Lutherans For Life (LFL) is launching a new, church-wide initiative that seeks to help pastors and congregations apply the Gospel message in dealing with and discussing complex life issues.
Dr. James Lamb, LFL executive director, said that the initiative is not another program “that congregations and pastors have to administer, but is a theological and people resource for congregations to use to connect the life issues with the only message that can really make a difference — the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Titled “Renewal For Life,” the program has three emphases: Responsibility, Relevancy, and Resources.
The responsibility to address life issues as they affect people belongs to the church and her pastors, not Lutherans For Life, said Lamb. “We want to help congregations see addressing the life issues as part of the overall ministry of their congregation.”
The Gospel message is relevant to life issues and “speaks powerfully to them,” he said. “We have the most positive and powerful “For Life” message in the universe to apply to these issues.”
LFL plans to renew its efforts to provide timely resources to congregations in an online library that is user friendly and always available. The library will provide the latest information on life issues, and include sermons, commentaries, articles, and worship services on each topic.
Lamb says he often hears from pastors who need help and guidance on life issues as families in their congregation are considering stem cell research or asking about a feeding tube for elderly parents.
“Most parish pastors do not have the time to keep up with the escalating complexity of these matters,” he said. “Nevertheless, Law and Gospel needs to be applied to the life issues because people in our pews deal with them constantly.”
Each congregation that signs on with Renewal For Life at an annual subscription fee of $30 will be asked to appoint a Life Advocate, whom Lamb refers to “as the assistant to the pastor on life issues.”
“The Life Advocate becomes the ‘lifeline’ between the congregation and Lutherans For Life,” he said. “By having access to the resources we’ll offer, the advocate can inform the pastor if we’ve added a new Bible study on end-of-life issues or some other topic that people in the congregation have been asking about.”
For a Sept. 13 meeting of the LCMS Council of Presidents, Lamb outlined the initiative in a written presentation to the district presidents and asked them to inform their circuit counselors about the program and to invite an LFL representative to a future meeting for an hour’s presentation.
“This is a top-down approach,” said Lamb. “We want to contact pastors through the circuits first and invite their participation. Our goal is to have 1,000 congregations participating in the next two years.”
Congregations in the Association of Free Lutheran Churches, the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, and the Association of American Lutheran Churches have also been invited to participate.
A Recognized Service Organization of the Synod, LFL will celebrate its 30th anniversary at its 2009 conference July 24-25 in St. Louis, under the theme “Celebrating the Abundant Life.”
Posted Oct. 9, 2008