by Stacey Welcenbach
This month, LCMS World Mission invites all individuals, congregations, districts, and other organizations to join in celebrating Mission Month throughout October! Your congregation may have a tradition of doing this every year, or you may be starting it for the first time. Regardless, celebrate what God is doing today through the global Lutheran missionary family of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and our partners in reaching out with God’s love and the Good News of Jesus both around the world and here in the United States.
We pray together during worship each Sunday that God’s mission and will would be done. We also celebrate His love for His children at mission fairs and festivals by remembering all He has done to bring lost people to Himself. Celebration focuses on God’s grace, which extends from His throne into our communities, country, and world (Acts 1:8).
As Christians, all of us have received God’s grace in Christ Jesus. As God’s own children, He has given us the privilege of being part of His mission to our own communities and to the world—praising Him for those who have already come to faith and praying for those who have yet to believe in Jesus Christ.
Mission Month intentionally coincides with the celebration of the Reformation to remind us that the message of salvation through Scripture alone, faith alone, and grace alone needs to reach those fields that are ripe for the harvest. Following in the footsteps of Luther himself, our mission-focused Reformation celebrations include reflection on the importance of spreading God’s Word in a culturally and linguistically understandable way—and in a culturally and linguistically diverse world right here at home—just as Luther made the Bible available in the German people’s native language.
How to Celebrate
Find these resources and more at www.lcmsworldmission.org/missionmonth.
- Hold a mission festival! Involve each group in your church in the planning.
- Host a mission prayer and praise meeting. Check the hymnal for mission hymns.
- Help plan a school or Sunday School mission fair. Each class can prepare an exhibit on a specific country, type of mission work, mission family, or people group. Serve different foods from other countries.
- During a worship service, read John 3:16 in several languages. Locate members in the congregation who are able to read the “Gospel in a nutshell” in their own language. Make a banner or bulletin board using these languages.
- Commit to praying for missionaries each day of October. Use missionary prayer cards or the monthly Pray For Us prayer calendar.
- Include a “Mission Minute” during your Sunday services, Sunday School hour, or Bible-study groups. Watch seven new faith-sharing videos from fellow LCMS members at www.lcms.org?17698, or read the latest Good News stories from mission fields across the globe.
- Discover your own unique way of celebrating God’s mission.
Also remember that even though the LCMS designated October as LCMS World Mission Month, mission can and should be celebrated all year long. You may also choose to plan special mission celebrations during Epiphany or Pentecost. Whenever and however you celebrate, LCMS World Mission is ready to help provide ideas and resources for your celebrations.
About the Author: Stacey Welcenbach is director of communication services for LCMS World Mission.
Connecting with People
by David Stechholz
Connecting with people who are not in or who have fallen away from Christ’s Church is easier for some of us and seemingly impossible for others. So if you don’t have the gift for gab, how do you, as a child of God, give witness to Jesus Christ and His saving death and resurrection and your faith in Him to others? How do you connect with dechurched and unchurched people?
First and foremost, you are giving a witness by faithfully worshiping the Lord God publicly in your church and being connected to God’s holy Word and Sacraments and your brothers and sisters in the faith. I encourage you to be in the Word of God in Bible classes, Sunday School, small group ministry, and personal and family home devotions.
Second, match your deeds with your words. At Christmas, I wanted to honor my wife and son’s request to see an outdoor Christmas lighting display from our car. I accidentally cut in front of someone who later identified my car and wrote a scathing e-mail to me. I wrote him back, admitting that I was sinful and that my driving was wrong. We all must watch our public behavior that it models the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Third, never underestimate the power of prayer. The Lord can place someone into your life who may become your special project. Ask God to help you find words or caring actions that can connect with that person to help her or him see the love of God in Jesus Christ, the world’s Savior.
Fourth, willingly offer to help your church or school serve in its community. As you do it as a child of God, you are giving a witness, even if words are not spoken but a kind smile is shared.
Finally, and for this I turn to my wife for comment, “Send an encouraging note to someone who may not yet be a faithful Christian. I like to do things,” says Janet, “that people don’t see. It’s the simple things.” My wife has a servant’s heart. Connecting with people can be through simple Christlike actions without words.
About the Author: Rev. David Stechholz is president of the English District of the LCMS.
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