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Rethinking Stewardship Event

Hello!

Well for those who wondered what the Multi-Conference event ended up being, I thought I would give a "first impressions" of what I experienced.  First off, full disclosure, even though I knew that the presentations by David Lose would be worth while, my expectations were pretty low for the rest of the event, because many of the "conference" events have been not only VERY poorly attended, but also not worth the drive or time.  This event thankful broke the mold in all the right ways!

I knew I was in for a treat when I walked into the sancturary at First Lutheran in Detroit Lakes and saw every pew in their large sanctuary full.  The worship service didn't disappoint, with wonderful preaching from David Lose, and amazing hymns being lead by many instruments and joyful voices from the congregation. 

After worship...

... we were treated with a presentation from Dr. Lose, that really put quite a fine point on several things going on in the Church.  He talked about (in a very kind and compassionate way) Cultural shifts, the slow but steady decline in the church, "Digital Pluralism," and the importance of Belonging and Purpose.  I am not going to (nor could I) go into all of what he shared, but I hope I can give an overview.

He began by arguing that everyone needs two things: a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose.  He shared that even though as Christians (and can I say Lutheran's especially) speak to both of these basic needs.

The two primary "take aways" from the Reformation, Justification and Vocation directly address both of these needs.  Justification (by faith in Jesus, not through our own works), is the invititation and basis for being part of a discipleship community -- namely offering a place for us to belong.  Vocation, or "call" is God's invite to each one of us to use all that we are and have, giving each one of us Purpose.

And yet he named the reality that the Church's numbers (regardless of denomination) have been dwindling since the 70s.  So what is going wrong?

Well, for me it boiled down to two things.  One, we don't really know our own story anymore.  And two, we now live in a world where there are so many competing stories, convictions, perspectives, and worldviews, that people are oversaturated with options, and have begun to have to choose what Storys apply.

What this means is that the sense of obligation to include church in ones life is slowly disappearing (especially in younger generations,) and is instead people are beginning to make a concience descision to include Church in their lives because it lines up with who they want to be, what their values are, or what Church can do for others in the World. 

Dr. Lose, concluded with Seven things WE can do, and seven questions WE can Ask.  These questions seem important enough to me that I won't be listing them in this article, but instead will be putting them individually on this website in the next several weeks, and including them in the Sunday Bulletins.

Overall it was a LONG day, but it really was worth while, and I am glad that I was able to be apart of it.  Hopefully many more of you will be able to join me for oportunities like this in the future, it not only gives me a good chance to get to know you better (and you to get to know me better), but I hope will build you up in your Faith as well!

~Pr. Matthew