Free resources can help congregations celebrate 500th Reformation anniversary

Martin Luther sparked the Reformation when he posted his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on Oct. 31, 1517. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

By Kevin Armbrust

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has new, free materials available to help promote the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year in LCMS congregations and their communities.

“The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is indeed an opportunity for congregations to proclaim Christ in their communities,” said the Rev. Randall Golter, special assistant to the Synod president. “The Lutheran Reformation is a popular and current news story. People who typically pay no heed to the issues of religion and the Church are curious about Luther and the Reformation.”

“The media will present Luther in various ways, many of which will not reflect Luther’s theological focus,” Golter explained. “The congregations of the LCMS can add their voices to proclaim and teach the true message of the Reformation.”

“I’ve been reading lots of Luther,” he continued. “The issues haven’t changed: Is Jesus alone sufficient for our salvation? The Reformation answered that. So we must use every avenue possible to communicate this to others.

“The 500th Reformation anniversary is all about Jesus,” Golter said, echoing the Synod’s anniversary-observance theme, “It’s Still All About Jesus.”

“That’s reason enough to be aggressive in celebration and proclamation,” he said.

Golter added that the new materials will aid congregations as their members benefit from a review of the central teachings of the Reformation: including salvation by grace, through faith, because of Jesus; sola gratia, sola fide, sola Scriptura, solus Christus; Word and Sacraments; and the righteous will live by faith.

“This same message needs to be heard by those outside of the LCMS,” Golter said. “We are compelled to tell others of the Reformation. We simply can’t keep quiet.”

The kit of downloadable resources is expected to be available this month on the Synod’s Reformation-anniversary website at lutheranreformation.org/resources.

The resources may be customized to include the congregation’s name and contact information.

The resource kit will include:

  • posters for use in the congregation and the community;
  • a newspaper ad;
  • a newspaper article about the anniversary;
  • a newspaper op-ed article;
  • a church newsletter article;
  • a banner pattern;
  • 12 half-page bulletin inserts;
  • 12 copy-and-paste bulletin blurbs; and
  • numerous social-media memes.

The new kit complements resources already available at lutheranreformation.org.

The film “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World” is set to premier Feb. 15, 2017, in select locations around the country.

Luther film provides outreach opportunity

The new full-length feature film “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World” premieres Feb. 15 in select locations around the country, including St. Louis.

Funded by a grant from Thrivent Financial, this entertaining new film brings to life the dramatic moments that shaped Luther, and examines the universal questions he wrestled with, like “Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” and “How do I get right with God?”

Several LCMS Reformation scholars and historians, including Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, were involved in the production.

Thanks to a special distribution arrangement, any LCMS congregation or organization can host a screening at a movie theater in their community. Screenings are encouraged as a way to reach out to the community in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

There is no cost to your congregation or organization to set up a screening, and the process is simple. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, visit newluthermovie.com/lcms.

Dr. Kevin Armbrust (kevin.armbrust@lcms.org) is manager of Editorial Services with LCMS Communications.

Posted January 6, 2017

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Content is prepared by LCMS Communications.

5 Responses to Free resources can help congregations celebrate 500th Reformation anniversary

  1. Raymond Clarke January 9, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

    Our church (Concordia L C, Wilmington, DE) would like to publish as much information as possible about the 500th anniversary.

    • LCMS Church Information Center January 10, 2017 at 8:21 am #

      Thank you for your comment. We’ll be adding additional resources as they are ready so keep checking the website.

    • Christine Helmer January 31, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

      You might be interested in my free online course “Luther and the West.” The course includes 36 lectures on Luther and his impact in biblical interpretation, freedom, and religion and politics, in addition to many texts, by Luther and others, available for free download. The course weblink is

      https:coursera.org/learn/luther-and-the-west

      Thank you!

  2. Rev Michael Schmidt January 11, 2017 at 10:19 pm #

    Will the Luther movie be released to general theaters, or is it only available through the special screening option?

  3. Rev Mark Koehler January 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    Will the TUG web platform arrange with movie theaters in Canada or is this service only available in the US?

    • Randy Golter January 17, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

      Yes, in Canada.

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