May is indeed a very merry month! Spring has sprung. Mother’s Day is celebrated. The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated. The Feast of Pentecost celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the so-called birthday of the Christian Church. It is also the day we are welcoming into adult fellowship our two confirmands.
It has been many years since I have had the privilege of confirming children in the Christian faith. I didn’t have one confirmand in my four years at Christ the King. I didn’t have any confirmands during my tenure at Bethany in Chicago. In fact, the last time I confirmed someone in the faith was way back in 2003! Twenty years! Granted, much of that time I was not on the roster. I was on my so-called “wilderness wandering” journey. But as I look around at our fellow congregations in the Southern District, and Synod at large, I see fewer and fewer youths being confirmed as adult members of the faith.
After I confirm our two current confirmands, I won’t have another confirmation class for at least another 10 years (give or take a year). We have 5 little ones that won’t be ready for nearly a decade. This is our current situation, and sadly it reflects where many of our SD congregations are at.
While I rejoice greatly that we have our two confirmands, and praise God for them, I look toward the future and pray the Lord Almighty will provide for His Church. We are planting great Gospel seed in our community. I am actively seeking to keep LoG Jam in Old Town (high visibility and foot traffic). Our NOTCH service is an outgrowth from LoG Jam. Table Talk with the Rev keeps us in a highly visible venue in our community. Serving food to our community, as we will be doing on May 4th, is another great way to meet our neighbors. This will be our second community feeding this year! The more contact we have with our neighbors, the more we can develop relationships, and the more we develop relationships, the more we can share our faith and invite others to join our Christian fellowship. It is all about relationships!
The only way we can grow, get young families to join us, as well as others, is to be active in the community. The problem is that many congregations are simply static and expect people to come and join them. They are no longer following the imperative command of Jesus to “Go, make disciples. . .” No congregation can afford to sit around and just wait for folks to join with them. To do so is a death knell of a congregation. I have personally seen the devastation of congregations who have remained static for far too long. They no longer exist or are on the verge of ceasing to exist- well beyond a point of no return.
We at LoG are busy folks. We are planting those Gospel seeds. We fellowship with one another and continue to nurture relationships. But we still have a lot of work to do. Hard work. But hopeful and joy-filled work.
I pray every day that the Lord would bless His Word and ministry in our midst here at LoG in Slidell. I pray that He will lead us, guide us, and revive our hearts and minds to freely give away the good gifts that He has blessed us with, the means of grace. We are active, and we need to continue to be so. I don’t want to have to wait another ten years before I have another confirmation class! By God’s mercy and grace, being good stewards of what God has blessed us with, we won’t have to wait that long. To God be all the glory! Amen!