At the 104th annual convention of our Evangelical Lutheran Synod, we adopted a five-year strategic plan under the theme Tell of Jesus and His Love. It is drawn from this passage in the Gospel of Mark: [Jesus said to the man formerly demon possessed and whose demons entered a herd of 2,000 pigs that stampeded over a cliff into the sea:] “Go home to your people, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how He had mercy on you” (5:19). Jesus gave this direction to the man because he desired to remain and travel with his Savior. Instead, Jesus told him to go back home and live in his godly vocations among the people of his community and, when given the opportunity, speak of what Jesus had done for him.
You have had no less of a miracle, though perhaps not as dramatic.. When
faith in Christ was created in you, perhaps at your baptism, the Spirit drove out Satan and his kingdom from your heart. You were born again into Christ and His kingdom. But we all have various abilities to speak of the faith we now have. Some of us can approach total strangers and turn the conversation into an opportunity to speak of Jesus and the salvation He has secured for all sinners. Most of us do not have such abilities. Many of us would have a hard time speaking boldly to even friends, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors.
Recently I viewed a monthly “WELS Connection” video shown in a WELS church served by one of our ELS pastors. What a delight it was to hear a WELS pastor’s approach in his church to help his members tell of Jesus. Pres. Schroeder introduced it by saying it could be summarized in five words: “Do you have a pastor?”
Before speaking about how we can all so easily employ this evangelism method, let me point out something I have observed visiting many ELS congregations the past few months. Our pastors are all consistently preaching Christ and Him crucified and Jesus our Righteousness. What a treasure this is. Frankly, if this is not happening, the preacher should go silent. Sadly, I have heard the last few decades from a few conservative Lutherans the notion that the Gospel need not be preached in every sermon. Wrong! It is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). We are blessed in the ELS that our pastors know this and strive always to send their hearers home trusting their sins are all forgiven and they are dressed in Jesus’ everlasting holiness.
Going back to: “Do you have a pastor?” Who of us in our daily vocations and interactions with others could not ask that question? If the answer is “No,” connect them with your pastor. Our pastors gladly make hospital, nursing home, home, and office visits on a regular basis and would love to be connected in that way with those experiencing any kind of difficulties in this broken world.
In your daily callings, you hear from such individuals who are dealing with difficult things in this life: devasting diagnoses; loss of someone dear through death, divorce, unreconciled differences; loss of employment or house, etc. Is it not easy to ask: “Do you have a pastor?” Having a pastor who can bring comfort and consolation from God’s Word under any circumstances is an offer not easily dismissed.
I encourage you to watch the video and look for ways to employ this guilt-ridden-less approach to tell of Jesus and His love by connecting sinners like you to your pastor.
Rev. Glenn Obenberger,