This particular ministry target emphasizes two of our congregation’s core values: mercy and witness. As we articulated in last month’s newsletter article, a core value answers the question, “Who are we?” Our congregation adopted three core values that are based on a description of the early Christian congregations in Acts 2:42-47. We decided that, consistent with the Christian Church throughout the ages, we are a people of witness, mercy, and life together. This is also consistent with the current mission and ministry emphasis of our Church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The witness core value states that “we are God’s redeemed people who bear witness to Jesus Christ.” The mercy core value states that “we are God’s redeemed people who show mercy and compassion to those who have need, especially physical needs.” The life together core value states that “we are God’s redeemed people who gather together around the life giving Word and Sacraments and have fellowship with one another.”
The Board of Education has been tasked with the primary responsibility of formulating a plan of action regarding the “education ministries for families” ministry target. In fulfillment of this ministry target we are focusing more intentionally on the biblical educational opportunities we already provide through the Sunday morning Bible Study (10:30am), the Wednesday morning Bible Study (10:00am), and the Tuesday evening Men’s Bible Study (6:00pm). In addition to these, we will be starting up a Wednesday evening Women’s Bible Study (6:00pm). Also, beginning this September Pastor LaFeve began a more in depth Sunday evening Introduction to the New Testament course at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in La Mesa (4:00-5:30pm) as part of their “Theology Academy” that is designed especially for all interested lay people in the San Diego area. Furthermore, we are continuing to improve our Sunday School curriculum (10:30am), we just started our second year of Tuesday evening confirmation studies (5:00pm) with five confirmands, and are continuing to offer New Membership instruction in Martin Luther’s Small Catechism on Thursday evenings (4:30pm). Indeed, we are already offering many biblical education ministry opportunities.
Another opportunity that we have here at Atonement to focus on “educational ministries for families” is through the proposed After-School Tutoring program that was presented at the congregational voters’ meeting on Sunday, September 28. Through this home-grown program members of Atonement will have the opportunity to be a part of ministering to those within the immediate community surrounding our Church by providing them with academic assistance. There is also an incredible opportunity through this program to build relationships with the community and see how God will bless that for the benefit of the Church and all involved.
In addition to these opportunities, we may be able to offer other kinds of educational classes that seek to meet various needs that others may have. Some examples are a grief share class, parenting classes, marriage retreats, and technology use courses. These are all excellent ways that we can be people of witness and mercy at the same time. For, this is who our God has called us to be in Christ. By God’s grace and the strength of his Spirit may we continue to be who we are.