LCMC Blog [by Mike Bradley] Read the the latest news, announcements and articles from LCMC. en-us An Ancient Prayer for Ministry and Mission Wed, 12 May 21 00:00:00 +0000 We have been given all we need for faithful and effective ministry and mission in today’s world.  We have been given the gospel which is God’s power for salvation (Rom 1:16).  We have been given the gift of a new life in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).  We have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence (Acts 1:8; 2:38; 4:31).  We have been given spiritual gifts through which God impacts people with His love and His power (1 Cor 12:4-7).  We have been given all this and more by our good, good Father in heaven who is determined to be good to us.

If this is true, what hinders us in ministry and mission in today’s world? Sometimes the thing that hinders us is us. Sometimes we are willing to settle for less than all God has in store for us. Sometimes we have wounds from the past that are still influencing our present in unhelpful ways. Sometimes we are believing lies to be truth. Sometimes we have constructed a God-box which is our understanding of who God is and how He wants to speak and act in the world, and in some cases our God-box is too small.

Where and when any of these things are the case, we need God’s power to be at work in our lives. We need the Lord to encourage us to not settle for less, to heal those wounds from the past, to replace those lies with His truth, and to blow up our God-boxes so we can embrace a fuller understanding and experience of who He is and how He wants to speak and act in the world.

This is where an ancient prayer can be helpful for us today.  That prayer is this: “Lord, do whatever You need to do in me so You can do whatever You want to do through me.” 

We can pray this prayer with great confidence and expectation because God’s Word tells us: “This is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

So, let’s persistently and expectantly pray this ancient prayer. Then, let’s listen as the Lord speaks to us about whatever He needs to do in us so that He can do whatever He wants to do through us in order to impact those around us with His love and His power.

Connecting, Equipping and Caring for Leaders Mon, 29 Mar 21 00:00:00 +0000 Connecting, equipping, and caring for leaders.  This has been a passion of mine throughout my forty-two years of vocational ministry as a youth minister, associate pastor, lead pastor, seminary president, and now as Service Coordinator for LCMC.

With that in mind, I am looking forward with much anticipation to attending and helping lead the annual meeting for LCMC District and Fellowship Group leaders, along with our newest staff member, Julie Smith. We’ll be meeting on June 15-16, 2021 at Hosanna Lutheran Church in St. Charles, IL.

This gathering will be a time for building relationships that are authentic and safe, and exploring how we can serve existing districts and fellowship groups while also creating new ones so that we can be connecting, equipping, and caring for you as leaders, and for your congregations.

Along with this, I am looking forward to finding venues and opportunities to meet with LCMC leaders and congregations who are not part of a district or fellowship group.  I’d love to find ways to bring that same heart for connecting, equipping, and caring to bear upon my own relationship with you, and learning how we as a national staff can serve you in your call to the mission of the gospel.

Connecting, equipping, and caring for leaders in LCMC because we love you, value you, and are thankful to God for you!

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Meet Our Newest Staff Member! Wed, 24 Feb 21 00:00:00 +0000 As LCMC’s Service Coordinator, I am delighted to announce a new addition to our national staff. I have asked Pastor Julie Smith to join our team as the Coordinator for Districts and Fellowship Groups. Adding this position to our team will enable us to be more effective in connecting, equipping, and caring for all congregations and leaders throughout the association.

We believe that developing a healthy and robust district and fellowship group structure will help LCMC congregations deepen their ties to one another for the sake of strengthening their witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will also increase our effectiveness in implementing a strategic-operational plan that is being designed to more effectively serve and support all the congregations and leaders in our association.

Julie Smith is a life-long Lutheran and became a pastor in 1998. She has served congregations in Clarkfield, Bock, and Springfield (all in Minnesota). In addition, she served for several years as a Bible camp director. She is also a co-founder of St. Paul Lutheran Seminary.

Julie's main hobby is running around to whatever activities her seven nieces and nephews are involved in. She is a sports fan, and while high school football is a favorite, NBA games featuring any former Minnesota Timberwolves are a close second. Like all Minnesotans, Julie believes as many summer days as possible should be spent at the lake, with the Twins on the radio. Please don't ask her about the Vikings. 

Julie is a graduate of Luther Seminary and loves any opportunity to teach, whether that's leading silly Bible skits with first graders or giving seminary students some pointers in preaching. She has previously served on the LCMC Board of Trustees and has worked with the Augustana and Epiphany Districts of LCMC.

Julie's last Sunday in her congregation in Springfield, MN will be on Easter Sunday and she will begin work with us on the LCMC staff shortly thereafter.

As Service Coordinator, I am very excited about what Julie is going to add to our team in terms of her skills and experience, and who she is as a person. I’m looking forward to having her join our staff.

Welcome aboard, Julie!

The Joy of Participating in God’s Mission’s-mission/a923.html Sun, 24 Jan 21 00:00:00 +0000 In the gospel text for January 24th from Mark 1:14-20, Jesus comes proclaiming good news. Great news. The long-awaited kingdom of God is near. Jesus comes declaring and demonstrating that a new life, a better way of living life is breaking in on the world here and now. It is a way of living life that is made possible by what God is doing in and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; a way of living life that we can never create for ourselves because apart from Christ we are locked in the way of sin and death. We could settle for living the old life. In fact, we cling to the old life even as it is dragging us into death, but we have a God who is not willing to let us settle for less than all He has in store for us. He is not willing to leave us in sin’s grip. So, God sends His only begotten Son to die for us even while we are still stinkers – a theological synonym for sinners. And it is His Son, Jesus, who comes in the gospel text proclaiming good news, who is Himself, the good news.

In that same text Jesus does something remarkable. He is Jesus the Christ; He is the Son of God. He could have carried out this mission of declaring and demonstrating the good news on His own, but He chooses not to. Instead, He calls Simon and Andrew to follow Him, be with Him, and to participate in His mission. Then He invites James and John to join in too. As I read that passage, I was reminded how often throughout scripture God chooses to accomplish His purposes in the world, in and through human beings, in fact, almost exclusively. Abraham. Joseph. Moses. Miriam. Joshua. Rabab. Deborah. The disciples. The woman at the well. Mary Magdala. The list of human beings through whom God carries out and accomplishes His kingdom purposes in the world is long. And now He adds your name and mine to that list.

When Christ made you his own, gave you a new life in baptism, and forgave your sin, something new truly happened. He gave you a calling; a calling to love your neighbor and to be witnesses to the good news. As surely as Simon and Andrew, James and John were called, so are you and so am I. That calling works itself out in all kinds of different ways, in all kinds of different vocations. But the thread that runs through all those calls is being a witness and serving the neighbor as the forgiveness and mercy that Christ is constantly pouring into you spills out to those you encounter.

The Lord has more in store for you and me, and He does not want us to settle for less. He calls us, as He did Simon and Andrew, James and John, to become fishers of people. He invites us to participate with Him as He seeks out those who do not yet know Him as Savior and Lord. He invites us to participate with Him as He reaches out to help Forgetters become Rememberers. In his book on evangelism, theologian Walter Brueggemann, points out that Israel was consistently called by God from forgetfulness to remembrance of His call and purpose for their life as a nation. In the same way, followers of Jesus can be forgetful of God’s activity and presence in our lives, and like Israel, need to be called to remembrance. In these ways and more Jesus calls us to come follow Him and be with Him and to participate in His kingdom purposes in the world; and as we say yes, His joy is made full in us.

I will never forget the joy I experienced when God acted in and through me to give witness to His unshakable love and to share the gospel with someone whom He was drawing to faith in Jesus. When that person responded to God’s activity in their lives, was baptized, believing in their heart and confessing with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, it was amazing—for that person and for me. God completely changed the trajectory of that person’s life and invited me to be a part of it all. What a joy!

Now He is calling all of us in LCMC, just as He called Simon and Andrew, James and John, the woman at the well and Mary, to participate with Him in His kingdom purposes in today’s world. Let’s cast this vision before the members of our congregations. Let’s encourage and equip them to love their neighbors, pray with people, and share their God-stories as the Lord provides opportunities for them to do so. Let’s ask the Lord’s help in creating a welcoming environment for the Holy Spirit who pours God’s love into our hearts (Romans 5:5) and gives us power to be witnesses to those around us of His love and His power (Acts 1:8).

Let’s pray that God would be at work in our association, calling us to follow Him and bringing us together as one so that millions might be drawn by God to faith Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Three Days of Prayer Begins Tuesday, January 5! Wed, 30 Dec 20 00:00:00 +0000 Social Media Hashtag: #LCMC3DOP   |   Share Your Story: Click Here

Prayer is a holy habit of our Christian faith that can position us before the Lord to be with Him, to listen to Him, and to experience His work of aligning our minds and our hearts with His mind and His heart. Intentionally setting aside time for prayer can help us still our hearts as we turn off all our devices and tune out the white noise that constantly surrounds us. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, ESV).

Prayer was a holy habit practiced by Jesus Himself (see Mark 1:35, ESV). LCMC’s Three Days of Prayer on January 5-7, 2021 is an opportunity for us to follow the Lord’s example and to come together as one across the association with a shared purpose: to pray.

Each congregation or person can structure these days of prayer however seems best. In the past, some congregations put together a prayer vigil—a person signing up to pray in 30-minute intervals for example—for all three days or a few hours each day. Others have offered a prayer service at a set hour on each of the three days. Others have encouraged their people simply to pray at work, home, or school—wherever they are and whatever they are doing. During this time of COVID-19, we encourage you to do whatever works best and whatever is safest for your congregation.

No matter how you structure this time of prayer, let’s come together as an association of congregations across the U.S. and around the world to pray. As Mark Vander Tuig has said many times: “I believe that the church will never rise up until we first get down on our knees.”

Following are some suggested points of emphasis for each of the three days of prayer. These are not the only things to be prayed for of course, but they can be points of daily emphasis that bring us all together as one in prayer. God bless your time during our Three Days of Prayer.

Day 1 – Lord, Reveal Yourself to Us

Have you ever had someone say, “Complete this sentence,” and then give you a partial sentence to finish as ideas and thoughts come to mind? Today, we pray by finishing this sentence, “Lord, reveal Yourself to me, to us, as…” I invite you to repeat this partial sentence, then patiently sit with the Lord and allow thoughts to come to mind that will complete it for you, for your family and friends, for your congregation, or for us as an association. Then, turn those thoughts into prayers to the Lord.

Jesus said, “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Luke 10:22, NLT). And the Apostle Paul wrote: “But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11, NLT).

Let’s pray for God to reveal Himself and the truth of His Word to us in whatever way we need Him to. Let’s pray that He would reveal Himself to us and increase our understanding and experience of who He is. Let’s pray that He would reveal Himself to us and provide us with discernment and wisdom regarding decisions we are faced with. Let’s pray that He would reveal Himself to us that He might continue to sustain us in the unique and challenging season of life and ministry we have found ourselves in since March of last year.

“Lord, we pray, reveal yourself to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Day 2 – Lord, Bring Home the Lost and the Prodigals

We know that our Lord Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10, ESV). And we know that our Heavenly Father is a father who joyfully welcomes home the prodigals. Today, let’s pray that God will bring us together as one across our association so that millions might be drawn by Him to faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Let’s also pray that the Lord might bring home the prodigals who have walked away from a life of faith in the Him. Lord, bring home our spouses, bring home our sons and daughters and grandchildren. Lord, bring home our friends and neighbors. Let’s pray that God might set them free from any woundedness or deception that has driven them away from their relationship with Him. Let’s pray that they might experience God’s love and acceptance and affirmation as His beloved daughters and sons.

“Lord, give us Your heart for the lost and the prodigals. Create in us a boldness to love them and serve them and to share our God-stories with them as opportunities arise. Open our eyes to be aware of everyday encounters in which we can minister Your love and Your power to those in need. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

Day 3 – Lord, Grant us Your Favor for Your Purposes

Today, we pray for the favor of God to be upon us as individuals, congregations, and as an association for His purposes in and through our lives. God’s favor was upon Joseph (Genesis 39). It was upon Esther (Esther 2; 5). It was upon Mary (Luke 1:30). And of course, it was upon Jesus Himself (Luke 2:52).

Favor is the attraction of God that releases an influence through us so that other people are inclined to like, to trust, and to cooperate with us in the assignment God has given us (Esther 2:9). The favor of the Lord can come upon us for the purpose of an assignment He has given us. It is not something we generate; it is something God places upon us. The favor of God can take us from the place we’re in, to a place of influence and effectiveness for His purposes; not our purposes. We see this in the lives of Joseph and Esther.

Let’s pray that the favor of God may be upon us as we seek to carry out the mission of the gospel wherever in the world the Lord has placed us. Let’s pray, “Lord, do whatever You need to do in me so You can do whatever You want to do through me.” Let’s pray these things so that millions might be impacted by God’s love and God’s power through the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence. 

Get Connected: 

If you're on social media, be sure to "Like" and "Follow" our Facebook Page to follow along with us during each of the three days.  Don't forget to tag your Three Days of Prayer posts using the hashtag #LCMC3DOP so others can see them! 

Share Your Story:

The LCMC staff is inviting all who take part in Three Days of Prayer to share their stories, testimonies, and photos from this year's event by clicking here.  All responses received by the deadline date (Friday, January 15) will be considered for publication on our website and/or in an upcoming issue of our quarterly print newsletter, BY THE WORD.


Update on Youth Events Around the Association Tue, 24 Nov 20 00:00:00 +0000 Ministry for children, youth and young adults is an essential element in the future development of our association and in the work of sharing the Gospel in the United States and around the world. With that in mind, we are so thankful for the adults throughout LCMC who are coming alongside of parents and giving of their time to share God’s love with children, teens, and young adults.

As we begin to make plans for a national youth event in 2022, we want to keep you up to date on some upcoming regional events happening within LCMC. In 2021 there are multiple regional youth events sponsored by districts, congregations, or individuals in those regions. Here are the regional events we have been informed of: 

For more regional events happening within LCMC, please visit our calendar page.  Regional events hosted by LCMC districts or congregations may be submitted for the LCMC calendar at any time by clicking on the red "Submit an Event" button at the top of the page, or by clicking here.

Praying with Confidence Tue, 24 Nov 20 00:00:00 +0000 Our Lord Jesus is our model for all things in life and faith. With that in mind it is important to note how intentional He was in making time to be with God the Father and to pray (see Mark 1:35). These were such important priorities for Jesus that He even refused to allow the ever-present needs of people to deter Him from making time to pray. Jesus was intentional when it came to prayer. 

Following our Lord’s example, we are setting aside an intentional time to pray together across our association on January 5-7, 2021. LCMC’s Three Days of Prayer is a designated time for us to come together as one across the association to pray. It is not the only time we pray of course. It is, however, a time when we can be united around a common purpose, one modeled for us by our Lord and Savior. 

As we join together on these days in January, we will be able to pray with confidence knowing that our prayers are not dependent upon us but rather upon the character and power of the One to whom we pray.

LCMC Pastor Graeme Sellers writes: “God does not want us to find our confidence in prayer in how well or how right we’re praying; but rather, in our conviction of His goodness and kindness to His kids.”

This assurance of the love and goodness of our Father in Heaven sets us free to pray. We do not have to be paralyzed nor stymied in prayer, waiting until we think we have prayed right enough, good enough, long enough. Rather, we are set free to pray in confidence knowing to whom it is we pray, our good Father in Heaven who is determined to be good to us.

Let’s come together across the association to pray during these three days in January and let’s pray every day before and after. Let us pray as God has taught us in the form of the Lord’s Prayer. Let us pray as prompted by the Word and the Spirit of God. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit bring us together as one so that millions can be drawn by God to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. And let us pray to the Lord as others have done throughout history: “Lord, do whatever You need to do in us so You can do whatever You want to do through us.” For Yours Lord, is the Kingdom, power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Remember the Mission Mon, 24 Aug 20 00:00:00 +0000 Remember the mission. Three words that you will hear me say often as I begin my tenure as Service Coordinator for LCMC. There are certain things about who we are, what we do, and what we believe as Christians that must never change. They remain true in every era, country, community, and congregation for all time. The mission God has given us is one of those things.

Our Lord Jesus articulates the mission in Matthew 28, telling us to go into the world to make disciples. That was the mission for the first disciples and churches, and it remains the mission for us today. Remembering the mission will inform the decisions we make as an association moving forward and will shape what we do and how we do it in the time and place in which we live. It is important that we remind one another of just what our mission is. History teaches that it is far too easy for leaders to become distracted from focusing on God’s priorities by focusing more on religious activities that do not help us remain focused (see the Pharisees).

One way to articulate the job God has given us to do is this: Our mission is to develop healthy leaders and disciples in the Church (see Colossians 1:28) and equip God’s people for lives of effective witness and mission in the world today (see Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:11-12). These will be things that we will prayerfully and strategically develop more in the days ahead in LCMC. We will be asking the Lord to show us how we can work together as leaders, congregations, districts, and fellowship groups in developing healthy leaders and disciples, particularly next generation leaders. And we will seek His guidance in how we can network and resource one another in equipping God’s people for the work of ministry He has prepared for them so that we can experience a robust practice of the Priesthood of all Believers.

All of this will only be possible, of course, as we experience the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us. The Holy Spirit made a difference in the life of Jesus. He made a difference in the lives of those first disciples. And He still wants to make a difference in our lives today. The mission remains the same, but in order to more effectively accomplish the mission, some of the ways we carry it out will need to be adapted and Holy Spirit-led risks will need to be taken.

Let us remind one another as often as we need to sisters and brothers of the mission God has given us because one thing that is most certainly true is this: The mission remains the same.