When I was in seminary, trying to figure out how God wanted me to use my life, I had a classmate who had served as the minister of a community church. He was in the process of becoming a Lutheran pastor.
I was fascinated. I had never met a Lutheran who had not always been a Lutheran. Although I was wrestling with theology and pondering Jesus' presence in communion, the beat of my Lutheran heart continued as it had always been: "By grace, through faith — by grace, through faith — by grace, through faith."
My Lutheran-in-training friend picked up that heartbeat, but there was more. He told me about his church: It was filled with people who loved and praised God and were generous in their giving to help the needy in their town. But something was missing.
"In my community church," he mused, "we only had the ability to help the people who lived around the corner. I felt cut off from the rest of Christ's church — from the call to mission beyond our doors — and helpless in the face of the global problems of hunger and poverty."
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