Congregations and Missions- the importance of being intentional
A mission group from Grace Lutheran Church in Clarksville Tennessee has just returned from a mission trip to Tanzania with great excitement and stories to share. The group consisted of Cindy Buckner, Tom and The Rev.Jon Sollberger. Tom and Pastor Jon supervised putting a roof on the girl's dormitory, making needed repairs around the school while Cindy taught English as a second language classes to the students at the Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School. They fund raised for this project throughout the year bringing in $17K. Their bond with the East of Lake Victoria Diocese in Tanzania extended to paying the school tuition for some needy students and supporting the International Lutheran Health Partners who provide health services to the poor and disadvantaged Tanzanians. ELVD Bishop Andrew
Gulle visited the Grace in 2010 and Dr. Dennis and Paul Lofstrom visited the congregation in 2011 bringing information and enthusiasm to the congregation . Another member, Jane Schult, is leaving with another group going to Tanzania as part of an evangelism and church planting team.
Grace has always been intentional about mission support. The congregation has been active in supporting missions in a number of continents, such as The Siberian Lutheran Church in Asia and feeding children in Haiti. Their Junior Youth works to provide health kits and individuals put together quilts for Lutheran World Relief and other projects. Pr. John Nunes, President of LWR, preached at Grace as part of their 50th anniversary celebration in 2010. Locally they support a food agency that runs a food kitchen for the hungry, they run their own food pantry serving 500 families a year, and support the local Pastoral Counseling Center to provide 100 free hours of counsel to those who can least afford it.
Each congregation of the district seems to have different mission focus with individuals gifted to support a specific area of ministry outreach and desire to use their God given gifts. Grace is known for their
wonderful traditional liturgical worship service, music program, and one of the largest pipe organs in Middle Tennessee. Pastor Peters shared an observation on that issue.
"Some may say that congregations interested in liturgical things are often less "missional", This may be true in some cases, but I believe it is overstated. In fact it appears that most of the mission money sent to Synod through District is sent in by congregations that use the hymnal."
Grace Lutheran Church has seen the benefits to being intentional about missions both at home and abroad. People want to be a part of a congregation that serves and makes a difference for Christ. Their generosity and heart for missions is a wonderful witness around the Clarksville and beyond.
I want to encourage your congregation to find a mission outreach domestic and foreign to support