Share it! — Encouraging mission support

Posted by on May 1, 2018 in News | Comments Off on Share it! — Encouraging mission support

Pastor Bill Wangelin of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Lansing, Mich., poses with students at St. Peter Christian College in Middelburg, South Africa, in 2016. Our Savior members have developed a relationship with Lutherans in Middelburg, and Wangelin personally delivered handwritten cards and school supplies.

How did readers answer last month’s question:

“How does your congregation or school encourage the support of mission work and/or missionaries?”

Here are some responses:

Matthew Couser, principal, Our Savior Lutheran Church and School, Lansing, Mich.:

“Our Lutheran school supports St. Peter Confessional Lutheran Church in Middelburg, South Africa, through our trimester chapel offering. Pastor Mandla Khumalo of Middelburg has visited our church and school several times in the past few years, and we have sent two of our school teachers to South Africa as teacher ambassadors to their Lutheran school. This has created a personal relationship with the mission and missionaries in Middelburg.

“In order to raise support and send our teachers to Middelburg, our school did a ‘Jump-a-thon’ where each student contributed a dollar to jump rope at a fun-filled event. Similar to ‘penny wars,’ we also did a ‘money madness’ during March where each grade brought in coins throughout the week in a competition that raised several thousand dollars. Both events were organized by our student council and teacher advisers.

“When our school participated in our annual ‘Mileage Club’ to get our students running and walking, we set as our collective goal the number of miles it would take to go from Lansing, Mich., to Middelburg, South Africa. 

“Using technology, our fifth-grade class was able to chat live with a group of students from Middelburg — taking into account the seven-hour time difference, of course!

“What was most meaningful was having our teachers come back from their mission trip and share the ways that the students in Middelburg, South Africa, are so similar to students in America, and yet how they live in different circumstances than we do here.

“The partnership has made our school community feel connected and united as global citizens, fellow Lutherans, and brothers and sisters in Christ with believers on the other side of the world.”

Rev. Carl Lehenbauer, senior pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church and School of Freistadt, Mequon, Wis.:

“Our congregation participates in missions in classic ways such as ongoing support for an LCMS missionary, chapel offerings, inviting missionaries to serve as guest preachers, short-term mission trip opportunities, through our LWML and including the Synod’s missionaries in our weekly prayers. Those efforts, however, just scratch the surface. 

“We have a hands-on mission to a refugee population in our area that has resulted in dozens of Baptisms and has quickly become a church plant. That grew out of a simple decision to assist with refugee resettlement through Lutheran Social Services and a series of open doors that were too obvious to ignore!

“Trinity’s largest fundraiser every year is an auction that benefits various LCMS African missions. Our members donate auction items that range from a fresh, homemade pie delivered each month, to vacation destinations, to power tools, to babysitting. It is a fun and meaningful night that every member can contribute to in one way or another. Best of all, we do not keep any of the proceeds of the event — every dollar is spent on African missions. 

“In the same spirit, we give away the entire offering from our Thanksgiving services each year to various LCMS service and mission organizations. Throughout the year, when we receive large donations, we tithe to other ministries.

“Finally, in 2014 we held a capital campaign celebrating our 175th anniversary. Our members donated $175,000 for various capital expenditures, but also donated $175,000 for outside missions including Bible translation, pastoral education and more. Needless to say, I am blessed to be a part of such a selfless congregation!”

Karenni refugees from Myanmar pose for a group picture after their confirmation Dec. 4, 2016, at Lutheran Chapel of the Cross in Milwaukee. In back (center, from left), are Revs. David Zeuschner of Lutheran Chapel of the Cross; Phil Hillenbrand, Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Mequon; and Joshua Rusert, Trinity Lutheran Church, Mequon. Trinity’s work with refugees has led to a Karenni church plant some 45 minutes away.

Amy Hubach, director of Family Ministry, Grace Lutheran Church and Preschool, Caldwell, Idaho:

“Our church does a weeklong mission trip to our own community every year called ‘Love Your City.’ We have around 65 to 70 volunteers working with organizations and people across the city and valley.

“We have helped the school districts, women’s shelters, senior center, Habitat for Humanity, the Idaho Youth Ranch, a refugee center, Boise Rescue Mission, Advocates Against Family Violence, Love INC., and many more.

“Different organizations join us for lunch and share what they are doing in the community. We are looking forward to the 2018 ‘Love Your City’ event in June.” 

Members of Grace Lutheran Church in Caldwell, Idaho, pose for a photo during their “Love Your City” servant event last August. The intergenerational group of volunteers helped spread bark at a local elementary school’s playground in preparation for the first day of school. (Amy Hubach)

Dan Hansen, president, Trinity Lutheran Church, Bear Creek, Wis.:

“In an effort to get more individuals involved with missions, Trinity Lutheran Church started including mission support allocation proposals in our annual budget. The month before our annual meeting we solicited grant proposals from individual church members as well as from the pastor and LWML.

“We narrow down the proposals to about 10 and have the members set a mission budget (above and beyond our district and Synod mission offerings), and then vote for three of the proposals. The top three vote-getters then receive grants of $1,000 each for the year.

“We follow up by posting a world-mission map in a church hallway indicating where the money is going, and then provide updates reported quarterly in church announcements. Our 2018 grants are going to a local homeless shelter; the adopt-a-student program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.; and LCMS Disaster Relief.”

Our next “Share it!” question:

Pastors, teachers and other church workers: In what ways has your congregation or school shown their appreciation for you?

In brief, please share your comments in an email to paula.ross@lcms.org. (Include your name, title, church/school name and its city.) We’ll publish as many as we can in the June Reporter.

Posted May 1, 2018

Source: LCMS News