“There always seems to be enough,” says John Eich, pastor at Good Shepherd, Alma, Mich. “And that’s just the wonderful encouragement our Lord gives us.” Eich and the congregation of Good Shepherd embody this sentiment as they financially and prayerfully support future called workers outside their congregation.
Good Shepherd has been supporting those outside of the congregation since the early 2000s by offering scholarships for children from non-member families to attend its early childhood center. The members of Good Shepherd then decided they wanted to further this ministry outside their walls by sponsoring and supporting students outside their congregation who are studying for the ministry.
Erich Neumann, one of the students sponsored by Good Shepherd, first became acquainted with the congregation when he shadowed Eich and interacted with the members of Good Shepherd as part of Michigan Lutheran Seminary’s Taste of Ministry program.
“The Christians at Good Shepherd were hugely supportive of me as I pursued pastoral ministry at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary,” says Erich, who now is pastor at Calvary, Bellevue, Wash. “To know there were people I had never met before praying for me and the seminary was a tremendous blessing from God.”
Now, the congregation is supporting Erich’s brother Micah, who is starting at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary this fall. “The support that Good Shepherd gives reminds me that God will always provide for every need and that people are cheering for me and my classmates to reach the end goal of sharing Jesus with others,” says Micah.
Eich and congregation members feel blessed to support their fellow Christians beyond their church’s walls. They encourage other congregations to consider this ministry as well: “It doesn’t have to be a lot or a certain amount. That added support, those added prayers, and those added thoughts can do a lot to help a student go, ‘You know, God’s people are out there,’ ” says Eich.
Author: Nicole Tessmer
Volume: 109, Number 09
Issue: September 2022