Heritage Lutheran Church is a Bible-believing, Confessional Lutheran Church that proclaims the true Word of God.

October 2023 Newsletter

Heritage Herald – October 2023 Edition

From Pastor’s Desk

What’s Wrong With Church Growth?

Pastors and laypeople all want their congregation to grow.  We certainly don’t want it to shrink!  There are many examples of congregations in our fellowship that have lost membership over the years and are in danger of closing their doors.  No one is happy with that.  What Christian isn’t delighted to see new prospects baptized and brought into membership?  In the simple understanding of the term, church growth is a good and necessary thing.

But Church Growth can also be a bad thing.  Forty years ago a new movement developed in American Christianity called the Church Growth Movement (CGM for short).  The father of the movement was a Christian missionary pastor named Donald McGavran, who until his death in 1990 was the Dean of Missions and Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. 

McGavran taught that churches grow numerically when business-world administrative, organizational, and marketing strategies are applied to the church’s mission.  An early friend and disciple of McGavran was Robert Schuller, the phenomenally successful founder of the famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.  Contemporary examples of CGM proponents include Rick Warren, pastor of the giant Saddleback Church in Lake Forest California, and Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest Protestant church in America- the Lakewood Church in Houston Texas.   These mega-church examples demonstrate that breathtaking  institutional numerical growth can result from the application of business principles to the church.  Because of the phenomenal success of churches like Lakewood and Saddleback, CGM ideology has spread like wildfire throughout American Evangelicalism, including Lutheran churches.   But at what cost?  CGM is built upon a number of dangerous fallacies.

CGM credits human intelligence and business acumen as the means by which churches grow.  Focusing on business-world principles of marketing and administration distracts people from the Word of God and the Sacraments.  In fact churches grow by God’s grace, by God’s decision, through God’s ordained means of preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments.  Our focus and practice must remain on the preaching of the Word and administration of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  These are God’s chosen means through which he creates and sustains faith.   Teaching people to focus on Wall Street marketing strategies for church growth is a perversion of Christian theology.

Numerical growth is NOT a proof that God is blessing that institution.  Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.  Is that explosive growth evidence that God is pleased with and blessing Islam?  Mormonism continues to be among the fastest growing religions in America.  Is that by God’s blessing, or are other forces at work?  Christians must not equate numerical growth with success or as evidence of God’s pleasure and blessing.  

Even in legitimate Christian congregations, application of CGM principles does not assure numerical growth.  There are plenty of examples of churches that have zealously applied CGM principles and strategies to their mission, but have not realized numerical growth.  Likewise, there are plenty of examples of  growing churches that seriously lack in planning, administration, organization, or the application of any CGM business theory.  Churches grow when and where God makes them grow.  When, where, and why can be as mysterious as God himself is mysterious. 

CGM is obsessed with numerical, statistical growth, to the neglect of other aspects of Christian growth.  So many aspects of Christian growth are invisible and impossible to quantify.  How do you measure faith, hope, love, knowledge of Scripture, or sanctification?  Yet those aspects of spiritual growth are no less important than numerical growth in membership and attendance.   The obsession with numerical growth causes pastors and congregations to fall into the “the end justifies the means” mentality.  So we continue to witness outrageous promotional activities intended to grab attention and pack the pews.  The rule becomes “whatever it takes to bring ‘em in!”  Churches cease advertising worship or promoting serious Bible study, and instead promote carnivals, circuses, rodeos, concerts, and other blatant forms of entertainment having nothing to do with legitimate worship or Bible study. 

CGM is man centered rather than God centered.  CGM proponents speak incessantly of “felt needs”-  marketing jargon meaning “find out what the customer wants and give it to them.”  That makes sense for McDonalds, but not for the church.   When it comes to fast food, people know what they want and they will flock to that provider that offers it.   The lost, unbelieving people of the community may know what they want, but they don’t know what they need.  The Christian mission is to give people what they need, not what they think they want.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “The natural (unconverted) person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).  Until a lost person is converted to Christ, he does not understand his spiritual needs.  Christ did not call his church to be a marketplace supplying the wants and desires of consumers under a sanctified banner of “Christian.”  Christ called his church to preach law and Gospel, through which the spiritually dead come to understand their sin and its eternal consequences, and through which they come to understand and believe in Jesus as Savior.  Marketing to “felt needs” may fill the church with soaring numbers of happy consumers remarking on how wonderful the church is for so wonderfully providing them with what they want, but we will not have even touched on our true mission if we do not confront those lost souls with the eternal consequences of sin and grace in Jesus Christ. 

CGM elevates the Great Commission of Christ to the place of  the chief doctrine of Christianity.  The Great Commission (“Go and make disciples of all nations…”) is important, but it is not Christianity’s chief doctrine.  Our chief doctrine is Justification by Grace through Faith in Christ.   The church’s chief purpose is teaching, preaching, confessing, and living that doctrine.  When Christ ordered Peter “Feed my lambs… tend my sheep… feed my sheep” (John 21),  he indicated that feeding and tending the flock (the church) was Peter’s job as an apostle.  Indeed, Jesus also gave Peter and the other apostles the Great Commission, but that mission of making disciples of all nations is done only through baptism and teaching the Word.  And both baptism and the Word center on the doctrine of  Justification.

Of course we want our church to grow.  We want our members to grow spiritually.  We want growth in faith, love, hope, sacrifice, stewardship, sanctification, and wisdom in God’s Word.   We also would be thrilled with numerical growth when the Holy Spirit calls sinners to repentance and faith through the preaching and teaching of the Word.  So what can you do to  help your church grow?  Support sacrificially and liberally the ministry of preaching and teaching the Word of God and the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.   Focus and rely ever increasingly on the Word and Sacraments for your own spiritual growth.  Grow in faithful attendance at worship and the sacrament.  Grow in knowledge of the scriptures through personal and group Bible study.  Through the Word and Sacrament grow in faith and in your ability to know and do the will of God.  Pray that the Lord will present you with opportunities to share the Good News of Christ with the lost souls he causes to cross  your path in life.


-Pastor K.J. Anderson

Chairman’s comments:

Thank you all for bearing with our presentation outlining various options for the future of Heritage Lutheran School last Sunday. If you missed the meeting and would like to look at all the information, please click on the links below to view those various parts of the presentation.

Here are the links to everything:
Written Q&A from Holy Trinity (basis for the video, but the video is much more in-depth)
Again, send all your questions & comments to the ad-hoc committee, the council or the office.
Dave Paulsen


TLC – The Ladies’ Connection

THE LADIES CONNECTION: Our next TLC meeting will be held on Saturday, October 14th at 10am.  All ladies’ of the congregation are welcome and encouraged to join us in the fellowship hall.  The agenda will include a short devotion, finalizing 50th Anniversary planning, begin our Bazaar planning and other miscellaneous items.  Join us for Christian fellowship, the more the merrier!
Julie Damico 952-484-0971
50th Anniversary Celebration -10:00 am Sunday, October 22nd
Please make sure that your family has RSVP’d so we have name tags prepared and plenty of luncheon seating available.

Day of Event Schedule: .

  • 9:30  Pre-Service and Welcome Table with name tags
  • 10:00 Worship Service
  • 11:15 Luncheon served in gymnasium directly following the worship service
  • 12:30 Memory and sharing time in Sanctuary following the luncheon
Memory Sharing: We would love to hear a special thought, memory or story from members and former members (young and old).  If you have a special thought, memory or story that you would like to have read during the memory & sharing time, please email it to the office.
Photo and Memorabilia Display Boards: We are still looking for photos and memorabilia for display boards.  Photos including baptisms, confirmations, weddings, youth events, bazaar photos, lefsa making, outdoor activities, etc. are needed to make these memory boards successful so please look through your photos at home.  We are also looking for memorabilia items such as special service bulletins, newspaper articles, bazaar flyers, etc.  Please submit your items to the office by October 9th.

Please contact the Heritage office or Julie Damico (952-484-0971) with any additional thoughts or ideas.


Adult Bible Study Opportunities

Women’s Bible Study

The Women’s Monday Night Bible Class meets on Monday evenings at 6:30. The group is doing a study on Song of Songs. If you would like to join, please let Ruth Braun (rb1950@gmail.com /651-457-9379) know so materials can be ordered.

Men’s Bible Study

The Men’s Thursday Morning Bible Class meets on Thursday mornings at 8:00 a.m..

Companions in Prayer 

My Prayer Story

I have a crack in my ceiling. It has been there for well over 40 years. I have patched it, but it
comes back. My neighbor, who is a contractor, tells me that all of the houses in the addition
have the same problem and that some have “fixed” it by putting in a small transom to cover it
up. I see a lot of advertisements for companies that will check out your foundation if you have
cracks, sticking windows, etc. When I watch programs where people are looking for a new
home, the foundation is a key to deciding whether or not they want to purchase the home. Why
am I focusing on foundations, you ask. Because the same should be true if one is looking for a
church or when you are telling someone about your church. Is the foundation of that
church, – what it believes, teaches and practices – sound and will it withstand the test of time?
As we celebrate our 50th anniversary we are assured that it is true of Heritage Lutheran Church!

“The Church’s One Foundation” (ELH #486)
The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is His new creation By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died.

Elect from every nation, Yet one o’er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation One Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses, Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses, With every grace endued.

The church shall never perish! Her dear Lord, to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish, Is with her to the end.
Though there be those that hate her, False sons within her pale,
Against both foe and traitor She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder, By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping; Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping Shall be the morning song.

Mid toil and tribulation And tumult of her war
She waits the consummation Of peace forevermore,
Till with the vision glorious Her longing eyes are blest
And the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest.

Congregation Prayer Suggestions

Intercessory prayer – prayers on the behalf of others – is a part of a Christian’s life. If you have a
request for Companions in Prayer at Heritage to pray for you or someone you know, please
contact Alice Schmidt, Pastor Anderson or the Office.

Each of you have a list of those you pray for, but consider adding these to it.
• Give thanks on our 50th Anniversary that God’s Word has been taught in its truth and
purity and that it may continue to be so. May we work in peace and harmony to share
God’s Word and do His will.

• We know that God knows of all of the tension and turmoil in the world and that He is in
control. We pray that He will protect the innocent, give wise leadership to all countries
and bring peace to the world according to His good and gracious will.

Bethany Honor Band

Bethany will be hosting a grades 9-12 Honor Band event on Saturday, November 11.  Honor band students will be on campus starting at 8 a.m., with rehearsals beginning at 9 a.m.  The performance will be at 5:30pm in Trinity Chapel. Click here for concert information.

Participation fee: $25

The concert is free and open to the public.

Nominations open Tuesday, September 5, and close Saturday, October 14, 2023. Students, please let your director know if you would like to be nominated! Honor Band student pre-application form

Mission Rally

This year’s Mission Rally will be hosted by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Princeton, MN on October 28th. Please sign up on the up sheet in the narthex if you would like to attend. Please sign up by October 14th.

Sons of Norway

The Sons of Norway group meets here at Heritage on the second Saturday of each month. They have a fun event planned for October and asked us to share it with our members. All are welcome to attend! Details below:

Comedy + Soup Supper in Apple Valley

Community members are invited to be entertained by Award-winning Author, Storyteller & Comedian, Chad Filley at “Norsota” Sons of Norway’s next gathering at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 14 at Heritage Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, 13401 Johnny Cake Ridge Road. Come hear his humorous and gripping tales about Scandinavian immigrants and their descendants. 

Along with stories told by Chad Filley, there will be a variety of hot soups to enjoy, a silent auction and giveaways!

A freewill offering will be accepted.

Serving in October

October Greeters

10/1 – Fahning

10/8 – Calhoun

10/15 – Natvig

10/22 – Alice Schmidt

10/29 – Sutton

October Ushers & Acolytes

10/1 – 8:00 – Chris Nikoley, Tim Oachs/Jaycen Steward

10:30 – Josh Mears, Phil Holz/Josiah Mears

10/8 – 8:00 – Larry Sickmann, Jef Sutton/Ushers

10:30 – Jesse & Fischer Chapman/Ushers

10/15 – 8:00 – Dave & Martin Paulsen/Cooper Sickmann

10:30 – Steve & Elijah Cook/Josiah Mears

10/22 – 10:00 – Kevin Henricks, Micah Steward/Jaycen Steward

10/29 – 8:00 – Jacob Calhoun, Bruce Voigt/Cooper Sickmann

10:30 – Dan Schwanz, Oliver Cook/Josiah Mears

October Recording

10/1 – Stan Miller

10/8 – Libby Paulsen

10/15 – Stan Miller

10/22 – (10:00) Martin Paulsen

10/29 – Stan Miller

October Altar Guild

Hannah Anderson/Ginny Voigt

October Fellowship

10/1 – Candy Rynders

10/8 – Siewert

10/15 – Alice Schmidt

10/22 – Anniversary

10/29 – Calhoun

October Birthdays

2 David Krueger

3 Nicholas Henricks

5 Charlie Talbot

6 Evan Blom

7 John LaSalle

8 Johanna Krueger

8 Fischer Chapman

12 Sophia Robb

18 Desmond Yaeger

24 Carrie Holz

26 Evan Anderson

27 Zack Sickmann

27 Taysom Calhoun

30 Anthony Peterson

October Calendar 

October Calendar