Picture this friends,
You are in Frys wearing your yellow “God’s Work, Our Hands” t-shirt and you see a fellow shopper reading your shirt. They ask you about the beautiful shirt and St. John’s, asking “what is the mission of your church”. What would you tell them? What would you share?
Would you site, by memory, that the mission statement of St. John’s is “We celebrate God's love, proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, and serve our Neighbors”? Would you offer what Sunday morning worship looks like but that you aren’t sure beyond your own experience? Both responses would be wonderful, but also missing a lot of what it means to be St. John’s Lutheran in Glendale and the impact you make by being a member of this community.
St. John’s is a Christ centered community is rooted in our shared mission to celebrate, proclaim, and serve. We do all three in a variety of ways.
Celebrating God’s Love may feel like the most ambiguous of the three focus points of our ministry together. Clearly celebrating God’s love happens in everything we do. There are however specific impactful actions and commitments we do in celebration of God’s unending love, including deepening relationships beyond our congregation, developing our leaders to serve, offering loving hospitality to all our ministry partners. Two ministries we support directly are Vida Nueva Lutheran Church and Emmanuel Sudanese Lutheran Church. Each of these amazing communities has worshipped at St. John’s for years. We offer gifts of space, time, resources so they can continue to build their faith communities. In addition, we offer benevolence to our Grand Canyon Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which supports the bishop’s work in congregations and ministries across the desert, country, and world. Celebrating God’s Love also means supporting our young people through gifts directly to Lutheran Campus Ministry, Camp Aloma, and the West Valley Young Adult Ministry. All of these commitments we make as a congregation are in response to God’s love for us, and so we are called to share this love with others.
Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ is rooted in what we do in our own faith community in worshiping, learning, and spending time together around the Word. The Good News is proclaimed through weekly worship, musical offerings, Sunday School, caring committee, property management, and times of fellowship. In our time together we proclaim to one another that Jesus is Risen! Alleluia!
Serving our Neighbors may feel straightforward, but above all else this means knowing our neighbors as children of God. Through our direct support of the West Valley Community Food Pantry and Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest we are continuing well established lifelines for community members in need. Through Family Promise and our ever-evolving Shower Ministry (Which also includes haircuts, food, free medical and mental healthcare, toiletries, and clothes) we offer a safe space for neighbors to fulfill basic needs to they can see themselves as beautiful children of God. Through our outreach events, such as Trunk or Treat, we open our campus to the whole community to find joy, hope, peace, and love.
This is a lot to remember when a stranger asks about your church, but it is important to know that you are making a difference by being a part of the community of St. John’s! Every time you give an hour to fold bulletins, serve as an usher, or put a dollar in the offering plate, you are investing in our shared mission together. Thank you for your faithful offering of yourself in response to God’s love for all!