said Donna Schultz, 74, a church member since grade school at La Salle, in southwest Minnesota. “Now our children have moved away. The grand kids have volleyball, dance on weekends. People are busy with other things.

“I’m really going to miss this,” she added quietly, gesturing to her friends in the lobby. “We’re like family.”

The rising toll is evident in rural, urban and suburban churches across the state.

St. Paul’s On the Hill Episcopal Church on prestigious Summit Avenue was recently sold to a developer after more than a century of religious service. Bethany Lutheran Church in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis held its “holy closure” ceremony last fall. St. Michael Catholic Church in West St. Paul celebrated its last mass 18 months ago.

Mainline Protestant churches have been hit the hardest. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Minnesota has lost almost 200,000 members since 2000 and about 150 churches. A third of the remaining 1,050 churches have fewer than 50 members. The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in Minnesota, has shuttered 65 churches since 2000.

Catholic membership statewide has held steady, but the number of churches fell from 720 in 2000 to 639 last year, according to official Catholic directories. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which closed 21 churches in 2010 and merged several dozen others, is again looking at ways to consolidate church staffing and programs.

The closings and mergers are leaving a void in communities where churches frequently house child care, senior programs, food shelves, tutoring and other services.

The Link

This link take my readers to an article I captured from the Birmingham News. The article is originally from the Washington Post. Please read this in it’s entirety. This article is a bit lengthy but it does provide insight. It provides a tragically accurate portrait of many SBC churches in AL. The church profiled called a former truck driver as pastor with apparently no formal education to  lead them. His ‘call to ministry’ was an ’emotional moment’ in his past. While intended to make Christians look like buffoons, the article does provide a portrait of many SBC churches in AL. This informs you of how to pray for the church, IUS, and myself. Thanks for your prayers.


Leading Transformation


The decline of the American Church is an indisputable reality as this post documents. Many pastors and church leaders are profoundly aware of this decline. The quandary they wrestle with is ‘what must we do to address and correct this persistent impotence?’


When you have a cavity, you go to the Dentist. When you have a foot injury, you go to a Podiatric Surgeon. Such actions are reasonable and lead to a favorable resolution to your problem.


The IgniteUS Transformation Process provides abundant resources that bring exegetically supported correction to the existing dysfunctions in ministry. Each church presents distinct challenges. Our Process is tailored to the church you are leading. We have helped many pastors and churches go from decline to robust effectiveness in making disciples (Call Pastor Louis Venable in Loris, SC – 843 817 7842). Individual people and the church as a body are transformed. The Process begins with an objective Assessment that enables you to know the true condition of the church you serve. This makes it possible to effectively address the causes of decline.


We will come alongside of any church that has a high view of Christ and a high view of Scripture. There is. a very modest monthly fee depending on the level of Consultation you desire. Continuous decline is not the only option. Give me a call to investigate this process for implementation where you serve.. I have an article titled Measuring What Matters Most that will facilitate genuine Transformation  I will send this to all who make such a request You will be very glad that you called. (800 472 3764 or


Pastoral Placement 

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. It takes about five (5) years for a pastor to earn trust and the willingness of people to embrace the changes ministry requires. A positive and wise trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. We provide testimonials from those who have utilized our services. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or


Ministry Support $$


We are asking you to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches. Christ gets the Glory!  On our Home Page ( click on the banner labeled Online Giving and follow the prompts.

People do not give to a ministry because you have needs. People give because they believe you meet needs and they want to be a significant part of helping meet those needs.

THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

Pod Cast – THRIVE 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – – – – just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; or 800 472 3764.

The Pod Cast are posted every Tuesday. On July 17 I began a series titled “Leadership Is”. The ministry of IgniteUS is focused on Leadership Development in the local church. These posts will inform, encourage, and equip leaders in the local church. Click on the banner on our home page labeled -Thrive.







This Date in History

1834 Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire – Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into effect

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