When you hear the word outreach what comes to mind?
There is renewed interest in focusing on our congregational outreach. We know that it is what we are to be about! And necessarily last year we were focused on some organizational matters. We were overdue in adopting a Constitution and in issuing an official call to a Pastor. Thankfully, those important tasks are behind us.
Constitutionally, and by broad agreement at our Annual Meeting, we have formed an Outreach Team. Much fruit is already accruing from this team, but at our June meeting we arrived at a consensus that we must be careful not to get the cart out ahead of the horse!
What I mean by that is, as we believe, teach and confess that it is God’s Word that gifts us with faith, and animates our lives; and as we believe prayer is the humble means whereby we receive what God gives through his Word, we believe effective outreach needs to be blanketed from start to finish with prayer! Of course we will use our noodles (brains) and pool ideas and do planning, but apart from prayer we risk missing where God is at work.
After his death and resurrection, Our Lord Jesus entrusted his ongoing mission to his chosen disciples. The Apostolic proclamation that in Christ’s death and resurrection there is forgiveness to those who repent was to be broadcast to every nation. Disciples would be formed through Baptism and instruction.
But first, the disciples were to wait upon the Lord and his promise to pour out upon them his Spirit. And so the disciples were gathered for prayer! It was after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Jewish Festival of Pentecost that incredible outreach began to take place. It is exciting to read about it in the Book of Acts! God orchestrated events that exceeded anything that the disciples could have planned, and opportunities for proclaiming Christ abounded.
And so, the Outreach Team is summoning us to prayer! On Sunday mornings at 8:15. Will you join us?
Since You Asked…
Do Lutherans Promote Private Confession?
“Confession has not been abolished by the preachers on our side. … The people are carefully instructed concerning the consolation of the Word of absolution (forgiveness) so that they may esteem it as a great and precious thing. It is not the voice of the man who speaks it, but it is the Word of God, who forgives sin, for it is spoken in God’s stead and by God’s command. …it is necessary for terrified consciences” (Augsburg Confession, XXV)
Confession has two parts: First that we confess our sins, and second, that we receive absolution, that is, forgiveness, from the Pastor as from God himself.