Since we moved to this new place, the Latah Valley 8 years ago, and into this new building over 5 years ago, there has been and there still is much work to do. Our Lord has led us to fields that are ripe for the harvest; the harvest of souls (people) for the kingdom of God. Thousands of unchurched people, many of them young families, live within a couple of miles of our front door. Our charge is to point these people to Jesus, the Lord of the harvest, so that by His Spirit and through His Word they may be brought into His kingdom receiving His mercy and grace; forgiveness and eternal life. To me that seems like an awfully big job, too big for me.
I guess that’s not just the way that I see it, as in our planning, strategy and goal setting meetings this spring and summer we (together) identified the need for an additional laborer, the creation of a new ministry position. That position, Ministry Coordinator, has now been created, funded, and filled. I am overjoyed to announce and to welcome to our church staff here at St. John’s Lutheran Church Karen Schatz as our Ministry Coordinator. Most of you already know Karen to some degree, and you will be getting to know here even better in the coming weeks, months and years. (more on that below) Karen brings to this position, the church, and to you a wealth of experience in organizing and implementing various programs, leadership ability and a boundless energy and enthusiasm. She is committed to her Lord Jesus in faith, and active in her service. Karen will be on duty about 10 hours each week starting on the 6th of October.
This new position, Ministry Coordinator, will ultimately be tasked with identifying, encouraging and enabling laborers to go out into the fields for the harvest. That’s where you come in, and where you will be getting to know Karen more and more. Very soon she may be tapping you on the shoulder and asking you to be more involved in our mission, our ministry. That may come in the form of tasks that need to be done, church offices and committees that need to be filled, as well as small groups that need to be formed or added to and activities that need volunteers and participants.
Just as Jesus said to His first disciples that there is a dire need for workers in the fields He is saying it to us today. We need help and we all need to pitch in where we can; where God Himself has given us the gifts and the opportunities to serve. First and foremost, we are called to pray. Ask the Lord to open hearts, including our own, to hear His call and respond in faith and love. Please pray for Karen, and for me, and your brothers and sisters that are currently involved in the harvest of souls, that we remain faithful, diligent and energized. Finally, pray that God the Holy Spirit would till the hearts of the people that He is sending us to, so that when they receive the seed of God’s Word, the Gospel; that it would take root and grow into a strong faith that bears more and more fruit in the kingdom.
In a congregation of our size it is always a challenge to find enough hands to efficiently carry the load and shoulder the burden of ministry. There is a place for everyone to put to use the gifts and talents that the Spirit of God gives to us, and those gifts and talents often change through the course of our lives. Walking and working together and depending on the power of God’s Spirit within us we can be faithful to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ to be His witness in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) For us that means from the Latah Valley to Cheney, the Spokane metro area, across our nation and then throughout the entire world. Now that’s a pretty big field to harvest, but with God all things are possible!