Reaching Beyond Our Walls

Our newly formed Outreach Team, under the direction of our Vice President, Jarrod Roll, is off to a good start. Let me hasten to initially say, this is not the group responsible for doing outreach. That privilege belongs to all of us! Rather, this team is providing leadership, strategizing, and planning for how we reach out to the community beyond our walls at Gift of Grace.

An interesting challenge we are working with in the early going is the question, how do we talk about ourselves to others? Those on the team have no trouble speaking enthusiastically about what excites us about our congregational family. The challenge appears to be using words that might make sense to outsiders, especially those with different faith heritages, or those with little or no church background.

For instance, many of us like the aspect that we are traditional, both as a congregation and in our affiliation with the North American Lutheran Church. To many of us, that means that we are grounded and established on a firm foundation. But to many we are trying to reach out to, the term “traditional” may seem to suggest that we enjoy being antiquated and unconnected with our present age.

We have lots of buzz words, or jargon, that makes sense to us, but may not convey the meaning that we wish to convey to others. Examples might include being “Christ Centered”, that we emphasize “grace”, that we are “Cross Focused”, that we enjoy the “objective realities” of our salvation, that we are a church of “Word and Sacrament”, and so on.

Give me an hour to tell someone about our congregation and the riches of the Lutheran tradition, and I would hope I could do a fair job. But to share with those who might be a little curious or interested, but are not ready for a full discourse, I find it more challenging. Perhaps you do as well. Prayerfully, we are working on it. I will keep you posted. We would be glad to have you weigh in.

Since You Asked…

What is the purpose of the “Silence for reflection and self-examination” in the Brief Order For Confession and Forgiveness?

“The silence for self-examination and reflection should be an extended silence to enable personal application of the general phrases of the prayer that follows. Silence of one or two minutes is not too long” (Manual on the Liturgy – LBW). This is a helpful time to reflect back on our lives over the past week and ask ourselves whether we have been disobedient or unfaithful, bad-tempered or dishonest, or whether we have hurt anyone by word or deed. By allowing for this period of reflection we are able to personalize what would otherwise remain quite general.