For over eighteen months Anita and I have been associate members of Lutheran Church of the Master in Carol Stream, Illinois.
The church is an ELCA congregation. Our full-membership is in the Reformed Church but our “home” church is First Reformed Church in South Holland, which is located 54 miles from our home. Because of this unique arrangement we are attending a church two blocks from home and it has been a new experience. We have even met some of our own neighbors in the church, also a rare experience in these days of “church commuting.”
We picked this church based upon reading the pastor’s blog spot and then worshiping there during the summer of 2006. Since then our pastor has left but he remains a dear friend to me personally. We have simply worshiped at LCM
and asked God to use us as he would like to in this local congregation. Neither of us can or will serve on the church council or in official positions but this is proving to be a real advantage in some ways. Since I am gone so much I need a place where I can contribute now and then but not be tied down to one congregation and its internal working every single week. Lutheran Church of the Master is anything but ideal, having been through some real internal struggles, but the people are lovely, the church offers us a Christ-centered liturgy and we are both allowed to use our gifts of the Spirit to serve Christ.
In the absence of an ordained Lutheran minister I have been asked to do several things at LCM. One has been to serve the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and the other is to preach. I will preach at the Maundy Thursday service tonight, serve the Supper and oversee a “foot washing” segment of the service as well.
Perhaps the most delightful opportunity began this last Monday evening. We began the first of six evenings designed to prepare fifth grade students for their “first communion.” Anita is a great teacher and she made lesson plans, fun games, learning experiences, the whole business. I explained Mark 14:22-26 to the class and we began the process with 21 fifth graders and their parents. It is a profound opportunity to teach about 40-50 people the basic elements of the Christian faith. This is at the very heart of my own missional ministry, teaching and helping churches of all types to better grasp the gospel of Christ. What an opportunity we have at LCM. Please pray for us and for Lutheran Church of the Master, especially as the church works out some internal issues and eventually finds a new senior pastor to lead this lovely flock.
And if you have not yet checked out the new missional blog spot read today’s article on Spain and see the way Christ is revealing himself in powerful ways that might surprise you when you think of this European country and Western Europe in your prayer and personal kingdom dreams.