“Operation No Starvation” is a program designed to foster volunteerism and instill a spirit of giving in kids ages 6 to 17. The program focuses on hunger prevention through fundraising and food drive campaigns for St. Mary’s Caring. The initiative is designed to inspire kids to engage in community service and begin building a volunteer portfolio, while working with a team of their peers to develop leadership skills. Participants are provided with resources they need to put together their own projects, in addition to group campaigns that target specific programs for the soup kitchen. The group meets the 3rd Saturday of each month during the school year. The 2018-19 School Year Kick-Off meeting will be Saturday, October, 20 at 2:00 P.M.
Check out St. Mary’s Caring website to find out more about Operation No Starvation. (And, see our very own Sydney & Savannah VanCamp featured on the home page. They participated in this program last year.)
Congregations are always trying to find out the rules of attraction. I don’t use the word “attractive” to indicate “hip,” “trendy” or even aesthetically pretty, but a cluttered building does create a chaotic message. I mean “attractive” as in people are attracted to them, attracted to join their God-given mission.
In my years as a parish pastor, I’ve come to believe that the most effective evangelism strategy is the personal invitation. “Come and see” is the line Philip uses on Nathanael in the Gospel of John (1:46), and it’s still the most attractive way to help people walk in the church doors and encounter the gospel.
But there are other ways, of course.
One we use in my community is what I call the “see and come” phenomenon. I refuse to call it a strategy because, when it’s authentic, the “see and come” phenomenon isn’t a tool or strategy for evangelism at all. It’s just the simple outpouring of a community that’s taking Jesus’ call to love the neighbor as the self seriously. It’s discipleship on display.
Where “come and see” evangelism relies on someone extending a personal invitation, the “see and come” phenomenon happens when people outside the church see faith in action and decide they want to be part of whatever God is doing there.
We give clues as to what our community is about by what we’re about. Here are some of my observations of what congregations embodying the “see and come” phenomenon are doing.
They use their space well. God calls us to be good stewards of the earth in the early chapters of Genesis, which includes whatever space your building inhabits. We’re trying to do this in my parish, though it’s always a work in progress. We recently put in two garden beds right by the building’s front entrance. In these beds, small vegetables and table flowers will grow, which means usable produce for our feeding programs and a veritable science lab for our preschool to use to learn about God’s creation.
Like many congregations that have the font at their sanctuary entrance to ensure you can’t enter or exit without thinking about your baptismal calling, we have these gardens at our church entrance, ensuring that you can’t enter or exit without thinking of the practical implications of that calling. In the sea of concrete that is our parking lot, we have a garden oasis, a visible sign of our mission to feed the poor and care for the earth. You can’t not see our mission when you pull into the parking lot.
Everything in and around the church should have a purpose that fits with the community’s current mission. And if it doesn’t, it should be rethought or discarded. Attractive congregations take their space seriously and use it to signal their mission.
They use their energy well. If your neighborhood has to come inside your doors or go to your website to know what you’re about, you’re not engaged enough in what’s going on in your community. Find the issues of need and concern in your small corner of existence and take public action to talk about it. Some congregations create mobile food pantries, march for justice and peace, or regularly and publicly volunteer to address local needs.
Perhaps you have the opposite problem: Your congregation has a finger in every pie and there are never enough volunteers to meet the needs you’ve committed yourself to, so no one knows what you’re about. This isn’t due to inactivity but because of too much activity.
Attractive congregations know what God is calling them to do with their lives and hearts (usually just one or two things), and they do it publicly and to the best of their ability. The community “sees how they love” through their actions and comes to join them in mission.
They use the gifts of others well. The best way to get a potential volunteer to pass on an opportunity is to tell them, “Oh, it’s so easy! Anyone can do it!” If anyone can do it, then they will assume anyone else can step up.
Different people have different gifts. Finding opportunities that highlight a person’s particular gifts engages them both in the church’s mission and in their personal skill set. People outside the church see this when they engage with these people, and the call to sacrifice is actually one that they will take when they see a community using it intentionally, for good.
Not everyone is suited for every role, and attractive churches match people up with their particular gifts so the congregation’s mission is furthered. More and more I’m finding that people want something asked of them in the community of faith. Sacrificial giving of time and talents is desired and, I think, can be required.
When I’ve worked with congregations and talked with colleagues about their particular faith communities, these three themes always come up: space, mission and gifts. The good news is being proclaimed faithfully in these places, but embodying the gospel takes some practice and intentionality.
When the neighborhood can see pieces of our mission before they ever walk through the door, when they can know our heart before we’ve ever said a word, and when they know how mindful we are in using our people’s gifts, they will experience the “see and come” phenomenon.
The life-changing message of Christ is very much alive today, but would anyone know it by looking at our churches? Make it known. Make it heard. When they see, they will come.
Friends of Good Sam, Peace and Saint Nicholas Lutheran Churches,
Due to impending rain and muddy conditions which are poor for harvesting we will be cancelling our Sept 8th event and rescheduling our time with Farming 4 Hunger. Please stay tuned for additional announcements about when our next activity will be.
Pastor Mitch, Pastor Shannon, Pastor Ken, Christy and Kelly.
Sermon: “Centered on God”
Prayer: O God our strength, without you we are weak and wayward creatures. Protect us from all dangers that attack us from the outside, and cleanse us from all evil that arises from within ourselves, that we may be preserved through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
The sermon begins after the reading from Mark’s Gospel.
The Stitching Sisters group will begin their fall schedule on Wednesday, September 12 from Noon – 3:00 P.M. at Good Sam. Bring a sandwich to share on the luncheon platter. All are welcome to join us! We’ll also be meeting on Wednesday, September 26 for our second gathering of the month. Please let Edna A., Ginger L. if you have questions or would like to join in.
Chancel Choir will begin rehearsals following our summer break Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. Choir practice is from 7:00 – 8:00 P.M. each Thursday. If you like to sing and would like to join in the fun, please join us on Thursday night. The Chancel Choir typically sings at least one –two Sundays each month and may perform a cantata or selection of songs during special occasions and seasons.
Good Sam is the beneficiary of Isaiah Mack’s Eagle Scout Project. Fourteen permanent crosses adorn our campus grounds. The Stations of the Cross are a visual representation of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice for our congregation as well as our community. If you would like to “purchase” one of the 14 crosses to be dedicated in your name, or in memory of a loved one, please give your name, phone number, and email address to Isaiah along with a check for $40 with “Stations of the Cross” written on the memo line. The honorees names will be affixed to the back of the cross. As always, Isaiah appreciates the support that the Good Sam Family continuously provides.
Join us as we celebrate the life and ministry at Good Sam. Festivities will begin after church and we’ll have food, fun & games at the church. We’ll also have a “God’s Work. Our Hands.” activity set up in the Fellowship Hall. See more about our fun GWOH activity in the article below. This will be a fun-filled day of activity and fellowship for all! Council will be providing hot dogs, hamburgers, and the fixings. Please let us know on the sign up in the Fellowship Hall (and/or when passed around during Worship) if you’ll be attending and if you’ll be bringing a side dish to share. If you have some fun outdoor games like corn hole or ladder/ball toss, please bring them. All games are welcome!
September 9 is also Rally Day—our Sunday School season kick off. This will be an action-packed, fun-filled day! Following Worship and a light Fellowship, the Jr. High youth will meet with their teachers in Pastor’s office and the Sr. High youth will meet in the Disciples Den at 10:30 A.M. Children 3 years (and potty-trained) through 6th grade will meet in the Sanctuary at 10:30 A.M. Parents are encouraged to stay, as we will gather for music before we disburse to classrooms for a short meet & greet with your child’s teacher.
Parents, please be sure to fill out a Sunday School registration form for each of your children so we know of any allergies and how to contact you in case of an emergency. The forms can be found in the Fellowship Hall on the Sunday School bulletin board and Mary Dickinson will have them on hand as well. Please touch base with Mary D. if you have questions.
God’s Work. Our Hands. Activity—Building “Kit Cakes” for Carver
During Rally Day & the Church Picnic next Sunday, September 9, we have a fun GWOH activity to create special gifts for the teachers (and students) at Carver Elementary School. We’ll be making supply “Kit Cakes” to help the teachers defer some costs to supply their students with what they’ll need in the classroom.
To implement this activity, we need your help with donating the following: dry erase markers, pencils, Elmer’s glue, 24-count crayon boxes, glue sticks, pretty color masking tape, paper towels, index cards, rubber bands, and whatever other school supply you’d like to donate. So when you’re out collecting supplies for your kids…throw an extra couple supplies in for the Carver kiddos!! If you don’t have students… we just gave you an excuse to GO SHOPPING!!! Please bring all donations to church anytime! There’s a collection box in the Narthex. Looking forward to seeing all the creative expression.
The Nursery is looking for those who are interested in helping with child care Wednesday nights this upcoming fall. The times would be from 6:00-7:30 P.M., sometimes until 8:30 each week. We also welcome any high school and middle school students who are interested in volunteering their time. To sign up, and for further details, please talk to Karol Carlsen in the Nursery. Thank you!
Join us on Tuesday’s at 12 Noon beginning Sept. 18, 2018 as we explore “The Ten Guiding Lights to Health and Wholeness” by Etta Dale Hornsteiner. Every day, we are bombarded with information on health and wellness. It can be overwhelming and often contradictory. “The Ten Guiding Lights to Health and Wholeness” is a faith-based approach to navigate through the vast quantity of information. “Ms. Hornsteiner’s work approaches integration of the spiritual, social, psychological, and physical through the lens of the Ten Commandments.” –says David Allen of MD.
The study will be led by Gail Wathen, a holistic health educator, who will bring additional information on the healing properties of foods and herbs. These are God’s provisions that are backed by evidenced-based studies. John 10:10 states that “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.” God wants us to have a healthy and abundant life in our body, mind, and spirit. Come if you are able and let’s take this journey together. The book can be ordered through Amazon*.
*Sign onto AmazonSmile and select Good Samaritan LC as your charitable organization. A portion of all purchases you make will support Good Sam at no cost to you through a Smile.Amazon.com donation.