member visits present challenges as opportunities
By the Rev. Kurt R. Wandry
God is blessing Lutheran Church of the Master in
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Members of the congregation know it and are responding to God's grace!
Lutheran Church of the Master is a congregation of 235 baptized members in
a growing community of about 25,000. With limited space for worship,
fellowship, and education, we are challenged, but also encouraged by all
that is happening to us.
Stewardship is becoming a kinder and gentler word at LCM. People are
learning that stewardship is not a dangerous
monster threatening to break into their homes and steal their money.
Commitments to the Lord and His church are generously given following a
visit by trained visitors to every member household.
Our stewardship task force, composed of committed leaders of the
congregation, plans the schedule of events, provides advance publicity so
members can begin prayerful consideration concerning their own
stewardship, prepares the materials to be used, and contacts selected
members inviting them to help with the visitation.
The visitors are then trained by the pastor in a Sunday afternoon session,
equipping them with the tools and information they need to feel confident
about their visits. On the Sunday visits begin, the visitors are
commissioned at the morning worship service.
All visits are made during a two week period. Visitors go to homes in
pairs wisely using their time to (1) listen to members' comments,
opinions, and ideas; (2) share goals and information about the
congregation; and (3) ask members to plan their involvement and commitment
to LCM in terms of time and talents, and tithes and offerings for the
Last year, using this process, members' planned financial giving increased
30 percent over the previous high, with commitments accounting for 90
percent of the
Throughout the year, stewardship articles appear in the monthly
newsletter, tithing is emphasized, and at Sunday morning worship different
members share a "grace moment", telling others how God is working in their
Through this mutual encouragement and support, the congregation is
strengthened and united to better serve the people around us. As people
respond to God's grace, they discover even more gifts they can use in the
Lord's service. They also see that God is blessing them more than they
ever before realized.
Our congregation firmly believes that quality leads to quantity. God
gives to us His very best; why would we want to give anything less than
our very best? Worship attendance at LCM averages above 50 percent of the
membership. Members actively participate every Sunday in assisting
roles. We have studied and are implementing Callahan's 12 Keys to an
A new organ for the enhancement of worship was dedicated on Thanksgiving
Day last year. A larger nursery and a fenced playground with durable
equipment have been provided for the growing number of preschool and
elementary children in the congregation. Secretarial help has been added
to the church staff. Plans are being made for immediate building
expansion. A larger sanctuary soon will be needed. Extraordinary gifted
and talented members willingly share their skills and abilities, as well
as financial resources, to build up the Body of Christ.
Challenges are seen as opportunities, as faith in our Lord Jesus Christ
God is good, and good to His people! His people at Lutheran Church of the
Master in Coeur d'Alene, know this, and are continually growing in their
stewardship. God has given us a wonderful location among the Northwest
forests, lakes, and mountains, as well as a highly visible corner in the
community. He continues to bless us and empower us with the Holy Spirit
so we can be faithful and respond to His marvelous love and grace!
The Rev. Kurt Wandry was serving as pastor of
Lutheran Church of the Master, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, when this article
appeared in the Fall 1995 issue of Faith in Action.
© Copyright 1995, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This essay first appeared in Faith
in Action. Articles in Faith in Action may be reproduced for use in ELCA
and ELCIC congregations provided each copy carries the note:
Copyright 1995, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Reprinted with permission.