Located in Perrysburg, Ohio Lutheran Church of the Master is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Pastor's Corner

I have always admired people who have the ability to take complicated ideas and distill them down into a phrase or two that drives home a simple, but eff ective message. I encountered one such writer recently, Timothy Keller. His book, Center Church, does a great job of putting simply something that I've been trying to fi nd words for in my own mind for a few months now. In talking about the mission to which we are called as a church, he writes:
                       We are a church not just for ourselves, but
                              for those who do not believe
                              for the poor
                              for the wider body of Christ
                              for our church community.

We are a church not for ourselves, but for those who do not believe.
It used to be that the "mission fi eld required a plane ticket or a boat ride. Mission was something that happened overseas. But more and more, we are fi nding that the mission field is our own backyard, our grocery store, our neighbors and friends. For all of the programs and initiatives that we have invented to help introduce people to faith, there is still nothing as simple
or effective as inviting someone to come to church with you. Of course, this also means that
when we gather for worship, we are to be less interested in what makes us happy and comfortable and more interested in what will help others discover the love and grace of our God.

We are a church not for ourselves, but for the poor.
As I once heard while working at a soup kitchen in Columbus, Ohio, "It's awful hard to hear
the Gospel when your stomach's growling loud enough to beat the band and it's awful hard to
see the promise of Christ when all I usually see are the sides of people's faces as they look
away from my reality. All through scripture, Jesus tells his followers that caring for the poor
is like caring for him and that it is a sign of the presence of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 25,
Luke 4, etc). This means that when we make decisions as a congregation, we are to give
consideration to how it will impact the poorest in our community.

We are a church not for ourselves, but for the wider body of Christ.
It is easy, sometimes, to think that our congregation is in this alone. However, as Paul talks
about in 1 Corinthians 12, we are connected with each other. This happens in a variety of
ways. We have partnerships with other congregations like Zoar and Salem. We are a part of
the Northwestern Ohio synod. As a part of that synod we take on a number of projects and
ministries that are bigger than any individual congregation could handle. We fund a seminary.
We help pair pastors with congregations. We sponsor campus ministries, new congregations,
and revitalizing congregations. As a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America we
take on even bigger projects: caring for immigrants and refugees, helping people rebuild after
natural disasters, and petitioning elected offi cials on matters of faith. Our life together as a
church goes well beyond the walls of Lutheran Church of the Master.

We are a church not for ourselves, but for our church community.
Finally, we are a church so that we can care for each other. The people who are in the pews
with us each week are not there by accident. God has brought this particular group of people
together and this particular time. We are to care for each other and to watch over each
other. This gets lived out in a variety of ways: some of us teach in Sunday School or VBS
to help others grow in faith. Some of us visit people who are sick or shut-in. Others tend to
the church's property or fi nances to help keep these other ministries running. Each of us has
been gifted in our own way; and those gifts are not just for our benefi t, but for the benefi t of
those around us.

Siblings in Christ, we are not a church for ourselves or for what we can get out of it. There
are no shortage of groups and societies in our lives that exist for the benefi t of their members.
However, our life together is diff erent - we are not a church for ourselves, but
          for those who do not believe
          for the poor
          for the wider body of Christ
          and for our church community.

Pastor David

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of His grace. Isaiah 61:1