|Pastor Ron Freier
||September 29, 2005
I read your brochure entitled "The Andrew Plan" with interest. Thanks for sending it to me.
Here is a true example that the plan works. In 1960 when I came to Grace located at that time in a changing neighborhood in Benton Harbor, I was told by the district officials and neighboring pastors that Grace's doors would be closed within the next three years and that I would receive a call elsewhere. In other words I was to prepare to preach Grace's funeral sermon. We were loosing members at a rate of 30-50 per month.
Instead of crying, the congregation accpepted my challenge of asking all the communicant members left to attend one of my BIC (or AIC) classes and to bring an unchurched FRAN with them. The end result was as follows: Members no longer left the congregation; within 4 years 85% of the members attended one of the AIC classes and brought FRAN with them. Sometimes I had 40-50 members and prospects in a class; I had two classes per week. Five years later we relocated to south St. Joseph. The church became the largest WELS church in the Michigan District. The people were so on fire by the Holy Spirit that a multi-million dollar church, school and gym were constructed on a fifteen acre piece of land. Today it is paid for. And two thirds of the membership is made up of adult converts. THE ANDREW PLAN WORKS!
Since I retired from the fulltime ministry in 1997 I have been working partime at St Paul's in Stevensville and am priviledged to minister to your son Jeff and his family.
Push "The Andrew Plan"! I have been and will continue to do so. We didn't call it that, but that's how we did it.
Thanks for your work and our Lord's richest blessings to your and your family!
|Rev. Brian R. Keller
||September 28, 2005
We have not met, but I've been meaning to write to you for some time. I want to begin by thanking you for sending that second flyer promoting the Andrew Plan. Much has happened since that flyer came in the mail.
We now have about 200 adults and teens attending the adult instruction course. Most of them are members, but some are visitors. A good number of them have never been in a Bible Class before.
That second flyer was very convincing. When I read the encouraging words of men I deeply respect, it made an impression on me, and on my partner, Pastor David Koehler. We both decided that day that we would begin planning to implement the Andrew Plan here. It felt familiar, because it was very much like something I had tried in a mission congregation in the South.
We liked that it was simple, because it would help us focus the people on the basics. We noted that it would be very inexpensive to carry out. We also enjoyed doing all the planning and preparation.
We put the idea in the bulletin every single week, writing a different "teaser" each time. We did not immediately reveal what the plan was, only what we thought it would do, by God's power and blessing. Everyone knew the Andrew Plan was coming, but no one knew what it was yet. We only promised what it could mean, and what it could do, because it emphasized God's powerful Word. Interest reached a peak, and curiosity a maximum. We were ready for the next step.
We made a Power Point presentation for the basics of the plan, seeking to motivate people with God's Word and to focus the members on this plan. We presented the basic plan to every board, every committee, every Bible Study group, etc . We might have been repetitive, but the points were made to as many members as possible. After one more presentation, we obtained the firm support of the church council.
We set a weekend when we would present it to the whole congregation in special worship services. Key lay leaders spoke in favor of the plan. As pastors, we urged, encouraged, and even "challenged" them to sign up for the plan. We made an easy
sign up sheet, and made it readily available. The sermon that day was about 45 minutes, but we felt it was something important enough to change our usual time expectations. No one complained about the length, because this was different.
We had hoped to have 25% of the communicant members sign up. By the time we were finished, 45% of the communicants signed up to participate in the Andrew Plan. They agreed to take the class and either invite a FRAN or a fellow member. Our Elders are still encouraging less active members to participate, and we expect that will be ongoing.
Many more of our members are in Bible study. Some have never been in a Bible class before. I'm elated that some of these members we've been inviting to Bible class for years have finally signed up and begun to attend! Some brought friends.
We did not immediately get as many visitors as one might think, but we believe that more will come "next time around". We plan to keep on with the Andrew Plan in the future.
What a blessing it is to teach almost half of the adults and teen members the "New Life In Christ" course. How encouraging it is to see the lights turn on as they re-learn old truths and even some new ones. Since I didn't do this I can say it: some of the posters and flyers looked so professional, some wondered if this was a synod program. Maybe it could be, but it isn't.
I believe that the result of this first phase will be that nearly half of our members will benefit from the adult instruction course, and will be even more motivated to invite a friend in the future. It's exciting to see people get into God's Word!
I can't refrain from sharing my personal perspective. I'm in awe, not of the Andrew Plan, but of God's power in his Word. My first Bible class here almost nine years ago was attended by seven people. Now, each week, I have the great priviledge of being able to teach about 150 adults, and my partner teaches the rest. The Lord has been blessing his Word here, but with the Andrew Plan there was a great leap forward.For that I am grateful. We give God all the credit for the progress, because it rightfully belongs to him.
We are already seeing many blessings, and can see many more to follow. We believe that this congregation will be more firmly established in "Bible Basics" and will be more motivated for outreach (and for supporting outreach) in the future.
We plan to follow Bible Basics 101, with Bible Basics 201 (an overviiew of Bible History), and then with Bible Basics 301 (a study of the epistles, and a deeper study of Christian doctrine). I plan to work these courses out in the future, week by week.
It is encouraging to hear people say that they plan to continue on this path. It feels like "Seminary training" now. Once the people have a taste for God's Word, they want more and more....
And they are better equipped to reach out to their FRAN.
Thank you for sending that flyer with the encouraging words of those men. If anyone would like to see what we've done, and would like to modify it for their own congregational use, please contact my partner, Pastor David Koehler at email@example.com We received freely. We will freely give, if that is desired.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Brian R. Keller
St. Stephen Ev. Lutheran Church (WELS)
Adrian, MI 49221
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. 517-265-5605
|Pastor Carl Voss (P.em.)
||April 11, 2005
Re: Andrew Plan. The essence of the plan I had followed during the 45 years of my active ministry and--praise the Lord-- it did meet with what I consider rich blessings. I recommend it to anyone.