It all started with a phone call back in September of last year, as God was leading Pastor Robert Mikkelson of Peace Lutheran on Detroit’s East side to step out in faith. Pastor Mikkelson was thinking of how he could best connect with and serve a family with four young children, leading them to that next step in their faith walk. When I received the phone call asking if I would partner with him in creating a program for this family, I was optimistic with my enthusiastic YES! Of course, there were some doubts: Would they come despite the pandemic? What’s the format of the class? How many weeks? What curriculum? But this was a tremendous opportunity! If a family wants to grow deeper in their faith, you don’t question, you just follow God’s lead.
Pastor Mikkelson and I launched the program, in person, on October 13, 2020. The format was simple—Pastor would lead Mom and Big Brother through a simplified Catechism class while I taught the younger kids Sunday School-type lessons in the basement. This hour-long program doubled when Pastor got connected with another family with five young children! Because of COVID concerns, we held two classes, one right after the other. God was blessing our efforts, but I still wasn’t sure. Would they keep coming? Would the kids get tired of coming to church after a long day of zoom school? Would anyone get sick?
But GOD is faithful! Out little group kept meeting every Tuesday for 6 months straight—we even met the week of Christmas! The determination the mothers had to wrangle their kids to the church after a day of zoom schooling, a full day’s work, and picking up from daycare or Grandma’s house is remarkable. The dedication to the growth of their children’s relationship with their Savior is commendable. Pastor and I were not only teaching in these hour-long classes, we were learning from, connecting with, supporting, and celebrating our community. Various members of Peace supported the program by providing snacks, rides to and from church, filling in to teach, and sitting in on the classes.* God is constantly at work around us. When we step out in faith, He works through us to fulfill His plan. The classes culminated on March 28, 2021 with seven baptisms. Seven children had their names written in the Book of Life and took the next step in their walk with the Lord. Being part of that process is SO humbling and such an honor. To be used by God is the greatest joy in this life.
So, if you are anything like me—wanting to be optimistic while constantly questioning, I hope you will take that step of faith. What is God calling your congregation to do? How is He asking you to learn from, connect with, support, or serve your community? Whether it’s something big or small, anything done for the Kingdom is worth doing.
*Huge thanks to Pastor Robert Mikkelson, Birdia Hambright, Ernie Billingsley, Ora Jones, Amir Afanasev, and Michelle Roberts for answering God’s call to serve saying, “Here am I, send me!”
Photo by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS