Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Charis found that schools stunted congregation growth

Before WELS' COP emasculated WLC's Charis, a Charis research study announced the discovery of a few large, growing WELS congregations. The study did not name those congregations publicly. Perhaps anonymity was supposed to preserve their virgin condition. Charis hoped for follow-on study of the pastors involved. The new, reconstituted Charis may loath opening old wounds, so we may never know their names or stories.

The problem with the old Charis was they used WELS' Statistical Reports to arrive at unpopular conclusions. When Charis analyzed all 1000+ WELS congregations and concluded that LES and ECE programs stunted congregation growth, Charis had to go.

Synods are job programs, and the mission of the COP is to make sure that every MLC grad who wants to work has employment for life. WELS rationalizes overspending on schools (schools are jobs) by insisting that schools are outreach. Charis challenged that pillar of faith.

Show me a good WELS Youth Group

The majority of WELS teens attend public high school and might have some connection to their home congregation through Youth Group and Young Adult programs (if they exist). Conversely, the majority of WELS leaders left home at age 14 for 12 years of seclusion boarding until age 26 at prep school, MLC/NWC, and MLS, therefore they never participated on a regular basis as active members of a normal WELS Youth Group or Young Adult program. They don't know what a good program looks like. Further, if they touch a good program, it dies.
Show me a good WELS Youth Group or Young Adult program that keeps young people active in the church, and I'll show you a program shepherded by a layperson.

Each prep school pastor candidate costs over $100,000

Using rough numbers, WELS prep schools graduate about 10 (MLS) and 20 (LPS) pastor candidates per year. Each prep school subsidy is about $2,000,000 per year (according to 2007 Convention materials). Therefore, prep school subsidies compute to about $200,000 per year (MLS) and $100,000 per year (LPS) for each prep school graduate who enters MLC pastor track.

No difference between prep students and ALHS students

WELS Prep School Study Committee reported that MLC faculty “could not tell a difference in academics between prep students and area Lutheran high school students.” So why subsidize prep schools?