The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Start your engines!

The secret is out: In Baltimore, Ohio, crazy Lutherans are 'having a good time'

In just four months, the Faith Lutheran Church Lawn Tractor Drill Team will rev up its gospel-on-wheels and roll through the streets of Baltimore, Ohio, a town of 3,000 about 25 miles southeast of Columbus. Led by a 6-foot-4-inch drum major wielding a Weed Eater, the 23-member team drives lawn tractors in the annual Baltimore Festival parade in August.

If you think it's about Lutheran lawn care, think again. It's all about creative evangelism.

The seeds for the drill team were unwittingly planted in 1998 when the congregation bought 10 acres of farmland to build a church. Being good neighbors and stewards of the land, they thought it was important to mow the frontage along the highway.

The number of people who honked and waved when he mowed always surprised Faith member Tim Tucker. "I used to think, as I was riding back and forth, 'I wonder if people just think all the Lutherans do is mow fields?' " he says.

At that time, Tucker was part of the evangelism committee, which struggled to think of something different to enter in the parade besides the same old float. Faith, which turns 10 in May, was new in town and known as a congregation of many children. Tucker thought the community needed to know Faith was also a church of adults.

Tucker suggested a lawn-tractor drill team, wondering if the mowing Lutherans were becoming legendary around town. "I thought it was a wicked sense of humor.... Maybe we should just take this show on the road and put it in the parade," he recalls.

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February issue


Embracing diversity