Commission members and pastors from Redeemer St. Clair Shores, Michigan and Pilgrim Decatur, Illinois attended the spring General Meeting of the United Lutheran Mission Association (ULMA). Our mission churches were represented by Rev. James Shaw and Mr. Jeremiah Hansen from Agnus Dei Lutheran Church in Virginia, and Rev. William C. Mack from Christ the Rock Lutheran Church in California.
The two-day event was hosted at the Holiday Inn Hotel in the Cincinnati suburb of Erlanger, Kentucky. Several meeting attendees visited the nearby Creation Museum during their stay. We began on Friday, March 18th, with an afternoon closed session of the Commission members, followed by fellowship in the hotel restaurant. The general meeting began the following morning.
Written reports from all three missions were presented, with the pastors of the above-named missions being present to review the reports and answer questions. The representatives from Sola Scriptura in Wisconsin were unable to attend.
Some Mission Details
Christ the Rock in Carlsbad recently added two new adult members to their rolls. Pastor Mack is now preaching at two retirement communities on Sunday afternoon. A new evangelism brochure is in the works that should be in use come April.
Due to prohibitively high rent at their former worship site, Sola Scriptura in Muskego (Milwaukee) is looking for a new location. In the meantime they hold services and Bible study at Pastor Behling’s condominium. Members and non-members continue to receive devotions written by Pastor Behling.
Agnus Dei in Fredericksburg continues to receive leads from their listing on the ELLC confessional church listing (www.lutheranliturgy.org). Mr. Jeremiah Hansen, a member of the congregation, spoke about the challenges of outreach to a mobile society, providing much food for thought.
Both Pastors Mack and Shaw will be looking into social networking to effectively reach out to the community. Each has begun dialoguing with other confessional Lutheran pastors in their area. They have found more outreach results with the non-churched than with Lutherans who have moved to the area. Mr. Hansen confirmed the need for social networking (especially in the Fredericksburg, VA, area) due to people’s time constraints (many spend 34 hours daily going to/from work). Door-to-door evangelism is just not proving as effective as in years past. Each congregation will be looking into a Facebook presence to help get their messages out, including sample sermons and papers.
Agnus Dei and Christ the Rock will be looking into establishing a preaching station, separate from their primary location, to further their outreach efforts. The locations will be determined based on their experience with feedback, inquiries, and available locations.
With Lutheranism in a state of flux within the U.S., we have had many inquiries into ULMA, and have received some generous donations from various congregations, though they have not joined us as member congregations. Our continued prayer is that they will consider joining ULMA so that they may actively participate in the decision process for new and existing missions, and thus be integral to our mission work.
The 2011 elections were held for the officers of the commission. The results are:
Chairman Alan Ruwe
Vice Chairman Robert Linsdeau
Treasurer Gregory Mills
Secretary Frank Butkovich
Our next meeting will take place in October or November. Since suburban Cincinnati worked out so well for the spring meeting, it will likely be held in the same vicinity.