LCMC Blog [Community Topic] http://lcmc.net/blog/feed?topic=9 Read the the latest news, announcements and articles from LCMC. en-us Are You Connected? http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/are-you-connected/a846.html Sun, 27 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0700 We need your help to keep your congregation and clergy profiles up to date!  Here's How:

  1. Go to www.lcmc.net/congregations and www.lcmc.net/pastors to review the profiles.  
  2. If the profiles need to be updated, click on the red "Update Info" button in the upper right hand corner. 
  3. Complete the update form, then click on the "Submit" button down at the bottom. 

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Nichol at cathy@lcmc.net or (734) 788-7476

Thank you for helping us keep the profiles up to date.

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Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church Installs Rev. Cynthia Cone http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/salem-evangelical-lutheran-church-installs-rev-cynthia-cone/a844.html Mon, 03 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0700 Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Axtell, KS, a Lutheran Congregation in Mission for Christ, installed its pastor, the Rev. Cynthia Cone, at a special worship service on Saturday, August 25th, 2018 at 2 p.m.   

Pastor Cindy comes to Salem Lutheran through our Church’s Pastoral Call after serving as Associate Pastor at Salem Lutheran Church in Fremont, NE. She earned her Master’s of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN and has been ordained 21 years. Pastor Cindy has been rostered with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ since 2009. The presiding minister at the installation was Rev. Thomas Sahl, the District Pastor for Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, the Heartland District, and resident Pastor for St. Paul Lutheran Church, Palmer, KS.  

She and her husband, Ron, have two adult children whose families live in Missouri and Texas. Pastor Cindy has a unique skill set and a diverse theological background that she brings to this ministry. She grew up in the Kansas City, MO area and is working in her second career as a Called Pastor. She has served Churches in Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona and now in Kansas.

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Youth Mission Trip Details Announced http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/youth-mission-trip-details-announced/a831.html Thu, 06 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0600 LCMC congregations and their youth have partnered on several mission trips in the past, including 2014 and 2015 in Oklahoma, and most recently 2017 in Colorado Springs. 

Join other LCMC youth and leaders for a week of service, learning, fellowship, fun and devotion on mission for Christ.

July 14-19, 2019 we will be serving the Lakota people of Pine Ridge, South Dakota with our ministry partner Nextstep Ministries providing much needed support in improving their community infrastructure.

This trip includes construction, relational, and community opportunities for ministry.  

In addition to the work we will be doing together, we will be grounded in the Word of the Lord and in conversation throughout the day with morning and lunch devotions as well as worship each evening.

For more information and to register, go to http://nextstepministries.com/pine-ridge-south-dakota-2/.

Our Nextstep contact is Beth Crocker: beth.crocker@nextstepministries.com.

For any questions, please contact Scott Strachan from Faith Lutheran Church at sstrachan@faithabq.org

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Meals from the Heartland Service Project Update http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/meals-from-the-heartland-service-project-update/a827.html Thu, 19 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0600 At their last meeting, the LCMC Board of Trustees decided to cancel the meal packaging event scheduled for the Tuesday night of our upcoming Annual Gathering and Convention in Des Moines. 

To date, we have only received just over $11,000 of our $80,000 fundraising goal for this project.

We are grateful for everyone who has already contributed.  All of the funds donated, as well as any future contributions, will be given directly to Meals from the Heartland for their ongoing packaging events and they will be exceedingly grateful for our support. 

If you are still interested in making a donation, you may do so online by clicking here, or by mailing a check made payable to LCMC with an indication that your payment is intended for our "Meals from the Heartland Service Project" to the LCMC office at following address:

LCMC
7000 North Sheldon Road
Canton, MI 48187

In lieu of the packaging event scheduled for Tuesday evening of the Annual Gathering, the Board is working on an alternative option.  Stay tuned! 

Our 18th Annual Gathering takes place October 7-10, 2018 in Des Moines, IA and features keynote speakers, opportunities for fellowship and networking, breakout sessions, dozens of vendors to explore, and more. 

If you plan on attending, early bird registration ends soon, so be sure to register by September 1 to secure the best possible rate.

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LCMC Congregations to Organize Youth Mission Trip in 2019 http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-congregations-to-organize-youth-mission-trip-in-2019/a823.html Mon, 18 Jun 18 00:00:00 -0600 LCMC churches and their youth have partnered on several mission trips in the past, including 2014 and 2015 in Oklahoma, and most recently 2017 in Colorado Springs. 

Plans are starting to shape for another great LCMC mission trip for the Summer of 2019. 

For details and information, please contact Scott Strachan from Faith Lutheran Church of Albuquerque NM via email at  sstrachan@faithabq.org or call 505-296-0762

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Annual Gathering Photo Contest Ends July 16th http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/annual-gathering-photo-contest-ends-july-16th/a822.html Wed, 30 May 18 00:00:00 -0600 There are still a few more weeks to submit photos for our 2018 Annual Gathering Photo Contest

The theme of our 2018 Annual Gathering is "Growing Up", and to help illustrate this concept throughout our book, we would love to see photos of service projects, outreach events/activities/programs, mission trips, creative/artistic projects, disaster relief, or church planting efforts from any and all age groups within your congregation!

To submit a photo:

  1. Photos must be submitted by a congregation member, pastor, or church staff member who is part of an LCMC congregation.
  2. Go to www.lcmc.net/2018-photocontest and review the photo guidelines.
  3. Upload a photo, fill out the entry form, and click "submit". 

All eligible entries submitted by Monday, July 16th will be considered for publication in this year's Annual Gathering book and on our website. 

SUBMIT A PHOTO >>

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Interested in Serving in an Interim Ministry Role? http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/interested-in-serving-in-an-interim-ministry-role/a821.html Tue, 29 May 18 00:00:00 -0600 If you are a pastor who is interested in serving in an interim ministry role during the next year, and have not yet received LCMC training, there are still a few spots open at this year’s LCMC Intentional Interim Ministry Training event.  

More and more we are discovering the vital role that interim ministry plays in helping a congregation transition from one ministry to another. There are a certain set of skills and necessary training for these transitions to go well.  As you develop in this vital area of ministry, the kingdom of Christ is realized in the congregation you serve.

The event takes place July 10-12 at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA.  To register, please contact Cathy Nichol, LCMC Administrative Coordinator at cathy@lcmc.net or (734) 788-7476. 

May God use this ministry training to strengthen the witness of LCMC in the years to come!

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Our 2018 Service Project And How You Can Help http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/our-2018-service-project-and-how-you-can-help/a808.html Tue, 27 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0700 Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ will once again be teaming up with Meals from the Heartland to help feed the hungry at both our Called 2 Follow youth event and our 18th Annual Gathering

When we hosted our 2014 Annual Gathering in Des Moines, we raised over $90,000 and packaged almost 300,000 meals with Meals from The Heartland.  (Watch a video of the experience here!)

In 2016, we worked with Meals from the Heartland at our Called 2 Serve youth event, raising $48,000 and packaging 80,000 meals. 

Our goal for 2018 is to raise $100,000 for supplies and package 400,000 meals between the two events. 

Whether or not you are planning to attend either event, please consider how you might be able to help contribute to this goal (but please consider attending one or both events — it is the best way to be a part of what the Spirit is doing in LCMC)!

If you'd like to volunteer to help out with this project at either event, you may sign-up by checking off the appropriate checkbox on your registration form for either event.  (If you'd like to be notified when Annual Gathering registration is officially open, be sure to opt-in for Annual Gathering notifications in our mobile app [here's how].)

If you'd like to make a donation towards this project, you may do so online by clicking here, or by mailing a check to the LCMC office. 

Please make all checks payable to LCMC and be sure to indicate that your payment is intended for the "Meals from the Heartland Service Project".  All donations received with this notation will go towards purchasing supplies for this project. Mail checks to:

LCMC
7000 North Sheldon Road
Canton, MI 48187

We'll be making updates on our progress for this project periodically via our blog and Facebook page, so stay tuned!

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Get Mobile Updates! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/get-mobile-updates/a805.html Sun, 28 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0700 Did you know that the LCMC App lets you sign up to receive news updates on your mobile device based entirely on your interests?  Here's a breakdown of what's available:

General Notifications:

Select this option if you’d like to be notified ONLY of announcements that aren’t related to attending a specific event.  Examples:

  • New videos/podcasts
  • Service projects
  • Contests
  • Major news updates from the LCMC Staff and Boards

Event Specific Notifications:

We use this feature to notify you when registration opens for your favorite events, when a deadline related to an event you’ve selected is approaching, and when any major new details get announced for that event.  (For Three Days of Prayer, you’ll receive a message reflecting on the themes during each of the three days.)  App users who sign up for these types of notifications will only receive announcements for the specific events they’ve opted in for.  

On Site Notifications:  

While attending a larger LCMC event such as the Annual Gathering, opting-in for on site notifications will allow you to receive any announcements or updates that are made during the event, such as meeting room assignments and service project information.  You will only receive these types of messages for the duration of the event you’re attending.

Don’t worry, if you sign up for our notification system we won’t spam you with constant daily messages. We’re just using this feature as a way to help make it easier to receive news updates in the most timely manner possible.  

Here’s How:

  1. If you haven't already, download our app on your phone or tablet. 
  2. Open the app and click on the icon in the top left corner to access your inbox, notes, and app settings. 
  3. Select "Settings", then "Notifications". 
  4. On the Notifications page, simply toggle on anything you'd like to get updates about. 

That's it! 

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Called 2 Follow Registration Opens December 1st http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/called-2-follow-registration-opens-december-1st/a794.html Mon, 27 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0700 Our Called 2: Follow youth event is coming to Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa from July 17-20, 2018!

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."

Our youth event next summer will focus on these words of Jesus that call us out of ourselves and into something much greater!  In the summer of 2016, we gathered over 300 youth and adults from 15 different states; next summer we hope to have even more.

We will be staying in the air-conditioned dormitories on the campus of Grand View University with full access to all their amenities:  gymnasium, food service, internet, student center and more.  The registration per person remains the same as last summer, and it's all-inclusive, so people just need to get here!  Food, lodging, bedding, internet, convention costs and materials for Tuesday through Friday is only $325.  

Our keynote speakers are Andrea Paulson, a pastor from First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hastings, Nebraska and Kyle Fever, Ph.D., the Executive Director of the Nexus Institute, on the campus of Grand View University.

Our breakout session leaders and topics are:

  • Sex, Lies and Identity Theft (Jennifer Roush)
  • Human = Addict, Hijacked From Our Creator (Kendra Diehl)
  • Handling Anxiety and Stress (Paul Peterson)
  • Followership/Discipleship in Daily Life (Jonathan Hunter)
  • Preparing for What Comes Next (Russ Lackey)

Music and worship will be provided by Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, Iowa.  Music for the event will be available on our website beforehand so that participants can download and become familiar with it before the event begins.

Our emcees next summer are Noah Ruppert, a pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Altoona, Iowa and Chip Reynolds, a pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, Texas.  They will both also be participating in leading music and worship.

We begin Tuesday evening with an opening worship service that sets the stage and theme for our time together.  Wednesday is filled with breakouts and large group sessions, music and more.  Thursday, we start with the keynote presentation, then a panel discussion called, “Ask the Pastors”.  We spend the afternoon in service projects:  Meals from the Heartland, working at Riverside Bible Camp and performing Random Acts of Kindness.  Thursday evening is time to play on “the Green” outdoors with games, inflatables, music and ice cream.  On Friday we will close our time together to be sent off to serve in our own communities and congregations.

Registration opens December 1, 2017 for the first 350 participants.   

Click here to learn more >>

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Introducing LCMC's New Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry, Pastor Perry Fruhling http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/introducing-lcmcs-new-coordinator-for-pastoral-ministry-pastor-perry-fruhling/a791.html Thu, 23 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0700 The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that we have a Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry! 

Pastor Perry Fruhling has accepted the position and begins January 15, 2018. 

Perry has served congregations in Texas (Zion Lutheran in Fredericksburg) and in Iowa (Bethany Lutheran, Thompson; Immanuel Lutheran in Independence; and St. Mark’s Lutheran, Marion).  

Perry has additional training and interest in conflict resolution practices and community organizing for service in crisis.  Perry brings his experience with congregations of many different sizes to this position, as well as his training, background, and passion for the Church of Jesus Christ.

In his current call, with Perry’s leadership and other members of the congregation, St. Mark’s created and manages the Lutheran Disaster Assistance fund (LDA).  This fund has been extremely helpful to LCMC congregations in the aftermath of natural disasters, the most recent of which were the hurricanes and forest fires that have affected millions of people.

Perry’s work will focus on continuing the development of call committee coaching, call committee workshops, and the certification process.  Perry will also continue the on-going training of pastors involved with certifying those who wish to be on LCMC’s list of pastors.  He will work with the Ministry Board to develop leadership events and oversee our list of pastors serving in many different capacities.  Perry also hopes to train and equip pastors and others for effective conflict resolution and helping our pastors to equip members for ministry.

Perry is married to Marlys and they live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  They have three children: Chantal, 26, in Cedar Rapids; Ashley, 23, in Atlanta, GA; and Caleb, 20, attending the University of Iowa.

Invitations to district, regional and congregational events are always welcome!  As soon as we have contact information for Perry Fruhling, it will be made available on the staff page of our website January 15, 2018. 

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Healing from Church Conflicts http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/healing-from-church-conflicts/a782.html Fri, 08 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0600 (Full Article from 3rd Quarter 2017 Issue of BY THE WORD)

Conflict occurs wherever humans gather because our needs differ. The church is no exception. In one church I served, tension arose over whether to build a rose garden as a memorial to the many members who served the church or to invest in a program for youth to draw new families into the church. In one church, tension escalated in a worship committee meeting when members were deciding whether it was okay for acolytes to wear tennis shoes in church. In another church, angry words characterized meetings about whether contemporary music or traditional music should be used in the church’s worship services. Each situation generated tension and hurt feelings.

I propose that a model for healing tensions that grow in our families and churches involves four principles. They involve allowing a grace period, demonstrating compassion, expressing forgiveness, and creating sacred spaces. Each of these factors affects and builds on the others.

Grace Period

Every relationship can occasionally benefit from a grace period. This is a time when, to minimize tension, we filter what we say to others. Instead of expressing anger, we leave some things unsaid. A truce does not mean that we avoid others or give them the silent treatment. It means we create a period of time when we choose kindness and patience over harsh words. It may mean that we table hot topics in council meetings until we can get more information, or, when someone differs with us on an issue, we do not instinctively react but give ourselves more time to think about the issue. One church member said to me, “I decided to create a period of grace. After a few weeks, I forgot about what annoyed me so much.” Though it’s hard to do, slowing down allows us more time to find constructive ways to approach a problem.

Compassion

Our willingness to create a grace period is sometimes linked to our ability to live in a spirit of compassion for others. Compassion is demonstrating caring with grace. Compassion is listening with a goal of understanding what another may be experiencing or empathizing with what another is feeling. Matthew connects Jesus’ healing of people with compassion. Luke begins his account of Jesus feeding 5000 with a preface explaining that Jesus felt compassion for the crowd. In Colossians, Paul connects compassion to having patience and kindness toward others. Compassion enables a nurse to care about a difficult patient, a pastor to visit an unhappy parishioner, or a mother to work with an angry child. Compassion in the form of kind words and smiles encourages healing. A professor of mine once said to me, “When you begin to feel tension with another person, do something nice for them. Show them kindness. It’s hard to stay mad at someone you are doing something nice for.”

Forgiveness

Compassion can generate a third principle, forgiveness. Forgiveness occurs when we can let go of our harsh judgments about people and situations and give them to God. We pray that God might free us of ill feelings we have toward others. Forgiveness does not mean we forget how we’ve been harmed or accept that a harm was okay. It means that we turn a problem over to a higher power and trust that he will make all things new in his time. We choose to let go of anger and resentment and live with grace. We admit that we don’t know everything and that we might even be wrong once in a while. Living with a spirit of forgiveness means that we give others a second chance, including ourselves. Bernard Meltzer once said that when you forgive, you do not change the past, but you sure do change the future.

Sacred Space

During a time of grace, in which we express compassion and forgiveness, we can create a sacred space in which we talk constructively with others. You can tell from the many stories that we have about Jesus’ ministry that his presence created safe places where people knew that they were cared for an listened to.

As a pastor, I believed that every person I encountered deserved a safe time with me in church he or she could express sadness, doubts, and sometimes even anger. As a university professor, I kept a large stuffed green chair beside my desk in which students, staff, and faculty would come in frequently to sit and talk about life. It was a safe space where I listened with compassion and prayed about their pain. Jesus encourages us to create sacred places where our spouses, children, neighbors, and church friends can talk to us and receive support, not judgment.

 


 

Mike Spangle, Ph.D. is a Lutheran pastor and university professor in the field of communication. He is the author of several books including his newest book, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Ourselves.

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Pastor Brian Goke Installed at Faith Lutheran Church of McLean County http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/pastor-brian-goke-installed-at-faith-lutheran-church-of-mclean-county/a781.html Fri, 08 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0600 Installation of Pastor Brian Goke serving Faith Lutheran Church of McLean County (Bloomington, IL). Pictured are: Pastors Doug Johnson, John Nelson, Martha Nelson, Brian Goke, John Schurter, Mark Martin, Jay Johnson.

A native of Minnesota, Pastor Brian is a graduate of St. Olaf College (1991, BA), Fuller Seminary (1998, MA), and Luther Seminary (2007, Master of Divinity). After serving as a missionary in Thailand and Cameroon (1990s), he served in youth ministry at Gethsemane Lutheran in Hopkins, MN (1998-2001), and Prince of Peace Lutheran in Burnsville, MN (2001-2007). Before joining and serving alongside us in July of 2017, Pastor Brian served as an Associate Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Atlanta, GA (2007-2012) and Senior Pastor at St. John's Lutheran in Bloomington, IL (2012-2017).

He has been happily married for 24 years to Cindy, an elementary school teacher. They have four children: Mikelah, Logan, Quinten, and Zoe. They also share their home with three dogs, two birds, one cat, a leopard gecko, and about a dozen fish (depending on the day).

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Disaster Relief Efforts for Hurricaine Harvey http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/disaster-relief-efforts-for-hurricaine-harvey/a779.html Mon, 28 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0600 LCMC has a dozen congregations that were in the direct path of Hurricane Harvey, some of which have reported damage to their buildings. 

According to the New York Times, the Category 4 hurricaine reached the the U.S in Texas, bringing with it winds reaching 130 miles per hour and heavy rain, causing severe amounts of damage to the area.

Three groups within LCMC are coordinating efforts to help with disaster relief for victims of the tropical storm. 

Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, an LCMC congregation in Victoria, TX is setting up a center to assist those in that area and welcome donations. 

The LCMC Texas District has a Facebook page set up to coordinate efforts as well.  Please visit  www.facebook.com/groups/LCMCHurricaneHarvey to learn more. 

Finally, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ also has established a Lutheran Disaster Assistance Fund (LDA Fund) to responsibly handle the administration of donations in response to natural disasters.  Your funds can be sent directly to LDA for Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts. 

If you would like to contribute to the LDA Fund, please notate that your donation is intended for Hurricane Harvey Relief and mail all contributions to:
 
Lutheran Disaster Assistance Fund
c/o St. Mark's Lutheran Church
8300 C Avenue NE
Marion, IA 52302

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AG Photo Contest Deadline is July 17th http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/ag-photo-contest-deadline-is-july-17th/a772.html Wed, 05 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0600

 

 

 

 

There's still time to enter our 2017 Annual Gathering photo contest before the Monday, July 17th deadline date! 

If your congregation has taken part in any projects, organized any events, or participated in any mission or ministry activities that exemplify what it means to be "in Mission for Christ" at a local, national, or international/global level over the past year, we're inviting YOU to submit photos to be considered for publication in our 2017 Annual Gathering Book.

To learn more and submit your favorite photos, click here

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Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry Rev. Steve Lien to Accept New Call http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/coordinator-for-pastoral-ministry-rev-steve-lien-to-accept-new-call/a771.html Wed, 05 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0600

Dear Members of the Board of Trustees,

Victory Lutheran Church, Mesa, Arizona, has recently voted to extend a call to me to serve as Pastor of Growth Ministries. This opportunity came knocking, without my looking, and I have accepted; I begin at Victory on September 1, 2017. This letter, therefore, will serve as my official letter of resignation, which will be effective August 31, 2017. 

I have been honored to serve with, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Ministry Board, and the people and constituencies of LCMC. I have been blessed to meet hundreds of God’s faithful people and visit dozens of pastors and congregations in the United States and around the world. It has been a delight to watch God call hundreds of pastors to serve LCMC during my tenure. Mark Vander Tuig has been a faithful and competent supervisor, friend and advisor. I have also enjoyed the incredibly faithful staff of LCMC and the amazing people who serve on the Ministry Board.

I leave this post and the Midwest closeness to our family with mixed and bitter-sweet feelings, but trust in God’s faithfulness for me and for LCMC.

God’s great blessing and joy to you as you serve our Lord in this part of His Kingdom Vineyard!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

 

 

Rev. Stephen C. Lien
LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry

 

The Board of Trustees has accepted Rev. Steve Lien’s resignation with deeply mixed feelings. Steve has been a tremendous addition to our staff team and to our association.  His passion for ministry and insight has helped us in ways that will be appreciated for years to come. He will be missed by those of us who work for LCMC and by many, many pastors and leaders whose lives he has touched, prayed with, prayed for, and counseled.

The Board of Trustees meets in July, in just a few days, to finalize the process of finding the next Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry. They will first review the position description and then establish a team to receive resumes, review the applications, and bring 3-5 finalists for the Board to interview. The team will include members of the Board, representatives of the Ministry Board, and a member at large. They will also then establish a timeline for this process. This is a critical position for our association and we ask all to commit this process to prayer.

More details will be announced after the Board meets this July.

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Installation of Rev. Mark and Rev. Wenda Fry http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/installation-of-rev-mark-and-rev-wenda-fry/a769.html Thu, 08 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0600 Rev. Mark and Rev. Wenda Fry were installed at Joy Lutheran Church in Billings, Montana, on March 12, 2017. Particicpants in the service (left to right) included: council members Jan Wolf and Deb Lane, Pr. Warren Baker, Pr. Mark Fry, Pr. Wenda Fry, Paul Johnson (Council President), Pr. Ingrid Aderhold, and council members Jan Hunter and Carol Wahl.  


Click on this link to read the Billings Gazette article: http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/husband-and-wife-team-called-as-joy-lutheran-church-pastors/article_f88f1437-a4a6-5030-baa3-99bd7fe6c822.html

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Enter the 2017 Annual Gathering Photo Contest! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/enter-the-2017-annual-gathering-photo-contest/a767.html Wed, 31 May 17 00:00:00 -0600 If your congregation has taken part in any projects, organized any events, or participated in any mission or ministry activities that exemplify what it means to be "in Mission for Christ" at a local, national, or international/global level over the past year, we're inviting YOU to submit photos for our 2017 Annual Gathering Photo Contest! 

Here's how it works:

  1. Photos must be submitted by a member, pastor, or staff member of an LCMC congregation
  2. Go to www.lcmc.net/17-ag-photocontest and review the photo guidelines
  3. Fill out the entry form, upload a photo, and click "submit"

Photos will be selected for publication based on subject matter (how closely they fit the theme), quality of the photo (photos should not appear "squished", "fuzzy" or contain clip art), and the story behind the photo (how your congregation is making a difference on the local, national, or global level).

All eligible photos received by Monday, July 17th will be considered for publication in The 2017 Annual Gathering Book.  Hard copy books will be available at the Annual Gathering in October, and a digital edition will be available on our website and in our mobile app once the Annual Gathering begins. 

 

Click Here to Submit a Photo

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Introducing the LCMC Store http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/introducing-the-lcmc-store/a761.html Thu, 23 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0600 You asked, we answered!  

After receiving dozens of requests from LCMC-ers everywhere for clothing items featuring our new logo to be available online, the staff of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ is happy to announce the official launch of our brand new online store.

The LCMC Store offers an assortment of casual clothing items in sizes ranging from XS through 3XL as well as bags, mugs, decor items and more!  Available items include:

  • T-Shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Sweatshirts
  • Tank Tops
  • Sweatpants
  • Wall Art
  • Mugs
  • Bags
  • Notebooks
  • Phone Cases
  • Throw Pillows
  • Rugs

We will be updating our shop regularly as new items become available, so be sure to check back often to see what’s currently in stock!  

For the convenience of our members, we also plan to continue offering our traditional items including polo shirts, button-ups, t-shirts, and jackets at our Annual Gatherings.  

You can access our shop from our website anytime by clicking on "Resources", then "Online Store" in the main menu of our website, or by visiting lcmc.threadless.com.  

Through Saturday, March 25, LCMC-ers can also get free shipping on orders of $45+ using the promo code SPRNG17800be4

Customer support is available via email at shop.support@threadless.com should you have any ordering-related questions or experience any problems.  

By introducing our online shop, we hope to make it easier for our pastors and congregation members to access much-requested LCMC logo items, and to further embody who we are as an association: a first century church for the twenty first century.

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New Scholarships Available! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/new-scholarships-available/a759.html Tue, 07 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0700 The InFaith Community Foundation has two scholarship opportunities available for graduating high school seniors. 

The InFaith Community Foundation Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship available to high school seniors who are seeking a four-year undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university and are members of congregations that hold active organizational endowment funds at InFaith Community Foundation.

Eligible woman candidates are also invited to apply for the WomenLead Scholarship, a $3,000 dollar scholarship which will be awarded to two individuals; one student attending a graduate program or seminary, and one student attending a two-year community college or vocational/technical school.

The deadline to apply for either scholarship is April 30, 2017

To learn more, check out our Scholarships page, or visit their website at www.infaithfound.org/newsgrants/scholarships

For questions about the scholarships or the application process please contact Nikki Johnson, Donor Services Associate, at (800) 365-4172, or scholarships@InFaithfound.org.

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We're Forming a Non-Geographic Hispanic Network! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/were-forming-a-non-geographic-hispanic-network/a756.html Fri, 17 Feb 17 00:00:00 -0700 We have a number of congregations and ministries that have a tremendous outreach to Hispanic communities, and it would good if we could get these leaders, ministers, ministries connected. 

If your congregation is currently carrying out an Hispanic ministry, mission, or agency in our association, and you would like to get connected, please click here and sign up.  If you are interested in learning more about developing an Hispanic ministry, feel free to sign up as well. 

As we get some folks on our list, we will assign a coordinator, put together a “mission statement” and see what the Lord might do with this.

We have a number of non-geographic districts, and LCMC grew out of one many years ago called “Word Alone Network”. 

The purpose of non-geographic districts is to give people who are separated by many miles, but united in interest, a chance to connect, support and encourage, and even offer insight and training for those who want to grow a ministry. 

I think this network could also be a tremendous resource for those who would like to initiate a ministry in this arena.

Click Here to Sign Up!

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T. H. I. N. K. http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/t-h-i-n-k/a755.html Fri, 17 Feb 17 00:00:00 -0700 Dear Members and Friends of LCMC:

Social media platforms can provide instant communication to large numbers of people and the capacity for messages to go “viral”, connecting with millions within a short period of time.  This is both an amazing opportunity for the gospel to spread and a deep responsibility, especially for Christ-followers who are called to be positive and winsome witnesses to our Lord. 

The members of the Ministry Board of LCMC often find ourselves discussing the challenges faced by pastors and congregations and the occasional conflict that arises.  In many of these situations, people take to social media to share or ventilate their feelings.  In a recent meeting we decided to share some of our thinking with the hope it may help each of us THINK more carefully about our use of social media.

When we talk with others, either privately or publicly, our expectation is that the people of faith will be above reproach in their communications in all forms.  In each of our online interactions we would do well to be mindful of James 1:19:

      be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry. 

All public or private confrontation should be guided by James 3, Matthew 18, along with Luther’s explanation of the 8th commandment to not bear false witness.

A helpful acronym for discerning appropriateness of our online interactions is T.H.I.N.K.:

      Is it True? 

      Is it Helpful? 

      Is it Inspiring?

      Is it Necessary?

      Is it Kind?

Below we’ve also provided some helpful and thoughtful links to online articles written especially for Pastors.

Yours in Christ,

 

The Ministry Board of LCMC 

Jeremey King, Ebassa Berhanu, Steve Lien, Linda Krei, Sandy Miller, Nathan Hanson, Steve Turnbull, Paul Owens

 

Resources:

https://catalystconference.com/read/5-warnings-for-pastors-on-social-media/ 

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/november/five-mistakes-pastors-make-on-social-media.html 

http://thomrainer.com/2016/03/ten-commandments-for-pastors-politics-and-social-media/ 

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Congregations Team Up for Faith in Action Day http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/congregations-team-up-for-faith-in-action-day/a745.html Mon, 28 Nov 16 00:00:00 -0700 The leaders of Faith in Action Day: Galen Eberhart, Nora Maupin, Jayne McCellen, Marge Norris.On Sunday, September 18, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Auburn, Indiana left the building.  After gathering at the church for a time of communion, 90 members—from 5 years old to 90 years old—from St. Mark’s joined members from Auburn First United Methodist Church, all dressed in bright red, Faith in Action shirts - in serving our community. This event, called Faith in Action Day, was an amazing opportunity to share our faith with our community as we serve others! 

We participated in Faith in Action Day because, as a church, we believe that God has called us to be for our community; to care for it and seek its well being.  For us, Faith-in-Action Day is not just be an event to do one day a year, but an opportunity to reveal to our church the ways to care for Auburn.  We also have the goal of this being an ecumenical movement in our community, bringing churches together in serving Auburn, and were happy that Auburn First United Methodist church would partner with us in this.

A student helps clean a book shelf at a local Children’s First building.The two churches broke into teams, each team a mixture of people from each church, to attack projects around town.  The projects included painting fences, serving nursing homes, cleaning buildings, removing invasive plants, sprucing up a cemetery, letters to veterans, care kits, and passing out baked goods and sewn items to local organizations!

What an amazing opportunity we had to serve our community, to bless Auburn with the love of Jesus Christ!  If you have any questions about having a Faith in Action Day in your church, we would love to talk with you about this!  Email pastordan@stmarksauburn.org with any questions.

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Grand View University Welcomes LCMC for Called 2 Serve Youth Event http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/grand-view-university-welcomes-lcmc-for-called-2-serve-youth-event/a729.html Wed, 03 Aug 16 00:00:00 -0600 Students in Grand View University Wellness CenterHigh school students and youth group leaders from across the nation headed to Grand View University in Des Moines last month to take part in our 2016 summer youth event, Called 2 Serve

According to Cathy Nichol, LCMC’s administrative assistant, a total of 300 people from 32 different LCMC congregations attended the four day event, which was designed to help strengthen the ministry of the local church by giving students a better understanding of what is possible in their own church and local community. 

The event featured keynote speakers Culynn Curtis, Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Maple Lake, MN, Alex Krumm, Director of Student Ministries at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA, Ken Jones, Professor of Theology and Religion at Grand View University, and Jody Skogen, Director of Youth and Family Ministries at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Marion, IA, who emceed the event.

Also speaking at the event were Kyle Fever, Pastor of Beyond Ministries and Director of Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp, Jamie Strickler, Assistant Dean of Educational Ministry for North American Education at the Institute of Lutheran Theology, Wendy Berthelsen, Pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, and LCMC staff members Mark Vander Tuig, Steve Lien and Dan Clites

Throughout the week, students also had the chance to explore topics such as love, truth, their "call", the life that Jesus promises and how to follow Jesus during high school by taking part in interactive breakout sessions and enjoyed music performed by the worship band at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, IA. 

On Thursday, participants had the option to take part in one for four different service projects that were geared towards making a real difference in the local Des Moines community. 

Approximately one third of participants opted to help pack meals for the hungry with non-profit organization Meals from the Heartland.  After exceeding our goal of raising $10,000 in donations from LCMC congregations (enough to purchase enough supplies for 50,000 meal kits), volunteers were able to package a total of 80,784 meal kits in under three hours. 

Another group of volunteers chose to visit Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp, where they laid a gravel path, mulched the facility's low ropes course, cleaned and weeded any landscaped areas, mulched a whole trail and stained a large fence. 

A third group met up with the people at Hope Ministries, an organization who seeks to help meet the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of people who are homeless.  Participants volunteered at some of the various sites that Hope Ministries operates, performing tasks such as cleaning and organizing items at a local thrift store. 

A fourth group went out into the local community to perform random acts of kindness, such as cleaning up a local park, giving away cookies, cleaning up several areas on the Grand View University campus, and handing out bottled water to people with scripture verses attached. 

While there were plenty of opportunities for learning and serving at Called 2 Serve, the event also offered everyone a chance to get connected with others through small group discussions, games and mixers led by Chip Reynolds, Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, TX, 

Participants also enjoyed an ice cream social featuring Peanut Butter Belly Buster, Cake Batter, Knee Deep in Chocolate and Cookies & Cream flavors from Over the Top, followed by a live concert by christian rock group Remedy Drive

Overall, the event was well-received by those who attended.  Here are just a few of the comments our staff has received from participants' evaluation forms:

  • "This was by far one of the best weeks I have ever had and I thank you all for it. God Bless."
  • "Longer! I loved it and I wish it was longer! Breakout sessions more interactive and how it's applicable to life."
  • "I loved how service project was incorporated with the event. This was an excellent event. I am looking forward to the next one."
  • "Thank you for your hard work! God moved in some awesome ways!"
  • "We had a wonderful time at the National Youth Gathering. Having attended two NYG in another denomination, I appreciated that there was no political agenda or ideological propaganda spewed forth at our kids. It was nice to be centered in the Word, what Jesus has done for us, and the privilege to share that message as those Called2Serve."
  • "Our group of [people] were barely more than Sunday friends from multiple high schools and wound up growing personally and collectively in Christ. They're bonded with big ideas for God now! Two, who've attended church their entire lives and been confirmed, shared with me that it was the very first time they were truly feeling a personal connection to Jesus, prayer, and seeing how Christian support works. I'm so grateful! These ladies arrived home and were so on fire that our pastor is devoting an entire Sunday service/sermon in August for them to share the Called 2 Serve Bible message, music, and a takeaway activity to hopefully inform and inspire our congregation to sharing their gifts, loving one another and being called to service!"
  • "God moved in many ways: - Students started sharing their stories of faith with one another in small groups during family time - Students started thinking about going into vocational ministry maybe for the first time - Student spent her first extended time away from home, successfully! - Student became more of her aware of her actions and asked for forgiveness from leaders. - Student left the week with an understanding that serving is more than something we do it’s about who we are as Christians - Student felt the presence of the Holy Spirit during the Thursday night worship gathering - Student felt her calling to be someone who is there for her friends during difficult times. That is just SOME of the cool things God did during the youth event!"
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LCMC to Launch New Website, Logo at Annual Gathering http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-to-launch-new-website-logo-at-annual-gathering/a726.html Tue, 02 Aug 16 00:00:00 -0600 The LCMC Staff and Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that on Monday of this year’s Annual Gathering, we will be launching a brand new, re-designed version of our website.  To help make using our site a better experience for all, our new design will be easier to navigate and completely optimized for use on your smartphone or tablet while still providing the same information and resources that are available today.  

At this time, we will also be rolling out with an updated version of our logo and branding.  A great deal of time, thought and effort has gone in to creating a logo that embodies the mission and vision of our association, and we are confident that our new design will help communicate exactly who we are: a first century church for the twenty first century.  

Whether you’ll be joining us in person or tuning in online via live stream, we look forward to sharing these improvements with you in just a few short weeks.  

The LCMC 16th Annual Gathering, themed Back to the Future: First Century Principles for the Twenty First Century, takes place October 2-5, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center in Denver, CO.  Early bird registration ends September 1, so be sure to sign up soon to receive the best rate!

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LCMC Cambodia Partners with ALWM, ILT for the 5 Year Challenge http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-cambodia-partners-with-alwm-ilt-for-the-5-year-challenge/a725.html Fri, 03 Jun 16 00:00:00 -0600 Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, Cambodia has partnered with Awakening Lives to World Missions (ALWM) and the Institute for Lutheran Theology (ILT) to expand and strengthen Christian Mission in the southeast asian country. 

Pastor Samuel Chim, Service Coordinator for LCMC Cambodia, has led mission in Cambodia for 20 years, establishing 50 house Churches, 9 Congregations, and 5 major regional projects.  Some of his work includes establishing a floating school for 500 impoverished children, digging wells throughout the country to ensure clean water, and training pastors for mission work. 

LCMC Cambodia is partnering with ALWM to create mission experiences for groups and congregations in the west and to raise awareness and support for the needs of Cambodian Christians and the Christian communities there.  ALWM, founded in 2007 by Pastor Bill Moberly, works to call, mobilize, equip, and network congregations for effective global outreach.

LCMC Cambodia is joining together with ALWM, ILT, and Lutheran Asian Ministries (LAM) to establish a new model for seminary training throughout Southeast Asia, including Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam.  School for Asian Lutheran Theology, or S.A.L.T., is a project of ILT to establish training centers throughout Asia for the training of pastors and church leaders.  

The 5 Year Challenge is a call to individual Christians as well as Christian Churches and Organizations in LCMC United States to strengthen their resolve to support Global Missions and to be part of pushing LCMC Cambodia into a new era of mission and evangelism. 

To learn more about the 5 Year Challenge, visit www.alwm.org, Awakening Lives to World Mission. 

To find out more about S.A.L.T., visit www.ilt.org, the Institute of Lutheran Theology. 

To see an informational video about LCMC Cambodia and the 5 Year Challenge, go to www.vimeo.com/168483946

To find out how you or your congregation can support LCMC Cambodia in the 5 Year Challenge, contact Pastor Chris Conner, S.E. Asia Coordinator for Awakening Lives to World Mission, at revcjconner@gmail.com or 620-225-4812.

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Annual Gathering Photo Contest Now Open! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/annual-gathering-photo-contest-now-open/a723.html Fri, 27 May 16 00:00:00 -0600 We’re looking for photos that exemplify what it means to be “in mission for Christ” in the 21st century to include in the 2016 Annual Gathering Book and on our website.  If your congregation has taken part in any projects, events or activities over the past year that fit this theme, we would love to hear about them!  This might include:

  • Community Outreach
  • Service Projects
  • Mission Trips
  • Creative/Artistic Projects
  • Disaster Relief
  • Church Planting Efforts

Photos must be submitted via our online photo submission form and will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Theme:  The subject matter of the photo must be relevent to the topic. 
  • Quality:  We are unable to use photos that are blurry, distorted, very small or have text over them. 
  • Story:  Each photo must be submitted with a caption explaining what's going on in the photo and the event or project that it was taken during. 

The deadline to submit photos for this year's book is Friday, July 1

 

More Info:  Submit a Photo  |  FAQs  |  Past AG Books

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Service Project Update: Lutheran World Relief and Meals from the Heartland http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/service-project-update--lutheran-world-relief-and-meals-from-the-heartland/a724.html Wed, 25 May 16 00:00:00 -0600 Over the past few years, "service" has become a central part of our Annual Gatherings.  In 2014, we packaged almost 300,000 meals with Meals from the Heartland and raised over $90,000 to do so.  Last year, we donated just over 160 pints of blood to a local blood bank in Texas.  This year, we will be working with Lutheran World Relief to help assemble personal care kits at the Annual Gathering, and participants at our Called 2 Serve youth event will be packaging meals with Meals from the Heartland
 

Lutheran World Relief Project

Our goal for this year's Annual Gathering in Denver is to assemble 10,000 personal care kits for those whose lives have been affected by natural disasters.  To date, we have raised $17,119.52 of the $50,000 needed for supplies.  

If your congregation would like to make a donation to this project, click here.  All donations must be received by July 1, 2016 so that we can acquire all necessary supplies. 

If you plan on attending the Annual Gathering this fall and are interested in helping assemble the kits, simply check off the "Service Project" box on your registration form


Meals from the Heartland Project

This summer, one of the service projects high schoolers attending Called 2 Serve will be taking part in is packaging meals kits for the hungry.  

Thanks to the generosity of our congregations, the staff of LCMC is pleased to announce that we have not only met our fundraising goal of $10,000 for the Meals from the Heartland service project, but have exceeded it with a total of $15,743.15!  

Thank you so much for helping make this project possible! 

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Annual Gathering & Seminarian Retreat: Online Registration Now Open! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/annual-gathering--seminarian-retreat-online-registration-now-open/a722.html Fri, 29 Apr 16 00:00:00 -0600 Online registration for our 16th Annual Gathering and our 2016 Seminarian Retreat is now open! 

Annual Gathering

The theme of our 2016 Annual Gathering is Back to the Future: First Century Principles for the Twenty First Century.  Held October 2-5 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Denver, the event features plenty of opportunities to get inspired, connect with other people in LCMC and get the latest news updates on our association. 

This year, we'll be teaming up with Lutheran World Relief for a special service project, where we plan to assemble 10,000 personal care kits for people whose lives have been affected by natural disasters.  We will also be hosting a fellowship dinner on Monday evening, giving participants an opportunity to make new friends, reunite with old friends, or get connected with a fellowship group of their choice.  

The event also features keynote speakers, worship services, more than 30 breakout sessions and the ability to connect with various mission and ministry organizations in our vendor area. 

All pastors, leaders, church members, delegates and visitors who register for the Annual Gathering by Thursday, September 1 will receive $60.00 off the cost of registration!  

Register Now!  >>

Seminarian Retreat

Hosted at the Ponderosa Camp and Conference Center in Larkspur, CO the weekend before the Annual Gathering, the Seminarian Retreat gives seminary students a chance to connect with one another, connect with seasoned pastors in LCMC, and ask questions about the seminary process. 

Registration is $60 per person with meals and accommodations included.  Spouses are also invited to attend.  Advance registration is required.

Register Now!  >>

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Service: A Central Part of Our Gatherings! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/service-a-central-part-of-our-gatherings/a712.html Fri, 04 Mar 16 00:00:00 -0700 Dear Friends,

“Service” is becoming a central part of our gatherings!

This year for our Called 2 Serve youth event, which takes place July 19-22 at Grand View University in Des Moines, one of the service projects is again working with Meals from the Heartland.

In order to reach our goal, we need about $10,000 to have 140 young people package meals for two hours, which would amount to about 50,000 meals. 

At our Annual Gathering this year, we are working with Lutheran World Relief (LWR), one of the most efficient and effective relief agencies in the world. 

Our goal is to have Annual Gathering participants (we normally get between 750 -1,100 people in attendance) assemble 10,000 personal care kits. To make this happen, we need to receive about $50,000 in special offerings from the congregations of LCMC. The people with LWR believe that we can easily assemble that many kits in Denver!

The people of our congregations have been extremely generous for these projects in the past, and I am hoping we can be once again.

If your church would like to participate, please send checks, made payable to to LCMC and earmarked for "Meals from the Heartland" or "Lutheran World Relief" to the LCMC office at:

LCMC
7000 N Sheldon Road
Canton, MI 48187

You can also make a donation online by clicking one (or both!) of the following links:

All funds need to be received by July 1, 2016 so we can purchase needed supplies.

Sincerely In Christ,

Mark Vander Tuig
LCMC Service Coordinator

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Scholarship Opportunity for Seminary Students http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/scholarship-opportunity-for-seminary-students/a709.html Tue, 16 Feb 16 00:00:00 -0700 To God be the Glory, to a seminary student the gain! 

A wonderful gift was given to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Kodiak, Alaska.  So, we have established a new scholarship, The Wheeler Family Scholarship!

This scholarship was established from a gift given by Gary and Annette Wheeler, long time members of St. Paul Lutheran Church who hoped to encourage people to consider a call into the ordained ministry of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).  The intent was to give financial help to any Lutheran Seminarian.

More information can be found at www.lcmc.net/scholarships.  You can also call Pastor Elden Simonson at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Kodiak, Alaska at (907) 486-3632

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Why an LCMC Youth Event? http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/why-an-lcmc-youth-event/a708.html Fri, 05 Feb 16 00:00:00 -0700 First, Youth Are the Present.

The best people to witness to other youth are the youth that we already have.  The local church must do what they are able to train and equip youth to be disciples to their own generation.  One of the best ways to do that is to build mentor relationships with mature Christian adults who can mentor youth in the development of their relationship with Jesus.

Second, Youth Are the Near Future.  

One of the things that we have not done very well is prepare our youth for the next chapter.  Many of our youth after leaving high school tend to struggle with their faith in a culture that pulls them in a hundred different directions.  University campuses are not always friendly places for Christians and are we helping them figure out how to navigate that new setting?  But almost no place in the culture: work, military, vocational tech, etc. is welcoming to young adults who also want to remain faithful to Jesus.

Third, Youth Are the Further Future.  

One of the biggest issues we face is finding leaders for the local church who love Jesus, love the church and love the people the Holy Spirit brings.  Raising local leaders for the local church must become a priority for each congregation.

Fourth, Youth Are the Future Pastors.  

The vocation of ministry requires the brightest and the best that our congregations have to offer.  People forget that pastors come from congregations...and so we need to find ways to help youth catch the vision that serving Jesus happens in every vocation, but the vocation of ministry is one of them. Being a pastor/leader of a congregation has been a great life for many and has been a great blessing to those families.  We need more and more youth to ask the question: could God be calling me to consider pastoral ministry as my vocation?

Our 2016 “Called 2 Serve” youth event is July 19-22, and registration closes March 1st.  If you are planning to attend, please register!

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LCMC Celebrates 4th Annual Three Days of Prayer http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-celebrates-4th-annual-three-days-of-prayer/a707.html Tue, 02 Feb 16 00:00:00 -0700 Congregations across the nation took part in our 4th Annual Three Days of Prayer from January 5-7, 2016.  Every congregation, member and pastor in LCMC was invited by Service Coordinator Rev. Mark Vander Tuig to start off the new year by setting aside some time during each of the three days to pray.  

While congregations were encouraged to structure each of the three days in any way that made sense to the congregation, there was a theme set for each day.  Day one was a day for confession, day two a day for petition and day three a day for vision.  

Over the past four years, LCMC congregations came up with creative ways of organizing the three days including prayer walks, prayer clocks, designing brochures and planning special events.  

For 2016, the majority of congregations reported hosting special events and/or distributing brochures to members of the congregation who wanted to participate at home.  

While congregations generally focus on inviting their members to take part in the event, one congregation had the experience of an interested non-member joining them.  

“We had info on our front sign and it was exciting that someone actually read it, turned around and came in to pray,” said Paula Mann, the congregational president of Living Word Lutheran Church in Lantana, FL.  

Each year, the number one piece of advice that LCMC-ers have given to others who may be taking part in Three Days of Prayer for the first time is to start planning in advance, then get the word out early and often.

“Trust God,” advises Karen Mason of Faith Lutheran Church in Monticello, MN.  “A basic format is a good idea, and likely reassuring to many participants, but just show up, praise God, then see what He does.”

After participating in Three Days of Prayer for the first time, Karen’s congregation plans to continue offering weekly prayer meetings, which will be open to anyone in the local community who would like to attend.  

There are still eleven months left to plan for our next Three Days of Prayer, which will take place January 3-5, 2017.   

To learn more about Three Days of Prayer and download resources to help you plan for next year, visit www.lcmc.net/three-days-of-prayer

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Introducing MissionsLink http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/introducing-missionslink/a687.html Wed, 02 Dec 15 00:00:00 -0700 Denominational leaders, missions minded pastors, and many congregational mission leaders agree about the need to share information in order to partner together effectively with mission organizations and other churches in taking the Gospel to the nations. What kind of information helps?

For example:

  • Do you have an effective global missions team/committee?
  • What countries are you working in, and with which mission agencies?
  • Do you take organize your own short term mission trips? Do you sometimes and have space for a few people from other congregations?
  • Do you work with any mission agencies who organize short term mission trips? Would you recommend the organization to others? 
  • How do you fund global missions?
  • How do you inform your congregation about your mission efforts?
  • And more…

Currently, the only way to find information like this even from a neighboring church is through personal conversation, a church website, or a congregational newsletter.  But with more than 1100 congregations just in LCMC and NALC alone, that is a lot of newsletters and websites to search for information!

“MissionsLink”, the new Mission Networking Database developed by Bill Moberly and ALWM will meet that strategic need! “MissionsLink” provides a simple way for mission engaged congregations to share the resources you have AND find the resources you need to be more meaningfully, strategically and effectively engaged in completing the Great Commission.

MissionsLink is also for mission agencies: another place for congregations to learn more about your ministry with one visit to the ALWM website. The vision for MissionsLink is imply to encourage networking and relationship between congregations, and also mission agency to congregation.

We are starting to work on STMTripsLink, which will be a searchable database of effective, well planned short term mission trips, too. MissionsLink already includes info on short term mission trips, with a place to upload brochures and info about space available on trips you are sponsoring.  Rolling out in 2017, STMTripsLink will be easier to use and search for available short term mission trips.

The effectiveness of MissionsLink will grow as more agencies and churches join. The profile itself only takes about 15 minutes to fill out, but we do not plan on hiring a gecko or creating any humorous commercials. Stepping from wherever you are in your global missions journey into a new season of increased partnership and cooperation is worth the effort. There are more than 3 billion unreached peoples and many unevangelized who we cannot reach by walking out the door and across the street!

If you are interested in creating a profile, or learning more about MissionsLink, go to www.alwm.org/missionslink, email pastorbill@alwm.org or call 505-803-5271.

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Pastor Julie Gellert Installed and Ordained http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/pastor-julie-gellert-installed-and-ordained/a686.html Wed, 02 Dec 15 00:00:00 -0700 Pastor Julie Gellert was installed and ordained by her congregations, Pondera Valley Lutheran Church and Golden West Lutheran Church, Conrad, Montana, on September 13, 2015. 

Rev. Warren Baker officiated, and council presidents from each congregation in the Conrad Lutheran Parish took part in the ceremony. Pastor Julie is a graduate of Beyond the River Academy.

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Our 4th Annual Three Days of Prayer Takes Place January 5-7, 2016 http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/our-4th-annual-three-days-of-prayer-takes-place-january-5-7-2016/a683.html Wed, 18 Nov 15 00:00:00 -0700 Our 4th Annual Three Days of Prayer is set for January 5,6 and 7, 2016.  Obviously, we pray more than three days a year but this is an opportunity for the congregations of LCMC to spend this time together before the throne of Grace.  Each congregation is free and encouraged to do this in the way that seems best to them. 

For us together, Day One is a prayer of Confession, recognizing that we have sinned against God, against one another and even against ourselves.  I believe the church will never rise up until we first get to our knees. 

Day Two is a day of petition, bringing every prayer and concern to the foot of the Cross.  There are so many in our congregations who are hurting—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  But we also pray for our congregations, the people of God to again humble ourselves before an Almighty God. 

Day Three is a day of prayer for direction, seeking God’s will and hope for the days to come.  How is it that we will be ambassadors for Christ in this generation and cultural context.

You can find out more about Three Days of Prayer under Events  >  Annual Events (or by clicking here), and you can find downloadable resources here

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Take the Service Coordinator Assessment Survey! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/take-the-service-coordinator-assessment-survey/a682.html Wed, 11 Nov 15 00:00:00 -0700 Pr. Mark Vander Tuig, Service Coordinator of LCMC, has initiated an assessment of the Service Coordinator position in order to ensure that the needs and interests of our association are being met.  This is simply an opportunity to touch base with our pastors, leaders and members of congregations. 

You are invited to participate in a brief survey.  Please click here to take the survey and give us your thoughts.  This survey should only take 10 minutes or so and we would appreciate your investment!

The deadline to submit your survey is Wednesday, November 25, 2015. 

– The Assessment Team

 

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Scholarship Opportunity for High School Seniors http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/scholarship-opportunity-for-high-school-seniors/a677.html Fri, 16 Oct 15 00:00:00 -0600 Lutheran Leader Scholarship

Valparaiso University is offering two scholarships to high school seniors for outstanding leadership .

The deadline to nominate a student is Friday, October 23, 2015.  The application process, if selected, would be later.

For further information, contact Rev. Martha Nelson at marthaunelson@yahoo.com

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Our DNA: Tuesday and Wednesday Recap http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/our-dna--tuesday-and-wednesday-recap/a672.html Wed, 07 Oct 15 00:00:00 -0600 Registration numbers reached 744 on Tuesday morning as the LCMC 15th Annual Gathering continued on for its third day.  

The day opened with worship led by Living Word Lutheran Church in of Grapevine, TX and Bible study led by Rev. Steven E. King, Managing Editor of Sola Publishing.  

Rev. Dr. Paul Cross, Senior Pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND and Rev. Dr. Steve Paulson, Professor at Luther Seminary, were Tuesday’s keynote speakers.  The assembly was also joined by Rev. Dr. Ove Sander, who currently serves as President of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.  

During the afternoon session, Rev. Dan Clites, LCMC Coordinator for New Ministry Development, introduced the new ministry leaders from LCMC who were present and encouraged the audience to start planting more new churches.  

The blood drive wrapped up on Tuesday evening.  64 pints of blood were donated over the course of Monday and Tuesday afternoons, resulting in 192 lives saved from LCMC donors.

During the Tuesday business session, voting delegates at the gathering voted on the winners for the Thrivent Financial Foundation Reformation Anniversary Grant Program. 

Wednesday morning began with a morning worship service led by Trinity Lutheran Church of Stonewall, TX and Bible study led by Managing Editor of Sola Publishing Rev. Steven E. King.  

Following the worship and Bible study segment, Rev. Mark Vander Tuig announced that the association’s 2016 Annual Gathering would be held in Denver, CO.  

Also on Wednesday morning, LCMC Board of Trustees Chair Rev. Kip Tyler updated the assembly on the new officer positions for the Board of Trustees.  Rev. Sean Kelly (Area 1) was named Chair and Rev. Julie Smith (Area 3) Vice Chair.  Laurel Swanson was re-elected as Treasurer and Rev. Martha Uecker Nelson was re-elected as Secretary.  

Sharon MacFadyen, LCMC’s Director of Operations, then announced the winners of the Thrivent Financial Foundation Reformation Anniversary Grant Program.  They are:

  1. Falls Community Church, Sioux Falls, SD
  2. Holly Cross Lutheran Church, Nairobi, Kenya
  3. St. Paul Lutheran Church, Kodiak, AK
  4. Living Waters Lutheran Church, Peoria, IL
  5. The Anchor Church, Phoenix, AZ
  6. Christ The Servant, Norfolk, NE
  7. Bethel Lutheran Church (Grant Proposal #1), Colorado Springs, CO
  8. Zion Lutheran Church, Des Moines, IA
  9. Zion Lutheran Church, Clear Lake, IA
  10. First St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hastings, NE
  11. Peace Lutheran Church, Holbrook, AZ
  12. St. Michael Lutheran Church (Grant Proposal #2), Canton, MI
  13. Christ Lutheran Church, Maple Plain, MN
  14. Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Lead, SD
  15. Trinity Lutheran Church, Titusville, FL

To read full grant proposals from these and other LCMC congregations, click here.  

The Annual Gathering then concluded with a keynote presentation by Rev. Bill Bohline of Hosanna! Lutheran Church in Lakeville, MN and a closing worship service led by Zion Lutheran Church in Priddy, TX and preached by Rev. John Waak from Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of VIctoria, TX.

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Our DNA: Sunday and Monday Recap http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/our-dna--sunday-and-monday-recap/a671.html Mon, 05 Oct 15 00:00:00 -0600 This week, 744 people from the U.S. and abroad traveled to Frisco, TX for the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ 15th Annual Gathering.  The theme this year was “Our DNA”.  

The event kicked off on Sunday night with dinner and an opening worship service featuring Pr. Becky Hand from Life in Grace Lutheran Church of Odessa, TX and the worship team from Martin Luther Lutheran Church of Giddings, TX.  

Dessert and a reunion for all church planters within the association followed the service.  

Monday morning opened with worship led by Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Victoria, TX and Bible study with Rev. Steven E. King, Managing Editor of Sola Publishing.

Rev. Dr. W. Bruce Wilder, Senior Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, NM took the stage as our first keynote speaker, followed by a panel discussion featuring LCMC Service Coordinator Rev. Mark Vander Tuig, Rev. Bill Sullivan (Lead Pastor of New Life Lutheran Church and former Service Coordinator of LCMC) and LCMC Director of Operations Sharon MacFadyen.  

During the afternoon session, LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry Rev. Steve Lien announced the association's 2016 Leadership Conference, which will take place April 10-12, 2016 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, IA.  The theme for next year’s conference is Shift: Retooling Church.  He extended a special invitation to young pastors and church leaders for the event.

Steve then invited district leaders, certification interviewers, new congregations, new pastors seminarians and military chaplains to stand and be recognized.  Pastors who are currently celebrating ordination anniversaries of 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50+ years were also recognized.  

During the Service Coordinator’s report, Rev. Mark Vander Tuig announced two events for 2016, Called 2 Serve and Three Days of Prayer.  

Called 2 Serve is an LCMC youth event for high school students, which will take place at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA from July 19-22, 2016.  Registration for this event will open soon.  

Mark also stated that every congregation, church member and pastor is invited to take part in our 4th Annual Three Days of Prayer from January 5-7, 2016.  Each congregation can organize the three days in any way that makes sense.  The focuses of each day are:

  • January 5:  Confession
  • January 6:  Petition
  • January 7:  Direction

During the opening business session, Pastors Sean Kelly (Area 1) and Enrique Estrada (Area 7) were re-elected to the Board of Trustees.  Laurel Swanson was re-elected as Treasurer.  

The afternoon concluded with a fellowship dinner, giving LCMC-ers a chance to connect with a fellowship group or district of their choice. 

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Annual Gathering to Include Recognition of Ordinations http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/annual-gathering-to-include-recognition-of-ordinations/a659.html Mon, 22 Jun 15 00:00:00 -0600 Our Annual Gathering is a great time to renew friendships, catch up on one another’s lives and ministeries, and, as was the case last year, thank others for their faithful service to Christ. 

Last year we began what we hope will be an annual event when we recognized significant ordination anniversaries. 

Leadership Magazine recently reported that of every twenty pastors who begin ministry, only one retires from ministry, so we want to celebrate those who’ve made it to twenty-five years, and every five years thereafter.  So, if you’ve been ordained twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty years (you get the idea), be sure to be in Dallas for our Annual Gathering when we’ll once again be acknowledging ordination anniversaries and giving away anniversary pins.

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LCMC Missions Forum Update http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-missions-forum-update/a656.html Thu, 11 Jun 15 00:00:00 -0600 If you are like me, you often feel overwhelmed by all of the negative and depressing reports of world events, as they affect our mission fields. However, I just received the latest mission update from the Augustana District (AD-LCMC), and I wanted to pass along a POSITIVE news update. 

One year ago, the AD sent a 12 person fact finding team to visit with the Tabor congregation in Ethiopia. Out of that meeting came a partnership where the AD committed to supporting in various ways the tremendous mission outreach that the Tabor congregation already had in place, but wanted to expand even further into their neighboring Muslim areas.

In 2014, the AD raised over $100,000 and distributed $85,000 to the Tabor congregation for designated projects, or a 50/50 split of financial support to related mission projects of their choosing. Some of these mission projects included training and sending 39 evangelists to minister to the local people at 50 local community gathering mission centers, and beginning an agricultural mission to reach out and partner with local farmers in heavily Muslim regions.

Today's AD mission update newsletter reports that during the first quarter of 2015, an additional $15,000 was distributed to grow the number of evangelists to 46, add 5 farmers to the agricultural program, help purchase land to construct two more outreach centers, and more gathering mission sites in Muslim areas.

In addition, during the month of June, an additional $17,000 will be sent for continuing 50/50 support of the evangelists and farmers, as well as additional purchases of motorcycles and bicycles to assist the evangelists in reaching out to their local communities. The cost to support each evangelist is $600 per year.

The chairman of the AD Board of World Missions, Pastor Paul Knudson, reports, "The experience of the AD with the Tabor Partnership has been and continues to be a blessing beyond anyone's imagination. The Board wishes to extend its profound gratitude for all of your generosity."

Linked here is a page from last quarter's newsletter which gives a general summary of this positive partnership that is bearing much fruit for Christ's Kingdom.  (Click Here for Article)

Your in Christ,

Jim Dix

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We've Launched CHURCHES CONNECT! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/weve-launched-churches-connect/a652.html Wed, 27 May 15 00:00:00 -0600 When I first started in this job in 2010, I had an idea about a way to use our website to connect congregations with one another.  The idea came from the internet dating programs that are now commonplace and have resulted in thousands of marriages. We are finally ready to launch this new effort. 

Here’s how it works: 

  1. The leader/pastor/member of a congregation goes to our website and signs up for Churches Connect. 
  2. Some basic demographic and congregational information is entered into an online profile.  Some congregations will be listing the strengths they think might help other congregations; some congregations will be looking for resources for an area of ministry they want to develop. 
  3. The database will match congregations who are looking for help or resources with other congregations that can offer experience and resources for that same area of ministry.

The profile information is needed so that real help can be offered that makes sense for the size of the congregation, the community in which they are planted and the resources they have available.  As participation in Churches Connect grows, the database, categories and resources will grow right along with it.

LCMC is all about horizontal and partnership-based relationships in ministry.  After traveling around our association for the last 5 years, I am aware of some great things that are happening, and I am also of some great needs that others have. 

The benefit will be very limited unless our congregations actually sign up and fill out the profile.  Those of us who work for this association are limited as well, both in time and information.  We are not all going to be here forever, but I hope that what the Lord has begun in our association will last long after all of us.  Churches Connect can hold information and create relationships well into the rest of the 21st Century!

Peter Churness, the person who has designed this program and administers it, has posted a video tutorial that is available on our website.  He will walk through each step with you in order to make sure that if you are interested, you will be able to have access to this developing resource for mission and ministry!

Churches Connect is a way that we can continue to be an association that is built on relationships that are mutual, relational, congregational and horizontal!

You can find churches connect under Networking > Churches Connect or by clicking on the link below. 

Go To Churches Connect  |  Get Started!

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LCMC Staff Welcomes Photo Submissions for 2015 Annual Gathering Book http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-staff-welcomes-photo-submissions-for-2015-annual-gathering-book/a645.html Wed, 25 Mar 15 00:00:00 -0600 Our 15th Annual Gathering, themed “Our DNA”, is all about celebrating what it truly means for us to be Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ:  

  • We’re free in Christ
  • We’re accountable to one another
  • We’re rooted in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions
  • We’re all working together to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations

In accordance with this year’s theme, we’re inviting all “LCMC-ers” out there to show us, in a photograph, how their congregation exemplifies what it means to be an LCMC congregation. 

More detailed information, including a list of photo guidelines, can be found here

Special consideration will be given to all photos submitted on or before Tuesday, June 30th, however all photos received by Friday, July 31st will be considered for publication in our 2015 Annual Gathering Book and on our website.

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http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/word-of-god’s-mission-outreach-ministry/a642.html Fri, 27 Feb 15 00:00:00 -0700 Word of God Lutheran Church in Peachtree City, GA, has an exciting benevolence program handled by the
Mission Outreach Ministry Team (M.O.M.).

The Mission Outreach Ministry team prays for God's discernment when we meet to decide how to distribute the contributions we receive from the church through our members.

Eleven percent of the congregation's offerings are distributed by this team.  Ten percent is given away according to our guidelines; one percent is used for actual mission trips (adults, middle school, high school).  We strive for a balance between international, national and local projects.

We also encourage actual volunteer work through load-out days at The Midwest Food Bank and distribution days at the Real Life Mobile Food Pantry and other occasions that call for helping hands. Many of our members volunteer at the Real Life Center in other ways such as warehouse organization, data entry and fruit picking at their orchard. Several members helped with packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

We all like the idea of getting our congregation members involved too, and you seem to enjoy that as well. We have had projects like the caring baskets for foster parents or the hospital wish list in Honduras where we ask members to bring items. The baby bottles filled with change is an annual event for Coweta Pregnancy Services. We also have projects like the Lutheran World Relief Baby Kits and the Real Life Christmas Dinners where the team brings in the items and the congregation assembles them. This seems to be very popular. We are also thankful to our shoppers who pitch in for these bigger assembly projects to wisely spend our money on the items going into the kits or dinners.

We try to be very judicious with our resources. We like to purchase products and give the actual material rather than a check when we are able to do that. We buy diapers and wipes for the Coweta Pregnancy Services in Newnan and detergent for The Real Life Center. However, sometimes a check is the most welcome way to give. We send money to "Faith Comes by Hearing" so they, in turn, can supply our service members with Bible sticks that are specially designed to be taken into combat and listened to when possible. We also support our missionary, Christine Bell, in Honduras with monetary donations to her sending agency. Our donations to The Midwest Food Bank have enabled them to add several more agencies to their list of receivers. We also send monetary help to Global Hope to help with two orphanages in India.

We also encourage actual volunteer work through load-out days at The Midwest Food Bank and distribution days at the Real Life Mobile Food Pantry and other occasions that call for helping hands. Many of our members volunteer at the Real Life Center in other ways such as warehouse organization, data entry and fruit picking at their orchard. Several members helped with packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. There are many ways to get involved.

Here is a list of the projects Word of God Lutheran Church helped in 2014:

  • Healing Bridge Clinic (local)
  • Midwest Food Bank (local)
  • Real Life Center (local)
  • Infectious Disease (Christine Bell - international)
  • LWR Baby Kits (international)
  • Benton House Easter Baskets (local)
  • Coweta Pregnancy Services (local)
  • Faith Comes by Hearing (national)
  • Summer Lunch Program (local)
  • Global Hope (international)
  • Operation Christmas Child (international)

The M.O.M. team is always open to suggestions for new projects. Our guidelines do call for a project to be in existence for at least 3 years so we can research their track record. They also need to be Christian based, so that excludes organizations such as The Red Cross and United Way which are secular. We do not contribute more than 15% of our budget to any one project to keep things balanced.

If you would like to join the Mission Outreach Ministry Team please let one of us know: Carolyn Lystig, Holly Bowler, Jennifer Griffin, Joe Bowler, Lauren Simmonds, Nancy Ruck and Pam Davis.

 

 

 

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LCMC Comes Together for Third Annual Three Days of Prayer http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-comes-together-for-third-annual-three-days-of-prayer/a638.html Tue, 03 Feb 15 00:00:00 -0700 Photo courtesy of Karen Mason, Faith Lutheran Church, Monticello, MN.LCMC Service Coordinator Rev. Mark Vander Tuig invited members of LCMC to start off the New Year with three consecutive days of prayer, focused on confession, petition and vision, and organized in any way that made sense to the participants.  

From January 6-8, 2015, congregations, members and pastors of LCMC came together for the association’s Third Annual Three Days of Prayer.

Based on a brief online survey that was conducted in January, about 46% of the congregations who reported taking part in the event this year were first-timers.  

While many LCMC congregations organized prayer services, meetings, walks and other special events to celebrate Three Days of Prayer, many congregations also reported distributing printed and online resources, allowing people to participate individually, as well.  

“Our prayer ministry team organized the event and attended to welcome people who came to pray.  Prayers with scripture passages, the daily themes, and Bibles were made available to all who came,” said Amy Williams, a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Kerrville, TX.  “Some folks reported praying at home if they could not come to the sanctuary.”

In fact, nearly 50% of people who responded to the survey reported having prayed individually on at least one of the three days.  

According to Rev. Donna Lou Zipp, the people of First Lutheran Church in El Campo, TX prayed individually, as well as in small groups.  Her favorite part of Three Days of Prayer this year was coming together with others from her congregation on the Day for Petition.

“It is amazing that during the precise time of the Three Days (this year and last) we witnessed God answering our requests right then and there. I was called to serve this congregation last year, and this year the exact ages of children needed to fill slots at our school enrolled and a very surprising, yet sizable contribution was given to our congregation. We are a struggling congregation who is in what I would refer to as a "recovery phase". The Three Days of Prayer is amazing...as you know, great things happen on the Third Day! We witnessed miracles.  We look forward to expanding and enhancing our participation next year,” Rev. Zipp said.  

Many of this year’s participants cited the themes for each day, as well as the sense of togetherness that they felt, as their favorite things about this year’s event.  

“It's good to know that your prayers are joining those of a larger community, and to have a specific focus for the community.” said Karen Mason of Faith Lutheran Church in Monticello, MN.  

LCMC’s 4th Annual Three Days of Prayer is scheduled to take place from January 5-7, 2016, so mark your calendars, because the number one piece of advice that was given by this year’s participants was to start planning early.

“Start talking about it with the planners in September to decide how to celebrate the event in your own particular congregation. December is too busy to be planning it,” advised Marda Kirkwood, a member of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Idaho Falls, ID. 

Photo courtesy of Karen Mason of Faith Lutheran Church in Monticello, MN.

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LCMC Forms Prayer Ministry Team http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-forms-prayer-ministry-team/a636.html Mon, 26 Jan 15 00:00:00 -0700 A prayer ministry team has been formed and is active! 

At our last Annual Gathering, I made an invitation to sign up for a prayer ministry team, and we now have over 50 people who are praying each week for LCMC congregations. 

Cheryl Coffman is the leader of this team and she is looking for others who may also be interested joining.

Each Monday, Cheryl contacts five congregations from our list that are selected at random by a computer program.  She then sends those out to the prayer team and contacts the congregation to let them know and invite any specific prayer concerns.  If there are specific things about which to pray, those are communicated to the team.  At the end of the week, she follows up with the five congregations and the whole process starts again the next week.

Any other prayer concerns from congregations may also be submitted to Cheryl at any time.

If you would like to be a part of praying for our congregations and any specific concerns they might have, please contact Cheryl or click here to sign up online and she will get you on the list!

“We need to become more and more a people of prayer!”

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Is the Holy Spirit Calling You to Be a Pastor? Start Here! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/is-the-holy-spirit-calling-you-to-be-a-pastor--start-here/a635.html Fri, 23 Jan 15 00:00:00 -0700 Is the Holy Spirit poking at you to consider being a pastor? Are you already attending seminary?  Do you know someone who would make a good pastor?

It has always been important for the body of Christ to be connected... connected to Jesus and to one another. One of the most practical ways for LCMC seminarians to connect is to make sure that their name is on our list of seminarians. If you are an LCMC seminarian and would like to be on our list of seminarians, contact me at pastorpaul@splchurch.org.

If you are not enrolled in seminary but the Holy Spirit and trustworthy Christians are poking at you to consider being a pastor, here are some simple steps for you to follow:

  1. Get on your knees and ask God for guidance and to give you ears to hear.
  2. Check with faithful, veteran Christians in your congregation and talk with your pastor. Ask them honestly if they think you should be a pastor or if they think the kingdom of God would be better served if you live out your vocation as a barber, school teacher, or in another way.
  3. If you’ve gone through the first two steps above and the Holy Spirit and God’s people are still poking at you to be a pastor, and you'd like to talk about going to seminary, please feel free to contact me.

 

Your Brother in Christ,

Rev. Paul Owens
Seminarian Liaison, LCMC Ministry Board

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How Would Your Congregation Use $5,000? http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/how-would-your-congregation-use-$5000/a633.html Thu, 01 Jan 15 00:00:00 -0700 To celebrate the anniversary of the Reformation, LCMC and the Thrivent Financial Foundation will be awarding $5,000 grants to 15 LCMC congregations for use in planning a project to benefit their local community. 

To apply, congregations must complete an online application, available at our website, which includes a short essay describing how the congregation would use a $5,000 grant.  The program begins January 1, 2015 and ends August 15, 2015

All eligible applications received by the deadline date will be voted on at our 15th Annual Gathering in Dallas, TX in October.  Recipients of the grant will be announced at the end of the Annual Gathering, and the results will be posted at our website after the gathering commences. 

To read the complete details and view our online application form, click here.

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Joy Lutheran Church Celebrates 3rd Anniversary http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/joy-lutheran-church-celebrates-3rd-anniversary/a617.html Tue, 02 Dec 14 00:00:00 -0700 Joy Lutheran, an LCMC congregation in Billings, MT will celebrate its third anniversary at a Christmas Eve candlelight service.

We currently rent space from the Billings Seventh-Day Adventist Church, a large facility which offered us a chapel setting, and encouraged us to “arrange it to our liking.”

We began our ministry with the Inerrant Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our Cross and Baptismal font were chiseled from old bridge planking. Green Hymnals were given to us from various congregations and we purchased With One Voice and several Lutheran Bibles.

Recently we found seventeen pews on Craig’s List from Living Water United Methodist Church in Belgrade, MT. They generously gifted these pews to Joy.

Having had success through Craig’s List, we found Hjerdal Lutheran Church in Voltaire, ND was for sale. Our pastor, Bud Veis, contacted them via email and asked if they had the altar. Indeed, a gorgeous oak altar built in 1929, candle holders, offering plates, Bible holder, paraments and flags remained. The altar painting was an oil of Jesus praying in Gethsemane, done by artist Marie Hauge Gjelstand, would be gifted to Joy as well. When we arrived to transport the altar an engraved plague adorned the front of the altar “To our friends in Christ at Joy Lutheran Church, we rejoice with you in our risen Lord and Savior, August 2014.”  

The generosity of a Montana rancher’s donation enabled Joy Lutheran to cover transportation expenses and incidentals for the pews and altar. A dedication on Sunday September 14, 2014 for the pews and altar was followed by a traditional Lutheran potluck.

Experiencing the fulfillment of our needs has been a blessing beyond words. We have offers of another gift; a key board/organ. God’s gracious ways may someday provide a communion rail, pulpit, hymn board and banners.  

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Global Mission Brings Global Perspective to Hawley Lutheran Parishioners http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/global-mission-brings-global-perspective-to-hawley-lutheran-parishioners/a616.html Tue, 02 Dec 14 00:00:00 -0700 This article was written by Jess Christiansen and published in the Oct. 20 edition of the Hawley Herald.

June 2014 brought a unique opportunity of mission and ministry to twelve members of Hawley Lutheran Church in Hawley, Minnesota as they embarked on a spirit enriching mission trip to Nicaragua June 14th-25th 2014.

Hawley Lutheran members attending the trip were: Pastor Jeff & Kris Teeples; Nate & Mark Haugen; Jon Hinrichs; Dan, Jenny & Jessy Noreen; Jessica Laddusaw; Andrew & Aaron Regnier; & Cheryl Wicker.

Nate Haugen served as a translator for the group.

Hawley Lutheran Pastor, Jeff Teeples said, “We had the perfect mix of young adults and adults to connect with every member of the communities we visited from the youngest to the oldest. Our youngest member turned 18 on the trip.”

This is the first time Hawley Lutheran has sent a group to this part of the world. 

The group went as guests of the Lutheran Churches in Mission for Christ in Nicaragua (LCMC), and while there various congregations hosted the group by feeding and putting together the group’s schedule.

Teeples commented saying, “This mission trip was an organic, grass roots trip; we were the first group that the churches in Nicaragua hosted in this way. We were the first US Citizens that many of the people had ever met.”

The connection between Hawley Lutheran and the Lutheran Ministry in Nicaragua began almost two years ago.

At that time Pastor Juan Benito and Pastor Nestor Baltodano visited Hawley Lutheran as representatives of the churches in Nicaragua.

These pastors were in the US in search of churches that would consider partnering with Lutheran churches from Nicaragua to foster a relationship and cultivate an impactful cross cultural learning and mission support partnership.

Teeples said, “They didn’t want churches that would come and do things for them.  They wanted churches that would come and do things with them. They wanted us to pray for them and they wanted to pray for us. This relationship of mutual learning and reciprocation was very appealing to our congregation and over the course of eighteen months the dream became a reality.”

This trip is the first major step in creating this strong connection between Hawley and Nicaragua.

While there the Hawley Lutheran group spent time in a community of about 400 people in the State of Chinandega, which is 10 miles from Somotillo near the Honduras border.

A quarter of the communities’ population attends the Lutheran church in their community, half of which are children.

The Hawley group worked on the beginning stages of construction for a church/community center for the residents who will benefit greatly from this new facility.

Currently most of the churches meet in the home of a member or outside when the weather permits.

When these church structures are built they not only become a worship center, but also a community center that will become a central hub of activity and gathering spaces in these communities.

Teeples said, “We thought the main purpose of our trip was going to be to build a church, and we did participate in the dedication and laying the groundwork for a church in the village of Rodieto. But, as we were there we discovered our main purpose was to share our lives with the beautiful people of Nicaragua and to get to know them.”

“A beautiful thing about the people we met is that it was more important for them to get to know us and for us to get to know them than it was for us to do things for them or give them money. We thought we were going to work with one church and realized that we had really come to enter into a relationship with every LCMC congregation in Nicaragua,” continued Teeples.

The Lutheran Churches in Nicaragua began after Lutheran Relief workers from Germany came to clean up after the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Although the churches are distinctively Lutheran in their understanding of the scriptures none of the pastors have had any exposure to essential Lutheran confessional writings, so a need for some pastoral instruction was also something the pastors in Nicaragua identified as something they would like to experience.

Pastor Jeff Teeples taught lessons on Luther’s Large Catechism to the pastors to share the finer points of theology for themselves and their congregations.

Teeples commented, “I don’t speak Spanish, yet, so I taught with the help of a gifted Nicaraguan translator José Manuel. Everything I said, José translated. It was comical at times trying to explain things through a translator, but because we had two common texts we could reference, the Bible and the Large Catechism in Spanish and English we could really communicate and learn even with the language barrier.”

“The teaching experience brought me closer to the pastors and helped me better understand the challenges they face in their congregations,” continued Teeples.

Teeples said on the last day in Ojoche where they stayed all the pastors and board members of the LCMC church in Nicaragua met with them to evaluate how the experience was for both groups.

Teeples said, “I was incredibly humbled to hear how the smallest things made a big difference in the impact of our mission. One pastor said how honored he felt that we would share our purified water with them, eat their food and work alongside them.”

One evening Teeples said one of the pastors who is also the local woodworking artisan brought him a cross he had made as gift for Teeples.

Teeples told the man via a translator how much he liked the item and offered to pay for it.

The artisan said, “If you pay me for it, it is not a gift.”

The next day Teeples realized that the man had given him the cross on the one-year anniversary of his dad’s death.

Teeples said,” My dad was also an artisan with wood. It was a very touching moment, and I felt that my dad was close to me on this mission to Nicaragua.”

Teeples is excited to continue building the cross-cultural connection of Hawley Lutheran and the LCMC churches in Nicaragua and they are planning a follow up trip to Nicaragua in January 2015 and are currently accepting applications.

He commented that the best way to experience life in another culture is to go there and dive in.

Teeples noted that all that participated had a positive experience and said, “Every person who went with us came back with a deeper appreciation for their life here as well as a heart of compassion for people they had previously not known.”

“It was also extremely valuable to share our experience with our congregation so that those who are not able to go to Nicaragua can learn about the people and their lives and be affirmed for their ability to send others to go. When it comes to mission we are either “goers” or “senders” and it is a great blessing to be both,” continued Teeples.

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America with borders touching Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south.

It is among the most impoverished countries in Central America.

Since the Hawley Lutheran group has returned from Nicaragua, the country has experienced a severe drought.

Because the people there live so close to the land, fluctuations in the price of essential food like rice, beans, and corn are devastating for them.

There are no government assistance programs in Nicaragua; so the churches do what they can to help the people.

Teeples said, “The LCMC churches in Nicaragua want to purchase essential food items in bulk to distribute them to the people at a reasonable cost and are asking us if we could help them with the initial purchase. After the initial purchase the program would sustain itself.”

If anyone would like to help this cause monetary donations can be brought to Hawley Lutheran Church where 100% of the funds raised for this effort will go directly to Drought Relief Nicaragua.

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Take Our Three Days of Prayer Poll http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/take-our-three-days-of-prayer-poll/a614.html Wed, 19 Nov 14 00:00:00 -0700 Does your congregation plan to take part in LCMC's Third Annual Three Days of Prayer from January 6-8, 2015

Let us know how your congregation plans to organize each of the three days. 

Click Here to Take our Poll! 

Next month, we'll share the results here in our Blog, as well as in our E-Newsletter!

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Annual Gathering and MFTH Project Statistics Announced! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/annual-gathering-and-mfth-project-statistics-announced/a609.html Wed, 29 Oct 14 00:00:00 -0600 Earlier this month, 1,012 people from around the world came together in Des Moines, IA for LCMC’s 14th Annual Gathering.  

Throughout the year, the 833 congregations that make up LCMC came together to raise a total of $91,005.40 for our service project with Meals from the Heartland (13.75% more than our goal of $80,000).  On the evening of Tuesday, October 7th, many of the people who attended the gathering met up at the convention center and assembled a total of 291,168 meals[Watch Video]

During the Business Session of the gathering, Pastors Christopher Miller (Area 2) and Kenneth “Corky” Spitler (Area 5) were elected to the LCMC Board of Trustees.  Pastors Nathan Hanson and Stephan Turnbull were appointed to serve on the Ministry Board.  

Rev. Mark Vander Tuig announced the launch of the LCMC Prayer Chain, an opportunity for people to sign up to pray for all of the congregations in LCMC on a weekly basis.  Click Here to learn more and sign up.

It was also announced that our 15th Annual Gathering will take place from October 4-7, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Frisco, TX. 

Photo galleries from the Annual Gathering, downloadable copies of our 2014 Book, and presentation notes from our Keynote Speakers are now available at our website.  To view any of these materials, Click Here

Videos of our speakers will not be available until later this winter.  We will announce via E-Newsletter, blog, Facebook and Twitter when these videos have been posted.  

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Three Days of Prayer Begins January 6th! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/three-days-of-prayer-begins-january-6th/a608.html Tue, 28 Oct 14 00:00:00 -0600 This January, join with us for our Third Annual Three Days of Prayer.  This is an opportunity for us to join together across our association to come before God Almighty and bring our concerns, our ministries, our people and our future to the throne of grace and to the foot of the cross. 

Day One, Tuesday, January 6, 2015 is a day of confession, recognizing that we have sinned against God, against each other and ourselves.  We have been caught up in big arguments about small things when there are those we love who do not know Jesus, and not connected to His church. 

Day Two, Wednesday, January 7, 2015 is a day of petition.  There are so many things, people and issues to pray for and about, this day is committed to bringing our petitions to God.  We know that He hears our prayers and is at work in ways that we can see, and ways that we will never know.

Day Three, Thursday, January 8, 2015 is a day of seeking God’s vision for your church, and for our association.  The church belongs to Jesus and we simply ask the Lord of the church to lead, guide and direct our mission and ministry.

Prayer is the most effective tool in our toolbox and the most powerful weapon in the arsenal.  The church of Jesus Christ will not rise up until we first get to our knees.

Learn More  |  Resources  |  Facebook Event

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WE DID IT! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/we-did-it/a592.html Mon, 08 Sep 14 00:00:00 -0600 Last year, we announced to all of our congregations that one of our goals as an association for 2014 was to raise $80,000 for our 14th Annual Gathering service project with Meals from the Heartland.  Today, we reached that goal! 

100% of the donations that we have received will be used to purchase enough food, packaging supplies and shipping to feed 400,000 people in need, both in the U.S. and abroad. 

The food packages will be assembled on Tuesday, October 7th from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. by LCMC-ers from around the globe. 

The process of assembling and packaging the meals will require the help of about 1,000 people, so if you plan to attend the Annual Gathering this year, we need your help!  If you haven't already, please consider signing up to help package meals for an hour or two.  All you've got to do is check off one or both of the "Meal Packaging Project" boxes when you Register for the Annual Gathering

If you have already registered for the Annual Gathering, but did not sign up to package meals and would like to, you can also notify our staff that you are interested via email at cathy@lcmc.net

See you in Des Moines! 

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Ordination & Installation of Pr. Becky Hand http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/ordination--installation-of-pr-becky-hand/a587.html Fri, 22 Aug 14 00:00:00 -0600 The long awaited day of Rebecca Lynn (Becky) Hand to graduate with a Master of Divinity arrived on August 17, 2014. Along with her ordination as an LCMC pastor and installation as pastor of Life in Grace Lutheran Church, Odessa, TX, and Hope Lutheran Church, Midland, TX. 

Pastors in ceremony attendance were as follows: Rev. Alsen Wenzel, St. John's Lutheran of Winters, TX, Rev. John Rasmussen and Rev. Timothy J. Swenson of the Institute of Lutheran Theology, Brookings, SD, Rev. Mark Schimmel, Zion Lutheran of Priddy, TX, and retired Lutheran pastor Jerry Kaskela of Lubbock, TX.

The Grace of our Lord was overflowing from early morning church service to Pastor Becky's special afternoon service with family, friends and other Lutheran churches of the community! We all know and believe that she will spread the Gospel of the "Good News" to everyone, for God has called her to do so and she will deliver his Word!

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New Training Opportunities Available for Certification Interviewers http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/new-training-opportunities-available-for-certification-interviewers/a578.html Thu, 31 Jul 14 00:00:00 -0600 Rev. Steve Lien, LCMC's Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry, announces Interviewer Inservices for those who conduct Certification Interviews.  Join him for this two-hour refresher and training session just before or after any of the following District Conventions:

  • Texas District: Friday, August 1, 2:00-4:00 P.M. (Seguin, TX)
  • Heartland District: Friday, August 15, 2:00-4:00 P.M. (Fremont, NE)
  • Iowa District: Saturday, November 15, 3:30-5:30 P.M. (Story City, IA) - TENTATIVE
  • Greater Atlanta Area: Saturday, November 8, 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

Email steve@lcmc.net to register or ask questions.


 

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American Lutheran Church Installs Pr. Jeff Redlin http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/american-lutheran-church-installs-pr-jeff-redlin/a572.html Wed, 02 Jul 14 00:00:00 -0600 Pastor Jeff Redlin was installed as pastor of American Lutheran Church in Winifred, MT on June 29, 2014. Pastor Redlin has been with LCMC since 2010 and previously served as founding pastor of Christ Community Lutheran Church in Lebanon, OR from 2010-2013.

Top row (L to R): Pastor Jeff Stoopes, Pastor Bob Coughlin, Pastor Gordon Buckentin
Bottom Row (L to R) Pastor Bill Duffey, Pastor Jeff Redlin, Pastor Alan Daugherty.

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Lutheran Church of South Sudan's Emergency Plan for Equipping Faithful Leaders http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lutheran-church-of-south-sudans-emergency-plan-for-equipping-faithful-leaders/a571.html Mon, 16 Jun 14 00:00:00 -0600 Pastor Jordon Long, President of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan (LCSS). 

The LCSS is a new church with no walls.  Most of its members worship in tents, huts, or open spaces. and they have no educational materials written in their indigenous languages. 

On March 14, Pastor Jordon was able to communicate with Eric Swensson and update the current situation for the LCSS. Around the area where Pastor Jordon lived, about 2000 people were killed.  It became necessary for him to leave that area.  The Christian College where Matthew Riak was at when the violence started had one security guard killed before it was taken over and still remains a military post.  Generally, the people of the LCSS have scattered, and are in hiding in the bush or have fled across the border to refugee camps.

Pastor Jordon will be staying in a refugee camp just across the border from South Sudan in Ethiopia. In the midst of all this chaos and despair, Pastor Jordon sees great opportunity to minister to the many desperate people around him in these refugee camps. He says the one thing that would be most helpful to him would be Luther's Small Catechisms translated in their native languages. He knows this would be the most useful tool he could have to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to so many people in need of Him.
Think about that!!! Pastor Jordan did not ask for money, food, water, shelter, or safety from harm, but for Luther's Small Catechisms to help him minister to the people around him in the refugee camps.

Currently, the LCSS website lists only four American friends and partners. They are: LCMC, the Augustana District of the LCMC, the Institute for Lutheran Theology (ILT), and the Disciple Ship.

The ILT has been in discussion with the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF), and they currently have the catechisms translated into the proper native language.  They are willing to work with us to get them to these refugee camps for Pastor Jordon to use. The books cost only a few dollars each. The LHF has a group going to Ethiopia at the end of April, and can help arrange for these catechisms to get to Pastor Jordon.

So, the timing of this appeal is immediate.

Please consider individually, or as a congregation, donating a few dollars to:

LCSS Catechisms
910 4th Street
Brookings, SD 57006


The North American headquarters of LCSS is at the Institute of Lutheran Theology, so please send any checks to LCSS in care of ILT.  100% of your donation will go to the catechisms.

If you have any questions, please contact Eric Swensson at (914) 712-5440, or ejswensson@gmail.com.  He is also a member of the LCMC Missions Forum and will see any post that appears there.

Thank you, and count your blessings, and at least consider praying for all of God's people in South Sudan.]]>
Take Back The Sabbath http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/take-back-the-sabbath/a570.html Mon, 16 Jun 14 00:00:00 -0600 Over thirty years ago the Churches were attended by 26% Christians at any given Sunday. Today Barna states that number has dropped to 17.5% on any given Sunday. A few years ago the United States was declared the fourth largest mission field.  Wake up America! We need to stop this decline in order to avoid following the European Nations decline of 3-5% of Churches occupied on any given Sunday.

   What could we do as a group of Christians?  We need to act upon this now. If we rally together we could help make a difference. We can't change the world ....but we can change, "ONE THING " to advance the Kingdom of God.
 

Hebrews 12:1-2 Compares the Christian Life to a RACE. How is the Kingdom of God more like a relay race than a marathon or a sprint?  The relay is a beautiful thing, in some ways rivaled by no other sporting event.
 
Beautiful, that is when it WORKS, but UGLY when it doesn't.

The amazing thing about a relay race is that no matter how excellent, talented, trained, and just plain fast the team members are, unless that baton is in the hand of the man or women who finishes the anchor leg and crosses the line, THERE IS NO VICTORY. If the baton is dropped the team is DISQUALIFIED.....no RIBBONS....no TROPHIES...no VICTORY LAP...and no GLORY.

The BATON provides a near -perfect illustration of the HEAVENLY CALLING on our lives and the LIVES OF THE GENERATION BEHIND US......OUR LEGACY OF FAITH. God ENTRUSTED US to a BATON (A LEGACY of FAITH) 
He appointed us to PASS on THAT BATON. As Ministers, Members and Parents it is our job to pass on the baton to the next generation. If they are not in Church they are not there to hear the Word, capture the message and plant it in their hearts. We need to correct this.  (1) Douglas Cherry book “Stick.” 


 
What keeps us from doing that? 
 
SCHOOLS HAVING ACTIVITIES BEFORE NOON ON SUNDAY.
 
If our children are not in Church…they don’t hear the Word. They don’t experience the Fellowship God intended for them. When they are forced to “CHOSE” between the School event and Church…the school event usually wins.  If the student doesn’t practice or rehearse before the event (Sunday morning) they are unable to participate in that event. 
 
Matthew 10:8
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received.
 
What a simple ordination. Take what you received from Me and give it to OTHERS.
We can do this.  
We need to get the parents and students back in the Churches so that they are able to be there to hear the message and are able to pass the baton on to the next generation.
 
How Do We Do This?
  1. Pastors/Parents need to contact your local School Superintendent and set up a meeting to talk to him/her about changing the policy of having activities on Sundays before noon.  .
  2. Parents should get involved with the PTA and challenge anyone anytime a function is being scheduled on a Sunday morning beforenoon.
  3. Gather other like- minded parents to join your cause.
  4. Run for offices in the PTA to get this passed. 
Recently I presented this to our South Monroe County Ministerial Association and they are getting on board with this as well. Your participation and your comments are appreciated. I highly recommend the book, "Stick"  for parents as a guide to help parents with passing on the baton. I believe that once we get the children back to Church they will be able to benefit by your book to pass on the baton. (1) Stick: Making the Handoff to the Next Generation.
 
ISBN 978-0-9839082-0-3 Copyright 2011 by Doug and Lisa Cherry Po Box 460 Carbondale, Ill 62903 Publoished by Frontline Families Ministries (www.frontlinefamilies.org)
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Congregations Make Historical Palm Sunday March http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/congregations-make-historical-palm-sunday-march/a566.html Mon, 02 Jun 14 00:00:00 -0600 The historic and ironically named St. Paul’s Lutheran of Minneapolis drew police and media attention this past Palm Sunday; fortunately the four congregations that share the 19th and Portland Avenue landmark church planned it that way. The cause? It’s a long story, but it’s worth the time to tell.

In this case it’s best not to start from the beginning… of the church that is. In 1964, or 50 years ago from last Sunday, the Lutheran congregation of St. Paul’s had to move. They didn’t have to move for any particularly complex, theological or abstract reason; they had to move because I94 was being built: cutting a physical scar between downtown and south Minneapolis. Their building was to be part of that scar and so they marched.

Changing buildings had been part of the congregation’s history since its founding in the 1860s (Minneapolis was quite small then); in the 1920s the congregation moved from what is now a vacant spot somewhere near the Mixed Blood Theater area to a larger building on 18th Street and 14th Avenue South (now a grassy slope on the right hand side as you go east on I94 and start your exit to go south on Hiawatha).

The originally Norwegian immigrant congregation has weathered a turbulent fifty years since. It survived being in the heart of the Phillips neighborhood during the 1990s, it both joined and left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it held on as whites (including those ethnic Norwegians) moved en masse to the suburbs and now stands firm as the near south side of Minneapolis is filled with new languages and cultures from across the globe.

How? This past Palm Sunday went a long way in telling the “how” part of the story. In a police-escorted march from the site taken by I94 to their current home on Portland most of the songs heard were not in English or Norwegian, but rather in Afaan Oromo (one of the common languages of Ethiopia). You see though the congregation of St. Paul’s only speaks English, its three partner congregations (who also use the same building) do not; Rev. Roland J Wells, Jr. (Senior Pastor at St. Paul’s) explained his take on the situation:

There are a few places where God is doing things like this, but very, very few congregations have shown the ability to share their building like St. Paul’s has.  Because the congregation has always taken over somebody else’s “used” church, we have more freedom to share, not “our” church, but the church we are entrusted with at this time.
Strangely (or not so strangely if you study trends in population movements) the work of Lutheran missionaries over the past two centuries has boomeranged back to America in the form of immigrants. Although people groups such as the Oromo don’t look like, talk like or sing like typical lutefisk-eating Lutherans, the beliefs they bring to America are the same as the Norwegians who founded St. Paul’s; Rev. Wells explained the beliefs:
Lutheran theology is an ecumenical theology, in that it is not about a system or a hierarchical structure.  It is driven by the Word of God and seeks to bring people together around that Word.
At this point I’ll go ahead and out myself as a Lutheran (yes I am that Minnesotan) and a member of St. Paul’s. I will adjust the pronouns accordingly. I marched and photographed the long display of flags, balloons and palms. I stayed for the service where Mark Vander Tuig (Service Coordinator for Lutheran Congregations in Missions for Christ) gave the sermon. I enjoyed the Lutheran tradition of potluck in the basement but with authentic cuisine from Ethiopia and Latin America (the dishes paired wonderfully with hotdish).

So although Easter is usually the highlight of Holy Week, this year Palm Sunday may have superseded it for me. The march along I94 seemed to parallel the direction of Minnesota. Even though the scars of the interstates may be on their way to being healed their constant movement will never cease. According to Rev. Wells this global diaspora has increased the Twin Cities’ immigrant population from 100,000 to 800,000 in the past 20 years. We have a state abounding with fresh ideas, words, faces and uncertainty.

But I realized, as we marched next to the interstate’s scar on Minneapolis, that we were actually singing in the same language (and it had been sung when the march was made 50 years before). We were all on some level immigrants and outsiders trying to hold ourselves together in a changing and challenging world: trying to hold together without airtight systematic theology, without a spelled-out future and without fully understanding each other. All we had (and needed) was faith, hope and joy centered in God.

 
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Congregation Members Show Kindness, $5 at a Time http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/congregation-members-show-kindness-$5-at-a-time/a558.html Wed, 14 May 14 00:00:00 -0600
Pastor Brian Metke stated that, “We view Sunday morning services as a laboratory where we not only honor God, but where we learn how to extend the Kingdom of God into our day to day lives. We want people to experiment with stepping out of their comfort zone and showing Jesus’ love to others in a practical way.“

During the Christmas season Trinity collected $1,500 for our local relief fund and people naturally expected the church staff to dole out those funds to needy people.  We decided to throw the congregation a curve and help them to realize that the church is not primarily an institution, but the Body of Christ.  We wanted everyone at Trinity to begin to look for opportunities to reflect Christ’s presence.

People gave their money to folks begging on street corners in Milwaukee and Chicago. A number of people added to the $5’s and paid for people in the checkout line in the supermarket.  Parishioners secretly paid for dinners who were eating in a restaurant.  Countless cups of coffee were purchased for people in hospitals, gas stations and McDonalds.  Many folks stated that it was really hard to give the money away, they really had to think about how and who to bless with this gift.  The bottom line was that worshipers began to realize that they were Christ’s hands and feet and that they were blessed to be a blessing wherever they went.]]>
Getting Connected! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/getting-connected/a556.html Tue, 29 Apr 14 00:00:00 -0600
Three years ago, I invited the leaders of all the districts at that time to come together for a day to consider how we might be more effective in encouraging each in fellowship and support, as well as accountability.  We are still at those goals, and so once again, three years later, we have invited leaders of every district to get together to gauge our progress and to continue to learn how we can improve.  

Our district leaders will be meeting on July 15th and 16th at Hosanna Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Illinois.  

For more information, contact Mark Vander Tuig at mark@lcmc.net.]]>
LCMC Staff Welcomes Photo Submissions for 2014 Annual Gathering Book http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-staff-welcomes-photo-submissions-for-2014-annual-gathering-book/a555.html Tue, 22 Apr 14 00:00:00 -0600 How has your congregation been "in Mission for Christ" over the past year?  Whether you've organized a creative fundraiser to help raise money for our meal packaging project, traveled abroad on a mission trip, or put together a program to help reach out to the people in your very own community, we want to hear about it! 

 
For the next several weeks, our staff is inviting all "LCMC-ers" to send us photos of themselves (or fellow members of their congregation) "in Mission for Christ".  All photographs received by Thursday, July 31st will be considered by the LCMC Staff for possible inclusion in the design of the book that will be distributed at the Annual Gathering this October, and on our website!

From 5k races to beauty treatments to English as a Second Language programs, we've seen all kinds of interesting photos and creative ideas in the past.  We are very much excited to see what is going on within the congregations of our association, and to incorporate these stories into the artwork of this year's Annual Gathering book.

 

Before you get started, please read through the requirements and instructions below.

What we're looking for:  Photos of you (or people in your congregation) in action!  For examples of photos we've used in the past, check out some of our previous books here

What we're not looking for:  Pictures of buildings, but no people. 
 

Here are a photo guidelines, terms & conditions:

  1. Our staff welcomes photo submissions from now through Thursday, July 31st, with special consideration being given to photos received by Monday, June 30th.  Due to early printer deadlines, any photos submitted after this date will be ineligible for consideration.
  2. Please do not place text or clip art on photos, as these things can be difficult to read should we need to re-size your photo. 
  3. Because chosen images will be used in a printed publication, please send only high resolution/print quality images.  Very small and/or distorted images will not print clearly.
  4. Acceptable file types are: JPG (preferred), GIF, TIFF and PNG.  (No PDFs or Word documents, please!)
  5. Any photo submitted must be an original work (owned by the individual or the congregation), and not the intellectual property of another party.  
  6. By submitting any photo(s), you agree that any images (and likeness or subject matter within) submitted may be used without compensation for the purposes described above.
  7. Photos must be submitted by pastors, congregation members/staff or associate members of LCMC.  
  8. Photo content must be relevant and in accordance with who we are and what we believe.
  9. Each photo submission must be accompanied by your name, the name and location of your congregation, and a brief description of the photograph (see below for more info).  
  10. Please note:  Due to space, time and other constraints, we are unable to guarantee the publication of each and every photograph submitted to us.
     

How to Submit Photos:

Please be sure that we receive your photo entries no later than Wednesday, July 31.  All photos submitted to LCMC must be accompanied by the following information:

  1. A brief description of the photo(s) 
    • Who is in the photo?
    • When and where does it take place? 
    • What's going on in the photo?
    • How has your congregation been "in Mission for Christ" over the past year?
  2. The name of the person submitting the photograph and/or the photographer's name
  3. The name of the congregation, and the city and state in which it's located. 

Photo entries and all accompanying information may be submitted to us in one of the following ways:

  1. Online:  Click here for an online form, which will allow you to upload a photo.
  2. Email:  Attach the photos to an email and include all description information in the body of the email.  Photo entries should be sent to Kristy Thomas, Communications and Public Relations Specialist for LCMC, at kristy@lcmc.net
  3. Flickr Users:  If you have a Flickr account and would like to submit your photos by sharing an album, please email a link to the album, along with the requested information, to kristy@lcmc.net.  If you are submitting multiple photos this year, we highly encourage you to submit your photos using this method. 
  4. Instagram:  Photos uploaded to Instagram will be considered for submission when accompanied by the hashtags #lcmc and #2014agbook

 

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LCSS Seeks Translated Copies of Luther's Small Catechisms http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcss-seeks-translated-copies-of-luthers-small-catechisms/a523.html Tue, 25 Mar 14 00:00:00 -0600 Pastor Jordon Long, President of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan (LCSS). 

The LCSS is a new church with no walls.  Most of its members worship in tents, huts, or open spaces. and they have no educational materials written in their indigenous languages. 

On March 14, Pastor Jordon was able to communicate with Eric Swensson and update the current situation for the LCSS. Around the area where Pastor Jordon lived, about 2000 people were killed.  It became necessary for him to leave that area.  The Christian College where Matthew Riak was at when the violence started had one security guard killed before it was taken over and still remains a military post.  Generally, the people of the LCSS have scattered, and are in hiding in the bush or have fled across the border to refugee camps.

Pastor Jordon will be staying in a refugee camp just across the border from South Sudan in Ethiopia. In the midst of all this chaos and despair, Pastor Jordon sees great opportunity to minister to the many desperate people around him in these refugee camps. He says the one thing that would be most helpful to him would be Luther's Small Catechisms translated in their native languages. He knows this would be the most useful tool he could have to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to so many people in need of Him.
Think about that!!! Pastor Jordan did not ask for money, food, water, shelter, or safety from harm, but for Luther's Small Catechisms to help him minister to the people around him in the refugee camps.

Currently, the LCSS website lists only four American friends and partners. They are: LCMC, the Augustana District of the LCMC, the Institute for Lutheran Theology (ILT), and the Disciple Ship.

The ILT has been in discussion with the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF), and they currently have the catechisms translated into the proper native language.  They are willing to work with us to get them to these refugee camps for Pastor Jordon to use. The books cost only a few dollars each. The LHF has a group going to Ethiopia at the end of April, and can help arrange for these catechisms to get to Pastor Jordon.

So, the timing of this appeal is immediate.

Please consider individually, or as a congregation, donating a few dollars to:

LCSS Catechisms
910 4th Street
Brookings, SD 57006


The North American headquarters of LCSS is at the Institute of Lutheran Theology, so please send any checks to LCSS in care of ILT.  100% of your donation will go to the catechisms.

If you have any questions, please contact Eric Swensson at (914) 712-5440, or ejswensson@gmail.com.  He is also a member of the LCMC Missions Forum and will see any post that appears there.

Thank you, and count your blessings, and at least consider praying for all of God's people in South Sudan.]]>
In Memoriam - Rev. Daniel J. Wissmann http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/in-memoriam---rev-daniel-j-wissmann/a520.html Wed, 12 Mar 14 00:00:00 -0600 The Rev. Daniel J. Wissmann, Appleton, WI, died January 15, 2014. 
 
With an initial diagnosis in 1990 that gave him only 2 years to live, Dan dealt with the many difficult symptoms and effects of a brain tumor for 23 years. 

A graduate of Wartburg College and Wartburg Theological Seminary, Daniel was ordained at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in rural Pella, Wisconsin.  He served an internship at St. John Lutheran in Wishek (ND), where he preached in German and English, as he then did at his first parish, St. John Lutheran in Windsor Colorado.  He also served Good Shepherd Lutheran in Bismarck (ND), St John Lutheran, Royal (IL), Brommen Hospital as a hospice chaplain in Normal (IL), Immanuel Lutheran, Lincoln (IL), Holy Cross Lutheran, as interim pastor in Decatur (IL), and Zion Lutheran, as visitation pastor in Oshkosh (WI). 

Survivors include his wife, Camille, and sons Luke (wife: Irina) and Paul (wife: Ming).
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Pr. Kristen Phillips Ordined, Pr. Glen Arlt Ordained and Installed http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/pr-kristen-phillips-ordined-pr-glen-arlt-ordained-and-installed/a519.html Thu, 06 Mar 14 00:00:00 -0700 The following ordination and installation announcements have been submitted by members of the LCMC community and have also been featured in the 1st Quarter 2014 edition of our By The Word newsletter. 
 

Ordination of Kristen Phillips

Kristen Phillips was ordained and installed on Sunday, December 1st, 2013 at 6:00 P.M. at Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran Church & School
 in Jacksonville, Florida. 
 
Born and raised in Wisconsin, she relocated to Jacksonville, FL in 1986
.  She joined Shepherd of the Woods in 1991 and began to hear a call to vocational ministry.  She completed the Associate in Ministry program and was commissioned as an AIM in 2005.  She received her Pastoral Ministry Certification from the Institute of Lutheran Theology in May 2013.  Now ordained, she serves as an Associate Pastor at Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran Church & School.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ordination & Installation of Rev. Glenn Arlt

Rev. Glenn Arlt was ordained and installed as an Associate Pastor at Family of Faith Lutheran Church, Traverse City, Michigan, on December 1, 2013.  Rev. Daniel LeCouteur officiated.  Also participating was council president John Sarya.

Glenn is a recent graduate of Beyond the River Academy and served his internship at Family of Faith while attending the academy.  Although he received several inquires from congregations across the continent, Glenn decided to serve Family of Faith as a part-time tent-maker pastor, while maintaining his position at Hagerty Insurance and caring for his aging parents. Glenn and his wife Denise have been married for 34 years and have two grown sons.

- Submitted by Rev. Daniel LeCouteur
 
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Meal Packaging Project Update http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/meal-packaging-project-update/a515.html Thu, 27 Feb 14 00:00:00 -0700 Annual Gathering in October.  
 
As of January, we have collectively raised $8,940.67 to be used for obtaining food, packaging materials and postage for the project. 
graph 
Those wishing to make a donation to the project, or to download promotional flyers and posters to help promote the project, can do so by clicking here
 
We have also created a Facebook event page, titled "Two Hours. 1,000 People. 400,000 Meals.", to help make it easier for social media users to stay updated on the project and to share the event details with others. 
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Blessman Ministries Plants First LCMC Congregation in South Africa http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/blessman-ministries-plants-first--lcmc-congregation-in-south-africa/a517.html Wed, 26 Feb 14 00:00:00 -0700
The church will be in a rural country school house building that has electricity, running water and an outdoor toilet.  It is a gathering place for our rural farm area, is the voting polling place, and has a soccer field where nearby farmers gather on Sunday afternoons. 

There is no other church of any denomination for several miles, and there are hundreds of farm workers in our area who do not have vehicles, so they have been unable to attend church.  This area definitely needs Jesus. 

Please pray for us as we walk down this new path.  We are in immediate need of chairs, musical equipment, hymnals, a cross, signage and praying for a church bus to bring many more people to church.  

For more info:

Website: www.blessmanministries.org
Phone: (515) 343-5920
Email: office@blessmanministries.org
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Scholarship Opportunity for High School Seniors http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/scholarship-opportunity-for-high-school-seniors/a510.html Tue, 04 Feb 14 00:00:00 -0700 When you add up to cost of tuition, books, lab fees, parking passes, and sometimes even room and board, the cost of a college education adds up fast.  Fortunately, one organization is offering an opportunity to help avoid racking up the debt. 

The Lutheran Community Foundation plans to award one $5,000 scholarship to a graduating high school senior who plans to attend a Lutheran-affiliated college or university for the 2014-2015 academic year. 

The requirements for this scholarship are as follows:
  1. Be a high school graduating senior and a member of a congregation that holds an active LCF Organizational Fund
  2. Demonstrate financial need and submit a copy of their FAFSA Student Aid Report
  3. Plan to attend an accredited Lutheran-affiliated college or university
  4. At the time of the award, candidates must be enrolled on a full-time basis based upon the respective institution's definition of full-time status
  5. Be in good academic standing with a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 grading system as confirmed by LCF receipt of Official Transcript verifying GPA
  6. Submit essays on the topics described on page 4  (see PDF below)
  7. Ensure receipt of two confidential letters of recommendation-one authored by the candidate/s pastor and one authored by a teacher - by the deadline

The deadline for applications is Thursday, May 15, 2014

Those with questions regarding this scholarship opportunity may contact Susan M. Hayes, LCF's Director of Community Grants and Services, at 1-800-365-4172 or by e-mail at susan.hayes@thelcf.org.
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LCMC-ers Celebrate Second Annual Three Days of Prayer http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-ers-celebrate-second-annual-three-days-of-prayer/a518.html Sat, 01 Feb 14 00:00:00 -0700 Three Days of Prayer.  

For the second time in the association's history, LCMC Service Coordinator Rev. Mark Vander Tuig invited members of LCMC to start off the New Year with three consecutive days of prayer, focused on confession, petition and vision, and organized in any way that made sense to the participants.  

The goal?  To see LCMC become more and more a people of prayer. 

"We too often see prayer as the last resort, and even as an acknowledgement of defeat. But it is not! It is the greatest and most effective thing we can do," Rev. Vander Tuig said.  

Based on a survey conducted during the month of January, 52% of people who took part in the event this year were first-timers.  

Hosting prayer services or vigils and distributing prayer booklets proved to be the most popular methods for organizing the three days, and an effective way to encourage participation from congregation members.

One such congregation, Holy Cross Lutheran Church of Maple Lake, MN, distributed themed pamphlets to its members each day and hosted prayer vigils, which were attended by 45 people, each night. "People really enjoyed the prayer stations on "Petition Day", Pr. Culynn Curtis said.  "Although it was part of our worship service, these Lutherans got out of the chair, focused on an object and offered prayers of petition for themselves, family and friends, creation, the world, the hungry and homeless, and those in need of healing."

Over a third of the people surveyed also reported coming up with other creative ways to boost participation and emphasize the importance of prayer.  

"We offered a prayer clock to each person. These were distributed in the bulletin and via email from the pastor. The clock consisted of 3 areas of prayer for each hour of the day, " said Linda Lerum of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Idaho Falls, ID.  "We had three areas for prayer in each hour: One, to praise God for who He is using the attribute listed; Two, to thank God for what He has already done; and Three, to ask God for the needs listed on that hour, [at] which there was three requests: a person (staff), a ministry team, and a mission we support outside our walls."

For other LCMC-ers, the event was an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the power of prayer.

Hawley Lutheran Church of Hawley, MN encouraged participation by offering people a chance to submit written prayer requests and conducting a prayer walk.  "Prayer is intimidating to a lot of people, so our goal is to try to make our prayer experiences less intimidating; more practical,"  said Pastor Jeff Teeples.

Others thought even further outside the box, thinking up creative ways to help people with weekday commitments find time to participate.

Congregation members at First Lutheran Church of Washburn, ND were invited to lunch, complete with a speaker and time set aside for prayer, on each of the three days.  Many students and working people were able to attend the event on their lunch hour.  Judy Beaudry, who helped coordinate the event, enjoyed the fact that many of the congregation's younger families were able to attend.  

When asked what their favorite part of Three Days of Prayer was this year, 31% of people mentioned that they enjoyed praying together as a congregation and/or as part of LCMC as a whole.  Another 31% of people enjoyed the event's focus on Confession, Petition, and Vision.  

"I prayed on my knees each day.  It felt good to emphasize national and international concerns with other LCMC-ers who were doing the same," said, John Magness of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, TX.

Many others seemed to agree.  

"One participant said that it was so refreshing to pray together, they wished we could have a prayer service every month!  We will have to think about that," said Lila de Waal, a Diaconal Minister at Victory Lutheran Church in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

"I personally felt an amazing presence of the Holy Spirit the moment I walked through the door.  All my cares, burdens, and worries were lifted and [this] allowed me to have peace.  It was awesome.  I felt 'blessed' to have this experience," said Rhonda Zingler of Gloria Dei Lutheran in Tomah, WI.  

Next year's Three Days of Prayer is set to take place from January 6-8, 2015.


"I think it is something that should continue year after year," said Pr. Frank Remski.  "It gives you a time of reflection and calmness."

As always, more information and additional resources can be found by clicking here.
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Lutheran Youth Take the Urban Plunge http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lutheran-youth-take-the-urban-plunge/a477.html Fri, 15 Nov 13 00:00:00 -0700 Over the past eight years, groups of youth from Lutheran churches all over the country have gone to love the poor, serve the homeless and care for their communities; trading in their weekends and vacations of relaxing, catching up on homework, and enjoying their comfortable nights in front of the television, to take the Plunge. The Urban Plunge; forty eight hours of working with the poor; feeding the homeless, visiting the jail; and serving, serving, serving.

82 Lutheran groups have taken the Plunge, most recently including Bethany Lutheran Church from Spencer, Iowa, the First Lutheran Church from Bottineau, North Dakota, Bethany Lutheran Church from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the King of Kings Lutheran Church from Woodbury, Minnesota, Our Savior Lutheran Church from Albert City, Iowa, the Immanuel Lutheran Church from Dixon, Illinois, the Peace Lutheran Church from Pella, Iowa, the Messiah Lutheran Church from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, St Johns Lutheran Church from Bennington, Nebraska, and the Lutheran Church of the Master, from Omaha, Nebraska.

The teams have all had the experience of a life-time, stepping out of their suburban bubbles to discover what life is really like for so many less-fortunate in and around their own nation.

"It put faces to the homeless and really changed my perspective on how approachable people in poverty can be” said Bethany Johnson, from the Bethany Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids, “I am more aware of the needs others might have, and seeing what I can do to help make a difference. "

"It showed me that everyone has a need, and as God's child, it is my duty to help fulfill them. It showed me a little work goes a long way" commented Annette Hanke, from Immanuel Lutheran Church, Dixon Illinois.

During the weekend, all the groups visited 8-9 different faith-based organizations that are working among the poor, discovering what their passions and gifts are, and how best to use them in their local area.
The Urban Plunge, operated by Christ For the City International, does not provide a ‘tour of poverty,’ but instead, helps participants to grasp how they can use their talents and passions to assist faith-based social-service agencies who already work alongside those who are in great need. They therefore aim to meet need, offer practical love and assistance, and ignite lasting passions to help back home.
"It showed me just how much more the church can do for the people in need in our area" said Mindy Lavender, from the Bethany Lutheran Church, in Spencer Iowa.

"Now I know that they are really in need, I want to do this for the rest of my life" encouraged Addison Baker, from the Messiah Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City.

"I learned that compassion is action" said Weston Grunke, from the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Omaha.

The Urban Plunge operates all year round in Lincoln, Omaha, Kansas City, Dallas, Des Moines and Sioux Falls.

For more information, visit www.urbanplunge.com.

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LWR Responds to Super Typhoon Haiyan, Offers Resources http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lwr-responds-to-super-typhoon-haiyan-offers-resources/a476.html Wed, 13 Nov 13 00:00:00 -0700
The full extent of damage across the Philippines is still difficult to determine due to disruptions in communications. Access to storm‐affected areas is limited as a result of flash floods, landslides, fallen trees, damaged roads and downed power lines and telecommunications. An estimated 675,000 people are currently displaced, including nearly 400,000 people in more than 1,300 evacuation centers. Reports indicate that approximately 10,000 people may have died as a result of the storm in Tacloban municipality alone.

 

How is Lutheran World Relief Responding?


LWR's Philippines staff are now coordinating with our partners to mobilize staff and resources to respond to the most urgent needs.

  • Shelter: LWR will provide shelter repair kits to families whose homes were damaged in the typhoon.
  • Cash programs: LWR will employ residents of three municipalities in Northern Cebu in short-term work assignments removing debris from public spaces, helping to get cash into the hands of those who need it.
  • Household supplies: LWR will provide families who have lost their belongings with essential household supplies such as cooking utensils and plates.
  • Quilts and Kits: LWR is shipping Personal Care Kits, Baby Care Kits, School Kits and Quilts, which will be distributed to more than 26,000 families.


How Can I Get Involved?


There are several ways you can help respond to the needs of the people of the Philippines:

  • Please pray for those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan and for all who are working to respond in the aftermath of the storm.
  • Give to the Philippines Typhoon fund. Your cash donations help LWR respond quickly to emerging needs on the ground. LWR accepts gifts online, by phone at (800) 597-5972 or by mail at Lutheran World Relief, P.O Box 17061, Baltimore MD 21297-1061.
  • Please consider assembling Quilts and Kits so that we have stock to respond to this and other emerging situations around the world.

 



Click Here
for congregational resources including text for bulletins/e-news/newsletter, a video of LWR's VP for International Programs providing an update on our response, and bulletin inserts.  Also available: a Powerpoint, prayers/petitions, sermon starters, and a children’s sermon.




For more information, visit Lutheran World Relief's website at http://lwr.org.]]>
LCMC Announces New Board Members, Facebook Groups and Future Events http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-announces-new-board-members-facebook-groups-and-future-events/a471.html Mon, 04 Nov 13 00:00:00 -0700
The event served as an opportunity for "LCMC-ers" from all over the world to connect with one another, and reflect on this year's theme, "The Grace of Giving". 

Additionally, the association welcomed one new member to the Board of Trustees and two new members to the Ministry Board, established two new online discussion groups, and announced the details for its next two events. 

Board of Trustees & Ministry Board


Rev. Julie Smith
of Springfield, MN was elected to the LCMC Board of Trustees.  Newly appointed to the LCMC Ministry Board were Rev. Paul Owens of New Braunfels, TX and Rev. Sally Gausmann of York, PA.  (View Board & Staff Page)

New Online Discussion Groups


To help make it easier for those in LCMC who face similar challenges to be able to connect with one another, two new discussion groups were established via Facebook last month. 

LCMC: The Next Generation was created by a group of LCMC pastors and leaders in their 20s and 30s during this year's Annual Gathering as a place for young adults in LCMC to connect with one another, share resources, offer prayer and support, and plan activities. 

LCMC Clergy Spouses
is a discussion group which offers a place for the clergy spouses of LCMC to come together for prayer and support.

Three Days of Prayer


In his State of the Association speech, Rev. Mark Vander Tuig announced that our next association-wide event, Three Days of Prayer, will take place from January 7-9, 2014.  

2014 Annual Gathering


The details for LCMC's 14th Annual Gathering, "Defending the Faith", were also announced.  The event will take place from October 5-8, 2014 at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines, IA and feature a special meal packaging service project.  

"Our hope is to get 1,000 people to package meals on Tuesday night during our gathering," Rev. Mark Vander Tuig said.  "If we can do this, we could package 400,000 meals together in two hours."  To achieve this goal, we will need to raise $80,000 for supplies and shipping.  (Read More...)

Videos & Photos


Photo galleries, video presentations and downloadable copies of our past and present Annual Gathering Books can be found by visiting our Media & Downloads page.  

As always, we plan to have videos of our 2013 Annual Gathering speakers available here later this winter. ]]>
Over 120 People Enjoy Free Chili Cookoff and Comedy, Raise $500 for Children in Need http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/over-120-people-enjoy-free-chili-cookoff-and-comedy-raise-$500-for-children-in-need/a467.html Wed, 16 Oct 13 00:00:00 -0600 On Friday, October 11, St. John’s Lutheran in Elkhorn and other area organizations hosted their first ever free monthly event titled “Elkhorn TGIF” for ages 0-120, and it was a huge success!

13 members from throughout the Elkhorn community entered the chili contest, being judged by over 120 cookoff goers who dropped change into the box of their favorite bowl of chili. Jen Christman of Elkhorn was the winner (receiving a funny antacid trophy), and in total the cookoff raised $500 for Operation Christmas Child, a program helping connect Christmas gifts with children in need around the world.

After the meal, everyone enjoyed over an hour of hilarious comedy led by ComedyCity (Green Bay) member Theresa Kaman and a team of amateur performers from the community, including Ted Johnson, Lance Ellsworth, Susan Happersberger, Tom De Groot and Donna Searles.

Tom De Groot, pastor at St. John’s, commented, “The two things people were most surprised about was the fact that the event was “free”, and that it wasn’t “religious”. I was amazed when $500 was raised for Operation Christmas Child. We are thankful to have been able to host a good, clean night of fun for all ages, and are blown away at the generosity of the people who came. And, of course, it was great to leave with our faces hurting from so much laughter.”

The next Elkhorn TGIF event, Thanksgiving Giveway & Scavenger Hunt, will be held on the second Friday, November 8th, at St. John’s from 5:30-7:30pm. The community will again be invited to join in a free event, fun for all ages, as we gather to participate in an interactive community scavenger hunt. Along the way, teams will give away a free gift to the people they encounter. On the free gift will be an invitation to those in need this Thanksgiving to confidentially contact the contact us and receive a free holiday meal basket “with all the fixins’”. Likewise, the invitation will also invite those who are blessed to have a meal this Thanksgiving to consider bringing one food item to be included in these free meal baskets.

Pizza will be available for participants for $1 per slice, and free hot drinks will be provided at Scavenger Hunt locations throughout Elkhorn. There will be something for everyone, from families with young kids to those who cannot leave the church. Go online to www.elkhorntgif.org to register for your free ticket and for more info on this and future events.

St. John’s is located on the corner of West Geneva and South Broad Streets in Downtown Elkhorn, just one block from the square. For more information, please call 262-723-2901 or visit www.stjohnselkhorn.com.

Pictured: Lance Ellsworth, Pastor Tom De Groot, Ted Johnson, Theresa Kaman, Donna Searles]]>
LCMC: In the Cloud http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-in-the-cloud/a459.html Mon, 23 Sep 13 00:00:00 -0600
I now have a Facebook page as the Service Coordinator for LCMC.  My page is pretty lame…nothing inflammatory, political or personal, just a few posts once in a while to let people know where I am, where I’ve been and that’s about it.  LCMC has a Facebook page as well and I find it to be very well administered, having good questions, answers and discussion.  Plus, it is a source of information about what is happening in our association and in some cases what is happening in the lives of some of our pastors, leaders and congregations.  The posts that I most love to read are the requests for prayer.  Who would have guessed that the internet would be such a great network for people to pray!

If you have not yet signed up for our LCMC Facebook page, you can do so on our website, another great source of information as to what all is going on!  And this seems so natural for our association since we were born out of the Word Alone Network, another internet-based movement.  I love the words of Hebrews 11, “For we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…”.  Obviously, the writer was not referring to the Internet, but now when I read it as a member of LCMC (an association that genuinely does occupy the “cloud” in the 21st century), all I can think of is us!

Facebook Page
  |  Facebook Discussion Group]]>
Faith Community Lutheran Church Coordinates Relief Efforts for Flood Devastation http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/faith-community-lutheran-church-coordinates-relief-efforts-for-flood-devastation/a456.html Wed, 18 Sep 13 00:00:00 -0600 Faith Community Lutheran Church of Longmont, CO is coordinating relief efforts and collecting donations to help assist those who have been devastated by recent floods in the state of Colorado. 
 
Those wishing to make donations may send them to the following address: 

Faith Community Lutheran Church 
Attention:  Flood Relief 
9775 Ute Highway 
Longmont, CO  80504 

The congregation also plans to have an online donation page set up at their website, www.fclc.org, within the next few days. 
 
For information updates regarding this or any other LCMC relief effort projects please see our Relief Efforts page. 
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Metke 30 Years Still Growing http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/metke-30-years-still-growing/a450.html Wed, 28 Aug 13 00:00:00 -0600 BLOOMFIELD — "Bloom where you're planted," said Pastor Brian Metke.

Thirty years ago, fresh out of seminary, Metke was planted at Trinity Church, his first and only congregation. 
 


On July 10, shortly before lugging duffle bags bloated with supplies for a mission trip to Kenya into the open trunks of vehicles belonging to volunteers not long before their flight, he said he has no plans on leaving.

 
 
With testimonials like the one provided by fellow pastor Joyce Rossen, why would he?

"He has so many gifts, so many talents, it's really almost impossible to think of all of them in one person," Rossen said.

 
 
It's also uncommon for a Lutheran pastor — any pastor, these days — to remain with one church for 30 years.


 
"I was expecting to be here three years or so, because that's what pastors did, but we stayed here," Metke said.


 
He could boast that what he accomplished with Trinity is the kind of thing politicians and even other church leaders often dream of, but never see fully materialize.


 
When he arrived at Trinity, in 1982, the church was "on the verge of collapse," he said. "Nobody could find it, first of all, and it was surrounded by a junkyard."
 


It was also in a community people often write off.
 


"This is the kind of place where one person said to me they've never seen anything good come out of Pell Lake," he said. "It's with that kind of attitude, where people grow up (in) a blue collar community. We realized Jesus is a blue-collar individual, and we've seen a revitalization here. People are proud of the community because they saw a church that was about to die rejuvenated."


 
Not just rejuvenated, but growing.


 
Trinity's congregation grew from 65 members in 1982 to currently 450, Metke said, drawing followers who live as far as 25 miles away. "We are unique," Metke said. "We have a unique style."

Gone are the junkyard surroundings of the former church on Clover Road.


 
For several years now, the church has deepened its roofs in 12 acres at W775 Geranium Drive, housed in a structure that's visible to motorists traveling north and south on Highway 12.
 
"This congregation didn't have a future on Clover Road," Metke said. "It was a unanimous decision to leave, which that in itself tells you something."


 
The location changed, but the man at the front of the church has remained the same. When asked why he has stayed — and why he said without hesitation that he won't leave — could be to set an example.


 
"I've taken a vow of stability," Metke said. "People move around so much in our world … and to take a vow of stability, like monks do, this is a spiritual effort. To have a person stay in one place is a great thing."


 
Metke is celebrating his 30th anniversary at the church he saved in a way that's just as unique as the church itself.
 


He said the congregation is providing him with the opportunity to pursue a doctorate in discipleship.

Metke will use Trinity as his thesis on healthy discipleships and rejuvenating congregations.
 


"That's really my gift for my 30th (anniversary), and what a legacy for the congregation, to take a green pastor and put up with all this stuff, all these changes I did. That's the real celebration.  Or, he joked, maybe the congregation is sending him back to school because he needs extra help.


 
A sense of humor is one cornerstone of Metke's vibrant personality. But maybe he doesn't fit the usual stereotypes associated with the term "pastor."
 
Metke has lots of stories, much to say — as any pastor would — but his stories don't stretch on infinitely, nor is he a repetitive speaker. He still looks young and full of energy, lifting duffel bags half his size and joking with missionaries at the same time.
 
A 1974 graduate of Union Grove High School, Metke discovered his calling at Marquette University, after learning to play guitar with a campus ministry. "A priest said to me, 'You should be a priest,' and I said, 'Hey, I'm Lutheran and I want to get married,'" Metke said. "Then he said, 'You should be a pastor.'" Why? He said he is a learner who has "genuine faith." "I have a gift set," Metke said. "I'm a good speaker, I'm a good teacher, I have a passion to achieve. My gift set, as a leader, was there, but I was open to developing my spiritual character. … I'm still growing. I'll never be finished."
 
Neither is Metke's work in rejuvenating congregations.
 
Recently, Metke, Rossen and Pastor Tom De Groot began working to revitalize St. John's Lutheran Church in Elkhorn.
 
Metke said they continue to look at struggling congregations.
 
"I believe that's our calling," he said.
 
What is the secret to restoring a congregation?
 
Metke said he believes God is using them.
 
One key to success in this arena is for one to allow him or herself to be an instrument of God, he said.
 
Another key: Loving people. "It's not a job," Metke said. "We really care about people." But a main focus at Trinity, the purpose of its activities, he said, is to make disciples.
 
"Most churches don't make disciples," Metke said. This, he said, is also how he wants to celebrate his 30th anniversary with Trinity. "When we see churches thriving because of our efforts and people developing a positive, life‐changing connection with Jesus Christ, I want to celebrate with the congregation by saying, yes, with the help of God, many good things continue to come out of Pell Lake."
 
Which perhaps also means Metke has bloomed nicely.
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Stewards for Ragbrai Opens Doors http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/stewards-for-ragbrai-opens-doors/a451.html Wed, 28 Aug 13 00:00:00 -0600 Immanuel Lutheran Church of Harlan Iowa, in an effort to house bikers, opened its doors to create an oasis for more than 1,134 riders and support crew for 24 hours. Ragbrai, an anachronism for Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, a 40 year tradition to start by dipping the rear tire in the Missouri River, then bicycle 468 miles across Iowa’s July heat to complete a dipping of the front tire into the Mississippi River.  The seven day event is estimated to draw over 20,000 riders, support crew, and sightseers as a literal city progresses across Iowa this year.
 
Immanuel isn’t new to this either, five years ago, the church found a need for some desperate and expensive repairs to its roof, parking lot, pews and in general building maintenance. A charter group Pork Belly Ventures offered an opportunity to Immanuel; we open our church to host the riders and they pay the church a base fee. The experience proved not only a success for everyone but turned into a sharing moment for a number of the members. Many members expressed the exhaustion, effort, and hugely spiritual moments. So when Pork Belly found out the route for Ragbrai was going through Harlan again, it was evident to everyone, Immanuel was going to host once again, with glee.
 
Pastor Steve Chellew was asked, “What does the stewardship of Immanuel have to do with Ragbrai?” “When I think about a Certified Electrician working for free with the roasters on a flatbed, farmers offering hogs, personalize for a welcome center, leadership skills to elicit the help, the cooks in the kitchen, the Sunday school selling pies, women raffling a personalized quilt, there were so many displays of member’s stewardship. There is no other way to accomplish such a feat without everyone’s skill set.” Why should other churches attempt at what Immanuel just did? “Well, it’s not about the money. To me it is a great example of washing others feet, but in modern terminology. Church’s have a bad representation in our culture due to the sex scandals, politics, hypocrisy and so forth. So Ragbrai is simply about being Jesus to weary, tired, hungry travelers.”
 
So how does Immanuel Lutheran support 1,134 guests for lunch, dinner, and breakfast? It starts with the volunteers of the congregation of course, but it’s the coordinator everyone looks to, that would be Mary Taggs. With her continued contact with Pork Belly she was able to know what to feed the riders and to provide housing for the many wanting to stay inside an air-conditioned facility instead of the tent city outside Immanuel’s door. An estimated 45 steam roasters were used to cook the seven donated hogs and the potatoes for the dinner, 310 pounds for broccoli salad and 336 pounds of three bean salad were prepared, 50 trays of tollhouse bars were parceled out. Not to be over burdened the ladies brought together 40 pies, mostly the ever popular rhubarb pie, were sliced and sold individually, to the very last slice. Even a quilt was made by the ladies stitched from a t-shirt with the logo of every town the Ragbrai riders would stay overnight in. This quilt was then raffled off and mailed to the winning rider’s home.
The outcome was the stories of sharing. John Davis lead coordinator for outside grounds was introduced to one lost rider. In the midst of the confusion, a “50ish dear sweet woman” rider became separated from her group, the cell towers were overwhelmed making communications impossible, her only solitude was the church. Frazzled and desperate she found her way to Immanuel and was introduced to John. Through her remembering certain land marks and recognizing familiar neighborhoods they were able to reunite with her support team. Yet, John didn’t just drop the lost off and return; he spent some time with her and her support team visiting. It is this outreach Immanuel members have experienced throughout the 24 hour stay of our guest.
 
In an effort for the members of Immanuel to be visible to our guest t-shirts were designed and then ordered for the youth organization, LYO. The LYO met one evening and were instructed for a recognizable t-shirt. The finished product had bold letters, “And on the 8th Day… God Rode His Bike… to Harlan Iowa Immanuel Lutheran 2013” onto electric green shirts, Immanuel stood out. It’s one of these t-shirts one rider sought out and found, insisting to meet the organizer, to express his sincerest appreciation for our hospitality.
 
In addition to many grateful smiles from exhausted, sweaty, sore riders there were many handshakes. We found out how far our friends traveled to come for Ragbrai. We found out that not all are religious, but spiritual, yet recognized what we were doing was inspiring. We found out that our gracious guest left with such appreciation the church felt suddenly void when the last guest left on his bicycle between the green fields of Iowa.
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Texas District Hosts Missions-Themed Gathering http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/texas-district-hosts-missions-themed-gathering/a444.html Tue, 13 Aug 13 00:00:00 -0600 The Texas District of the LCMC met in their Annual Convention August 2nd and 3rd  hosted by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Braunfels Texas.  The theme, “The River is Here,” spoke of the missional outreach which every member of the LCMC has at their fingertips!   Friday evening Rev. Dan Clites, LCMC Coordinator of New Ministry Development,  proclaimed God’s Word boldly in his message about how we are to get from “here” to “there” and the joy that is ready for all who let engage in the process of moving toward God’s preferred future.

Keynote speakers for the event were the Rev. Mark Vander Tuig and Rev. Enrique Estrada.  Each told of the urgency for all to engage in the mission of the church.  We are to be in the business of first being disciples then go about the process of making disciples who make disciples who make disciples. This process should help lead us to a place where the Lord will show His church His vision so that His glory is revealed.  This process will only happen when we can put things that allow conflict to happen in their proper perspective, being certain we “never let the sun go down on our anger.”

There were breakout sessions as there are with most Gatherings which all focused upon various aspects of missional living.  Breakout sessions that dealt with local issues were our Youth Ministry team, a session highlighting Family Ministry, as well as a session on digging into the Scriptures.  On the District level there were presentations on Lutherans for Life, Via De Cristo, Kairos Prison Ministry, Women of the Word, as well as a presentation on new church plants from the Texas District mission team.  On the national level we heard about the nuts and bolts of the LCMC.  Finally, from the international mission front, we heard from international missional opportunities such as the Eastern European Mission Network, Mexico Mission International, and Faith Missions International from Haiti.

In all, about 270 delegates, guests, volunteers and hosts made the event a powerful time for the fifty plus churches of the Texas District.  It was a time of prayer, of conversation, great food, awesome worship, as well as a time to reflect on our next steps together both as congregations and as a District.  It is the best of times to be part of one of the greatest opportunities in God’s Kingdom work today!]]>
Faith Community Church Opens Doors http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/faith-community-church-opens-doors/a427.html Mon, 17 Jun 13 00:00:00 -0600 For eight months, many have been earnestly watching, and even participating in, the progress of the red church on the hill between Cody and Powell, WY. It's been a long time coming for a group of local Christians, and now after eight long years, their dream of having a home of their own has come to pass. The doors opened for services on June 2nd with a community Dedication Service of the building on June 9th.

Faith Community Church, located nearly exactly between Powell and Cody, just up the hill on highway 294, has been built largely by the hands of its own members. “You can see it from the Cody/Powell highway,” says Faith's congregation president, Lee Meador. “It's the red church on the north side of the road as you head to Cody...you can't miss it.”

Nearly eight years ago the group of about fifty people made the decision to branch out and become a new church body. With then pastor Clyde Seifert at the helm, their intention was, and still is, to become a church that rested entirely on the Bible, the word of God...all of it. No omissions, no compromises, and with Jesus Christ at the center. “God's word is entirely true. It is without error. What He says goes, and as Christian believers, we follow His teachings. We all make mistakes, but we all can be forgiven. The gospel isn't complicated and that's really what we are about—serving a loving God who wants everyone to find a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.”

For six years, the church body, appropriately name Faith Community Church, waited for God to show them where He wanted them to be. During that time, two local churches, New Life Christian Fellowship and then the Garland Community Church opened their doors to the body of believers. “Our local churches were more than welcoming,” Meador says. “We were able to share space with them until the time came for us to discover where it was God wanted us to plant ourselves.”

The group considered many options along the way and investigated buying available space, renting something, or even continuing to share space with others. “In time it became clear we needed to have a place to call our own so we could provide the ministries we believe God is calling us to,” Meador explains.

Members continued to pray and seek God's will for them. “It was sometimes frustrating to come up against dead ends or major bumps in the road,” says Meador. “It wasn't anything close to Moses wandering in the wilderness forty years, but it did get challenging at times.” After Pastor Clyde Seifert's retirement, the group began its search for a new pastor. Three years ago, Pr. Kevin Piscator was called as the new pastor, and a year later Ron and Teddy Jones decided to donate acreage to the cause. Faith members began to give generously, and before they knew it, a building began to take shape. Once the church frame was forged, church members, and even those who didn't attend Faith, offered their talents to the project. From the duct work to the landscaping and everything in between, many have pitched in to see the project to completion. “I am in awe of the volunteers who helped out here that don't even go to this church. It's been amazing,” Pastor Piscator marveled.

“The ground breaking took place in October of 2012, and we officially opened the doors June 2nd just eight months later,” says Meador. “God has been faithful in seeing us through, and we plan to be faithful in sharing His word and welcoming all to join us. Our mission is simple: Love God, Love others.”]]>
News & Notes from 2Q BY THE WORD http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/news--notes-from-2q-by-the-word/a423.html Mon, 17 Jun 13 00:00:00 -0600 The 2nd Quarter 2013 edition of our newsletter, BY THE WORD, is now available at our website.  To download this or a previous edition of our newsletter, please visit the Newsletters Page of our site, located underneath the "Community" tab of the main menu. 
 
If you did not receive the current edition of BY THE WORD in the mail, or would like additional copies, please keep in mind that copies of current and previous editions are always available at our website to download and print.  Doing so will help allow LCMC to keep our printing and mailing costs down. 
 

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Elevator Constructed at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/elevator-constructed-at-st-marks-evangelical-lutheran-church/a426.html Sun, 16 Jun 13 00:00:00 -0600 St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church recently celebrated the completion of an elevator/lift, which allows easier access to the sanctuary and fellowship hall. The construction was done on the south side of the building, and more accessible parking has been added. The construction began last fall, under the direction of Richard Kassner, at an approximate cost of $100,000. As of early April, over $64,000 has been donated. Special thanks goes to the church council members, and to the congregation for all their support.

St. Mark’s (LCMC, NALC) is located at 324 S. Sanborn Avenue in Jefferson, WI. 

For more information about St. Mark’s: 
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Fall Mission Festival at St. Paul Lutheran http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/fall-mission-festival-at-st-paul-lutheran/a424.html Sun, 16 Jun 13 00:00:00 -0600 St. Paul Lutheran, Palmer, KS, celebrated a Fall Mission Festival on October 7, 2012.

The speaker was Pastor Mary Fast, Omaha, NE. She is the founder of Pathways Outreach Ministries in Omaha, which reaches out to those who are marginalized by society – incarcerated, disabled, or dealing with addictive behaviors. Modeling their path after the ministry of Jesus Christ, her non-profit organization seeks to share the Gospel and respond to the needs of those they serve. Located in Omaha, NE, Pathways seeks to develop a structure for outreach ministry that can be duplicated in other areas of the country. They provide Bible studies, counseling, worship opportunities, and a “wrap-around” program providing the support individuals need to re-enter the community successfully.

St. Paul Lutheran in Palmer is a member of the Prairie Valley Parish, a four-point parish in north central Kansas served by Pastor Tom Sahl, Vernon Mai (PMA), and lay preacher Stan Ericson.
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Etana Abdissa Debel, Luther Seminary Student http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/etana-abdissa-debel-luther-seminary-student/a412.html Mon, 20 May 13 00:00:00 -0600
A member of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and a third-year PhD student at Luther Seminary, he is a Church History major. 

He is married and has two daughters.  He is a full-time student living with his family.

Prior to his coming to Luther Seminary, Etana earned his Bachelor of Theology from Mekane Yesus Seminary, Addis Ababa and Master of Philosophy in Theology from School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger, Norway.  Etana was full time minister of the EECMY.
 
He served as instructor, Dean and Director of Nekemte Christian Education College from 1997 to 2004.  Due to the need for more national teaching staff at the Mekane Yesus Seminary, Etana was called to a full-time teaching position in February 2004, thereafter appointed to serve as the Dean of Theology at the Mekane Yesus Seminary from July 2004 to June 2008, then continued teaching.  Besides his full-time service, he also contributed to the ministry of the church of God on various capacities.

If you are interested in helping, please contact Pr. Challa Baro via email at challabaro@yahoo.com.]]>
Members Invited to Share Photos for Annual Gathering Book http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/members-invited-to-share-photos-for-annual-gathering-book/a409.html Thu, 16 May 13 00:00:00 -0600 dictionary definition

Get your cameras ready, because it's time to share with LCMC what your congregation has been up to for the past year!
 
In celebration of our 13th Annual Gathering, themed "The Grace of Giving", our staff is inviting pastors, leaders, church members and staff from any and all LCMC congregations to share with us in a photograph what your congregation has done over the past year in order to reflect financial stewardship, generosity and discipleship.  
 
All photographs submitted to our office by Wednesday, July 31st will be considered by the LCMC Staff for possible inclusion in the design of the book that will be distributed at the Annual Gathering this October!

We are very much excited to see what is going on within the congregations of our association, and to incorporate these stories into the artwork of this year's Annual Gathering book.
 
Before you get started, please read through the requirements below.

What we're looking for: 
II Corinthians 8:1-7 -- We are interested in photographs taken by members, pastors, leaders or staff of any and all LCMC congregations that illustrate what your congregation is doing within itself, within its local community, or anywhere in the world to reflect "The Grace of Giving" and exemplify financial stewardship generosity and discipleship. 

What we're not looking for:  Pictures of buildings, but no people. 

Here are a few rules, guidelines and tips:

  1. Photo submissions will be taken from LCMC members until Wednesday, July 31st at 5:00 PM EST.  Due to early printer deadlines, any photos submitted after this date may be ineligible for consideration.
  2. Because chosen images will be used in a printed publication, please send only high quality images.  Very small or distorted images will not print clearly, and therefore we will be unable to include them.
  3. Acceptable file types are: JPG, GIF, TIFF and PNG.
  4. Any photo submitted must be an original work (owned by the individual or the congregation), and not the intellectual property of another party.  
  5. By submitting any photo(s), you agree that any images (and likeness or subject matter within) submitted may be used without compensation for the purposes described above.
  6. Photos must be submitted by congregations or associate members of LCMC.  
  7. Photo content must be relevant and in accordance with who we are and what we believe.
  8. Each photo submission must be accompanied by your name, the name and location of your congregation, and a brief description of the photograph. 
  9. Please note:  Due to space, time and other constraints, we are unable to guarantee the publication of each and every photograph submitted to us.

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Disaster Relief Effort Opportunities Now Posted http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/disaster-relief-effort-opportunities-now-posted/a406.html Wed, 15 May 13 00:00:00 -0600 Looking for ways to help out someone in need this summer? 
 
Three new opportunities have been added to our website for those who would like to help provide emergency relief assistance to those whose lives have been affected by recent catastrophic disasters.

 

Oklahoma City Area

The Lutheran Disaster Assistance Fund, organized by those at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, an LCMC congregation in Marion, IA, provides emergency assistance to help support the needs of victims of catastrophic natural disasters including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, ice storms, wildfires, flooding caused by excessive rains, and similar natural disasters.  For more information, or to donate to the LDA Fund, click here

 

West, TX

Relief efforts are currently being coordinated to help support those affected by the the April 17 explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. in West, Texas.  For further information, click here

 

East Coast

Finally, those interested in taking part in the ongoing relief efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy can find links to various volunteer organizations and hands-on opportunities here

 
All of the information that we currently have has been posted to our Relief Funds page. 

If you have any additional information, or if your congregation has coordinated a disaster relief effort, please contact kristy@lcmc.net
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Two Congregations Unite in Downtown Seattle http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/two-congregations-unite-in-downtown-seattle/a400.html Mon, 13 May 13 00:00:00 -0600 There came a day when the Apostle Paul stiffened his back and said, “No!” His “no” was hurled
at Barnabas, his partner, who wanted to take Mark along with them on the second journey to
build up new infant congregations. (Acts 15:35-41). Paul could not dismiss the fact that Mark
had bailed out in a previous mission effort. Verse 39 puts it succinctly, “And there arose a
sharp contention , so that they separated from each other...Barmabas took Mark...Paul chose
Silas and departed.” RSV

Conflict is no stranger to Christians, Christian congregations and Christian Church Bodies
throughout the world. That painful fact makes it all the more joyous and glorious when our Lord
brings blessing upon blessing to congregations and pastors that seek His will and follow it.
This is happening in downtown Seattle. It involves two small congregations. One is Denny
Park Lutheran Church (DPLC), Douglas Lindsay, Pastor. The other is Lutheran Church of the
Resurrection (LCR), Phil Lee, Pastor. Here are some snatches from the story. I’ll begin with
DPLC.

Denny Park Lutheran congregation goes way back, almost as far back as Seattle. Their
birthday is April 19, 1888. They came together as Norwegian Immigrants. Through the 125
years of their history they have had their ups and downs. In recent decades they have seen
their neighborhood move away and give way to urban inner city realities, not least to apartment
and condo dwellers who live within the enforced privacy of gated surroundings.

Pastor Lindsay described some of their recent dilemma by saying, “We were $10,000 in the hole
and wondering how we could continue. We even had to borrow from our mission funds to pay
our bills. We had no young people. And if you don’t have young people, it’s hard do get young
people.”

But DPLC moved forward in three important ways. They voted to join LCMC three years ago.
After several years in the discussion stage, they decided to sell a small slice of their property for
the construction of a seven story low-income apartment building with assured underground
parking for church members. Thirdly, they accepted a proposal to rent worship and education
space, of which they have plenty, to LCR.

Meanwhile, LCR had a vastly different history. It was only three years old, a break-away
congregation from Magnolia Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Seattle. Their first Service was held on
Easter Sunday 2010. Their pastor, however, was soon on his way to an LCMC congregation in
California. That left them with the need to call a new pastor without delay. Somehow they did.
They called Pastor Phil Lee who began his ministry in August, 2010.

It took little time to find a temporary church home at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ballard, a
Seattle neighborhood. They continued there for almost two years. But it was not ideal,
especially for education space. When the rent was about to be raised, they began looking for
new space. It was discouraging. They were turned down by church after church. To build from
scratch in Seattle was far too expensive.

While they had inquired earlier about DPLC’s facilities, it took a second more formal proposal (in
writing) to spark genuine interest. The proposal was to rent space and to worship at a different
time than the DPLC. But this arrangement lasted only from November 2011 until June 2012.
By then both congregations were asking, “Why should we be worshiping separately?” They
soon learned that they were cut from the same theological cloth. By that summer they joined
hands and spirits and worshiped together!

The two pastors led the way in their trust and respect for each other. Sunday by Sunday they
traded roles in their preaching and conducting the Sunday Service. As Pastor Lee put it, “Each
congregation got to know the other, including each pastor.” It didn’t take long for both churches
to ask the obvious question about their future. And since last fall they engaged in serious
discussions that led to the Sunday of April 7, 2013.

Each congregation met separately after their Sunday Service on that day. They addressed one
major question. Shall we unite with the other congregation effective today? The vote was
remarkable, some would say “Miraculous!” There was not a “No” to be seen or heard
anywhere in these two congregational meetings! God be praised!

It was understood by both DPLC and LCR that, if the motion passed, both pastors would receive
a new Call. Pastor Lindsay, however had announced that his retirement from active ministry
would take effect at the end of this year. Pastor Lee would obviously continue. It was also
understood (a non-negotiable) that a “yes” vote would also mean that both the church facilities
and DPLC’s urban ministries would also continue into the future, not least an anticipated
ministry to the low income people who would live next door in the expected new apartment
building.

Pastor Lee captured this thought when we said, “Ahead of us is choosing a new name and a
new constitution that makes clear our need to be externally focused on the urban
needs that surround us rather than be internally focused on ourselves. My hope is that this fall
we can launch into a visioning process for just this reason.”

There are several important decisions ahead for this new congregation. They include not only a
new name and a new constitution but the election of a new church council, and issuing new
Calls to each pastor. Their goal is to make decisions on as many of these factors as possible
on June 16th.

In closing let me offer a personal observation. I have worked with both congregations in various
ways again and again in recent years in behalf of LCMC. I have interviewed and certified both
pastors for pastoral ministry in LCMC. If ever I have seen the hand of God at work among His
flock with blessing upon blessing, it is here in the midst of this urban jungle we call “downtown
Seattle”, just across the street from a two-square-block plot of walkways, trees, grass and
benches called Denny Park.

--Rev. Dr. Paul Braafladt, Seattle]]>
Pr. Rene D. Vega Ordained and Installed at the Iglesia Cristiana Luterana Genesis http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/pr-rene-d-vega-ordained-and-installed-at-the-iglesia-cristiana-luterana-genesis/a381.html Thu, 02 May 13 00:00:00 -0600 Pr. Rene D. Vega was Ordained and Installed at the Iglesia Cristiana Luterana Genesis (Genesis Christian Lutheran Church) in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico on Sunday, April 28, 2013.
 
Pictured below are Pastors Rene D. Vega, Marilyn González and Pablo N. Aymat
 
 
 
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Prayer Warriors Wanted http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/prayer-warriors-wanted/a379.html Fri, 26 Apr 13 00:00:00 -0600 Please consider signing up to “bathe” our Annual Gathering in October with PRAYER

Thirty days before the Gathering, we would like to start our “Prayer Warriors” on a path of Prayer for a successful gathering.  Our intent is to shower the Staff, Participants, Volunteers and Speakers with prayer for a Spirit-filled, God-centered Gathering.  Stay tuned for more information in the coming months. 

I am looking for Volunteers to help with the logistics, format and coordination, and computer format help would be greatly appreciated. You may contact Pastor Ron Winslow at (419) 699-2500 or email pastorronzion111@gmail.com.

Thank You!



Blessings,

Pastor Ron Winslow]]>
Iglesia Cristiana Luterana Genesis to Ordain and Install Rene D. Vega http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/iglesia-cristiana-luterana-genesis-to-ordain-and-install-rene-d-vega/a370.html Thu, 07 Mar 13 00:00:00 -0700 The Ordination and Installation of Rene D. Vega will take place at the Iglesia Cristiana Luterana Genesis (Genesis Christian Lutheran Church) in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, and all are welcome to attend.
 
The service will take place on Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. during the congregation's regular worship service.  The building is located at:
 
Iglesia Crisatiana Luterana Genesis
Calle AA G-16 Ciudad Universitaria
Trujillo Alto PR
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Introducing Rev. Dan Clites, LCMC's Coordinator for New Ministry Development http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/introducing-rev-dan-clites-lcmcs-coordinator-for-new-ministry-development/a357.html Mon, 04 Feb 13 00:00:00 -0700 When I was a kid, I dreamed of being an astronaut-- a bold pioneer of exploring outer space and the moon.  At the time, it seemed like the coolest job ever with all its intrigue and danger.  Trouble is, very few ever received the opportunity and now the whole idea of space exploration is grounded.

Thanks, however, to the LCMC's heart for bold ministry, we can all suit-up and blast-off again with a God dream!

As your new, New Ministries Coordinator (see Service Coordinator Mark Vander Tuig's note [in the upcoming edition of By the Word] for more details), I've been blessed with what I now believe is the coolest job ever--- to serve side-by-side with LCMC astronauts who are hearing Jesus' voice calling them to be pioneers of a space that seems ignored or grounded.  By the grace and wisdom of the Lord, together we will plant and develop new ministries across the nation that are effectively focused on reaching the disappeared, the disconnected and the disappointed.  This calling is filled with intrigue and danger...and I love it!  It is so huge a mission that it will require all of us to radically depend upon the Lord's dream to ignite 1,000 new ministries over the next decade!  But, as Romans 8 declares, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

So, why is starting new LCMC ministries important, even urgent?  
  • Eternal life or death are in the balance for those who don't follow Jesus.
  • Practicing Christians get renewed in the Great Commission to Go and Make Disciples. 
  • Most effective manner to reach new generations, new residents and new people groups with the true Gospel. 
  • Best way to grow quickly and have an immediate Christian-impact in a community. 
  • Fosters new ideas and methods that can benefit other churches. 
  • Challenges and renews the whole Body of Christ to be one in a community.
  • Triggers mission-mindedness rather than maintenance-mindedness.
  • Gives a mother church the excitement of giving birth to effective outreach.

Friends: I look forward to firing-up our adventure by meeting many of you at our upcoming San Diego and Birmingham Leadership gatherings.  Please register so we can connect and start developing friendships that blast-off a Great Commission movement.  Over the next few months I will also be developing and launching new ministry "boot camps"--- opportunities for you to see if church planting is something that you're wired and called to do. My job is to help you get in-line with the Lord's mission, pray with you, coach/equip you and love you like Jesus loves His Church!

Blessings!
Dan Clites
 
 

Rev. Dan Clites starts his new LCMC position on March 1st.  He has been the planter and lead pastor of Rejoice! in Northfield-Dundas, MN for the last 10-years.  Before that, he served Lutheran congregations in Clearwater, Brainerd and Cannon Falls, MN.  Before graduating from Luther Seminary in 1995, Dan worked 9-years as a television sports anchor/reporter in Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot, North Dakota.  Dan and Joanne have been married 27-years and have two adult daughters, a son-in-law, and a grandson born this past Christmas Day!]]>
LCMC Haiti Churches Affected by Hurricane Sandy http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-haiti-churches-affected-by-hurricane-sandy/a329.html Mon, 29 Oct 12 00:00:00 -0600 According to CNN, Hurricane Sandy has claimed the lives of 67 people to date, 51 of which have been reported in Haiti. 
 
Please check out our Prayer Blog to read the full prayer request article, which includes letters sent to our staff by LCMC pastors who maintain direct relationships with LCMC churches in Haiti. 
 
If anybody has additional information to share regarding this topic, such as relief funds or prayer events, please email kristy@lcmc.net.
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Rev. Carol Clark and Rev. Frank Remski Recently Ordained http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/rev-carol-clark-and-rev-frank-remski-recently-ordained/a327.html Fri, 12 Oct 12 00:00:00 -0600 LCMC is pleased to announce the ordination of Rev. Carol Clark at Faith Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, NM and the ordination and installation or Rev. Frank Remski at Reformation Lutheran Church in Westminster, CA.
 
The photographs and bios listed below have been submitted to us for publication on our website and in our quarterly newsletter.
 
 
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Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church Installs Pr. Susan Westland http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/shepherd-of-the-falls-lutheran-church-installs-pr-susan-westland/a313.html Mon, 17 Sep 12 00:00:00 -0600 The congregation of Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church, LCMC, welcomed Pastor Susan and Rich Westland in June of this year, celebrating her installation on Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 4:00 P.M.
 
Pastor Susan and Rich, of Bellevue, Nebraska, were called to Shepherd of the Falls in June of this year and arrived in the small agricultural town of American Falls, ID on August 3. 
 
The next day was the annual American Falls Day Parade, and preparations had been made to have them ride on a horse with a buggy, decorated in royal purple.
 
On Sunday, Pr. Susan's husband, Rich, sang with the "Shepherd Singers" at an outdoor summer concert called "Gospel on the Grass". 

On August 12, approximately one week later, Pr. Susan conducted her first service and performed a wedding ceremony, all at one service. 
 
Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church has been without a pastor since its beginning in September of 2010, when approximately 70 people walked out of another church group and began worship the very next Sunday. 
 
"God has so richly blessed us with miracles and more miracles as we followed His timing to get a pastor," said Ms. Juanita Burgemeister, the congregation's secretary.
 
Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church began the search for a pastor in March, and through many resumes and interviews, decided to call Pastor Susan Westland, a certified LCMC clergy. 
 
She is a graduate of Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN with a Master of Divinity.  Pastor Susan also has a BS degree in Human Resources and Family Science from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  Some of her training includes clinical pastoral education and Stephen Ministry leader training. 
 
During her time in Nebraska, she served 16 counties in developing Drug and Alcohol Prevention programs for teens, assisting communities in developing mentor programs for at-risk youth, and authoring the state guideline manual for juvenile diversion programs. 
 
She has extensive training in substance abuse prevention and early intervention programs; domestic violence, and victim advocacy programs and has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer.
 
Susan and Rich have been married for ten years and are parents of four adult children and grandparents of two. 
 
Pastor Susan previously served as Vicar in charge of pastoral care at Thanksgiving! Lutheran in Bellevue, Nebraska.  Rich is a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel and plans to attend classes at ISU. 
 
They are active in the Christian Motorcyclist Association and enjoy the ministry with love and compassion.
 
Pastor Susan and Rich are truly thrilled to be in American Falls and look forward to meeting those in the community sharing the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ.  God has moved mountains and has blessed them in so many ways in bringing them to American Falls. 
 
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Book Offering for Ethiopian Seminary to Take Place at Annual Gathering http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/book-offering-for-ethiopian-seminary-to-take-place-at-annual-gathering/a310.html Thu, 16 Aug 12 00:00:00 -0600 Annual Gathering, and those attending the event are all invited to take part in becoming just that. 

The seminary of the Mekane Yesus church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is in desperate need of books for their students.  To help out, LCMC is welcoming an offering of books from our members at the Annual Gathering to be given to that seminary. 

If you have books on any of the topics that pastors, church leaders, and church musicians could use, and you are willing to part with, please bring them along to Denver this October.  All kinds of books are welcome:  theology, church history, worship, church administration, Lutheran doctrine, Luther’s works, church growth, evangelism, Biblical interpretation, commentaries, and any Biblical resource books, etc.

The offering will take place on Tuesday, October 9, 2012  at 11:30 A.M. during the “International Focus” with Professor Abdi Tadesse from the Mekane Yesus seminary.

We will be taking an offering for shipping costs as well.  

This is one of many ways that we can directly partner with the church in Ethiopia.

For additional ideas, Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba presenting a breakout session on the Ethiopia connection during the Annual Gathering as well.
 
We hope to see you all there!
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Spirit of Hope Youth Group Helps Peace Lutheran with Outreach Program http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/spirit-of-hope-youth-group-helps-peace-lutheran-with-outreach-program/a307.html Tue, 07 Aug 12 00:00:00 -0600 From July 20-31, 10 youth and 4 adult chaperones from Spirit of Hope Lutheran Church in Parker, CO went on a Mission Trip to Gulf Shores, AL to help Peace Lutheran Church LCMC with their Vacation Bible School and Back to School Outreach program.
 
The people of Peace Lutheran Church have been reaching out to families in their community who have experienced difficulty due to natural disasters and the BP gulf oil spill. 
 
The youth at Spirit of Hope were eager to take part in the missions trip.  Although their church is currently undergoing a building project, the Youth Mission Team held fundraisers, eventually earning enough money to go on the trip. 

Youth Mission Team members are Blayze and Dakota Fittje, Courtney Giles, Chloe and Nick Lehnerz, Chrissy Nefe, Dylan and Tiffany Poch, Gregory and Sarah West, along with adult chaperones Pastor Dave Fisher, Cathy Meyer, Glenn and Wendy Poch traveled from Colorado to Alabama by car.
 
Along the way, the team was offered food and a place to stop for the night by Trinity United Methodist Church of Muldrow and Roland OK. 

When they arrived, members from both churches came together, putting their musical, theatrical, organizational and leadership skills together to host Vacation Bible School at Peace Lutheran.

At the conclusion of the program, participants received tote bags full of school supplies and school uniforms. 


 
 
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LCMC Announces September Missions Conference http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-announces-september-missions-conference/a306.html Thu, 02 Aug 12 00:00:00 -0600 This September, the Great Commission Lutherans of Northwest Iowa will host A Light for All Peoples!, a Missions Conference aimed at equipping pastors and church leaders with the skills to ignite a passion within their congregations for sharing God's mission beyond the walls of the church building.
 
Keynote speakers Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, Ethiopian Evangelist and NALC’s leader of World Mission, Rev. Ken Kimball, Dean of the Iowa Mission District of the NALC, and Rev. Mark Vander Tuig, Service Coordinator of LCMC will take the stage at this two day event, which takes place September 28-29, 2012 at Faith Lutheran Church of Spencer, IA.
 
On Friday evening at 6:00 P.M., a forum designed for congregational leaders will be held.  Featuring all three keynote speakers, this session will offer pragmatic help to "lead congregations into mission".
 
Saturday's programming will feature discussion on local and world missions with Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, as well as an open forum with all three keynote speakers.
 
Those attending the conference will also have an opportunity to learn more about several missions organizations through breakout sessions and exhibit tables. 
 
Breakout sessions scheduled include:
  • John Spaulding – “Christians Meeting Muslims”
  • World Mission Prayer League
  • Rusty Bailey – Haiti
  • Ken Kimball – NALC Update and Information
  • David Lerseth – Madagascar Ministry
  • Kevin Grimes – Dream Center
  • Jan Turner – Cherish Center
  • Rod Quanbeck/Dan Antoine – Ingham/Okoboji
  • Julie Schieb – Discovery House
  • Mark Vander Tuig – LCMC Update and Information
 
The cost of registration is $20.00 per person.   To register for this event, please contact Faith Lutheran Church via email at  faithlutheran@smunet.net or call (712) 580-4316.
 
Additional details for this event will be announced as they become available.
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Last Day for A4C Photographs http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/last-day-for-a4c-photographs/a304.html Wed, 01 Aug 12 00:00:00 -0600 Throughout the month of July, the staff of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ has invited the members who make up our association to send us photographs depicting how they have been working as "Ambassadors for Christ" within their own congregations, within their community, or anywhere within the world.  
 
The goal?  To incorporate the personal stories of our own members, rather than stock art, to depict the theme of this year's Annual Gathering, Ambassadors for Christ, throughout the Big Book that will be distributed at this year's event in October.
 
Those who are still interested in contributing their photos for possible publication in the Annual Gathering Book are welcome to do so through the end of the day today by emailing their photographs and all accompanying information to kristy@lcmc.net.
 
If you haven't seen it yet, feel free to check out my previous blog post for a full list of guidelines and instructions for submitting your pictures.
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What in Haiti Are You Doing? http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/what-in-haiti-are-you-doing/a300.html Tue, 17 Jul 12 00:00:00 -0600
The Board of Trustees has scheduled a breakout session at the fall assembly for all of us who have the call to share in the Gospel work of Jesus Christ in Haiti. 

If your congregation is currently involved with doing mission work in Haiti, please send a brief bio of your mission work and a couple of pictures to be included in a slide presentation to be played at our breakout session. 

If you congregation is looking for mission partnership and has put Haiti on your heart, this is where you can come to hear how you can get involved.

Please send your information to:

Pr. Rusty Bailey

PO Box 123
Swea City, IA - 50590
pastorrusty@yahoo.com
 

See you in Denver!
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Pr. Joan Braunhardt Ordained at Faith, Albuquerque http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/pr-joan-braunhardt-ordained-at-faith-albuquerque/a299.html Thu, 12 Jul 12 00:00:00 -0600 On Sunday, June 24, Rev. Joan Braunhardt was ordained at Faith Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Joan was certified by the LCMC Ministry Board and has been commissioned by the people of Faith to serve the elderly in the growing metro area.  She earned a Master of Arts degree at Luther Seminary in 2004, with a focus on ministry and pastoral care with older adults. She was consecrated as an ELCA diaconal minister in 2006.

Joan resigned from her ELCA call in 2011, joined Faith Lutheran Church, and began a program of additional studies in preparation for ordination as an LCMC pastor. She plans to continue to serve in ministry to older adults, including outreach ministry to those who are institutionalized or homebound, pastoral care for dementia patients and their families, support services for older adults and their families, education, and worship services at nursing homes and other facilities.

Joan has been involved with several mission programs, including Casas por Cristo and the Navajo Lutheran Mission, and has served as a Stephen Minister. She has worked with the Albuquerque community as a member of the Board of Directors of Share Your Care, Cuidando los Niños, the Albuquerque Indian Center, Morning Star House, Uniting New Mexicans Against Adult Abuse, and the Children’s Friendship Project for Northern Ireland.  She also has served on the Advisory Board of the City of Albuquerque Senior Companion Program and has been a member of the New Mexico Association for Continuity of Care.
 

Photo: President Roger Campbell, Pastor Joan Braunhardt, Senior Pastor Bruce Wilder]]>
Don't Just Tell Us, Show Us! http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/dont-just-tell-us-show-us/a297.html Mon, 02 Jul 12 00:00:00 -0600 Get your cameras ready! 

Design projects for the LCMC 12th Annual Gathering are currently underway, and to help illustrate this year's theme, Ambassadors for Christ, our staff is currently seeking photographs from our member congregations to be incorporated into the design of our Big Book, which will be distributed at the event this October.
 
Photo submissions are welcome from any and all LCMC congregations.  This includes congregations young and old, large and small, new and long-established. 
 
What we're looking for:  Photographs taken by staff, leaders or members of LCMC congregations that illustrate what your church is doing within itself, within its local community, or anywhere in the world to embrace being an Ambassador of Christ.  This includes, but is definitely not limited to:
  • Community service or community involvement projects
  • Missions trips or other related projects
  • Ministry or teaching programs
  • Creative endeavors (music, drama, artwork, etc.)
What we're not looking for:  A photo of your building.  Even if it's really cool. 
 
 
We are very much excited to see what is going on within the congregations of our association, and to incorporate these stories into the artwork of this year's Annual Gathering book.

Here are a few rules, guidelines and tips:

  1. Photo submissions will be taken from LCMC members until Wednesday, August 1 at 5:00 PM EST.  Due to early printer deadlines, any photos submitted after this date may be ineligible for consideration.
  2. Because chosen images will be used in a printed publication, please send only high quality images.  Very small or distorted images do not print clearly.
  3. Acceptable file types are: JPG, GIF, TIFF and PNG.
  4. Any photo submitted must be an original work (owned by the individual or the congregation), and not the intellectual property of another party.  
  5. By submitting any photo(s), you agree that any images (and likeness or subject matter within) submitted may be used without compensation for the purposes described above.
  6. Photos must be submitted by congregations or associate members of LCMC.  
  7. Photo content must be relevant and in accordance with who we are and what we believe.
  8. Each photo submission must be accompanied by your name, the name and location of your congregation, and a brief description of the photograph.
  9. Please note:  Due to space, time and other constraints, we are unable to guarantee the publication of each and every photograph submitted to us.
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Frescoes for St. John's [Update] http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/frescoes-for-st-johns--[update]/a273.html Wed, 27 Jun 12 00:00:00 -0600 Article originally published to this blog on May 16, 2012
Updated information can be downloaded below.


A Testimony of Faith 

Internationally renowned Portrait and Fresco Artist Mark Balma, best known throughout the Twin Cities for his frescoes at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis and the Cathedral of St. Paul, is donating six frescoes to St. John's Lutheran Church and the community of Stacy.
 
The gift, according to Balma, is his means of supporting a community that has seen some pretty tough times. “With so many people unemployed and so many families facing foreclosure, I wanted to give something to the community as a whole, something that would bring people together, that would strengthen their spirit and their faith.”
 
The frescoes will be painted on three gothic arches to be constructed to the east of the main entrance of St. John's Lutheran Church at 31075 Genesis Ave. This corner of land overlooks the Carlos Avery Wilderness Area along County Road 19.
 
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, May 20 at 11:30 AM. Artist Mark Balma, Pastors Dr. Alfred Valerius and Edward Wheatley, Brad Hildreth, owner of PEI Construction and Mason Joe Fisk will be in attendance. The entire community is welcome to attend. The painting of the frescoes will begin in early July. It will take approximately five weeks to complete the first three panels of frescoes. The remaining three panels will be painted in the summer of 2013.
 
According to Pastor Ed Wheatley of St. John's, "These frescoes will be the centerpiece of a memorial garden dedicated to the lives of our congregation and our community. In John 15:16 Jesus said, ‘I appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.’ For generations to come, this living memorial will bear testament to the lives of our community, our triumphs, our trials and more importantly, our faith."
Memorials will range from major dedications of the fresco panels to benches, gardens, and engraved paving stones. "The funds raised from this project will support our ministry for years to come," said Pastor Ed, "and God willing, we might even raise enough to pave our parking lot. That's something we've dreamed of for over 20 years!"
 
To learn how you can support this project or to request information on memorial dedications, contact the church office at (651)462-5115.
 
 

What is a Fresco?

Fresco is the process whereby ground up earth pigment is applied directly to a wet lime plaster. As the fresco cures, the colors are absorbed deep into the plaster and eventually harden to stone. Fresco is one of the world's most lasting and permanent art forms because the images do not just rest upon the surface, but actually become part of the stone. The images that Balma creates will literally stand for centuries to come.
 
In the proposed project, Balma is taking the traditional application of fresco one step further to create a fresco completely unique to North America. Rather than adapting a fresco to fit within a pre-existing structure, Balma will use the frescoes to define an exterior space through the construction of three, free-standing, gothic arches. The center panel will stand 17 feet high and the side panels will stand 15 feet high. Simply put, rather than the space defining the art form, the art form will now define the space, creating a grotto setting and the centerpiece of a memorial garden. When viewed from this perspective, the application of this ancient art form becomes virtually limitless.
 
 

The Images

The first three images to be painted on the frescoes were chosen by Rev. Dr. Alfred Valerius, who has served the congregation of St. John's for over 25 years. When asked what the theme should be, he announced without hesitation, "The Transfiguration of Christ."
 
According to Dr. Valerius, the Transfiguration on the mountain top is the pivotal moment in the ministry of Christ when he revealed his divinity. Moses, renderer of the Law, and Elijah, representing the prophets, were also seen in this glorified vision of Jesus. "The Transfiguration shows the union between the Old and New Testaments. “Christ becomes the bridge between heaven and earth, divinity and humanity, the prophets of old and the prophets of new," according to Pastor Valerius.
 
Many paintings of the Transfiguration have been done over the centuries. What makes this fresco rendering unique is a combination of artistry and science. Balma is currently working with CG artist Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth. In March of 2010, the History Channel released a two-hour documentary of the Shroud of Turin. This fourteen-foot length of cloth is believed to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus. Using the information encoded in the shadowy image imprinted on the fabric, Downing produced a three-dimensional image of the face of Jesus. Together, Balma and Downing are using the information garnered from his work to create the most historically accurate artistic rendering of Christ ever produced.
 
 

The Construction Process

While Balma is donating the frescoes, the congregation of St. John’s is responsible for constructing the arches. It was through a leap of faith, a belief that God would provide the funds needed, that the Church Council voted in April to move forward with the project.
 
St. John’s contacted Brad Hildreth, local business owner of Professional Exteriors, Inc. and Mason Joe Fisk, a graduate of the Brick Layers and Allied Craft Workers of the International Masonry Institute, and asked them to head up construction of the project. When the concept was first presented, they were both taken aback. “It’s not often somebody comes to you and announces you have to build a structure that will stand for at least 200 years,” Mason Joe Fisk said. “At that point you begin to re-examine every aspect of the construction process.”
 
Brad Hildreth set about to find the most cost-effective means to achieve the best possible results. “Let’s face it,” Hildreth quipped, “we’re talking about something that my great, great grandchildren will come to see. At this point, I'm in it for the bragging rights.”
 
In a curious twist, or perhaps some might say "divine intervention," PEI Construction was also hired during that time frame to renovate an old St. Paul residence, removing its 100 year old brick veneer. When the owner learned of the Fresco project for St. John's, she enthusiastically agreed to donate the brick for the project. Not only will that donation significantly reduce the cost of constructing the arches, the antique brick is quite literally the ideal surface for a fresco, and according to the artist, will ensure that the frescoes last for centuries to come.
 
 

Internships

Creating a fresco is a labor intensive project. To facilitate their completion, Balma will be taking on several volunteer interns throughout the month of July. Interns will receive first hand training in this ancient technique by one of the few fresco artists alive today. Interested individuals should submit a resume, including background information and formal training as well as samples of their work to St. John's Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 308, Stacy, MN 55079. Additional information regarding internships may also be obtained by contacting Mary Welty at St. John's, 651-462-5115. Applications should be received no later than June 15, 2012.
 
 
 
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LCMC Lutheran Men Looking for Disciples for the Lord http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-lutheran-men-looking-for-disciples-for-the-lord/a276.html Sun, 27 May 12 00:00:00 -0600
Lutheran Men has been receiving grant requests for award at the Gathering in October.

We have received continuing support of LCMC congregations for 2012, but the need is great, and we are making a Father's Day appeal to our members.

LM has two funds needing your support:
  • Mission Capital Loan Fund
    • Support of Mission congregations for a "Buck a Month" $12 per member from 10,000 members
    • Would provide for $120,000 each year for revolving loans for start-up congregations
  • Fund for Non-Capital Needs.. "Committee of 100"
    • Support of congregational needs for office equipment to well drilling!
    • This fund provides grants for congregations for current needs in their mission.
Father's Day is a selected day for approaching your congregation for support.  (Lutheran Men will accept gifts anytime during the year!)

Take the initiative to be a "Key Man" in your congregation. LM will provide you with brochures
and funding details. 

Feel free to contact Keith Aho at aho@laccessmn.com or call my office at 800-652-5233 if you have any questions.

Contributions to Lutheran Men should be mailed  directly to:
Sharon McFadyen
7000 North Sheldon Road
Canton MI 48187

Grant awards will be announced at the Denver Gathering.

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Albuquerque Congregation Builds House for Community, Second Campus http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/albuquerque-congregation-builds-house-for-community-second-campus/a218.html Wed, 07 Mar 12 00:00:00 -0700 The House that Faith Built

The people of Faith Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, NM have provided $75,000 and all the “people power” in order to build a new house in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity.

This project is called “The House that Faith Built” and is on target for completion in mid-April.

In 2005, the members of Faith built a Habitat for Humanity house in celebration of their 50th anniversary as a congregation.

As part of Faith’s ongoing ministries and mission, the decision to build a second house this year was put before the people…and God’s people said, “Let’s do it again!”




Second Site in Rio Rancho

In January, the dedication of Faith’s second site took place with great joy and thanksgiving.

Faith Lutheran Center in Rio Rancho is now open for worship, learning, fellowship and outreach.

Bruce Wilder, Senior Pastor, shared his vision for a second campus on the west side of the ever expanding metro area.

After prayer, discussion, viability studies. and more prayer, the decision to move forward was approved unanimously by the members of the congregation.

Pastor David Breidenbach has primary responsibility for leading worship and preaching at Faith West, but all of the other pastors preach from time to time as well.

The idea of one congregation with two sites is a new concept for many Christians, especially those in our Lutheran family.

That said, God is doing something wonderful and amazing through this second center for mission.

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St. John's Lutheran Church Ordains Rev. Charles Stevenson http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/st-johns-lutheran-church-ordains-rev-charles-stevenson/a214.html Thu, 23 Feb 12 00:00:00 -0700 Rev. Charles Stevenson was ordained at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Peabody, MA, on September 26.

Pastor Ray Phyles presided. Pastor Norm David delivered the sermon.

Pastor Charles was raised in southeast Michigan. He has a PhD in electrical engineering and two divinity degrees from Yale University. He is a professor of computer science at Salem State University (SSU), Salem, MA.

He looks forward to the challenges of a “tent-making” ministry at St. John, where he will combine teaching/mentoring students at SSU with ministering to his congregation and conducting outreach programs to the North Shore Community.

He and his wife, Joni, have four children: Ian, Colleen, Hannah and Keely.

 

Photo (Left to Right): Pastor Norm David, Charles Stevenson, Pastor Raymond Phyles.

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Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Easley Dedicates New Home http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/emmanuel-lutheran-church-of-easley-dedicates-new-home/a213.html Wed, 22 Feb 12 00:00:00 -0700 This past Sunday, the congregation of Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Easley dedicated their new church home in Easley, a gift, through generous members, from a provident God. After two years of faithful worship at Partee Time, a children's play area, the congregation purchased this Tabernacle, moving in just in time to celebrate our second anniversary with Divine Worship and a pot luck dinner on Christmas Eve. The building, previously serving others as a place of worship, was move-in ready. Our property search committee first discovered the availability of the building in early October. Ed and Irene Schlosser had previously provided funds set aside to purchase land for a future home. Recognizing the advantage of the immediately available and move-in ready Tabernacle, they increased their gifts, allowing us to purchase and close on the building within six weeks of the initial visit.

In spite of the weather, we were joined in our celebration by pastors and members of other South Carolina LCMC congregations, including St. Paul, Gaffney (Pastor Bucky Brown), Abiding Presence, York (Pastor Charles Aurand), and St. Mark's, Blythewood (represented by Mike Gibson). Patrick Young, currently taking Seminary Studies through ILT, and awaiting call, also participated. The Dedication service was based on the 1917 Common Service Book of the grandmother of our Musician, Donna Schultz. Donna also read a stirring tribute to the people who served to light our path, and those who joined together on this faith journey. She again told of our path, from bewilderment and disappointment in August, 2009, through our search for a new path, to the guidance from Pastor Bill Sullivan, Pastor Gary Coble, and Pastor Bill Ketchie, on a rainy evening in Salisbury, NC, in October, 2009. She highlighted the roles of Pastor Bucky Brown, and the congregation of St. Paul, Gaffney, SC; where we were strengthened in our faith by their display of theirs.  It was through them that Pastor Charles Aurand found us, and guided us to our first celebrant, Pastor Corky Spitler, and to our Pastor, Greg Longtin. She acknowledged, on behalf of all, the gifts of Brian and Michaela Mullins in providing our worship space for the first two years, and in providing leadership in financial and real estate matters. She thanked God for the gifts we received in the Call of Pastor Greg, and the beautiful gift to enhance our worship, the voice of Judy Longtin.  She also thanked God for the gift of Generosity He gave to Ed and Irene.

We have received gifts from others along our path. The congregations of Hopeful, Florence KY, the home church of Pastor Greg and Judy, provided us with the funds to purchase our sound system, and then, sent their Youth Clown Troop, sharing this wonderful ministry in an inspired and inspiring Divine Service. St. Matthews, Salisbury, NC, has designated us as a Mission Congregation, and continues to provide benevolence, which we have used to provide for worship, fellowship, and evangelism needs. Spirit of Joy, in Indianpolis, provided us with a most generous gift, which we used for youth, worship, and evangelism needs. We know that we have an obligation to pay it forward.

God has been with us, indeed, as our name proudly states. In our service, Pastor Brown read from 1 Kings the words of Solomon, as he dedicated the Temple that he built. His words are our prayer, that His eyes may be open, day and night, toward this church house. Our choir sang, "Surely, the Presence of the Lord is in this Place," and all felt and celebrated that presence. And Pastor Longtin, emphasising that we, the congregation, were the "Official Party"for the dedication, lead us all in reading, and declaring, the formal dedication. One of our altar banners, made by our member, Mabel Lunsford, declares, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," and so we all rose up as sang Martin's Hymn together. And, of course, we had plenty of food for our congregation, and our guests.

 
Photo (Left to Right):  Pastors Charles Aurand, Patrick Young, Greg Longtin, and James "Bucky" Brown.
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Augustana District Announces LCMC Mission Forum http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/augustana-district-announces-lcmc-mission-forum/a212.html Fri, 10 Feb 12 00:00:00 -0700 We invite all people who are passionate about missions to join this discussion group! It gives us an opportunity to network together in several areas related to our mission to serve Christ.

First, this discussion group will offer a gathering place where prayers can be requested and offered. While we each belong to our individual congregations, we are also all brothers and sisters in Christ, and we should share in one another’s burdens and blessings. God’s Word says in Timothy 2:1 (TNIV) “I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone.”

Next, this discussion group will offer a gathering place that can be used as a clearing house for information and ideas related to mission work. Many congregations have individuals that have, over time, created a small organization that has become successful in addressing the physical and/or spiritual needs of our fellow man. Now, they are ready to share their experiences with others and allow others to join in their mission work in various ways. You can let many others learn about your organization and experiences by sharing your post with this discussion group. Jesus did not ask us, but commanded us to love our neighbors, and gave us the Great Commission as His last words here on earth. Jesus also said in John 14:12 (TNIV) “Truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.” During Jesus’ time the apostles were limited to sharing on an individual scale to one person or small groups. Today, we have been given the gift of the power of the internet. It allows us to network over long distances and communicate with others almost instantaneously anywhere in the world. By using this gift for the benefit of promoting God’s mission work, perhaps we can do “even greater things” than the apostles were able to do during the time of Christ.

In addition, this discussion group can be a gathering place for Christian fellowship with pleasant and informative conversation between God’s people who have a common interest in His mission work. Fellowship is an important part of keeping our Christian faith strong and alive. Acts 2:42 (TNIV) tells us the early Christian community “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” This discussion group can be a place to keep in touch with your brothers and sisters in Christ and be part of a conversation dealing with our mission to help our neighbor, both physically and spiritually.

Our mission field can be local, national, or international. If your congregation has experienced success with a local youth outing or neighborhood outreach program, maybe you can share that experience, so others can learn how to do something similar at their congregation. Have you just returned from a mission trip to another country with some larger organization? Maybe you can share that experience, good or bad, so others can learn what that experience was like. By just talking together we can stregthen our mission to do God’s work here on earth, which will be a benefit for all people.

We ask that you share this invitation to join the “LCMC Mission Forum” with the members of your congregation. Do you know of someone in your congregation who enjoys talking about their mission experiences? Please tell them about this discussion group, so they can share those experiences with others who would like to hear about it. If someone would be interested in joining this group, or has any questions, they can contact Mark Richardson or Jim Dix.

To receive an e-mail to join, with the internet link that will allow access to the group’s messages, just send a request to join to Jim Dix at jdix501@gmail.com.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Mark Richardson, Service Coordinator
Augustana District, LCMC

Rev. Paul Knudson, Board of World Missions Chair
Augustana District, LCMC

Mr. Jim Dix, Discussion Group Moderator
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Hubertus, WI
Augustana District, LCMC

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St. John Lutheran Church Installs Pastor Mark Brickzin http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/st-john-lutheran-church-installs-pastor-mark-brickzin/a211.html Thu, 02 Feb 12 00:00:00 -0700 Pr. Mark BrickzinOn Sunday, November 13th at 3:00 pm an installation service was held for Pastor Mark Brickzin, who recently accepted a call to serve St. John Lutheran Church of Hatton, ND.

Pastor Curtis Tilleraas from North Immanuel Lutheran Church of rural Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, conducted the service and Rev. Mark Ellingson of Northwood, ND, Chaplain with Red River Valley Hospice, brought the message.

Pastor Brickzin and his wife, Sherry, came to serve the St. John congregation in August of this year. He has served congregations in Minnesota and North Dakota since 1977, and was, most recently (2003-2011), the founding pastor of Christ Community Church LCMC of Pelican Rapids, MN.

 

Pictured from left to right: Pastors Curtis Tilleraas, Mark Ellingson, and Mark Brickzin.

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Living Word Lutheran Church Ordains Rev. Mark Lund http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/living-word-lutheran-church-ordains-rev-mark-lund/a209.html Fri, 27 Jan 12 00:00:00 -0700

Rev. Mark Lund of Canby, formerly of Marshall, was ordained on Sunday, January 22 at Living Word Lutheran Church in Marshall.

He was ordained by Rev. Mark Richardson, Service Coordinator of the Augustana District, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).

Rev. Lund is a graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul and is serving as pastor of Word of God Lutheran Church (LCMC) in Canby.

He is the son of John and Marilyn Lund of Marshall.

Front row (Left to Right): Rev. Mark Richardson, Rev. Dave Christensen, Rev. Tom Jacobson, Rev. Randy Freund.
Back row (Left to Right): Rev. Tom Stenzel, Rev. Bruce Berg, Rev. Mark Lund, Rev. Kelly Wasberg, Rev. Wolfgang Laudert.
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First Evangelical Lutheran Church Installs Pr. James Lindgren http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/first-evangelical-lutheran-church-installs-pr-james-lindgren/a208.html Thu, 26 Jan 12 00:00:00 -0700 Pastor James Lindgren was installed at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iron Mountain, MI on November 16, 2011.

Pastor Charles Mzinga from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania preached the sermon.

Pastor Steve Cowen from Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Iron Mountain, officiated.

Pastor Lindgren has been in the ministry over 30 years. He and his wife Judy had previously served congregations in Nebraska and Minnesota.

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Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church Ordains Pr. Tim Glendening http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/hope-evangelical-lutheran-church-ordains-pr-tim-glendening/a204.html Tue, 10 Jan 12 00:00:00 -0700 Ordination CeremonyOn December 3, 2011, Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church of Smithfield, Nebraska ordained Pr. Tim Glendening.
 
Rev. Keith Menter presided over the ceremony, which took place in the midst of a blizzard.
 
This is Pr. Glendening's first call.
 
Prior to his ordination at Hope Evangelical, he shared a ministry on depression titled "Out of Darkness" in over 1,000 churches aross the country, many of which now are part of the LCMC commiunity. 
 
He and his wife, Jan, have two children, Derek and Nicolle, as well as three grandchildren.
 
In his spare time, he enjoys golf, fishing and counted cross-stitch.
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Haitians Learn to 'See Through the Scriptures' http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/haitians-learn-to-see-through-the-scriptures/a196.html Fri, 18 Nov 11 00:00:00 -0700 As the saying goes,

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

That is why Rev. Dr. Harry Wendt, President of Crossways International, developed See Through the Scriptures, a visually based program designed to help people in countries around the globe develop a strong understanding of the meaning of the Scriptures and gain the ability to teach the Message to others.

Rev. Jeanel Jerome, who looks after an orphanage in Saint Marc, Haiti, has been using See Through the Scriptures as a tool for teaching others, both in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic, for the past six years.

Since he began teaching See Through the Scriptures to adults in 2005, he reports approximately 7,000 people having studied the material.

Of those 7,000, 65 of them have been trained to teach the program to others, fifteen of which are able to do so professionally.

"He's a committed person," said Rev. Dr. Wendt, who met Rev. Jerome at a workshop in 2004.

According to Rev. Dr. Wendt, Rev. Jerome, a Haitian himself, has a good understanding of what the people he works with need.

As one would most likely assume, the norms and standard of living in Haiti are, for the most part, significantly different than those in a country such as the U.S.

To gain somewhat of an understanding of life in Haiti, here are some quick statistics, courtesy of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):

  • A Haitian's average life expectancy is 62.17 years
  • Nearly half of the country's population is unable to read or write
  • It is estimated that approximately half of the population of Haiti practices voodoo
  • 80% of the country's population lives below the poverty line
  • The country's unemployment rate in 2010 was 40.6%
    • For comparison purposes, the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report this month ranking Detroit, MI as having the highest unemployment rate of the metropolitan divisions in the U.S. Detroit has a 13.1% jobless rate.

While the statistics listed above are limited in number and reflect a general picture of a few aspects of life in Haiti, natural disaster has had a profound impact on the country over the past two years.

The BBC reported that when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, approximately 230,000 people were killed, 300,000 were injured and 1.2 million people were left homeless.

Furthermore, the BBC also reported that 1 in every 15 people affected by the earthquake in Haiti died, in comparison with 1 in every 190 killed in Italy's 6.3 magnitude earthquake in 2009 and 1 in every 595 killed in China's 2008 7.9 magnitude quake.

In response to the Haitians' immediate needs for items such as food, shelter, water and healthcare, various organizations across the U.S. have made an effort to address the immediate physical needs of the despairing country.

According to ABC World News, Americans raised over $1.138 billion for Haiti relief efforts within the first six months after the disaster took place.

Organizations such as Mercy Corps, AmeriCares, and Habitat for Humanity have made efforts to provide the Haitians with clean drinking water, food, medicine and shelter since the disaster.

Despite these efforts, there are many emotional issues the Haitians must cope with that many people feel are not being addressed.

"People there are looking for peace, meaning, hope in death," Rev. Dr. Wendt explained.

The proposed solution? Help them to understand the Message.

The problem?

The CIA reports that only 52.9% of Hatians over the age of fifteen are able to read and write, making education, in many cases, a struggle.

Rev. Jerome uses a French language translation of See Through the Scriptures in Haiti and a Spanish translation in the Dominican Republic, however the material taught in these books is very much visually-based, making it easy to explain the Message to those who do not have the reading and writing skills necessary to simply study the written Word.

The program is designed to help understand the basic principles of the Scriptures without requiring strong literacy skills and to enable those who have studied it to be able to teach these ideas to others within the community.

"Not only is he teaching the material," said Rev. Dr. Wendt, "He's equipping pastors and people to go out and do it."

While copies of See Through the Scriptures are relatively inexpensive at $2.00 each, Rev. Jerome has access to limited resources and therefore must resort to using as few printed materials as possible.

"This man cuts lawns and gardens in order to raise the money to be able to do what he does," said Rev. Dr. Wendt.

The hope is that, through the See Through the Scriptures program, Rev. Jerome will be able to help people to better understand the Bible and show them the skills that they need in order to bring Jesus into the lives of others.

If you are interested in learning more on this story, or would like to help support Rev. Jerome's ministry, contact Crossways International at:

Crossways International
7930 Computer Ave. South
Bloomington, MN 55435
Phone: (952) 832-5454
Email: crosswaysi@aol.com
Website: www.crossways.org

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A Thousand Teddy Bears http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/a-thousand-teddy--bears/a192.html Wed, 09 Nov 11 00:00:00 -0700 tate and bearsThis fall, the Iowa District of LCMC collected more than 1,000 teddy bears for Hope Ministries, an Iowa organization dedicated to serving the homeless.

The teddy bears were collected at the LCMC 11th Annual Gathering in Des Moines, Iowa and used as centerpieces for the tables in the dining room during the gathering.

Following the gathering, Iowa District Secretary Gayle Tate donated the mound of teddy bears to Hope Ministries, where they will be given to the homeless in the Des Moines area.

"We appreciate the donation.These bears will benefit our ministry in so many ways," wrote Jordanne Blair, Church Relations and Group Activities Coordinator for Hope Ministries, in a thank-you card to LCMC.

To learn more about Hope Ministries, visit www.hopeiowa.org.

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LCMC Congregation Celebrates 150th Anniversary, Installs New Pastor http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/lcmc-congregation-celebrates-150th-anniversary-installs-new-pastor/a182.html Fri, 21 Oct 11 00:00:00 -0600 Pastor EdOn September 18, 2011, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Stendal, Indiana had cause for two celebrations as they installed their new Pastor and honored the founding of the congregation 150 years ago.

Pastor Harold Heidegger, a former Pastor of the congregation, served as the Presiding Minister for the installation.

Also involved in the installation was Dale Reller, Council President. Pastor Ed’s wife, Debbi, was also welcomed to the community.

Pastor Edwin H. Wicks was raised in Winter Park, Florida. He graduated from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, before attending the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, SC. This year, Pastor Ed celebrated 30 years in the Ministry, having served congregations in North and South Carolina, 8 years as a Navy Chaplain and prior to coming to St Peter’s, he served a congregation in Nebraska.

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AWAKEN Performs at Annual Gathering http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/awaken-performs-at-annual-gathering/a172.html Wed, 05 Oct 11 00:00:00 -0600 AWAKEN Ministries performance at The PlexAttenders of the Annual Gathering joined together at the Polk County Convention Complex on Tuesday October 4 for dinner and a dramatic performance by AWAKEN Ministries.

The dramatic ministry group, mainly comprised of college students, acts out the story of God to contemporary music.

More unique, the actors of AWAKEN carry out their entire performance without the use of words.

As people piled into the The Plex's auditorium on Tuesday, many had no idea what to expect.

Just before the start of the performance, members of the audience were asked to keep the aisles between seats clear, to take anything that they were handed, and to eat any food they were given.

It was on this note that the presentation began.

While AWAKEN's presentation heavily involved the use of mime, choreographed battles and interactivity with the audience enhanced the experience for those who came to watch.

Also unique to AWAKEN's performance was the use of a character donning a gray shirt, a representation of the viewer and his own struggles in life.

From beginning to end, the focus of the audience was kept not on any single aspect of the performance, but on God Himself.

The drama concluded with a standing ovation from the audience.

Many members of the crowd blotted tears from their cheeks while they cheered.

"I thought it was fantastic," said Theodore Rice, who was in the audience that evening."Everything kept building and building and each scene just fit together."

"It was fabulous," agreed Sharon Rice."The best part was they way they staged the ending and Jesus' resurrection."

Cathy Pannkuk, a first-time attender of the LCMC Annual Gathering, enjoyed the performance as well.

 

"I thought it was very enjoyable," Pannkuk said."It's amazing how they did it without using words.It's also encouraging to see young people involved in ministry like this.

 

The performers and crew from AWAKEN also appeared to be fired-up after the performance.

When asked what she enjoys most about being a member of the group, actor Emily Miller said, "I think it's an awesome opportunity to share the Gospel in an unconventional way and to a new audience every single time."

"It was really awesome being here," said Jon Anenson, who formed AWAKEN Ministries in 2005 while working as a member of the staff at Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp in Story City, IA.

Anenson spent eight summers at Riverside, where the mime-style drama began in the 1980s as part of the weekly programming.

He said that his idea to form AWAKEN was a response to the popularity of Riverside's "mime drama" program.

Since the program's beginnings, Anenson reports putting on performances for approximately 13,000 people in 63 venues across four states.

The team is based in Des Moines, Iowa and generally tours the Midwest from February through April, thanks to financial support provided by donors and local congregations.

"Our mission," said Anenson, "is to "AWAKEN" hearts to the story of the Gospel."

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Idaho Congregation Invites Local Community to 'Come Grow with Us' http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/idaho-congregation-invites-local-community-to-come-grow-with-us/a168.html Sat, 01 Oct 11 00:00:00 -0600 If you really want to speak effectively to a group of people, it is best to find a common ground of understanding on which you can relate to them.

floatAt least that is what the members of Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church thought when they decided to design a float for the American Falls Day Parade, part of an annual county fair and homecoming festival that takes place every August within the tiny farming community of American Falls, Idaho.

When the congregation's steering committee met in July, member Gary Tiede suggested that Shepherd of the Falls get involved in the parade by constructing a float.

The committee agreed on Tiede's suggestion and asked for ideas and input from the church community.

"Being a new LCMC congregation and being a rather small congregation, we really wanted people in the community to know they had another Christian church in town and another option for a Lutheran congregation in which to worship," said Shepherd of the Falls secretary Juanita Burgemeister.

The church agreed on the theme of "Come Grow with Us", which was suggested by 13 year-old Evelyn Bitikofer.

Once the concept was put into play, members of the congregation then needed to decide how best to communicate the idea of growth to the American Falls community.

Members of the congregation donated patio plants for the construction of the float, while the town's local fuel, farm and feed store agreed to let Shepherd of the Falls borrow several potted live trees.

"The idea of "growing" in a farming community is naturally associated with live plants and the color green," explained Burgemeister.

The large wooden cross on the front of the float was made in the spring of 2011 for Shepherd's first Easter Sunrise Service by member Vernon Bethke.

Construction on the float began on a Thursday evening, just two days before the American Falls Day parade was to be held.

"It took about three hours that evening to get the majority of the float built," said Burgemeister."If we came upon the need for a tool we didn't have, someone would call out, 'I've got one. I'll run and get it.' Real teamwork was exhibited. Our congregation worked very closely, sharing and accepting others ideas and skills."

When Saturday morning rolled around, the members at Shepherd piled onto the float, excited to show their idea to the onlookers who lined the streets to watch the American Falls Day Parade.

"As in any parade, many floats throw candy.We were to be no different, but we wanted the candy to be more than just candy, we wanted to share the message," Burgemeister said. "We threw 'scripture' candy to those who lined our streets: hard strawberry creme candy with a scripture on each wrapper."

The parade itself was filled with floats from schools, businesses, and civic service organizations, however Shepherd of the Falls was the only Christian church to enter a float into the parade.

When the parade commenced, compliments poured in from the people of the American Falls community.

According to Burgemeister, one onlooker even commented that if there had been a contest, Shepherd would have won first place.

Ultimately, the members at Shepherd were pleased with the way their float turned out and was received by the local community.

Not only did they feel that their creation turned out colorful, personalized and easily identifiable, the members of Shephard were satisfied with the message that their float communicated, an invitation to "Come Grow with Us--All are Welcome".

"Our first desire was that it would make us, a new congregation, known in the community. Hopefully, those needing a church home or [who were] just were inquisitive, would come, be welcomed, worship, and come to be a believer in Jesus Christ if they didn't already know [Him]."


Photo courtesy of the Power County Press.

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Word of Hope Lutheran Church Ordains and Installs Reverend Wilson Metz http://www.solapublishing.com/blog/word-of-hope-lutheran-church-ordains-and-installs-reverend-wilson-metz/a165.html Thu, 22 Sep 11 00:00:00 -0600 Rev. MetzReverend Wilson Metz was ordained and installed at Word of Hope Lutheran Church in Ashland, NE on July 24, 2011.

Reverend Oliver Olson, President of the Omaha Bible School, presided at the ordination service. Members of the Word of Hope family and visitors participated in the laying on of hands as they gathered around Pastor Metz to pray.

In addition to his pastoral duties, Wilson is the director of the Heartland Men of Faith, a field trainer for Man in the Mirror, an Iron Sharpens Iron conference organizer, and works to connect national and local ministries with the goal of equipping men to minister to each other, their families, their cities, and their congregations.

Wilson and his wife Sandy have been married 37 years and have two children and six grandchildren.

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