Showing posts from October, 2019

For the Sake of...

By Rev. Megan Morrow, Assistant to the Bishop What’s a church? Seems like a simple question, right? But, think of all the possible answers to it…              - A building, a congregation in one place, a congregation with multiple campuses, an online or electronic media ministry, a denomination here in the U.S. or one in another country, or one that stretches around the world, all Christians everywhere, etc. We’ve explored that question a lot over the last three years in the Nebraska Synod with our yearly themes on Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s emphases: We are Church, We are Lutheran, We are Church Together. Though we might have differing opinions on many things, these are things that are at the core of our identity in the ELCA and the Nebraska Synod: 1) We are the Body of Christ, Christ’s Body ( Church ), 2) We are called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified by the Spirit around Word & Sacrament, fed, forgiven, and freed by God’s grace throug

Church for the Sake of the World- Accompaniment

When we consider "we are church for the sake of the world," it may be tempting to think that "world" is a place far away, somewhere overseas, a foreign land, or simply not in my backyard.  But the world is here, the world is exactly where you are, the world includes you and your community. You could easily swap out the word "world" with "neighborhood, or town, or people living under the overpass, or city, or farm down the way, or visitors to the local food bank or coat closet" Jesus might say that the "world" is the "hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, and imprisoned."  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to notice our neighbors in our community. When we keep the "world" far away, it can be easier to feel good about benevolent work abroad, while the needs, rights, voices, representation, and opportunities of our neighbors right beside us are neglected.  God's Spirit gathers the scattered a

Church for the Sake of the World- What does it mean?

How do we as a church live into and out from being a global church, from being a body of Christ called to serve the world? Rev. Justin Eller from the We are Church for the Sake of the World working group posed this question during their first podcast. As part of its overall mission, the Nebraska Synod focuses on developing ministries and growing disciples in the hopes of accomplishing this great task. Ministries such as global mission, justice, hunger and poverty alleviation, faith formation, outreach, stewardship, and Mission Field Nebraska allow the synod to serve the world in many ways, changing lives. We also partner with Serving Arms organizations to reach out further into the community and across the globe.   It is through the many ministries of the synod and the partnerships with the Serving Arms that we can reach out and embrace different communities and groups. Through our faith formation ministry and our partnership with Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (C

We Are Church for the Sake of the World

By Bishop Brian Maas Of all the “We Are” statements articulated by Bishop Eaton to help us better understand our identity as ELCA Lutherans, this last one should be the most obvious—but my experience reminds me too regularly that it’s not. We—all of us—tend to shrink our worlds from time to time, to experience the sin Luther defined as “turning in on oneself.” Congregations do it as well as individuals. We tend to think that We Are Church for the Sake of Our Church (or Synod, for that matter), forgetting that Christ sent us to bear Good News to the world, not to form communities or build buildings or develop customs just for the sake of maintaining those communities or buildings or customs. Let me be clear—there’s nothing wrong with communities or buildings or customs, or even maintaining them, so long as we do so for the Sake of the World. If it enhances our witness, shows forth the gospel, furthers our mission of making disciples, then it’s worth doing. But whe