Today I’m at the cancer clinic. Every four weeks I come here to receive Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy (IVIg). I am not expecting anything out of the ordinary, though I’ve been surprised before – and often. But I am expecting something totally out of the ordinary with Stronger Together.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter to members of Immanuel’s elected boards and to people who volunteered to lead our Stronger Together efforts. I’d like to share that with you now. If you are not associated with Immanuel Lutheran Church, I think you’ll still get the message loud and clear and I pray you’ll find it useful. If you do have ties to Immanuel, I’d like to extend an invitation for you to get involved. And I like to hear what you ALL think. So here it is…
Mellow Lutheran Church is located near a series of stunning lakes and beautiful views. It’s my preferred vacation location and if retirement is in my future, maybe it will include a log cabin.
They’ve had one service on Sunday for as long as anyone can remember. Everyone not only has their favorite pews, they even have their “own” parking spaces. Pews and parking spaces are handed down through the family. Those parking spaces are not your typical yellow striped spot on the blacktop. Rather, they are special places in the field across from the church able to accommodate a trailer for a boat or snowmobile.
Pastors tend to stay a long time at Mellow Lutheran Church In fact, the last three only left when they were carried out in a hardwood coffin. When they need a new replacement pastor, men apply for the position. Everyone knows it is the best church to serve; there is ample fishing, hunting and hiking. Often the best place to visit with a member in the winter is in their ice house.
Mellow Lutheran Church does not have any issues. There has not been a sharp word of disagreement at a congregation meeting since there was that unfortunate minority movement that wanted to change the date for the annual Spaghetti Dinner. The date did not change and that family went to the Methodist church.
Mellow Lutheran Church also hasn’t added a new family since the church was remodeled after WWII. They do not set an annual budget because they don’t want to offend anyone with the possibility of a deficit. The organist keeps a close record of the hymns so they sing all the good ones regularly. And every seven years, the men gather on a Saturday after the Super Bowl and before fishing season opens to paint all the interior walls. Flat white has been the color of choice even though there was that pastor years ago who suggested semi-gloss.
Well, Immanuel is a little different than Mellow Lutheran Church. We set budgets and run deficits. Some think we need to cut back on services and others disagree. We get confused sometimes about which color and texture paint to use, as well as which repair to the building comes first. We park wherever we want (except in my spot). Pastors and other workers have come and gone too frequently for some, yet others think they stay too long.
Immanuel has a deep passion to grow. We want all the desks filled in our school so that more children will learn about Jesus. We want all the pews filled in the church (even if new people take “our” seat) so more people will hear the lifesaving message of Jesus Christ. We want our building to reflect the honor and respect due our Heavenly Father. We want a strong spiritual and physical presence in our community. And we expect our pastors and teachers and everyone on staff to be dedicated servants at the top of their calling.
We know we are “Stronger Together.” So, at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday April 29 we will come together once again to pray and talk about why we do what we do at Immanuel. It sounds simple, but there are many voices and opinions that need to be heard. If you’d like to attend, please R.S.V.P. to Diana Broj. Please join me as together we “Grow the Community in Christ.”
See you in church, and in the community,