During our annual voters’ meeting in May we voted to adopt a strategic plan for ministry in the next one to three years. During the next few months I would like to take some time in this newsletter article to “unpack” each component of our strategic plan. This month we will consider our mission statement. A mission statement answers the question, “Why do we exist as a congregation?” Our adopted mission statement is this: “We are a Christ-centered congregation that cares for the whole person with the good news of Jesus Christ.” Let’s break down our mission statement and reflect on each part.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! “Just as he said” (Matthew 28:6). Just as Christ is risen to new, eternal life, so too we who are baptized into Christ have newness of life (Romans 6:4). He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up so that we could have eternal life in his name, how will he not also graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)? Indeed, “If God so clothes the grass of the field . . . will he not much more clothe you . . .” (Matthew 6:30)? Since we are certain that our God has met all our needs in Christ, we are free to use our earthly riches, our time, talents, and treasures, to serve others in his love. As a baptized, new creation in Christ, you are God’s steward. You are his manager.
Very soon Atonement Lutheran Church will be considering together as a parish the adoption of a proposed strategic plan for its future ministry. The vision team has composed a plan that will emphasize three general areas where it thinks the congregation should strategically focus its efforts for ministry in the next one to three years. At the meeting the congregation will have a chance to view the plan and ask questions before considering adoption. The parts of the plan that the congregation will consider adopting are a newly proposed mission statement, set of core values, vision statement, and set of ministry targets.
This month I would like to focus on an important truth as God’s people who are in Christ. That truth is this: “Everything we say, think, and do communicates something about our God to everyone else.” So what is it that we communicate and tell others about God and his parish, Atonement Lutheran Church?
Can you believe that the month of December is upon us already? It’s that busy time of year again. It’s the time of year to commence the Christmas shopping, drag out the decorations, and put together holiday party plans. It is that time of year to . . . time? How do we find the time to do it all?!?
It is that time of year again, the end of one church year cycle and the beginning of another. Here in the Church we keep time in a different way. Our calendar is arranged quite differently. In short, we order the passing of time around the life and work of Christ. By doing so we then are not merely “passing the time” from one hour to another, one day to another, or one month to another. Rather, we become participants as we live through our hours, days, and months.
This month we will consider the question, “What is the purpose of Christian Worship?” The Sunday morning Worship Service is referred to in the Lutheran Church as the “Divine Service.” This title is an English translation of the German word, Gottesdienst. The title communicates a great deal. Above all else, it communicates that Worship is first and foremost about God serving us. It is about God meeting our daily need for a sure word and promise of his forgiveness, life, and salvation. It is about God continuing to provide, preserve, protect, and defend us now, even in the midst of the struggle which is the Christian life. The struggle, which the Apostle Paul aptly described, as one in which “the desires of the flesh” war against “the desires of the Spirit” (Romans 8:4-8). A struggle to resist doing “the very thing I do not want to do” (Romans 7:15-16). If the Christian is to daily receive the help and service of God’s grace then Christian Worship must start with God. The preface of the hymnal, Lutheran Worship, says it well:
This month we are going to consider a question that concerns our identity as a parish. Namely, what are the core values that are a unique part of who we are as Atonement Lutheran Church? What are the things that we do and/or should value as local congregation?
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
A well-known author on personal time management, Alan Lakein, once said something very insightful about the task of planning. He said, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” On the evening of Tuesday, August 20, the people of Atonement are going to have an intentional opportunity to plan! We will have an opportunity to “bring the future into the present so that we can do something about it now.” For a couple of hours on that evening from 6pm-8:30pm, Gary Norton, the Regional Mission Facilitator for our region of the Pacific Southwest District of the LCMS, will be guiding us through a vision workshop. We will have an opportunity to gaze into the future to see what kind of “Kingdom of God” impact Atonement Lutheran will be able to make in Spring Valley in the next one to three years. We will have an opportunity to envision the future of Atonement and its mission activity so that God can empower us to do something about it!
This July delegates (including your pastor) and visitors from across the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and from around the world will travel to St. Louis for its 65th Regular Convention. The theme of the Convention is “Baptized for this Moment.” Delegates will gather to elect men and women to fill important positions of leadership and to discuss and vote on issues important to our “walking together” as a Church body. The Convention is very much about taking care of the business of the Church so that she can be well prepared to take care of the Mission of the Church to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching (Mt 28:19-20).
This month Atonement will gather on June 9 to discuss the business of our parish at our annual voters meeting. We will elect men and women to important positions of leadership and we will vote on next year’s budget and other issues important to our “walking together” as a local congregation. It is a business meeting that serves the higher purpose of Atonement Lutheran, to carry out the Great Commission (Mt 28:19-20). What a reminder also for us that we are “Baptized for this Moment.”
Atonement is ...
Atonement Lutheran Church is a Christ centered congregation that cares for the whole person with the Good News of Jesus Christ.