Synod assembly

This weekend was the annual synod assembly where 400 leaders gathered together from congregations across the Eastern North Dakota synod.
I had a great time reconnecting with other pastors and meeting up with people from across the synod.

Yesterday we gathered early in the morning for worship and then the business meeting began.

The focus this year is youth ministry, which is more than having activities planned to keep them amused. Youth ministry involves training and equipping our young people to live out their Christian faith in the midst of their daily challenges and joys. I have been hearing ideas that may or may not be used in the future.

One of the best parts of the assembly is hearing about the wonderful ministries happening in the Church (big C because we are all united as the Church, not individuals on our own).
EaND synod together raised over $53,000 from collecting quarters in m&m containers. And offering this morning raised over $10,000 with $5000 going to Heart River Ministry. $900 was raised in a day to help bring 2 youth from the C.A.R. to the national youth gathering.

One other thing that needs to be mentioned is the fact that TCM’ s own John Leininger has been serving as the secretary for the synod council, but now that his term is up, our 4th resolution (not in the packets) was to say thanks for his 8 years of service.

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Active Confirmation

One of the biggest challenge for any leader is to keep people active and interested.

This month for confirmation we learned about the three religions that all claim Abraham as the first follower of God: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These three are old, began in the Middle East, and all trace their heritage to the one God that Abraham worshipped (and people still worship today).

And of course, what learning about Abrahamic religions is complete without singing and dancing to “Father Abraham”?

Proof of their dancing:

 

And here is the good looking bunch of students with the volunteer guides:

  

First Communion Bread

Last month, a few of our young members decided that they were ready to learn about partake in the Lord’s Supper.

So they gathered together for a couple hours to learn about the history of Communion: who started it, who shares the meal, what the significance is for Christians.

It was both a class and an activity day.

They made the bread that they would eat with the rest of the congregation at their First Communion.

They made invitations to send to special family and friends.

And here are some awesome pictures from that day (sadly enough, one student isn’t pictured because she met on a different day):

the end of my favorite church season

remember how i said that lent is my favorite season?

(no? well, you should read this previous blog post to refresh your memory…)

but if you do remember, then you know that i love the honesty that comes with lent, when we are honest with who we are as fallen, broken, sinful people in a messed-up world.

as a [new] pastor, i also loved the busy-ness of the season.
i loved having twice as many worship services.
i loved reading and reflecting upon scripture more with others.
i loved the new structure for my week.

but lent is over, which means that we also went through holy week:
– Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph
– Jesus was betrayed by one close to him
– Jesus suffered and died
and of course,
– Jesus rose from the dead

lent may be my favorite church season, but easter is by far my favorite church holiday.

i love easter partly because it is not quite as commercialized as christmas.
but i love easter mostly because this is the time when we celebrate how God triumphs over the the harshest realities of our life: sin and death.

but no matter what the reason, i love easter because of what God has done and will continue to do all because He loved the world and Jesus died to save it.

and i think that such a reality is always worth the love and admiration and worship and praise that we give to God, who cannot be stopped by death or anything else in this world (including all of us human beings).

oh, and maybe i like easter so much because i think that we really ought to be celebrating easter EVERY SINGLE DAY of our lives.
because we would not be anywhere near as fortunate as we are if it weren’t for the fact that jesus went missing from the tomb that fateful morning.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!