Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,
God’s work never stops. In 2020, the District’s mission to vigorously make known the love of Christ didn’t halt due to the pandemic. When church doors had to be temporarily closed, worship went online. When people couldn’t go to compassion ministries for their basic needs, the ministries went out to them. Flexibility and adaptation became the norm.
Healthy Congregations/Healthy Workers
During the pandemic, the District helped churches transition to online (recorded) and livestream worship by providing resources such as phone and Zoom consultations with our staff videographer; How-To videos and podcasts on how to livestream; and a listing of congregations offering online worship. We also created videos based on The Hymnal Project, adding lyrics to facilitate singing via livestream. These videos blessed many congregations not only in our District but in other states and even around the world. A website page with pandemic resources was created to help congregations and schools navigate the social, educational, and legal environment during state lockdowns. Two congregations applied and received technology grants to purchase equipment for livestreaming services, and five others completed the process for a new website through the District’s Digital Footprint Initiative (DFI).
When racial tensions erupted in an already difficult year, the District worked to find ways to address the situation. We produced a sermon series and a Bible study that were widely publicized through our communications avenues. All of the turmoil took a heavy toll on church workers, and the District sought to provide support by means of podcasts on mental health, as well as reminding workers of the availability of our Mental Health Case Manager.
Great Commission and Great Compassion
Although some ministries had to shift in delivery, people with physical and spiritual needs were still served! Gospel and tangible ministries included Elli’s House, Detroit (street ministry), Franklin Avenue Mission, Flint (food), Family of God, Detroit (food/street ministry), St. Paul Community, Pontiac (food pantry, parish nurse assistance), Bethany, Detroit (food bank), and Gifts For All God’s Children, Rochester Hills (tutoring via Zoom). When the dam broke near Midland, ministries and congregations such as Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT); Messiah, Midland; St. John’s, Midland; Peace, Saginaw; Shepherd’s Gate, Shelby Twp.; and Trinity, Utica mobilized to help flood victims. In May of 2020, the District also installed Megan Schultz, Family Life Minister at Large to Detroit to help local congregations strengthen their family ministries.
God’s ministry doesn’t stop, just as His grace towards us doesn’t end. Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier
President, Michigan District, LCMS
Image on left courtesy of Immanuel, Macomb. Image on right courtesy of Franklin Avenue Mission, Flint