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2019 Calendar

Looking for Mission Service Activities in advance?

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Here's a year's worth of simple mission service activities, laid out in one document for ease of use. Print and display the calendar of activities, and mark them off as you do them.

Sharing Jesus' Love Through Action 2019 — A Year's Worth of Mission Service Activities PDF 

 

Get Started with the January Ideas

Nurturing Faith in Christ

This is the month of resolutions – review what’s lacking in your spiritual life and resolve to improve it by spending more time in God’s word and in prayer.

Making Our Faith Meaningful

January is when we recognize Right to Life Sunday, January twentieth this year. Host a baby shower for a local crisis pregnancy center. You might also assemble New Mom and New Baby Toolkits to keep on hand when someone you know is expecting. Read more about the LCMS Life Ministry here.

EXTRA CREDIT: Have the shower at the center instead of your church and invite the community to participate.

Sharing Encouragement

Identify single mothers (or fathers!) who may need a helping hand. Ask them what they need most – babysitting, daycare, meals, etc. and then find a way to satisfy some of those needs.

View the 2018 calendar
View more Mission Service Activities

January 2019

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For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139:13-14).

January is the month in which we celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Day. In 2019 that date falls on Sunday, January 20. It is appropriate then, that we should focus this month’s activities around the sanctity of human life. Specifically, we should minister to those who:

  • have had an abortion
  • are facing an unplanned pregnancy

The thought of unplanned parenthood can be terrifying. This month make a pledge to reach out to at least one person who may be grieving over an aborted child or who is facing an unplanned pregnancy. There are many resources available to either help you educate yourself or to provide guidance and comfort to someone who is suffering. Here are some suggested resources:

  • Lutherans for Life – Provides a multitude of resources for educating people about abortion and its alternatives, including a speakers’ bureau and a link to resources available from Concordia Publishing House.
  • LCMS Life Ministry – Provides additional resources and information about life issues.
  • Local crisis pregnancy centers (sometimes referred to as abortion alternative centers) – These agencies can provide speakers for your LWML or congregation. And, they usually have plenty of volunteer opportunities and needs for things such as diapers and other baby items.
  • Pastors and other trained counselors – If you do know someone who is grieving over a loss or who is facing an unplanned pregnancy let your pastor know and ask if he would mind if you referred that person. Or, your pastor should know of other Christian counseling resources.
  • Christian adoption services – Make a point of learning about what options are available and how arduous (and costly) the adoption process might be.

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:15-17).

Reaching Out in the Community

  • Host a baby shower for a crisis pregnancy center or group home for unwed mothers
    • There is no end to the need for diapers and other baby items – this could be an annual or even quarterly activity. Perhaps partner with other churches to rotate the event throughout the year. An event held in December could be designated as a Baby Shower for Jesus.
    • Holding the event at a facility instead of the church brings you closer to knowing those in need and understanding the challenges they face.
  • Assemble New Mom and New Baby Toolkits to keep on hand when someone you know is expecting.
  • Raise funds for local resources by holding a Baby Bottle Challenge at your church
    • Distribute baby bottles to members with instructions to fill them with cash during the month of January.
    • Proceeds can then be given directly to a local resource or they can be used to purchase items like diapers, etc.
  • Identify single mothers (or fathers!) who may need a helping hand
    • Ask them what they need most – babysitting, daycare, meals, etc. and then find a way to satisfy some of those needs.
    • Help them find resources to help with daycare, continuing education for themselves, etc.
  • Learn about foster parenting programs
    • All too often, the young and under-educated parents who choose to keep their unplanned children are unable to achieve their goals for providing for their children. This is heartbreaking for all involved. Foster parents can help ease that heartbreak by providing a loving home for the children.
    • Even if the children are in a loving foster home, the parents may need support and resources to get them to a point where they can once again care for their own children.
  • Research abstinence education materials and find out what is being taught in public schools in your area
    • If you search the internet for “abstinence education” there is an alarming number of results that state it is ineffective and actually worse than teaching about birth control, etc.  However, if you search for “PRO abstinence education” you find the success stories!  Focus on the Family is one resource available.
    • The LCMS web site has an excellent section on Social Issues with a specific topic on Sexuality.
  • The 2019 LCMS Life Conference will be January 17–19 in Arlington, Virginia, for LCMS members and guests. Whether or not you attend the conference, you are welcome to join fellow Lutherans for a Divine Service on January 18 before going to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. If you are unable to travel to Washington, DC, encourage members of your congregation to participate in any Right to Life gatherings or marches being held in your area. Contact local crisis pregnancy centers for information.

The following quote is a reminder to all of us that, not only is the baby precious in God’s sight but so are its parents.

“Young women within our churches are watching how we as the Christian community treat unplanned pregnancy within our own four walls. Yes, it is very important to educate our people on the dangers of abortion and the value of life. But we will fail as life advocates if we do not demonstrate compassion for those among us who find themselves caught in the web of unplanned pregnancy.” Diane E. Schroeder, former president of Lutherans For Life – A Life Quote from Lutherans For Life • www.lutheransforlife.org

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Father in Heaven, how you must grieve when your sinful children take innocent lives. Please Father; help us to stand up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Help us Father, to imagine what it’s like to be pregnant and alone and to have compassion on women who have nowhere to turn. Please also be with those who serve in crisis pregnancy centers. Give these servants of yours the wisdom and the words to speak to those considering abortion. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

2018 Calendar

Looking for Mission Service Activities in advance?

null

Here's a year's worth of simple mission service activities, laid out in one document for ease of use. Print and display the calendar of activities, and mark them off as you do them.

Sharing Jesus' Love Through Action — A Year's Worth of Mission Service Activities PDF 

 

Get Started with the January Ideas

Nurturing Faith in Christ

Start off the year in a positive way so you can be a blessing to others. Wake up 15 minutes earlier and spend it alone reading inspirational material and praying. Set a goal to increase by 5 minutes every 3 months.

Making Our Faith Meaningful

At church, collect canned soup and boxed crackers in a large soup kettle. Then give the “Souper Bowl of Caring” to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. EXTRA CREDIT: Volunteer at the food pantry or soup kitchen!

Sharing Encouragement

Start a “secret pal” prayer partner program for the ladies in your congregation. Ask ladies to commit to praying daily for their partner and suggest small acts of kindness to do throughout the year.

View the 2019 calendar
View more Mission Service Activities

December 2018

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Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! - assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:17-24).

What a wonderful reminder from Saint Paul that we have been taught to put off our old selves and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. That’s why we make those New Year’s resolutions isn’t it – to try to put on our new self. Research reveals that New Year’s resolutions go back four thousand years to the ancient Babylonians. But, in modern times, we know what most resolutions amount to – losing weight, stopping smoking or other addictive habits, etc. What if we stopped focusing on the bad habits and worked on developing good habits? Of course, healthy eating is a good habit. But what about increased Bible reading/study, more daily prayer time, and working on memorization of key Bible passages? Likewise, we can vow to increase our time “out of the pew” by serving in our communities and professing our faith to those who don’t know about Jesus.

Do we need to wait until January 1 to do this? Of course not! But, we do need to be mindful about the goals we set. Who better to help us with that than the Holy Spirit? Before you make a list of resolutions for 2019, take plenty of time to pray about what God’s will is for you in the coming year. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you toward what’s most important. While you’re at it, take some time for self-examination to identify any “time wasters” that can be replaced with “faith sharing” activities. Consider the magnitude of Paul’s commitment in the passage below where, in the NIV version, the word “resolved” is used instead of “decided”. That’s some resolution!

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, (1 Corinthians 2:1-3).

There is an abundance of resources available through the LWML and other LCMS organizations to help you find ideas for your resolutions. Some are categorized below. Perhaps begin your new year by selecting a different resource to review from each category.

LWML Christian Life Resources for Spiritual Growth:

  • Gather your LWML sisters together and start the New Year with this LWML Bible study on Resolutions.
  • Sign up for Mustard Seed Devotions and Two Minute Tuesday emails – click HERE

LWML Gospel Outreach Resources for Mission Service:

  • Read the stories on the I Love to Tell the Story page, and then resolve to write a story of your own!
  • Review the Paint the Planet Purple page to see what other groups are up to and then let the Gospel Outreach committee know what your group is up to!
  • Check out other opportunities for service by browsing the list of Gospel Outreach Resources outside of the LWML. Here you’ll find links to LCMS ministries (for example, the Lutheran Hour and the Lutheran Heritage Foundation) and LCMS recognized service organizations (RSO) (for example, Lutheran Bible Translators).

Keep Up with What’s Happening:

Get Organized:

  • Create a “year at a glance” calendar for your group which shows monthly deadlines, events, and opportunities for mission service. Be sure to get those on your congregational calendar as well so they appear in announcements, etc.
  • Review the LWML Leader Development resources available for help with mentoring, leader training, and event planning.

Take it to the Community:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:13-14).

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Father in Heaven, as we once again come to the end of one year and look toward the beginning of another, remind us that our plans are not always Your plans. Help us remember to always look to You for guidance. Help us to seek Your wisdom whenever we are making plans. Please Father, help us to know Your will and to pursue only what is pleasing to you. And, more than anything, Dear Father, help us to focus on our eternal life and to help others realize the same hope that we have in Your saving grace. In Jesus precious name we pray. Amen.

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear what you resolved for 2019! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

November 2018

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Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).

The word “advent” is from the Latin word for “coming”, and as such, describes the “coming” of our Lord Jesus Christ into the flesh.

The traditional use of advent candle, sometimes held in a wreath, originated in eastern Germany even prior to the reformation. As this tradition came down to us by the beginning of this century, it involved three purple candles and one pink candle. Often a Christ candle is used in the center of the wreath and is lit along with the four advent candles.

The purple candles matched the purple paraments on the altar (purple for the royalty of the coming King). The pink candle was the third candle to be lit (not the fourth) on Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent. “Gaudete” means “rejoice” in Latin, which is taken from Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice...the Lord is near!” Hence, a pink candle was used to signify rejoicing. Some also included a white “Christ candle” in the middle to be lit during the 12 days of Christmas, December 25 to January 5.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Organize a Wreath-Making Party at Your Church:

Creating an Advent wreath is a wonderful activity to do with children of all ages. And, a wreath-making party is a great way to invite unchurched friends, family and neighbors to your church!

Here are some tips for a successful gathering:

  1. Be sure to schedule the event well in advance of Thanksgiving before people are consumed with all the other holiday distractions. Publicize it well!
  2. Plan to offer child care or alternate activities for infants and toddlers. That will allow parents with school-aged children to work together without distractions.
  3. To insure a smooth flow and to allow time for other activities, consider preparing kits ahead of time. The kit should include:
    1. The wreath components – candles, base, candle-holders, artificial greenery, decorations, holly, pine cones, fasteners, etc.
    2. Detailed step-by-step instructions
    3. Descriptions of what each component of the wreath represents – you may find this FAQ entry from the LCMS web site useful.
    4. A family Advent devotion booklet or these resources:
      1. LCMS Evening Meal Advent Devotions - Note: you may wish to download the Word version and update the dates for 2018 or the current year.
      2. LWML Advent Paper Chain
      3. LWML Reverse Advent Calendar
  4. Recruit the youth group to be helpers.
  5. Offer simple snacks like popcorn, cookies and hot chocolate or cider.
  6. Finish the evening off with a short Christmas video and a devotion.
Taking it to the Community:

You can also share Advent wreaths and devotions in other ways such as:

  • Advent wreath kits and child-friendly devotions could be included in Thanksgiving baskets distributed to needy families.
  • Already assembled Advent wreaths and Advent devotional booklets could be taken to shut-ins, nursing homes, homeless shelters, safe houses for domestic abuse, and facilities for unwed mothers.
Other Resources:

There are countless videos and web sites with ideas for making Advent wreaths. Here are just a few:

Resources such as children’s books and activities can be found on the Concordia Publishing House web site. Here are some suggestions:

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank and praise you for sending your Son Jesus to us. Please now send Your Holy Spirit to us that we might prepare our hearts for Jesus’ return. We ask that you keep us focused on what is important during the season of Advent. Help us to seize the many opportunities to share the joy of Christmas with others, especially those who do not know of Your precious saving grace. Amen.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

October 2018

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Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action — An Attitude of Gratitude!

We certainly can find many scripture references to confirm that our great God expects us all to have an “Attitude of Gratitude.” For example:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6).

And, we know that God encourages us to share what He provides and to care for those less fortunate:

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:26-27).

God empowers our attitude with action for others …

One way to prompt action is to organize your thanks-giving into categories such as personal, community, and global. SPECIAL NOTE: The ideas listed below apply to ALL generations — this is a wonderful way to help children learn to have an “attitude of gratitude”!

For personal blessings you might take action in these ways:

  1. Write thank-you notes to all the people who serve you in some way — doctors, teachers, supervisors, babysitters, you name it! Be specific about how they are a blessing to you. Include a Bible verse such as — I thank my God every time I remember you (Philippians 1:3). If possible, hand-deliver these.
  2. Share time with people who have blessed you, find ways to be a blessing to them. Take your parents to lunch, babysit for a neighbor who has mowed your lawn — the possibilities are endless!
  3. Send a special mite offering in honor of someone who has been a blessing to you.

For local and community blessings, consider these options:

  1. Assemble Thanksgiving baskets (bags, boxes, etc.) for families in need.
    1. Solicit names of families from local schools, food banks, or social service agencies such as the Salvation Army. Be sure to ask your pastor if there is anyone in your own congregation who might be in need.
    2. Include everything needed to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner — turkey, stuffing mix, canned vegetables, etc. Some churches include a Bible or a child’s Bible.
    3. Have volunteers deliver the baskets the week before Thanksgiving.
       
  2. Prepare Thanksgiving treat bags for distribution at a nursing home. Be sure to check with the nursing home staff to get a list of things that are most useful and safe for the residents.
    1. Include non-food items such as socks, lotion, stamps, and note cards. For more ideas refer to the Gospel Outreach Toolkit.
    2. Be sure to include a devotional such as Comfort from the Psalms Large Print Mustard Seeds.
    3. Gather a group to go to a facility and hand out the treat bags.
       
  3. Consider having Sunday school classes write letters to nursing home residents or church members who are shut-ins.
  4. Some churches gather for a Thanksgiving dinner for members who have no family nearby, other than their church family of course! Why not extend that to the community?
  5. Remember first responders in your community by baking cookies for the closest police department or fire house. Deliver them before lunch time with a heartfelt note of thanks for their service. Let them know you pray for their safety — and then follow through on that!
  6. Reach out to the military service people in your church and community by sending them care packages. Include a note thanking them for their service and promising to pray for them. You might also have a special offering for the purchase of Military BibleSticks. Your donations allow military chaplains to order the Military BibleSticks at no charge for the troops who protect our nation and preserve our freedoms.

For global blessings, remember missionaries around the world in these ways:

  1. Send care packages to missionaries supported by your congregation. Refer to the Caring for Missionaries page on the LWML website.
  2. Publicize LWML mission projects at both the district and national level by displaying posters and featuring them in church bulletins and newsletters. Refer to the Mission Grant Resources page on the LWML website.
  3. Hold a special LWML mite thank-offering one Sunday at church. Suggest that people dedicate their mite offering in the name of someone special.

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Father in Heaven, how can I possibly find enough words to express my thanks to you for sending your Son to die in my place? Father, I can’t ever be perfect like Jesus but I can strive to adopt a servant attitude like His. Please, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, lead me in the direction you would have me go — put people in my path and love in my heart. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Looking Ahead:

Get ready for Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. You can practice your “attitude of gratitude” AND double your impact thanks to the generosity of two donors who will match up to $20,000. Find out more at www.lwml.org/givingtuesday.

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

September 2018

Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action –  October is Pastor Appreciation Month!

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[Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons] Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap (I Timothy 3:1-7).

Can you think of any other job where an employee must be on call 24x7x365, carry the emotional burdens of dozens of people, be held to a higher standard of behavior just because of the position, and still find time for a personal and family life? It’s no wonder we hear some depressing statistics around pastor burnout. Take a few moments to think about your pastor (or pastors) or other church workers you know. Do you think there might be something you and your LWML sisters might be able to do to lighten their loads and lift them up? The month of October is designated as Pastor Appreciation Month so now is the time to organize some activities to do just that!

Pastors and Church Workers are God’s Gifts to Us:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Let’s remember that pastors and teachers are given to us to help us learn God’s word and to carry out God’s will on Earth. Where would we be without them!? Who would we ask when we have tough questions? Who would we turn to when faced with illness or grief? Who joins with us in the celebrations of baptism and marriage? Why, of course, our pastors!

Ways to Show Support:

Here are just a few ways you can support the pastors and church workers in your congregation:

  • Take some time to talk with your pastor one-on-one to tell him how much you appreciate him and ask what you and your LWML sisters can do to support him.
  • Review the LWML Toolkit for Pastor Support. This resource has several ideas for encouraging and uplifting your pastor.
  • Refer your pastor and other church workers to the LWML Church Workers in Mission page on the LWML web site.
  • Share this LWML Leader Development tip titled Staying Energized as a Leader.
  • Suggest that your congregational leaders review the tasks your pastor performs with the goal of identifying those tasks that could be performed by lay workers. In other words, if your pastor is regularly doing things that don’t require a seminary degree – maybe someone else should be doing them!

Additional Resources:

Here are some links to other resources you may find helpful:

  • An LCMS blog post titled An Ounce of Prevention provides information about Grace Place Lutheran Wellness Ministries, a Registered Service Organization (RSO) of the LCMS.
  • Another LCMS blog post, Church-Worker Wellness: When One Suffers…, provides additional information about resources to support church workers.
  • The article How to Avoid Pastor Burnout from “The Parish Paper”, published by the Michigan District, explains major causes of burnout and how to address them.

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Father in Heaven, please bring to our minds all those who serve us as pastors and teachers. Help us be mindful of their needs and to show support for them. Father, help us also remember that we are partners in ministry with them and that we too are charged with bringing your Word to the lost and erring. Thank you God for placing these men and women in our lives. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

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