Dear Friends: March 20, 2019
In recent weeks we have received several people into membership in First Lutheran Church, with New Member Sundays and baptisms. What a great joy this is! Though we may not be able to say like the early church did, that “about 3000 persons were added that day” (Acts 2:41), we nevertheless rejoice fully as much as they did. We know the members of Christ’s church are much more than numbers. They are brothers and sisters, and we value each one, just as Christ values each one of us so much that He gave His life for us all.
We rejoice in all the people who gather together here for worship. Often we have visitors; and often our visitors become regulars, because they have experienced a warm welcome. Members and visitors together make up the worshipping congregation. And that’s the most important thing, even more important than membership itself: the gathering, the fellowship, the oneness we have in Christ and with Christ when we are together in His Name.
The size of our gatherings these days is not what it once was, even with our new members. I mention this, not to be negative, but simply to acknowledge a reality. I take some comfort in knowing that this is not particular to our congregation. Practically all the people I talk to from various congregations and denominations, near and far, comment on the same thing. I believe the key cause of this is that our society is no longer supportive of churchgoing, or of the Christian faith. The church’s values, and the lifestyle the church teaches, are different from what our society likes. Hallelujah for that! God has called us, not to imitate our society, with all its errors, but to lead our society back to God’s ways! For it is His ways, and not the ways of the world, that lead to life.
What then can we do to help our church grow, to start seeing more people at worship? The answer is, invite them! Invite your neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. Let them know how welcome they would be! Tell them, as Christ once told potential disciples, “Come and see!” I think they’ll like what they see.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Carl L.M. Rasmussen