January 16 was a day of worship and conversation. Worshipped with my family early then headed east to Dallas. First stop at Walnut Hill Lutheran Church to talk to the leaders there about their discernment. They are in transition as their longtime pastor has taken a new position with Wartburg Theological Seminary. So we needed to have frank conversation about their mission and ministry. There is work to be done there and I am positive we can work together for the future of this bilingual congregation.
Then I headed over to Bethany-Dallas for the final service of Word and Sacrament in their sanctuary. The congregation is going to merge with Central-Dallas. This will hopefully enable them to maintain their thriving Pre-school at the Bethany campus while also supporting and increasing the vitality of a new Central-Bethany community of Word and Sacrament.
I preached at the service and reminded us that in our current realities we must be people of Law and Gospel. The Law stating clearly that previous ways of doing ministry and mission are coming to an end. The Gospel that God is about new things. New things that thrive if they are focused on preaching and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and the abundant life we find in Christ.
Only time will tell if this merger bears fruit. But it is a better solution than to continue with the status quo of generational decline. Grateful for the faithful lay leaders who have stuck through in these challenges.
Living into our pandemic future realities more congregations are going to have to discern how to be best stewards of ministry, property, and mission. I am grateful we are building examples of these faithful communities to share with others as they seek where God is calling them. As faithful Lutheran Dag Hammerskold, Secretary General of the United Nations said so many years ago, “for all that has been thanks, for all that will be, yes.” God’s yes is before us. #NTNL #InMissionTogether