Faith Lutheran Church

Pastor's Message

June/July/August 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This letter addresses an issue that has presented itself in a number of ways.  Although there is nothing new in this, a couple of recent occurrences have brought into sharper focus a concern I have had for some time.

Again this year, as we move into the Summer, we are looking for teachers and helpers both for Vacation bible School and this Fall’s Sunday School.  Despite newsletter and bulletin appeals each year, as well as many direct requests, it is a struggle to find enough volunteers to teach and administer these ministries of our congregation.

As I write this, our Stewardship Committee is conducting its annual appeal/drive.  While I am so thankful to the members who complete Pledge Cards and Time and Talent sheets, it must also be noted that many members do not do so.

The Worship and Music Committee has also been having difficulty filling worship leadership positions.  The number of people asking to no longer be scheduled is outpacing the people asking to be added to the lists.

These three instances represent three varied aspects of the life of our congregation: Christian education, general stewardship of time and talents, and worship.  It’s pretty tough to downplay the importance of any of them to our ministry.

The life and health of any congregation depends on the volunteerism of its members.  Where are you?  Let me try to anticipate and respond to your replies to that question.

“I do my share.”—Some of you certainly do.  In fact, a few of you seem to be on every committee and working toward the success of every event.  This is true in most congregations, but at Faith the percentage seems exceptionally low, and if more individuals would do more volunteering, those few would not be pushed to over-commitment.

“It’s somebody else’s turn.”—This is the refrain of some of those who volunteered in the past.  That past work helped bring Faith to where it is and it is appreciated.  But if you still have the health and abilities to help, why stop?  If you’re tired of doing the same thing for years, that’s understandable; but why not try something new?

“I just don’t have the time.”—That’s the biggie, and I know it is largely true.  I am aware of the many things I would like to do that I don’t get to because there is not enough time for it all.  However, the examples I cited ranged from a commitment of less than an hour on occasion, to one week of mornings.  The fact is that the overwhelming majority of people have some discretionary time.  Our priorities determine how it is spent.

We all need our rest.  We all need time for relaxation and recreation.  We all should give time to our families (although this one doesn’t exclude much of what we can do at the church).  We all have other commitments and responsibilities.  But unless a higher percentage of Faith’s membership gives a higher priority to the life and ministry of the congregation it will stagnate.

My love for this congregation and my recognition of its many strengths and wonderful potential have not diminished.  My concern over our willingness to use those strengths and to realize those potentials has, of late, increased to the point of overshadowing my hope.

This has been an exceptionally long letter and I am fully aware that most of those who are still with me are those who least need to hear this; but I thank you for the opportunity to vent, and for the opportunity to be in partnership with you in Christ’s ministry and through Faith.  I invite all of you to prayerfully examine your involvement in that ministry in response to God’s grace.  May the Holy Spirit guide that response.

In the name of Christ,
Pastor Zimmermann