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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mission News - October 2008

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

How many times have we heard these words? So many that we probably can't count! But a more important question is really how many times have we acted on these words?

Several years ago, the FARTHER Committee developed the Biblical Purpose Statement for Faith Lutheran Church. That statement was adopted by the congregation.

"Faith Lutheran Church, responding to God's grace and guided by His word, acts with genuine care as we search for those who are separated from Christ, carrying His message of salvation and binding all together so that all may grow toward spiritual maturity."

When we walk out of church on Sunday morning, we are entering a vast mission field. Over the years, Faith Lutheran has supported many community programs: Food Pantry with food and school supplies, Centro Cristiano Hispano with Christmas presents for the children and financial support for future pastors, Carmen's Kitchen in Juarez, and CROP Walk. These are extremely important opportunities to show the love of Christ to others around us.

But the time has come to take another step into the Mission Field. Faith has a tremendous opportunity for Mission and Ministry right here in the Moorpark area. The population of the Moorpark area is estimated to be approximately 30% Hispanic. The majority of this population is not being reached or ministered to by ANY church. And Faith is right in the middle of this community!

A small group of members have been meeting to explore an Hispanic Outreach Ministry here at Faith. This group has been working through a Bible study that lays the biblical foundation for outreach and ministering to a culture different than our own. In addition to Bible study, the group is working to determine what the Ministry might look like. Because this Ministry is in the early stages of development, there will be more questions than answers. Some of those questions were asked at the congregational meeting on Sep 14. So let’s take a look at what we do know at this point.

  • Outreach Ministry Vision Statement:
    Alongside Centro Cristiano Hispano we will help establish a Spanish speaking Lutheran congregation in Moorpark with whom we will share our facility.
  • The Hispanic Mission Society of Circuits One and Two of the PSWD (of which Faith is a member of Circuit One) exists to support the Hispanic congregations of Centro Cristiano Oxnard, Redwood, and Santa Paula. These congregations have been established through the efforts of Pastor Dennis and Tara Bradshaw along with many extraordinary leaders within these congregations.
  • We are not doing this alone. We are going to work with the Mission Society and Centro Cristiano Hispano to reach the Spanish-speaking community in the Moorpark area. The Bradshaws along with Marcelino and Lupe Velasco and Leo Garcia from Centro Cristiano Santa Paula are anxious to help us plant a Spanish-speaking congregation in Moorpark. Both Marcelino and Leo are in training to become Lutheran pastors.
  • This will be a Spanish-speaking congregation. Most of us have limited Spanish capabilities at best. But the Bradshaws are fluent in Spanish and Marcelino, Lupe, and Leo are native speakers. And for those who wish to learn a little Spanish, Pastor Dennis has agreed to hold a "Spanish as a Second Language" class. ¡Qué bueno!
  • This will be a Lutheran congregation in Moorpark. The pastors of the churches planted by Centro Cristiano are LCMS seminary trained men called by God to shepherd these congregations. While worship services may look different than ours, the theology is Lutheran.
  • We will share our facility with another congregation. Occasionally, we may have joint celebrations and functions. They won't be "renters" at Faith. The facility will be "ours", their facility and our facility. Faith Lutheran will be the Mother Congregation helping to plant a Spanish-speaking church in Moorpark.
  • The Pacific Southwest District and Synod both provide financial assistance for planting new congregations. The initial startup expenses are minimal. But as we get further along in this Ministry, we would look to both Synod and the District for financial assistance.
  • Remember! We were a Mission Church not too long ago.

Just as we have been called to "go and make disciples of all nations," our hermanos y hermanas (brothers and sisters) of Centro Cristiano Hispano have also been called by our same Lord and Savior.

Jesús se acercó a ellos y les habló diciendo: "Toda autoridad me ha sido dada en el cielo y en la tierra. Por tanto, id y haced Discípulos a todas las naciones, bautizándoles en el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, y enseñándoles que guarden todas las cosas que os he mandado. Y he aquí, yo estoy con vosotros todos los días, hasta el fin del mundo."

Together, with God's blessing and help, we can reach a large population who need the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Please keep this Ministry in your daily prayers. Let's pray that God blesses our efforts and above all, we follow His Will.

Dave & Joyce Bovey

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Faith Takes Risks

On Sunday, September 21st a group of us from Faith went up to St. John's Lutheran church in Oxnard to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Centro Cristiano Hispano. It was a wonderful service full of memories and music in three languages (Spanish, Mixteco, and English)! It was a great day to look and see what the Lord has done through Centro Cristiano in the past. But for those of us from Faith, it was exciting to see what God could do through our church in the future! I truly believe that the Lord is going to open some new and exciting doors for us in the next few months and years!

But as we were there, the pastor of St. John's, Mark Beyer, made two very interesting points in his talk. He said that "faith takes risks" and "institutions don't do ministry, people do ministry." In light of our recent sermon series on Talking About Jesus I found these to be very helpful insights. Certainly as we start this Hispanic outreach, we are going to be taking risks and stepping outside of the box (no one ever said God would call us to something easy!) and we will be developing relationships with new people in our community. But as I thought about these comments, I wondered about how they apply to us in our own mission fields (home, work, school, etc). Do we take risks in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ? Are we working through life's hardships with our loved ones? Or, are we waiting for the church to do this for us?

Now, don't get me wrong, we as the "institution" need to be equipping you and preparing you to talk about Jesus, absolutely. But God uses your presence and your mouth to deliver the good news! The same faith He has placed in your heart He draws from your lips to bring the faith giving message of salvation to your friends and loved ones. He gives you the car to pick them up and bring them to church where they will hear about Jesus' love for them. And, as you take risks in sharing Jesus with those struggling through this world of sin, you will always have the church here to love, support, and encourage you along the way. For Christ is always present in His Word and sacraments to forgive and encourage. It is my prayer that we would trust Christ to carry us through as we take risks and present Jesus to our friends and neighbors!

Pastor Bob

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email