Welcome to the year of service and fellowship at First Lutheran! I am very excited about this emphasis. Many of you have found great joy and growth in the past years with emphasis on Biblical literacy, stewardship and prayer. But this year is where we get to get our hands dirty and stretch beyond our walls to connect with one another and with those in our community. This is going to be an active year and a year where we will have constant tangible signs of God at work among us.
I think that this year will boldly address two things that are constants in our lives. The first is that Jesus tells us, “the poor will always be among us” and scripture also tells us that as Christians we are called to serve those who are in need. The second constant is that as humans we are all seeking to be known and to be loved. Through intentional acts of fellowship and service we will come to better know our members and to care for those who are in need. I am positive that through these acts of service and fellowship God will be changing lives and that is something to celebrate!
My excitement however is somewhat tempered by the daunting task of determining which service projects to begin and how to gather a congregation of our size into meaningful fellowship. When I am feeling overwhelmed I turn to Scripture and as usual I found my strength in the stories of our faith ancestors. The scripture on page one comes from the Old Testament book of Numbers. In the chapter right before this verse, Moses is crying out to God for help. He is tired of the people complaining in the wilderness and feeling as though he can not possible tend to all of them alone. Look again at the instructions God gives Moses. I love that God says, “Gather for ME”. God does not fire Moses and look for a more competent leader. Nor does God say “Gather for you”. These people are being called for the sake of continuing God’s mission. Moses was never expected to do it alone… and neither are we!
There are going to be many approaches to service and fellowship offered to us over the upcoming year. One of the goals is to have a monthly service project, and a monthly fellowship event in which our congregation can participate. In the spirit of “sharing the mantel” as Moses was instructed we would like to assemble two teams. Each team will be made up of 12 people (just like the disciples) with one focusing on service projects and one focusing on fellowship events. With 12 people on each team, each person would be responsible for leading only one event. The teams will brainstorm and decide on the projects/events gathered from their collective wisdom. In short, many hands make light work.
Do you have an idea for fellowship or a community need that you are aware of. Can you offer your support for one event this year? If you are interested in being a part of these teams or want to talk more about what is involved call or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I pray you will take the time to pray about this and consider God calling you to this team for the sake of God’s mission? And as you consider this call to serve I leave you with this verse from one of my favorite poems:
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back,
learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home
in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world
that awaits you.
For a New Beginning by John O’Donohue.
Photo by: Rev. Catherine MacDonald, Halifax, Nova Scotia