Go and Gather Disciples

Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

This past weekend was our Mission Festival emphasis. Those who were able to be in attendance Sunday morning, were able to listen to Pastor Steven Prahl who serves one of our mission churches in Colorado. What a joy it was to hear him preach and then to listen to him in Bible Class as he clearly and boldly reminded each of us here at St. John of the joy and privilege and command to preach and teach others about Jesus.

I haven’t been around St. John for too long, but I already have seen that there are many differing views about doing God’s work of “gathering or making disciples.” So I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about this important part of a Christian’s life. To get the discussion started, how would you answer the questions, What is the best way to grow the church? There are many different thoughts, opinions, and methods. People who promote their approach believe theirs is the best, but what does God say and just as importantly, what hasn’t God said!

As a member of Jesus’ Church on earth, and as a soul who has been purchased by the Savior, we all need to understand the command the Lord gives. It is clear. It is simple. Jesus says, Go and gather disciples!” By this command we can see that the first thing we need to do is actually “Go!” Being a Christian is not a spectator sport. We need to take the saving message of the Gospel to the lost. We can’t expect them to find us. We need to go and find them. We can’t expect them to see our beautiful church and step inside. God tells us to go and invite them in.

He also teaches how we should go. We go with his strength and authority. We are not independent contractors who are working for our own benefit. We go because God has commanded us to go, and we go with the strength of the powerful tool that God has given us. We go with the most powerful tool of all which is his Gospel found in Baptism and in the teaching of God’s Word. We serve knowing he will use us to proclaim his powerful Word which changes peoples’ hearts and lives.

He also teaches us why we go. We go to “gather or make disciples.” Our purpose is to point people to their Savior. We undertake a specific work with specific instructions. We teach what Jesus has commanded. We baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit for only one reason so that lost souls will know of God’s grace found in Jesus. Our purpose isn’t to grow bigger churches or to have bigger buildings. Our purpose is to share the Gospel so that all nations may know the way to heaven through Jesus.

We also go with Jesus’ promise as he says, “I am with you always until the end of the age.” Certainly, we will face many challenges as we take the message of repentance and forgiveness into a rebellious world. Many will reject, even despise what we want to share. Our Savior offers us reassurance with the promise of his never-failing presence. We know we are not on our own. We know he is always with us as we go and make disciples.

Go! It sounds so simple, yet we as sinners can make it so complicated. God doesn’t tell us exactly how this may look. Each Church and each Christian in their Christian freedom may use different ways to share God’s saving Gospel. Sharing the Gospel is the key. The ways that we share that Gospel fall under our Christian freedom. I pray that we aren’t too quick to judge when the ways that some people share the Gospel doesn’t match our way. There will certainly be outward differences as we seek to find ways to present the Gospel to all nations. This is why we look to Jesus for forgiveness, for strength, for confidence, and for direction. So in Jesus’ forgiveness and with his blessing, we can go and gather disciples from all nations.

Pastor Mark Gartner


Church News

Sunday School

Sunday school for your children (3K to 8th grade) began on Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 9:15 am. We pray that you would make the most out of this great opportunity for your children to learn God’s Word!

Bible Classes

Sunday morning Bible classes have resumed. Pastor Frey will be leading us through a study on "The Lord's Supper." We will see what God's Word has to say about the Lord's Supper and we will see the many blessings God gives to us through this sacrament.

Our Monday/Tuesday Bible classes also have resumed. The same class is offered on either Monday at 8:00 am or Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm. Pastor Gartner will be leading a study of God’s Word under the theme: “What Does It Mean To Be A Lutheran?” Have you ever had questions about some of the main differences between all the Christian churches or maybe just have wondered how come we there are so many different types of Christian churches? If so, please come and join us as we explore what God’s Word has to say about some very key teachings that the devil is trying to distort.

NOTE: We do have audio recordings and the Lesson Sheets of these Bible Classes. If you have been unable to attend and would like these sent to you, please email Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner. We also have the audio file of Pastor Steven Prahl's Bible Class from this past Mission Festival Sunday.

Quareterly Voter's Meeting 

Tuesday, October 22 at 7:00 pm we will have our next Quarterly Voter’s Meeting. Since we revised our Constitution, this meeting is now our “Elections and Finances” Voter’s meeting, which means that we will be having elections for Vice President, Head Trustee and Evangelism Chairman. We will also be making decisions about other financial matters for this coming year such as salaries and amounts sent to FVL and the Synod. All Voters: please make plans to attend this important meeting.

Adopt-Highway/Work Day

We will be cleaning our section of Highway 47 on Saturday, October 12 at 8:00 a.m. We will also be working on the Church property to get it cleaned up and ready for Winter. Please sign the sheet in the entryway if you can help.