Dear Fellow Workers in Christ’s Kingdom:
There is no greater contemplation for each of us than reflecting on the eternal redemption obtained for sinners – for you and me – through the work of Jesus Christ. Here is what this month offers as we once again consider God’s great love through weekly meditations on the suffering and death of our Lord, beginning Ash Wednesday, February 18. St. Augustine put it so well: “What is more wholesome, what more honorable, what more lovely, what more becoming, than every day and hour to remember the sufferings of Him who remembers us every moment, and without whom we cannot live for an hour?” May God grant us a blessed Lenten season!
Blessings in Christ,
John A. Moldstad
Statistical Reporting for 2014 is due February 15. You can complete the reporting form online: www.evangelicallutheransynod.org/statistics/
Note from the Board for Home Outreach
“Ministry Area Profiles” (MAPs) – Still Available…NOW at even MORE of a REDUCED COST!
If you attended one of the “Engage Others with Jesus” retreats or have read these newsletters before, you have heard about the availability of a MAP for your area. The BHO continues to make this study available to your congregation, and for a limited time will do so for $25 (discounted from the already-discounted price of $50).
What is a MAP? It is a thorough demographic study of an area of your choosing, completed by the Percept Group. You are able to establish the boundaries of a study in four ways: (1) with a radius reaching out so many miles from a midpoint, (2) by ZIP codes (multiple ZIP codes must be contiguous), (3) by county (multiple counties must be contiguous), and (4) by creating your own boundaries on a map in any shape or form. The area chosen should be an area “reachable” by your congregation.
There are three main sections of a MAP study. (1) The actual “Ministry Area Profile” gives information regarding population types, trends, and projections; household information; lifestyle trends; which denominations are in the area, along with community concerns, values and desires; and a series of maps that give a view of population and household characteristics, patterns, and trends. (2) The “Compass Report” provides data regarding the religious climate, perspectives, and desires in the target area. (3) The “Source Book” provides how Percept gathers its information.
Examples of a MAP study are available on request. Numerous congregations have made use of this valuable tool and have found it helpful.
Please contact BHO chairman Prof. Michael K. Smith.
Home missionaries of the ELS, local pastors of ELS and WELS and members of the Board for Home Outreach met at Hope Lutheran Church, Cedar Park, Texas for the 2015 ELS Home Missions Conference.
CLC, ELS, and WELS Representatives Meet
On January 30, representatives from the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC), the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) met for doctrinal discussions at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This was the first meeting between representatives of these three synods since 1990. It was called by the synod presidents with the encouragement of the appropriate synod committees, upon the request of an informal group of pastors in the Mankato, Minnesota, area.
The meeting was very cordial and productive. The participants shared perspectives on the history of the relationship between the three synods. The participants also discussed the “Joint Statement Regarding the Termination of Fellowship Between Church Bodies,” a document that was prepared in 1990 during the last round of doctrinal discussions. No one imagines that a reconciliation will come about easily or quickly between the CLC and ELS/WELS. But it was useful to hear first-hand how the situation looks from the perspective of others, and to discuss what it would take to overcome the breach that has separated us.
Representing the CLC were Pres. Michael Eichstadt, Rev. Paul Nolting, and Rev. Bruce Naumann; representing the ELS were Pres. John Moldstad, Prof. Gaylin Schmeling, and Prof. Erling Teigen; and representing WELS were Prof. John Brenner, Prof. Thomas Nass, and Pres. Mark Schroeder. Only one of these participants was involved in the 1990 meetings, so this meeting brought together a new generation of leaders who have not discussed the issues together before.
A second meeting is planned for April 17 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to continue the discussions. The second meeting will focus more pointedly on the “Joint Statement” of 1990 and will begin the discussion of additional topics of concern. Your prayers are welcomed that God will have these meetings continue to be beneficial.
At our newest home mission in Hudson Oaks, Texas, the Sunday of January 25, 2015, marked the one year anniversary of the official opening of the exploratory congregation. President Moldstad preached and gave a presentation on the activities of our synod, while during a delicious mealtime Dr. Michael Smith updated the membership on advice and plans from the Board of Home Missions. The members are excited about the future as they share the gospel of Christ in the Hudson Oaks/Weatherford area.
Please remember in your prayers:
• the family of Bethany Lutheran College Professor Mark Harstad. Professor Harstad was transferred to the Church Triumphant on January 17th.
• the family of Pastor Jeff Londgren and the congregations he served. Pastor Londgren was taken from this life suddenly on February 2nd. He now resides in the home prepared for him in Heaven by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of His saints. (Psalm 116:15)
- February 2-3 – Board of Regents
- February 3 – Archives Committee
- February 9 – Board for LSA
- February 10 – Board of Trustees
- March 23-24 – Doctrine Committee