Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/trip-to-greece-in-the-footsteps-of-paul-the-apostle/
Sep 04 2019
Check the Mirror, Pastor — After Five Years, Your Church Looks Like You.” This was the headline of an article that caused me to stop and reflect. If it’s true that after five years the congregation I serve will look a lot like me, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
If congregations begin to reflect their pastor over time, it might lead the pastor to think about what he should do to shape his congregation. The pastor will be tempted to think about how he can and should shape it: How can I make my congregation enthusiastic for evangelism? How can I make my congregation take the Word of God seriously and want to study it? How can I shape my congregation to make an impact in our community?
But if those are the first questions the pastor asks, his focus is in the wrong place. When I first read that headline and the accompanying article, the reality that my congregation would reflect me as a pastor felt like a heavy burden to bear. Do I really want my congregation to look like … me? To paraphrase St. Paul, Do I really want my congregation to look like the chief of sinners?
And yet, St. Paul also wrote in 1 Cor. 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” How can Paul claim to be the chief of sinners and yet say, “be imitators of me”? How can a pastor do the same?
In short, Paul wasn’t seeking to have the focus on him, but on Christ. He understood that the example he set would impact how those to whom he was ministering would see Christ. By speaking of himself as the chief of sinners and as the least of the apostles, Paul modeled the reality of the need for Christ and His forgiveness.
Pastors follow Paul’s example not when they seek to hold themselves up as the perfect example to be imitated, but when they show the congregation that they too are sinners in need of Jesus. By spending time in God’s Word on a daily basis, devoting time to prayer, forgiving and seeking forgiveness quickly, valuing and hungering for the Lord’s Supper, and being honest about their weaknesses, pastors model the very things they want to see in the flock they serve.
There’s much more to discuss concerning this topic, but I think it starts with pastors echoing the words of John the Baptist: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter By Rev. Benjamin Meyer, Hope Lutheran Church, Sunbury, Ohio
Minneapolis, Here We Come!
The 2019 National Rural & Small Town Mission Conference will be held Nov. 14–16 in Minneapolis, Minn., at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington-Minneapolis South. Registrations made after Sept. 1 are available but at an increased rate. Register before Sept. 1 for the early registration rate! Late registration open until 9/20!
The blessings and challenges facing rural and small-town congregations today will be addressed. Congregations will be encouraged to cultivate ways to become healthy churches, eager to bear witness for Christ, able to show mercy to those in need in communities and develop a robust life together with fellow members. We hope you’ll join us by registering now and reserving your spot!
Speakers and Session Topics
Keynote speakers will include Rev. Todd Kollbaum, director, LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission and Dr. Harold L. Senkbeil, Executive Director for Spiritual Care, DOXOLOGY. Rev. Robert Zagore, executive director, LCMS Office of National Mission, will lead the theme Bible study of the conference based on Hebrews 12:1b-2a.
Breakout topics include dealing with addictions, mental health, young adults in ministry, bi-vocational pastors, stewardship, community engagement, partnering with LERT, online education and many other topics affecting our rural and small-town congregations. There is something planned for everyone … from layperson to pastor, student to teacher!
We encourage you to bring your whole family to spend a few days together! Enjoy the Mall of America and take advantage of the special family rates that include access to all conference activities.
Don’t forget that a special track for Youth Ministry will be returning this year, led by youth peer leaders and specially meant for your youth to join you as well; this option will have a limited number of seats and require attendance in all six sessions.
Adult registration for the conference is $225/person and includes all plenary and breakout sessions, materials, Thursday dinner, Friday lunch and dinner and more. See our full registration form for discounted rates for youth, students, families, couples, LWML members, meals only and groups. Contact our office with questions.
Hotel reservations must be made separately from conference registration. The Doubletree is offering a rate of $100/ Single or Double plus applicable taxes for our group including breakfast buffet per day per occupancy level; complimentary self-parking; complimentary airport and Mall of America shuttle.
More information and online registration can be found at lcms.org/rstm/conference
RSTM Events Update
Don’t forget that Rural & Small Town Mission provides free monthly webinars on topics important to congregations in town and country settings. Up next is “Church Reflections” with the Rev. Benjamin Meyer on Sept. 26, followed by “Moving Beyond Survival: DOXOLOGY and Your Church’s Future” with the Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil on Oct. 10. Find past webinars in our archive.
Register for one our Engaging Your Community (EYC) or Engaging the Wandering (ETW) events at lcms.org/ rstm. These partner events offer practical resources and training in communication skills for reaching out to our wandering members and communities with Christ’s love. Contact your district or our office if you are interested in holding an event near you.
The LCMS South Dakota District will partner with RSTM to hold two ETW events, at St. John Lutheran Church, Groton, S.D., on Oct. 26, and Trinity Lutheran Church, Hartford, S.D., on Oct. 27. Online registration is available for these ETW events.
In partnership with Minnesota South, RSTM is also rolling out a new type of event, Welcoming, in Pipestone, MN on Oct. 12 that we think you and your congregation are going to love and benefit from! We will address the little known “brain gain” of rural and small-town communities. These day-long events will help congregations to be more welcoming places that provide God’s Word to both current members and guests. They are also great opportunities for leadership and volunteer training.
For more information about our events or to see the rest of our calendar, visit lcms.org/rstm or contact our office at 888- 463-5127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register now! The 2019 National Rural & Small Town Mission Conference, “Running With Endurance: Eyes Fixed On Jesus,” will be held Nov. 14–16 in Minneapolis. Watch for updates and more information at lcms.org/rstm/conference.
For more information about our events or to see the rest of our calendar, visit lcms.org/rstm or contact our office at 888-463-5127 or email@example.com.
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/church-reflections/
Aug 28 2019
How do you watch the weekly MAIN STREET LIVING worship services and “This Is The Life” programs? On cable, satellite, antenna, or over the internet? This, of course, varies depending on what TV services you have AND where you live. In general, the eastern half of North Dakota and the western half of our Minnesota North Districts receive the MSLN broadcasts over the FOX stations between 9:00-10:00 am each Sunday, plus the entire state of ND and the eastern half of MNN also receive these broadcasts over the WDAY XTRA stations between 10:00-11:00 am Central (9-10am Mountain time).
Lately, we’ve had several requests for a complete listing of the specific cable & satellite companies and their channel assignments that carry our program in an attempt to make locating MSLN easier for everyone. These lists have now been sent to each of our ND & MNN District offices, and then forwarded to each pastor and congregation in both districts – so if you are wondering which cable and satellite stations are carrying MSLN in your area, please contact your church office for this information.
Please continue to share information about our LCMS “Main Street Living” media ministry with others. In addition to being broadcast each Sunday morning – you can view all archived programs at any time at www.mainstreetliving.com (then click on the link under the picture identified as “North (Fargo).”
Thank you for your much needed financial support! Checks may be sent to “Main Street Living NORTH,” 821-5th Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103, or donate by Credit Card or your PayPal account on the web site. God’s blessing in Christ!
“Main Street Living North” Programs for September 2019:
September 1: Rev. Terry Finnern, Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, Miltona, MN, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Parker’s Prairie, MN, presents the message: “Our Host for Eternity” based on Luke 14:7-11. Today’s “This Is The Life” program is: “Run Away”(Away we go, back to where we started from).
September 8: Rev. Paul Preus, Zion Lutheran Church, Ellendale, presents the message: “Healed Through the Word” based on Mark 7:31-37. Today’s “This Is The Life” program is: “The Sin of Sue Bradley” (Misguided meddling leads to jealousy threatening loving relationships).
September 15: Rev. Daryl Rothchild, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Upham, ND, Faith Lutheran Church, Towner, ND, and Zion Lutheran Church, Kramer, ND presents the message: “Abundant Grace” based on I Timothy 1:12-17. Today’s This Is The Life program is; “Old Smiley” (For over forty plus years, Charlie Grebs was certain that his “Happiness God” from the Orient brought him good luck. In less than a day, he fully realized that things are not always what they seem to be.)
September 22: Rev. Jonathan Walla, Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, ND, presents the message: “The Debt is Cancelled” based on Luke 16:1-15. Today’s This Is The Life program is; “To Take a Life: (A devoted son’s loving father is terminally ill, suffering severely and pleading to die.)
September 29: Rev. Dennis Voss, vacancy pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, New Salem, ND and St. Peter Lutheran Church, Hannover, ND presents the message: “The Job of Angels” based on Matthew 18:10. Today’s “This Is The Life” program is: “Sharing the Gospel” (Sharing the Gospel is neither swift nor easy, but truly rewarding in the end.)
“MAIN STREET LIVING” is a locally produced TV program that includes a 30-minute worship service led by participating pastors of the Minnesota North and North Dakota Districts of our LCMS, along with a 30 minute Lutheran Hour program (normally “This Is The Life,” along with occasional church-season specials). Programs are broadcast at 9:00 am Central Time on the following FOX stations: KVRR Fargo-Moorhead Channel 15.1, KBRR Thief River Falls-Grand Forks Channel 10.1, KJRR Jamestown Channel 7.1, KNRR Pembina Channel 12.1, AND at 10:00am Central (9:00am Mountain) on the following WDAY & affiliate Xtra Channels:WDAY Xtra Channel 6.3 Fargo-Moorhead, WDAZ Xtra Channel 8.3 Grand Forks,KBMY Xtra Channel 17.3 Bismarck/Dickinson, and KMCY Xtra Channel 14.3 Minot/Williston – as well as the cable and satellite systems carrying these stations. (For a list of cable & satellite stations and their channel assignments in your area, please contact your church office.) MSLN programs are also archived and can be viewed at any time on www.mainstreetliving.com then click on “North (Fargo).”
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/main-street-living-september-update/
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/ogt-newsletter-july-aug-sept-2019/
Aug 06 2019
Your generosity is the key to healing and hope for our awesome kids.
You’re a friend and partner of the Ranch, so you know all about the good work your support makes possible. But there may be a few things you don’t know about us. And, I believe you’ll find the six Ranch facts below both enlightening and encouraging. For instance, did you know…?
- The Ranch’s Dakota Memorial School is the only fully accredited school system in North Dakota that’s not a public school.
- Many of our children were barely passing their classes before coming to the Ranch. Yet two out of five made the honor roll last
semester,while meeting the same rigorous requirements you’ll find at any public school.
- Many of our kids never had a birthday party until they came to the Ranch.
- This year, many of our students returned to their original schools to graduate with friends and peers.
- We care for and cherish a herd of
twenty threehorses. The children are encouraged to ride and make friends with the horses. They often experience healing as they ride and work with a horse.
- Ranch thrift stores process more than eleven million donated items a year. Sales at our stores provide an important source of income to help kids.
I hope you learned something you didn’t know about why the Ranch is such an incredible resource for children who have struggled to find peace, stability, and success in life. Children like Sara . . .
Sara’s mom was young, single, and unable to provide for her. Violence and instability were constants in their home. No wonder Sara was angry, verbally abusive, disrespectful of authority, and hamstrung by learning disabilities that made school a daily battle.
At the Ranch, Sara experienced a very different kind of environment. Because our team recognized her struggles — and also her many strengths as a unique child of God — she responded positively.
Sara says, “It didn’t feel safe at my old school. But at the Ranch, if I need more help or things aren’t going well at home, I can tell someone and feel safe. I don’t have to worry that more bad things will happen because I told.”
Sara has been with us for about a year now. Her improved attitude, behavior, and school performance have earned her the admiration of her peers, who increasingly see her as a role model.
There’s a lesson here: With your partnership in this work, even a deeply wounded child can find healing, academic success, and spiritual growth. But we need your prayers and partnership so we can provide the specialized support these kids need.
Will you give now to equip a Ranch child to overcome the odds and move forward with confidence in school, in their healing, AND at home? Through your gift, you’ll provide the specialized support that makes it possible for a Ranch child to grow, learn, and prepare for a life of confidence, independence, and accomplishment. In His Love, Joy Ryan, President/CEO | Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/dakota-boys-and-girls-ranch/
Aug 06 2019
AND HOW THE CHURCH CAN RESPOND
It’s a conversation I’ll never forget. While visiting with a local pastor one day about the mental health focus of The Lutheran Foundation, he shared something he did one Sunday morning in church.
As people gathered for worship, everyone received a sheet of paper with a list of ten questions related to mental health issues. There were questions like, “Have you ever been depressed?” and “Have you ever been prescribed medication for mental health issues?” Each person was to circle any question that applied to them.
When everyone finished answering their questions, the ushers collected them. They shuffled the papers and walked to a different part of the church to pass out those same sheets of paper. Each person was now holding someone else’s paper (no names were on them.) The pastor then started to read the questions, one by one, and asked people to stand up if the question he read was circled on the sheet they were holding.
When people in the congregation saw the number of people standing up in response to each question, there was an audible gasp from the congregation. “Everyone thinks they are the only one living with mental health issues,” the pastor said. Too often, the stigma is so great in the church that people are afraid to talk about mental illness.
While author Amy Simpson was growing up, her mother had serious psychotic episodes and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. The family was always active in church. But when it came to her mother’s mental health issues, there was silence and shame. “We needed community and loving friendships,” she says. “The church is one of the only places left in society where that is readily available — at least in theory.” Amy tells her family’s story in her book, Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission. Amy says the phrase is not original with her, but she often refers to mental illness as the “no-casserole illness.” It’s not uncommon for people from church to bring a casserole when a family member is in the hospital, or when there has been a death in the family. But when it’s mental illness, people often don’t call or visit, or bring casseroles.
However, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that one in five adults will experience a mental illness in any given year. That also means one in five in our churches. Most people don’t realize that mental illness is more common than cancer, heart disease
The Lutheran Foundation is focused on promoting mental wellness and reducing stigma around mental illness. Starting the conversation and silencing the stigma is one step toward healing. Sometimes those caring conversations happen best across the table… over a casserole.Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter By Rev. Dr. Dennis Goff, director of Ministry Programs for The Lutheran Foundation, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/the-no-casserole-illness/
Aug 02 2019
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction” 2 Timothy 4:2. With this in mind, please continue to share information about our LCMS “Main Street Living” media ministry with others. MSLN is broadcast each Sunday morning – and also available every day at www.mainstreetliving.com (then click on the link under the picture identified as “North (Fargo)”.
Thank you for your much needed financial support! Checks may be sent to “Main Street Living NORTH”, 821-5th Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103, or donate by Credit Card or your PayPal account on the web site. God’s blessing in Christ!
“Main Street Living North” Programs for August 2019:
August 4: Rev. Bill Aufdenkamp, Christ Lutheran Church, Elbow Lake, MN., and Zion Lutheran Church, Hoffman, MN., presents the message: “A Rich Harvest; Remember Who Grows the Crop!” based on Luke 12:17. Today’s “This Is The Life” program is: “The Visit” (During war time, A Christian’s response to tragedy becomes a witness to others.)
August 11: Rev. Richard Biberdorf, Grace Lutheran Church, Carrington, ND, Grace Lutheran Church, Cooperstown, ND, and Zion Lutheran Church, Binford, ND, presents the message: “Don’t Give Up On God” based on Genesis 15:1-6. Today’s “This Is The Life” program is: “One Hour to Live” (Divine forgiveness for the truly penitent assures a man … and in the nick of time.)
August 18: Rev. Dr. Larry Harvala, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Euclid, MN and Trinity Lutheran Church, Fischer, MN, presents the message: “By Faith” based on Hebrews 12:1. Today’s This Is The Life program is; “Trial By Fire”.
August 25: Rev. Robert Hill, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wimbledon, ND, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Kensal, ND, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Pettibone, ND, and Redeemer Lutheran Church, Woodworth, ND, presents the message: “For the Sake of a Few” based on Genesis 18:25. Today’s “This Is The Life” program is: “Red Trap”.
“MAIN STREET LIVING” is a locally produced TV program that includes a 30 minute worship service led by participating pastors of the Minnesota North and North Dakota Districts of our LCMS, along with a 30 minute Lutheran Hour program (normally “This Is The Life”, along with occasional church-season specials). Programs are broadcast at 9:00am Central time on the following FOX stations: KVRR Fargo-Moorhead Channel 15.1, KBRR Thief River Falls-Grand Forks Channel 10.1, KJRR Jamestown Channel 7.1, KNRR Pembina Channel 12.1, AND at 10:00am Central (9:00am Mountain) on the following WDAY & affiliate Xtra Channels:WDAY Xtra Channel 6.3 Fargo-Moorhead, WDAZ Xtra Channel 8.3 Grand Forks,KBMY Xtra Channel 17.3 Bismarck/Dickinson, and KMCY Xtra Channel 14.3 Minot/Williston – as well as the cable and satellite systems carrying these stations, some of which may have a different channel number, and archived on www.mainstreetliving.com (then click on “North (Fargo)”.
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/main-street-living-media-ministry-august-update/
Jul 08 2019
Where I serve, people are conservative. I don’t mean that they watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh (although plenty of them do). I’m talking about the deep-down conservatism that always asks the question, “
That question may not always be put into so many words, but after 13 years in rural ministry, I’ve learned that that’s what people are thinking pretty much any time I make a suggestion for doing something new or different in our church. And I’ve come to appreciate the question. People are most conservative about the things they know best — and for good reason. Human life is short, and we humans are slow learners. The traditions we’ve been given by previous generations represent the distilled wisdom of the ages. So it’s a good question.
But wisdom, alas, is not the only thing handed down by our fathers, nor is it the only thing we are preparing to hand down to our children. If we’re not careful, we can also pass on our bad ideas, our laziness, and our mistakes.
So, to turn to the topic at hand, how are things in your congregation financially? How’s the stewardship of the people? Do you find yourself running short in the summer months? Do you run bulletin announcements asking people to dig a little deeper and put a little more in the plate to catch up to the budget in October, November, and December? Do you worry about closing the school, cutting a staff position, getting the roof fixed, or even being able to afford your own pastor?
I get around the Synod a lot, and I can tell you that I’ve rarely found a rural parish that doesn’t struggle with things like that. Indeed, that’s how I got into stewardship ministry in the first place: I had to face those challenges in the parishes I still serve.
So if what we’re doing is not working out, maybe it is time to learn and change. Maybe there are deeper, even
I hope you can join me for a webinar on this topic in July. I’ll talk about what really works for stewardship in the rural parish (or any parish, really): putting the Word of God first, finding stewardship’s place in the Christian life and the theo¬logical task of the Lutheran pastor, and teaching generosity and the support of the Lord’s work in a faithful, authentic, natural way.
Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter by Rev. Heath Curtis, Coordinator of LCMS Stewardship
Upcoming RSTM Events…
Don’t forget that Rural & Small Town Mission provides free monthly webinars on topics relevant to congregations in town and country settings. Up next is “Active Stewardship in the Rural Parish” on July 25, followed by “The No- Casserole Illness and How the Church Can Respond” on Aug. 22. Find past webinars in our archives.
Register for one of our Engaging Your Community (EYC) or Engaging the Wandering (ETW) events at lcms.org/
Register now for the 2019 National Rural & Small Town Mission Conference, Running With Endurance: Eyes Fixed On Jesus, Nov. 14–16 in Minneapolis. lcms.org/rstm/conference
To see our calendar, visit lcms.org/rstm. Contact our office at 888-463-5127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/active-stewardship-in-the-rural-parish/
Jul 08 2019
Led by Synod’s Stewardship Director Rev. Heath Curtis and Assistant Director Rev. Dr. Nathan Meador, this conference will equip pastors and laity to think biblically and “Lutheranly” about financial stewardship in its broader context.
MORE THAN GIVING
A DOXOLOGY Conference on Stewardship
Sponsored by The LCMS Office of National Mission and Iowa District West
August 16-17, 2019
LCMS Camp Okoboji in Milford, Iowa
Your team or a committee from your church will bring home:
- A fresh view of the undergirding theology of stewardship
- A candid overview of the financial challenges facing most churches large and small
- A preview of quality resources available
- Practical tools for stewardship flowing from the presence of Christ through His means of grace.
The“More Than Giving” event concludes with a planning session preparing each congregational team to return home, having designed a year-round stewardship action plan and strategies tailored to its own unique setting.
Program Cost: $30 (includes program fee and instructional materials.)
Registration: Visit https://www.doxology.us/2019-more-than-giving-ia-insight/
Food & Lodging cost: Conference food and lodging options at Camp Okoboji range from $65-75 per person. The fee includes Friday’s lunch and supper as well as Saturday’s breakfast.
Please contact Kellie Jones at Camp Okoboji before August 7th to reserve and pay for food & lodging. 712-337-3325
Individuals staying at the Camp may check-in beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, August 13th. Lunch will be served at noon. The program event opens at 1:00 p.m. on Friday and will conclude Saturday, before lunch.
Location: Camp Okoboji, 1531 Edgewood Dr, Milford, IA 51351Event registration open through August 6th, 2019
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/the-stewardship-conference-you-need/
Jul 07 2019
The board of Elders of Immanuel Lutheran in Wahpeton North Dakota has given their pastor, Rev. Matthew Tooman – Life Coordinator for the North Dakota District, 3 Sundays per year to share with LCMS North Dakota District churches. If your church is sponsoring a life event and would like Pastor Tooman to share a sermon and/or a teaching time at the church or in the community, please contact him at email@example.com. As you think about scheduling, the further out you schedule an event, the more flexibility in time.
The LCMS North Dakota District will receive fetal models from “Lutherans for Life.” If you would like to use these models, please contact Pastor Matthew Tooman at 701-899-1976 to facilitate their use. These are a great visual and tactile tool to teach about life in the womb. As always, if you have a community event you would like to promote, please contact the district office directly or contact Pastor Tooman either by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 701-899-1976.
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/district-life-news-july-2019/
Jul 06 2019
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/june-2019-installations/
Jul 05 2019
Permanent link to this article: http://www.nodaklcms.org/blog/lwml-fall-retreat/