Perfect Gifts – A Letter From The President5 min read

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we enter the time of year when we anticipate the celebration of our Savior’s birth, may I be one of the first to wish you and your family a blessed and joy-filled Advent and Christmas season. As members of Christ’s family, we join together in this most joyous of seasons to collectively honor and worship the One who was born so that we may have eternal life with Him. We have already received the greatest gift of all!

I imagine your family is much like mine when it comes to the practice of giving gifts at Christmas. We have our traditions, and I would guess you do as well. As you exchange gifts with your loved ones and friends, you undoubtedly have experienced gift giving and receiving to be a challenging undertaking on occasion. We so much want to give the perfect gift, the one that puts an immediate smile on their face, and yet, viewing their reaction, we see that we may have fallen short of our intention. Conversely, I’m sure we all have received a gift or two over the years that may have been a little baffling, and we have tried to receive them graciously.

In spite of those potential challenges, we should never forget that we have already received the greatest gift, the perfect gift, in God’s Son, the Savior of the world. All praise, thanks, worship, honor, and glory be to God for His eternal love and wisdom in giving us Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep that we might have life, and have it to the full. The gift of His Son will never be outgrown, is with us every moment of our lives, is always in season, and, most importantly, graces us with eternal life. No man-made gift given, or received, comes close to these certainties. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 ESV).

As you consider the “perfect gifts” you hope to give this year, would you please prayerfully consider giving one of them to the Michigan District, LCMS as well?

Through generous and faith-filled congregational and individual giving, the Michigan District office works daily to strengthen District congregations and their members in four Critical Outcome areas: Great Commission Ministry, Great Compassion Ministry, Healthy Congregations, and Healthy Church Workers. This could not be accomplished without your faithful generosity.

Here is just a sampling of the many ministries, individuals, and initiatives the Michigan District provided or supported in just the past year to help accomplish these outcomes and strengthen our congregations and church workers:

•  Acts2Enterprise (A2E) Urban Ministry Initiative led by Rev. Christopher Bodley, including two A2E Sports Camps/VBS programs attended by over 300 children in June and July;

•  Theological Conferences entitled Church, State & Culture, with over 700 attendees;

•  Three Regional Pastors Conferences (with relevant and different topics presented at each regional conference);

•  CrossBridge Action Network (CAN) working to supply and coordinate serving over 22,000 meals this past summer for children in Detroit who otherwise would not have had a meal because of their schools’ summer recesses;

•  All Professional Church Workers’ Conference (attended by over 1,200 in October);

•  Junior High Youth Gathering (with 171 in attendance on Concordia University Ann Arbor’s campus in July);

•  Senior High Youth Gathering on Mackinac Island (attended by over 1,100 in June);

•  Three Congregation Mission and Ministry Facilitators (CMMFs) who daily assist the District’s 380 congregations;

•  District Communications: our weekly e-news Michigan Minute; 11 issues of Michigan in Touch (online and in print); and a very active presence on social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook);

•  Monthly webinars on a variety of pertinent, ministry-related issues;

•  A healthy, continuing, and developing partnership in ministry with Concordia University Ann Arbor;

•  Rev. Dr. Bryan Salminen, a licensed psychologist and LCMS pastor, was contracted as a confidential counselor for professional church workers;

•  Congregational Stewardship Assistance (budget planning and assisting in the design and implementation of congregational capital and/or debt reduction campaigns);

•  Ecclesiastical supervision of over 600 District pastors and deacons, as well as over 1,000 commissioned workers, including placement of new graduates and vicars; and

•  Professional Church Worker Student Scholarships (over $230,000 given for the 2014-15 school year).

I have identified just 15 District initiatives as they quickly came to mind. In all honesty, I could have listed dozens more, but my purpose is not to give a long list of ways in which the Michigan District is accomplishing its four outcome goals. I do, however, very much want you to be aware that your District is helping in numerous and significant ways to impact the mighty Kingdom work being accomplished in, and through, the congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in Michigan.

It is also important for you to know that the Michigan District could not accomplish these initiatives—could not even come close to making the impact it does—if it were not for your gift and the many generous gifts provided by a multitude of faithful donors. This Christmas, would you please prayerfully consider being as generous as you can by making a year-end gift that will allow us to continue to meet the ministry needs of our congregations and workers? By providing vital services and resources that strengthen and equip them to boldly share the Gospel, we enable congregations and professional church workers to be a “gift” to the communities they serve in Jesus’ Name.

Please be assured that your generous gift will be a blessing to the Michigan District. We, in turn, pray that our ministries, initiatives, and staff will continue to be a blessing for our congregations and workers and, inevitably, YOU … the individuals and families who collectively make up our District’s congregations, who, as the “salt of the earth” and “light of the world,” faithfully serve Christ, our greatest gift, in more than 400 communities in our state.

In the Joy of our Savior,

Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier, President
Michigan District, LCMS

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About the Author

Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier is president emeritus of the Michigan District, LCMS.

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