Forward to Basics is a way for our congregation to organize our thinking and doing into four basic areas of focus: Home, Church, Groups, and Others. These four work together like the four wheels of a car. And the car’s engine is the love of Christ, moving the car (the congregation) forward. Much could be said, but let’s say just a few words about each of the four areas.
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). God help us to be a congregation that witnesses to His beautiful design for marriage, procreation, and family. Yes, let us confess that marriage, life, and family are a holy trinity! We will, through our preaching, teaching, and other resources, support and encourage the Christian home, including those who live alone. As importantly, God help us to be a congregation that is a place of forgiveness, healing, and new beginning, so that every home might become a little heaven and haven warmed by the love of Christ. Pastor will emphasize the use of the Small Catechism at home and will teach people how to use it that way.
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Psalm 122:1). God help us to be a congregation that loves coming together for worship on Sunday morning, and other times, in the bright confession that the crucified Christ is risen and that He comes to us poor sinners through the Holy Gospel and Sacrament – serving us, forgiving us, and strengthening us for lives of love and service. We want nothing more than to begin each new week in the Lord’s house with our family of faith, hearing His Word. The joy and importance of the Divine Service then spills over into the Education Hour: Sunday School, Confirmation Class, and Adult Bible Class.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). God help us to be a congregation that looks after each other and encourages each other, building real, meaningful relationships. We have divided up the congregation geographically into groups of around twenty-five people per group. Each group has an elder, and the people in your group live not far from you. The first purpose of the group is to meet needs that come up within the group (e.g., a ride to church or to the doctor, visit a person in the hospital or nursing home, a chore that needs doing, a listening ear and word of encouragement). The second purpose of the group is to meet together from time to time for fellowship.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone” (Galatians 6:10). God help us to be a congregation that joyfully shares the saving love of Christ with others and, as the Lord allows, enfolds people in all stages of life into the household of faith. We will do this as a congregation, as individual Christians and families, and through our groups, as well as by supporting the work of our District and Synod. We will always remember that “the church is the church only when it exists for others” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). And so let us pray from all our hearts: O God, help us to be a Beacon of faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ! Amen.