The Invitational Christian
By Vicar Lisa
One of the joys of my TEEM program is the reading assignments. It is a joy because I love to read and study (I know – sounds kind of weird to some people J). My latest read is a book by Dave Daubert, who is the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Elgin, Illinois. This book, The Invitational Christian, opens with the fact that, while it is an exciting time to be in the church, it also is a scary time to be the church. The “rules” we are used to following for being the church are being called into question or just plain changing.
According to Daubert, church involvement peaked as a percentage of the population around 1950. For more than a half-century, this decline was cloaked by the growth of the baby boom. He points out that by the time the raw numbers made this fact obvious, the church was much further down the road to decline than it realized (ouch!). Only somewhere between 12 and 16 percent of Americans attend worship on a typical Sunday morning.
But some of us have stuck it out over the years, attending faithfully. Why? What do we get from corporate worship on a Sunday while other individuals, including many who claim to be Christians, spend their Sundays resting or visiting friends or playing golf or some other leisure activity? Why do we?
Some of us come to study and worship God; to hear God’s word; to reinforce existing relationships with people we love and care for; to have a sense of community; to feel welcomed and to be welcoming, and to live out our faith in action. Great reasons!
However, most congregations, us including, wish attendance was higher and more people were involved. Many folks grieve that young families are dwindling or absent in our worship. Pastors often wish parishioners would invite more visitors to attend with them. We like our church, and we find life, meaning, and hope here. However, the average churchgoer rarely invites others to attend. Daubert has a few ideas about why we don’t that I will discuss in next week's e-formation. In the meantime, I will leave you with this thought from Daubert about a healthy congregation.
“A healthy congregation has clear values and practices at the core of its identity….A congregation that knows why they exist, what they embody, and where to focus its energy is in a much different place than a congregation that continues doing business as usual. Business as usual is what got us here. It will take something else to change course and produce different results.”
As someone who is prodded by her physician to get healthy, eat right, and exercise (ugh!), I appreciate the parallels between a healthy body and a healthy church. The outcome is highly desired, but it takes some sweat and effort to get there. And it is all too easy to give up trying!
Please continue to hold up Pastor Kate and the Transition Team in your prayers. The work they are doing is essential, and it will help us identify what our collective values and identity are, for us and the greater Trinidad community. Lutherans have met in our beautiful building for 134 years, always changing and being made new to be fit for God’s purpose.
Let us continue this work so that we will be fit for whatever God has in store for us. AMEN!
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10
This week (other meetings/gatherings will be taking place as well but here are some things to note):
Sunday, Nov. 6, The 22nd Sunday After Pentecost
It is Time to Fall Back!
Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend, so please remember to reset your clocks to “Fall” back.
All Saints Sunday!
This upcoming Sunday is All Saints Sunday when we remember all of God’s saints! We will be displaying pictures of the Saints in our lives, living or deceased, on Nov. 6 in worship at the altar so please bring a photo(s) on Sunday to place in the altar area.
8:30 a.m. Sunday Morning Bible study
Bible study has been concluded for the calendar year. Our next study will resume in January.
10 a.m. Worship with Holy Communion
Please join us, either in person OR via ZOOM ('hybrid' worship). If you will be worshiping via Zoom, log on or call in using these links: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81535174862?pwd=MnVLL3FSZGJWdGsxRmhBUWhBWFRHZz09, Meeting ID: 815 3517 4862, Passcode: 155280 or dial +1 719 359 4580 US.
Worship Leaders: Pastor Kate Schlechter, Vicar Lisa Rygiel
Flowers: Donated by Pastor Kate in memory of her mom Margaret and from Carol Schulzkump for her dad’s birthday and All Saints Day
Fellowship time at approximately 11:15 a.m. Please join us for coffee, tea, and chatter!
Thanksgiving is Coming!!
Loss and Grieving Classes:
Zion's is presenting a Loss and Grieving Course led by the Rev. Kate Schlechter and Pamela Nelson-Serafini. Classes are from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays, Nov. 2, 9, 16, and 30, and Dec. 7 and 14. A Zoom option will be available. Classes are a safe space, no religious affiliation is required, and all are welcome. The group will be closed once the course begins. Zoom info is as follows:
Meeting ID: 821 5304 2751
One tap mobile : +17193594580
Blanket, Sock, and Mitten Collection:
Everyone needs to stay warm this winter, but some people need a little extra help, so during November, Zion’s will collect blankets, socks, and gloves or mittens. We will then donate these items to members of our community who are in need, including the people served by Pastor Clay and the Way Ministry. Our collection runs from Nov. 1 to 20. If you can donate, bring your items to the Fellowship Hall. And, if you know someone in need, call or email the church and leave a message with the person’s name, address, and need(s).
On Tuesday, Dec 13, 2022, at 5:30 pm, Zions will offer a special Blue Christmas service in our church sanctuary. A Blue Christmas service provides a quiet and contemplative worship service as an alternative to more traditional gatherings. This is in honor of those who are experiencing grief and struggling with loss. All are welcome. Invite your family and friends.
Senior Giving Tree:
As in past years, Zion’s will partner with First National Bank, Trinidad, to provide Christmas gifts for area seniors through the bank’s Senior Giving Tree program. We need to let the bank know by Nov. 14, how many people we can help. If you can sponsor a senior, please let Jo Moss know by Nov. 13.
To our many questions about what the afterlife will be like, in the gospel for this coming Sunday Jesus speaks about the Lord as the God of the living. All believers, those alive and those dead are alive in God. Come to worship, to receive this good news.
The Sadducees meant to ridicule speculation about an afterlife. However, even this passage has served to feed Christian imagination about an angelic existence in the afterlife. The New Testament describes Jesus Christ as the first to experience resurrection, and believers continue to hope that the God of the living will be their God even after death. The New Testament proclaims the resurrection of the body, not the immortal soul which is currently believed by many Christians and affirmed by many clergies. Attention to the end of all things is fitting at the close of each liturgical year.
This passage is the section in Job most quoted by Christians since, when interpreted literally, it indicates a bodily life after death: “at the last” Job will “see” God. Thus, the lectionary sets it next to Luke’s discussion of the afterlife. To God, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Job are alive, and Christians expect the same for all believers.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
Humans are perennially fascinated with speculation about the end of the world. Christians have come to connect this description of “the lawless one” with the Johannine “antichrist” (1 John 2:18, 22). Lutherans can think of the evils of the end time as law, that is, the harsh truths of human existence, and the second half of the reading as gospel: God has chosen us, we are saved, we are made holy by the Spirit, we will share the glory of Christ, we are loved by God, we are comforted and strengthened by God’s word.
Zion's Lutheran Church