The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Invitation to the party

I just saw another of the great ads that the United Methodist Church is running these days. They use the image of people leaving gifts in all sorts of places. The ads end with an invitation to churches where "our hearts, our minds and our doors are always open." When I see one of these ads, I wish it were for the ELCA.

A couple of years ago, one of the professors from the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg (Pa.) taught a study of Luke at our church. One of the most compelling images in his sessions was based on the concept that the good news of Christ is a verb, not a noun. He evoked a compelling image that helped us see witnesses to the work of Christ "gospelizing" their hearers by enveloping them with the good news.

I came away with a vision that all of us who know the Lord carry around us an aura that is the good news. This aura can envelop anyone we meet as we go about our daily lives. When we tell someone "God loves you," in word or deed we are "gospelizing" our neighbors. I think the ELCA is doing a good job of "gospelizing" in our churches and in our many programs, such as the World Hunger Appeal. I'm also convinced we could do a better job of inviting people into Lutheran congregations.

I really like what the United Methodists are doing. They are touching an audience of millions. We Lutherans could do the same thing--not in competition but in cooperation. I observe that the United Methodists don't run these ads constantly. To do so would be a huge expense, more than a single denomination could afford as wise stewardship of its resources. We have an interim eucharistic sharing agreement with the United Methodists, and I believe it would make sense for us to coordinate campaigns that keep our loving invitation in the public eye more often than either of us could afford alone.

We celebrate the love of Christ for us and all people in all our churches every week. Let's get the invitations out to more people and make this party rock.

Check out this week's articles:Cartoon

We've got talent: (right) Auction builds community, extends stewardship.

Candle power: La Vela: Freeing the mind, deepening the spirit.

Burying Bibles: Perhaps we also should resurrect the King James Version?

Take two Lutherans and call me ...


Also: Stewarding legal matters.

Also: 'Redemption rock.'

Also: Churches take sides on Kenya's constitution.

Read these articles at our front page ...

Discuss stewardship:

KruseToday through Oct. 21: Join Ed Kruse, (right) ELCA director for stewardship, to discuss giving.

Leading the discussion with Kruse will be Chick Lane, ELCA stewardship key leader, and Mark Quade, area stewardship specialist for 18 ELCA synods in the Midwest.

Consider reading "We've got talent," about an Oregon congregation that auctioned off its members' talents, before joining in.

Join the discussion ...

Tell us: Does size matter?

You’re invited to contribute to a future story about how ministries differ in large, medium and small congregations.

• What are the gifts and liabilities of a congregation’s size?
• What size do you prefer and why?
• What ministry is possible (and no doubt wonderful) simply because of your congregation’s size?

Send your response (no more than 500 words) to any or all of the above questions julie.sevig@thelutheran.org or by mail to Julie B. Sevig at The Lutheran, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631. Deadline is Nov. 21.

Tell us: Why worship?

The following questions could be for you or for someone you know if you're willing to pass them along:

So you prefer the Church of the Holy Comforter (the one on your bed)?

• If you used to be a regular worshiper, what made you stop?
• How do you feel about your decision?
• If you go occasionally, what draws you?
• What do you miss or not miss?
• How do you tend to your spiritual needs?
• What would bring you back to worship?

Respond to any or all of these questions in 400 words or less to julie.sevig@thelutheran.org.

Deadline is Nov. 17.


This week on our blog:

Sonia Solomonson (right) blogs about a local church's customer service experience.

Amber Leberman blogs about what's new on the web.

Andrea Pohlmann blogs about Bible study.

Check out our staff blog ...


The October issue of The Little Lutheran has arrived!TLL

Don't let them miss another issue.

The Little Lutheran helps children 6 and younger learn about God's love for them and the world in which they live. It teaches them about Jesus, their friend and savior.

Subscribe today ...


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February issue


Embracing diversity