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Students gain hands-on experiences in home missions—and more

“When the Board for Home Missions announced the initiative to open 100 new missions in 10 years, at Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS) we contemplated how we could play an even larger role in providing workers for those ripe harvest fields,” explains Mark Luetzow, MLS president. “We quickly recognized that those future missionaries were already on our campus. That’s why we partnered with Home Missions to place this year’s senior boys who desired a pastor Taste of Ministry into mission settings.”

A total of 10 MLS seniors traveled to mission settings across the United States for a long weekend in October. Three of those young men shadowed home missionaries in Texas and then attended the South Central District’s annual missionaries conference. Hear more about this experience from Daron Lindemann, pastor at CrossLife, Pflugerville, Texas, who hosted MLS student Ryan Dabe.

The week before he visited, I asked Ryan what he wanted to experience. “Can you show me what you do for outreach? I think our churches need to do more outreach.” Well, this is going to be a fun weekend!

Michigan Lutheran Seminary seniors and one adult male
In October, these three Michigan Lutheran Seminary seniors each shadowed one of these three home missionaries in Texas and then attended the South Central District’s annual missionaries conference. From left: Andrew Nemmers, Hope in the Heights, Houston; Jason Hanania; Daron Lindemann, CrossLife, Pflugerville; Ryan Dabe; Hans Thomford, Amazing Grace, Amarillo; and Will Eubank. Jason commented, “This was an awesome experience. I was already thinking of being a pastor, but this experience settled it for me.”

This visit, called Taste of Ministry, offers a hands-on extension of the education that Ryan is getting at MLS. I picked Ryan up from the airport on Saturday. Despite his physical and emotional soreness from a tough football game the night before and an extremely early morning after not much sleep, his bright eyes revealed his eager heart. Maybe that’s also because I treated him to the best tacos in the world.

I got to know him and his family, his developing dreams, his God-given strengths, and his ideas about outreach. Yes, his ideas. Already at this point in life, the Spirit’s fire was fanning his faith into flames for outreach. “Do you have any programs for outreach? How does outreach happen on Sunday mornings? Who makes evangelism visits?”

We attended a Jiu Jitsu competition. We grabbed a broom and mop for some special cleaning at church. I showed Ryan around. I explained how we are upgrading our Sunday children’s ministry, what we do in worship to welcome guests, when we make evangelism visits and when we don’t, and where at CrossLife new people are connecting to Jesus. All of these helped answer his questions about outreach. And more.

On Sunday during worship, Ryan led a prayer, threw confetti with kids during the children’s message, and soaked in our guest-friendly efforts geared for outreach. We prayed for him. He then observed adult instruction in our Starting Point class and small group Bible study in one of our LifeGroups. That evening, my wife and I hosted an Italian dinner at our home, inviting a few folks who are new to CrossLife and Jesus. All of these helped answer his questions about outreach. And more.

“I can see how a school really adds life to this place,” Ryan noted on Monday morning after observing our staff welcome students and parents to CrossLife Christian Academy. Then we opened the Scriptures and began studying for my sermon the following Sunday. Finally, we drove to a pastors’ retreat focused on planting new mission churches. All of these helped answer his questions about outreach. And more.

Preparing to return home, Ryan had even more questions. Good questions like, “Can I be a pastor someday? Could my ideas for outreach take shape in a mission church?” Those are questions that God and Ryan will be answering soon as he decides where to attend college.

Please pray for more pastors and teachers, for Ryan, and for a passion for outreach like his as we plant new churches.

Author: Forward in Christ
Volume: 109, Number 12
Issue: December 2022

 

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