Dear Partners in Mission:
Across much of our territory school is now officially back in session. Backpack blessings have been held and the preparations for fall programming are in place and even kicking off.
What is clear from my conversations with many of you and others across the church (Lutheran and beyond) is that while these sorts of rituals are seeing more participation and energy we are still not where we were in 2019. This is especially true for traditional Sunday morning discipleship programming. With our “new normal” of less consistent weekly worship (yes, that is a verifiable fact, folks are coming to church but less frequently), preparing for Sunday morning activities and recruiting volunteers is more difficult. And this is happening in smaller and larger congregations. It also can be very defeating for our leaders who continue to work hard to prepare lessons when fewer people show up.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t great things happening in the times when folks do show up. Or that our leaders are any less dedicated, skilled, and innovative. So I would encourage you this Labor Day weekend to take a moment thank those who are laboring in your congregation to do this work. To give them an encouraging word. To hold your tongue if you are inclined to say something negative and if you offer an opinion make sure that opinion comes with your time, support, and a willingness to learn why something is happening the way it is.
This is an exciting fall season. We are seeing good things and in many places congregations experiencing new life and energy. Let us feed that energy with our support for our leaders. Remembering Paul’s words to the church in Corinth. “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
In Mission Together: