Blessed To Be a Blessing as Instruments of God’s Love
Our church has become a model of a healthy and disciple-making church. Pastors equip the laity to be servant-leaders of the church’s ministries. St. John’s mentors other churches in the Hill Country to make disciples in their own congregations, and also is an annual training ground for NALC pastors and a frequent host for NALC & LCMC church leadership teams. We desire to serve our community by proclaiming the name of Jesus through word and deed.
St John Lutheran Church has two designated committees assigned to distribute funds to those in need. Each committee distributes 5% of the total budget. In addition, a percentage of the general offering is given to the NALC for mission work. The Outreach Committee focuses on physical needs and the Mission committee focuses on Spiritual needs. Naturally there is some overlap, but the distinction is an important one as the Lord calls us to love and care for His people and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Savior.
The Mission Committee uses an application process to gather information about the ministries of those requesting to partner with us. We find this helpful in understanding the details of the work and in tracking correspondence. We use email primarily to correspond with partners in other countries, and occasionally we have the privilege of face-to-face contact when mission leaders come to visit. We assign ongoing correspondence to different members of the committee so that all can appreciate the gift of relationship.
There is not a precise formula dividing local, national and global outreach. We respond to requests as they are received. We support organizations that share the Gospel. Currently our church supports missions in Japan, India, South Sudan, Uganda, Central Asia, Vietnam and Cambodia. We are also contributing to the Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church in Houston; to two Lutheran seminaries; to a Bible translation organization; to a local student mentoring program; and to the St. John youth mission trip.
Pastor Moberly of ALWM brought the Harvest Focus Workshop to our church in October 2021. This visit expanded our awareness and solidified our commitment to help reach others. Since then, we have increased congregational awareness through inclusion during prayers of the church and we have had several sermons referencing the areas we support. We also took a trip to Houston to worship with the Oromo congregation.
We also found that one of the most effective means of education is to invite members of our supported mission groups to our Church. Members of the congregation meet with and learn first-hand about each mission’s purpose. During this past year, we have been very privileged to have the pastors and members from the Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church of South Sudan visit our Church.