The September issue of The Lutheran Witness lays out the six mission priorities of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I was extremely flattered and honored when I was informed they would be using my book Great Commission, Great Confusion, Great Confession, as well as the congregation I serve (Zion Lutheran, Mayer, MN) as an example of their first mission priority: Revitalizing Churches. The brief quote from the article is below.
“Zion Lutheran Church, Mayer Minn, is shepherded by the Rev. Lucas Woodford (see his book Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession? Published by Wipf & Stock). Pastor Woodford describes the congregation’s focus as growing out of Luther’s explanation of the Third Article of the Creed so that the royal priesthood called to faith by the Gospel is enlivened for liturgical living. God serves us in Word and Sacrament, and we serve our neighbors in and through our various vocations in the world. Rather than slavery to strategic plans crafted by worldly wisdom, the congregation is freed to live in Christ by faith and in the world by love.” Lutheran Witness, September Issue, p. 9.
Here are a few quotes of how I speak about it in my book:
When the saints assemble around Word and Sacrament, they do so to be ritually forgiven and freed, renewed and refreshed, discipled and dispersed out into the vocations of their daily lives. In worship, the royal priesthood is served by God. He loves us. He feeds us. He nourishes us. In turn, we are then sent out into the vocations of our lives to serve and love our neighbors. Thus, it is my contention that worship is the wheel that moves the church out into the world… (p. 166).
At the center of this wheel is Christ and His Gospel, who “calls” and “gathers” disciples around Him through Word and Sacrament, where believers are ritually forgiven and freed, renewed and refreshed, discipled and dispersed into their vocations to serve their neighbor and gossip the Gospel. Here others are then called by that Gospel, and so they too are gathered (discipled) into the community of saints through Word and sacrament. The pattern repeats itself, daily and weekly, as confessed in Luther’s explanation to the third article of the Apostles’ Creed. It’s the wheel that moves the church out into the world, while bringing people in to the faith. It’s a sorely underemphasized theology. But if it would be celebrated and championed by the church there would be, I contend, an increased vibrancy to the daily life of the church and an increased fidelity to the mission of God (p. 186).
As I get back into the swing of things, and as a reminder, this blog endeavors to thoughtfully, honestly, and collegially, talk about the mission of the Holy Christian Church and what it means to be authentically Lutheran, while “discipling all nations” in the 21st century. For those willing to enter the fray, I welcome your constructive thoughts and reactions.