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Words of Faith - April 22, 2010

posted Apr 26, 2010, 8:39 PM by Matt Anderson

An occasional newsletter for the members and friends of Faith Lutheran Mission Church of Eau Claire

April 22, 2010

 

This week’s steering committee meeting had the feeling of a turning point.  The group has been meeting nearly every week since the formation of our congregation in mid-January.  A great deal of the focus has been the work of starting a church and week-to-week planning.  On Tuesday night, though, we spent a good amount of time talking about the future.  Here are some highlights:

 

Worship Time

Our congregational survey found significant interest in moving our worship to Monday nights for the summer.  However, in checking with our corps of guest pastors, few of them are available on Monday nights.  In their responses, several of them indicated they felt such a move would be inadvisable.  Here are some of their comments:

 

“From a pastoral perspective and from a cultural perspective as well, my opinion is that Monday evening will be even more difficult for church growth than Sunday evening.”  Pastor Bill Christiansen

 

“I do not think Monday will be good for the congregation...”  Pastor Emory Johnson

 

“Getting services on a Sunday morning will be important to ‘draw’ people, I think.  If you stay on a Sunday night or Monday night for ‘too long’ (whatever that is), I fear you will not attract many new people.”  Pastor Mark Richardson

 

“I was in a church that tried the Monday nights during the summer for those who had gone away on the weekend.  We gave it up after a couple of years.  It seemed that those who were willing to miss Sunday at worship for a weekend away were also willing to miss Monday night.”  Pastor Bill Rice

 

Those comments kicked off a broader discussion.  With only 12 worship services under our belts and the efforts we’ve taken to advertise our service time, the committee made the decision to leave the services at 5 p.m. for the summer.

 

But, as Pastor Richardson (and many of you in our recent survey) pointed out, we need to begin work to move toward a Sunday morning worship time.  The committee came to consensus that, if possible, we should aim to have Sunday morning worship and accompanying education program in place by fall.

 

Do you have ideas about places we might meet on Sunday mornings?  Please share your ideas with the committee members.

 

Staffing

Pastor Christiansen’s presentation during our fellowship time a couple weeks ago included a discussion of staffing. Pastor Christiansen, a trained mission developer, suggested we consider calling a pastor, at least a part-time pastor, soon. 

 

Another of our previous guest pastors attended the WordAlone conference in the Twin Cities last weekend, and said he discovered there are more than fifty LCMC pastors seeking calls.

 

How do we get there?  Pastor Richardson suggests a three-step process which includes (a) creating a budget that challenges our members to make a significant financial commitment, (b) calling of a pastor – preferably a full-time pastor and (c) establishing Sunday morning worship and education space.  He suggests these steps can be taken once our constitution is passed, our membership is chartered and our leadership is elected to do this strategic planning.

 

Prayer

With no pastor in place, we need to come up with good ways to faithfully manage prayer request from our members. Our website – www.faithlutheranmc.org – offers a spot for anyone to make a prayer request.  The steering committee is asking anyone who feels called to lead a prayer team to make certain those requests are being honored to contact any steering committee member.

 

Meanwhile, the steering committee is recommending we ask our guest pastors to allow for prayers from members to be verbalized in worship during the Prayers of the Church.  We will also encourage anyone wishing to submit a prayer request for the prayer team to fill out a slip in each pew for that purpose, and hand it to an usher or place it in an offering plate.

 

Remember, several members of the congregation are praying for the health and faithfulness of our congregation at 9 a.m. each morning – just pray where you are.  And, from 4:45 to 4:55 p.m. each Sunday, anyone wishing to gather in the north wing of the sanctuary to pray for the upcoming service may do so.

 

Adopt-a-Highway Cleanup

Fourteen hearty souls got an early start on Earth week by cleaning up along a two mile stretch of County Highway II south of Eau Claire Saturday morning.  A dozen garbage bags, some snakes, a few ticks, and a pep talk or two later, the job was complete.  Many of the happy highway crew popped in to enjoy the hospitality of our own Kelly Spencer with some coffee at the Living Room on Highway 93 afterward.  Good work, and a nice looking road with signs on either side bearing our congregation’s name.

 

LCMC Relationship-Resources

Four members of our congregation – Vern and Betty Donier and Janet and LaMoine Parkhurst – will represent Faith Lutheran Mission Church at the LCMC Leadership Conference April 25-27.  The steering committee is asking the group to bring what they’ve learned and observed back to share with the congregation.

 

April 25 Worship

All of our previous guest pastors are either current ELCA pastors who oppose the denomination’s new ethics of conscience over Scripture, or former ELCA pastors who have since become joined LCMC.

 

However, this Sunday, we’ll be led by Pastor Gregory Lenz, an LCMC pastor who has never been in the ELCA.  In fact, Pastor Lenz has spent a significant portion of his calling in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). Pastor Lenz served Wisconsin Synod congregations in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and served on the WELS Board of Missions for 15 years.  Five years ago, he was called to be pastor of Faith Free Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, a member of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AELC).  For the past four years, he has been active the WordAlone Network and LCMC, joining the LCMC’s new Augustana District earlier this year.

 

Pastor Lenz’s sermon for Sunday’s 5 p.m. service will be “Led Like Sheep to Salvation.”  He will also give us an update during our post-service fellowship time from the WordAlone conference in the cities that he attended last weekend. Pastor Lenz lives in Chanhassen with his wife Chris.  They have three married children and three grandchildren.  Please come Sunday and welcome him!

 

Mission Update

Sunday will wrap up our month-long contributions to our two mission targets for the month, Lutheran World Relief and Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network.  Next month, ten percent of our offerings will be directed to Eau Claire’s Good News Jail Ministry, with another ten percent given to the East European Missions Network, an inter-Lutheran mission agency which works closely with LCMC to evangelize in nine countries.  More details next week!

 

We got the following note from Michelle Dingwall, assistant director of Feed My People Food Bank in Eau Claire, one of our mission targets earlier in the year.

Thank you for your donation of $525.70 to Feed My People Food Bank, as donated by members of FaithLutheran Mission Church.  Since every $1 donated to Feed My People provides about $10 worth of food, your gift makes a real difference in the lives of people struggling with hunger in west central Wisconsin. Thank you for helping provide food to seniors, working adults and children when they need it most.

 

Remember, if you know of or support an individual missionary working to spread the God’s word, we want to hear about that ministry.   We would like to use some of our mission contribution (20% of our weekly offerings) to support first-order missions, and we need your suggestions.  Give your ideas to committee members Susan Kaul, Sylvia Miller, Katie Evans or Sandy and Dean Kallenbach, or just reply to this e-mail.

 

Readers Needed

We would like to start using our own members as readers of the Scripture lessons at each week’s service.  Would you like to help in that fashion?  Contact any member of the worship task force or the steering committee, or simply reply to this note via e-mail to let us know if you’d like to be put on the readers list.

 

Odd & Ends...

·        Did you know one of our members is in the Marine Corps?  PFC Arrian Lundquist attended our inaugural service January 31 between boot camp in San Diego and further training in California and Missouri.  He’ll be in school in Missouri until May 3, then returns home for a few days before shipping out to Okinawa, Japan.  Parents Todd and Karla and brother Luke tell us he’s welcome in your prayers.  If you’d like to send a note of encouragement this week or next, it can go to:

PFC Lundquist, Arrian

686 Minnesota Ave

MVOC 22-10

Fort Leonard Wood, MO  65473

 

·        The Steering Committee has asked the Worship Task Force to consider inaugurating the “sharing of the peace” as a regular part of worship, and to consider whether to begin including the Psalm of the day on Sundays.

 

·        Watch for an ad in Saturday’s Leader-Telegram promoting Sunday’s worship.  It includes a photo of Pastor Lenz.

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