Pointing to Jesus5 min read

St. John’s, Adrian’s Intentional Mission to the Community and the World

The members of St. John’s, Adrian intentionally work towards making sure when people see them, they see Jesus. This means that they want to be about doing the things the Jesus taught, including feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, clothing the poor, and more. They carry this out in a number of different ways as they weave their mission focus “Pointing to Jesus” through church ministries, events, projects, and hands-on service opportunities.

Kids Against Hunger

Ten children die every minute of starvation or malnutrition related diseases. The mission of Kids Against Hunger (KAH) is to end that tragedy. Founded in 1999, KAH packages and ships highly nutritious, life-saving meals to starving and malnourished children in developing countries and the United States. They do this by mobilizing the energy and caring of American children, teens, and adults, and partnering with humanitarian organizations of high integrity and capability. St. John’s is one of these organizations who, together with other KAH volunteers, packages 100 million meals that are furnished to children and families in 40 countries each year. At St. John’s, fundraising is done January through March. The meal packaging event includes around 100 people of all ages. This year, alone, over 15,640 meals were packaged. As it costs about 28 cents per meal, this year’s goal of raising $4,200 was met through funds donated by members, a donation by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and a designated amount from the church budget. It is amazing to see everyone come together each year to put the meals together. St. John’s manages the entire process in about three hours, from registration to final clean-up.

Homeless Youth

No longer just an urban problem, it is reported that there are over 600 youth classified as not having a permanent home in Lenawee County. Some of these homeless youth have a place to sleep, but they usually bounce around from place to place with little stability or financial means. Members of St. John’s collect school supplies for homeless youth each fall. Funds were raised from “Adventure-a-Grilling,” a men’s group spin-off of a similar women’s event called “Advent-a-Glow.” This special event featured food, fun, and fellowship as 75 men gathered around a huge grill with over 80 pounds of meat! At this year’s event, Beth McCullough, the homeless liaison for the Lenawee Intermediate School District, gave a special presentation on the homeless youth situation. Helping these youth is a growing passion for the congregation as a direct result from its pastor, Rev. Joel Sarrault. In one of his recent devotions he shared, “Jesus did not say ‘As you have paid for someone else to do to the least of these.’ He said, ‘As you have done to the least of these.’”

Youth and Children

Adults are not the only ones encouraged to serve. Children and teens participate in a number of outreach projects throughout the year. Sr. High Youth lock-ins offer the environment to work on special service projects. Last December, they took money raised in their fall fundraiser and went shopping for a local family in need. Children from first to sixth grade creatively gave food and money to a local food pantry as they participated in a “Food Shelf Scavenger Hunt.” Each year books are collected for the Literacy Center and distributed to local children at the mall in March in a community-wide event called “Leaping in Lenawee.” Each summer, VBS includes two mission projects. To offer the children a way to see with their own eyes what they are giving, they collect and build a food tower to give away. They also support missions through their offerings. This year the children will support Operation Clean Water, as it connects with Amazing Desert Journey VBS (CPH).

The Least of These

The focus on “the least of these” has been a growing emphasis at St. John’s. Staff, elders, and council members frequently challenge themselves with the question: “How is St. John’s impacting the Adrian community for Jesus Christ?” The guiding Bible verse is Ephesians 2:8-10 where St. Paul states, 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The powerful, life-altering news in verses 8-9 is lived out in acts of love, as members—children of God—are motivated to share Christ with others as pre-ordained in verse 10. In all ministries, events, and projects, members of all ages give many volunteer hours of service towards outreach opportunities that are now part of the ministry culture at St. John’s. Their continued focus increasingly is on being the hands and feet of Jesus to the “least of these.” Their constant prayer is that when those in the community think of St. John’s and its members, they see Jesus, remember hearing about Jesus in their Gospel witness, and see Jesus in their actions.

Visit the Michigan Coalition for Kids Against Hunger at or Operation Clean Water at to see how you can help.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, the number of homeless students has jumped more than 300 percent in the last four years. To see what you can do, contact your Intermediate School District.

Learn more about the ministry of St. John’s, Adrian at

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About the Author

Terry Bird is a Concordia University Ann Arbor and Nebraska graduate serving as teacher and principal for nearly forty years in the Lord’s ministry in Missouri and Michigan. She and her husband Tom reside in Stevensville and are members of Trinity, St. Joseph. Cindy Ernst, also a Concordia University Nebraska graduate, has embraced being a Lutheran educator for over forty years. She has enjoyed being a faculty member at several elementary schools, and for the past 14 years has shared her passion for mathematics and education with students at Western Michigan University.

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