Creative Pastor Develops Great Devotional Media

Local Lutheran pastor Dan Bollerud, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, has developed a devotional resource for people on-the-go, shut-in’s, and that endangered 18-29 yr. old group I’ve been blogging about recently. To my knowledge, no other churches in Anchorage have developed or are utilizing this type of innovation.

It’s really quite simple. Pastor Dan creates a 10-minute mini-worship service that begins and ends with a contemporary religious-themed song. These recordings are posted on blog sites 10Worship, and COSLCGRACE, and are for each Sunday in the month. Two recordings are created for each week. They are different services, but maintaining the same worship format. The key difference is that one uses the Revised Common Lectionary while the other uses the Narrative Lectionary.

10W Worship Service Format
Song Beginning
Prayer of the Day
Gospel Reading
Statement of Faith
Prayers & Personal Prayers
Lord’s Prayer
Song Completion

When I visited Christ Our Savior Lutheran on Super Bowl Sunday, Pastor Dan gave me a CD of February’s 10W services. After I actually listened to them, I was blown away! I posed some questions to him and now have a better idea how this works.

CV=Church Visits
PD=Pastor Dan

CV: How long have you been doing this?
PD: I started in Jan. of 2011. I found it took me a while to work through the logistic process of how to put the recordings together and work on sound quality etc. I think I have most of the recording logistics dealt with now and the sound quality is pretty good. In December I started adding the Narrative lectionary in addition to the Revised Common Lectionary. My latest addition is to put in a link for purchase of the CD’s for the music to encourage listeners to expand out their Christian music library. When possible the links take the listener to the artist’s web site for purchase.

CV: What feedback do you get from listeners?
PD: There have been a few in the congregation who have made it a regular part of their day which was the intent. For some of the 20’s (CV: 20 yr. old group), it is their church for the most part. They still might show up half a dozen times a year, but for regular worship, this is it. They listen on the way to the slopes or work etc. I did hear from one USN person stationed on an island in the middle of the Atlantic that this was his church. For those in the congregation who are shut-ins, it is also a way to keep connected to the word and worship. I have also heard from some former members who have moved away (again 20 something’s) that for the most part this is their worship experience.

CV: Does it make a difference in the spiritual life of your members?
PD: For a few it is very important, comments like “I don’t know how I would make it through the day without it”, but for the most part I don’t hear much regarding it.

CV: Why do you distribute discs, when it’s online?
PD: Convenience for the most part. Most people have a CD player in their car and if they can pick up the CDs they will do it. For most people over 40, if they have to go on line and look something up, it ends up being a barrier they won’t get around to. CD’s are also an easy thing to give to visitors such as yourself. (CV: As previously noted Pastor Dan gave me a CD as we spoke after the Super Bowl service.)

They are more likely to listen in their car and then perhaps feel motivated to check it out on-line. I distribute it on line on the 10W blog where they are put up a month at a time. I also put them on my Grace Notes blog where they are put up a week at a time along with the daily meditations, opening litanies and Gospel poems. I also send them out via Constant Contact where they are delivered to computer email or Smartphone. But the CD’s work best for a few in the congregation, like those without computers (yes there are some). And as introductory gifts to visitors.

CV: Any idea of how many listen.
PD: Through constant contact I average 40-45 opens for each 10W sent out. It goes out to 173 at this point. I started by putting members and former members and other ELCA Lutheran churches on the mailing list and then I have had about 20 add themselves to the mailing list through Constant Contact. The statcounter on the 10W blog indicates about 200 hits a week and it is hard to determine through the Grace Notes blog but the statcounter average has gone from about 350 a week to about 500 a week after I started putting the 10W’s on Grace Notes also.

The 10W blog is listed with Textweek, and I also send out an automatic link to each 10w sent out via Constant Contact that goes to Facebook and Twitter. With all that said, I would say there are about 300-400 per week on-line or email and maybe a dozen CD’s.
I have also included a link for support of the ministry through on-line offering on our web site. So far there have only been 4 gifts totaling less than $100.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this valuable tool Pastor Dan. It’s innovation and creativity such as this, that set significant religious communities apart from the professional, slick, “entertainment as church” crowd. You’ve come a long way, and I’m sure your idea and outreach will spread quickly. I urge readers to listen to what Pastor Dan has made available to the community at large. Just click the hyperlinks in the 2nd paragraph above.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *