The Lord be with you
In 1995, a young seminary graduate took the call as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN. The church was located in one of the worst areas of the city. Few of the homes were owned by those who lived in them. Many of the buildings were dilapidated. Drugs were sold openly. The only other incorporated citizen in the area was a liquor store. Crime, mental heal problems, poverty, sexual misconduct, depression, and all the other ills of inner-city life were rampant. The devil was running wild in the chaos.
What could a young confessional Lutheran pastor do? Does “the church” have any appropriate role? The neighborhood needed renewal but should the church become involved?
This pamphlet in the Mercy Essay series is a serious consideration of the theology behind a church becoming involved in their community beyond the walls of their building. It is thoroughly Lutheran as it lays the ground work for a local church to become involved in their communities beyond Sunday morning worship.
While most of our churches are not part of an inner-city community, we all have opportunities to become involved beyond our church walls. At Our Redeemer we make sleeping bags for the homeless in corporation with other Christians in the area. We are also planning a community garden, in harmony with the local home owners association. These efforts, along with anything else we (or your church) might attempt, can be done in complete harmony with our Lutheran Confessions and the Bible. This booklet provides that theological rational.
If you want to know what that young pastor did, read the booklet. By-the-way, that man is the president of the LC-MS today: Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison. He wrote this essay.