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2018 Calendar

Looking for Mission Service Activities in advance?

nullHere'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 November Ideas

Nurturing Faith in Christ

Use the whole month of November to keep a “Thankfulness Journal”. Each day write down one item for which you are thankful and don’t forget to express your gratitude to those near you. Say a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to our creator, redeemer and sanctifier

Making Our Faith Meaningful

Communicate your upcoming Advent and Christmas activities to your community by mailing flyers or postcards. EXTRA CREDIT: Organize a prayer walk where you walk through your church’s neighborhood and pray for your neighbors as you walk.

Sharing Encouragement

Single out the hard-working yet rarely recognized ladies in your congregation and send them thankyou cards for their service. You know who they are – the ones who tend the garden, wash and iron the altar cloths and organize the kitchen cabinets!

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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

August 2018

School Kits for Youth in Mexico

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When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them (Mark 10:14–16).

As our summer is soon coming to an end we need to start thinking about our children, grand-children and great-grand-children returning back to school. In this month’s Mission Servant Activity we will look at ways that we can help those families who may be struggling to make ends meet and how we can help support their children as they return to school.

Education in Mexico is only free through the sixth grade, and if a child or family desires to continue their education, there are tuition payments to make. Often, these children are needed to enter the job market in order to help the family earn money, or because there is no money to pay for middle school, high school, and college.

Ysleta Lutheran Mission wants children and teens to escape the cycle of poverty, crime, and violence that is ravaging the communities they serve in Juarez and Anapra in Mexico. A “Stay in School” scholarship is available to youth in Mexico who demonstrate academic potential and great economic hardship. This year, Ysleta Lutheran Mission (YLM) will be distributing school kits (backpacks or bags filled with assorted school supplies) on August twentieth and in mid-December.

Ideas to help YLM and children as they return to school:

  1. Have an ingathering at your church and collect school supplies and backpacks.
  2. Apply for Thrivent Action Team money to help with your collection of items.
  3. Serve a meal to help raise funds but collect a free-will offering instead of setting a price. Encourage attendees to donate school supplies and backpacks.
  4. At your Sunday service take a special offering for YLM school supplies and backpacks or have your Sunday school offering go to support YLM.

Other ways to help:

  1. Collect gently-worn or outgrown clothing for YLM. Engage, children, grand-children and great-grand-children by having them help clean out their closets.
  2. Hold a sneaker drive and see how many pairs of shoes you can collect.
  3. Collect new underwear and designate an “Undies Sunday” to pray for the children who will receive the underwear.

Other Resources:

  1. Orphan Grain Train School Kits and gently used or new clothing
  2. Lutheran World Relief School Kits
  3. Lutheran Border Concerns Ministry School Kits
  4. Give locally to ‘back to school’ efforts in your town, church, zone, or district.

Sharing Your Servant Activities:

Border Mission Gifts

Orphan Grain Train Headliner on May 31, 2018 stated that recently the Mitchell Zone, South Dakota District LWML had a spring workshop supporting OGT. They had Gifts from the Heart gathering which included putting together 130 school kits with backpacks for OGT to deliver to Ysleta Mission in El Paso, Texas. Some ladies from Armour Redeemer Lutheran Church in South Dakota brought the backpacks to OGT and then had a tour and volunteered for a few hours in the warehouse.

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

July 2018

Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action — Loving through Laundrynull

Laundry! That’s something most of us are not crazy about, right? It’s one of those mundane chores that we typically dread. But, what if you didn’t have a washer and dryer? Or, what if you didn’t even have the money to wash your clothes at a laundromat? Sadly, it is the people in high-density, blue-collar, ethnically-diverse areas who are most dependent on laundromats. With average costs around $2 per wash and dry, a family with four loads of wash per week would spend $16 per week or $64 per month. For low-income families that’s a big chunk of change! So, what can we do to help? Enter “Loads of Love” as implemented by St. John’s Lutheran Church in Russellville, Arkansas.

The concept behind “Loads of Love” is simple. Find a laundromat that will let your church team come once a month and pay for the clients’ laundry. At St John’s, the team selected the last Saturday of the month since that’s when people tend to be crunched for cash. They serve from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM or until the allotment of quarters ($300 per month) runs out. They also provide a free lunch which normally consists of a hot dog, chips, water, and cookie.

Another congregation, Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, enlists the youth to put the money in the machines and hand out the laundry soap. They even carry the finished laundry out to the clients’ cars! The LWML provides cookies and punch as well as church brochures. The event is so popular that the laundromat puts out a sign a week ahead announcing when the free laundry is available.

Of course, clean laundry isn’t the only objective of “Loads of Love.” While the clients are waiting for the wash and dry cycles to complete, the church team has an opportunity to visit with, listen to, and show Christ’s love to them. Many of the clients are regulars who have come to know and love the volunteers. This is also an opportunity to share Christian literature, including information about the church and services, with the clients and to pray with and for them.

For more information about starting a “Loads of Love” ministry contact Mollie Haines at 479-567-0935 or mmh2718@gmail.com.

God’s word commands us to take care of the poor:

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land (Deuteronomy 15:11, NIV).

All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along (Galatians 2:10, NIV).

Other Ways to Show “Laundry Love”:

laundry basket with colorful towels and flowersIn every community there are ministries and agencies that house people (homeless, disabled, at risk, etc.) In most cases those facilities may have washers and dryers but they are usually in need of detergent and fabric softener. Others may not have laundry facilities but would like to install them. Here are some ways you can reach out to them.

  • Contact the ministry and ask if they need laundry supplies. Ask if they have specific requirements since some washing machines require special detergents.
  • Organize a collection of laundry supplies. Use a hamper and a laundry basket as receptacles for the contributions.
  • Collect cash donations to fund laundry supplies. Send a small “laundry basket” home with each family to remind them to contribute to their laundry fund. You can furnish a list of thank-offering prompts such as “put in a nickel for every pair of socks you own”.
  • Hold a fund-raiser in the form of a game night. Serve light refreshments, award laundry-themed door prizes (mesh bags for delicate items, hanging clothes pins, dryer balls, etc.), collect laundry supplies, and set up games such as “pin the sock on the dryer,” “dryer sheet toss,” and “match the socks.”

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Heavenly Father, so often we take for granted the simple gifts you’ve given us, like clean clothes. Please make us aware of those for whom clean clothing is not so simple, especially when that might impede their ability to find work. Particularly help us recognize the needs in our community and show us how to satisfy them. Make us bold, Father, to go out into our community to meet the people who need our help. Send the Holy Spirit to give us the words to say and to be able to show love to people who might not be just like us. They are all your precious children. 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

June 2018

Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action — Plan a Refugee Sunday Service

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The Constitution of the United States of America outlines our freedoms! As Citizens, we are free to share the love of Jesus with people of all ages who do not know Christ! Plan a Refugee Sunday Service at your church to help our Sisters and Brothers in Christ to learn more about the refugees in their community and churches.

Ideas for your worship service:

  1. Share with your Pastor sermon notes provided by LCMS on Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) website.
  2. Sign-up for a free poster to advertise your service from LIRS and hang your poster up in your local store.
  3. Invite refugees in your area to attend.
  4. Invite a speaker from LIRS to attend your service and have them speak.

Ideas for a fellowship meal following your service:

  1. Have an ethnic meal and share recipes from different countries.
  2. Charge $5 per person per table and donate the money to LIRS.
  3. Each table might represent a country related to particular refugee areas; the table would have a host from the represented country who would:
    1. decorate their table with things from the represented country;
    2. make a typical dessert to share; and
    3. invite guests from their country to sit with them.

Ideas for awareness:

  1. Refugee Simulation Game from LIRS.
  2. Take a quiz to learn more from LIRS.
  3. Be an advocate to help support the refugees provided on LIRS website.
  4. Watch a Video on LIRS website to learn more about refugees.

Ways to help:

  1. Have your offering go to help support refugees and their families.
  2. Volunteer by connecting with a local partner, visit refugees in a detention facility, or give a donation to LIRS.
  3. Pray for the safety and protection of refugees and immigrants. Set aside one Sunday of your choosing to celebrate Refugee Sunday.

Our freedoms as citizens of the United States of America allows us to share Christ and that spiritual freedom we enjoy, forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation only through Him.

Let us set aside one (1) Sunday a year to help support our refugee families in our church and in our communities. These people need our love, support, and encouragement as they adjust to living in a new country.

What a wonderful way to help support refugees!

Resources:

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: www.lirs.org/refugee-sunday

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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