A Message from the President – January 2019

January, 2019

As we begin a new year of ministry together in the congregations of the Michigan District and in the District Office, let us heed and be encouraged by these five verses of Psalm 100 (ESV):

1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!

2Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his;

3We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

And his courts with praise!

4Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;

His steadfast love endures forever,

5And his faithfulness to all generations.

Each of us have much to be joyful about, just as we have much to be thankful for. Just think back over the past few weeks and reflect upon the recent Advent and Christmas seasons. Even with all the busyness that accompanies those sacred times of the Church year, what a time of rejoicing and thankfulness as we prepared for, and celebrated, the birth of our Savior.

As we go into the New Year, I pray that the certain joy of Christmas—“Unto you is born this day a Savior who is Christ, the Lord”—continues each and every day.

In December I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Todd Biermann preach at Faith, Grand Blanc. As he closed his message, he challenged the members of Faith to wish others a “Joyous New Year” rather than a “Happy New Year,” because “happiness” can be of such short duration. Happiness can disappear in a moment’s time; all it takes is one piece of bad news, an unkind comment, a challenging meeting, a family issue, or a financial worry, etc.

“Joy,” on the other hand, outlasts the fluctuations in happiness, because it is “in Christ” and flows from Christ and through Christ to us, and through us to others.

As you begin 2019, may God enable you to recognize the reality of this joy, and may the joy of Christ flow freely and abundantly through you to your family, your congregation, your community, and to your brothers in ministry. May God help us all accomplish this even in those darker and more challenging days. Even though our day may not be “happy”, we are still filled with the joy of Christ. May this joy “inhabit” all that we say and do for the sake of the Kingdom—and its King—that we are graciously called to serve.

I pledge to you that we in the Michigan District office will always do our best to serve you with joy, with the love, respect, and enthusiasm you deserve as a congregational member of the Michigan District, LCMS.

As the Michigan District begins its new year, one of the joys we continue to experience is the Here We Stand (HWS) campaign. We are now beginning year three of the campaign’s congregational phase. This is a very important year in the five-year campaign, one which will have a significant bearing on the overall success of HWS.

As of now, we have 143 participating congregations in the District. We continue to pray that many more will become participants in year three, which would follow the same pattern as year three in The  Future is Now campaign (2007 – 2012). We understand that sometimes it takes a while for the timing to be right for participation, and it seems that in the past this happened in year three. In December, we were blessed with several new congregations becoming participants.

To each congregation that is currently a participant, please accept our sincerest appreciation. For those who are currently making participation decisions, is there anything we can do to assist you in initiating the process? For those congregations who have not yet considered participation, but are open to doing so, what can we do to encourage taking that first step?

Finally, if you are a congregation that has already determined you are not going to be a campaign participating congregation, would you prayerfully reconsider your decision and rethink how you could become involved in whatever possible way? This would be a great encouragement to all of your brothers and sisters in Christ in the Michigan District and beyond (2 Cor. 8-7; 9:10-12).

I know I have shared this many times already, but please know that Ray Zavada, our Assistant to the President – Development and Campaign Director is always willing to help you with any aspect of the campaign. You may contact Ray at ray.zavada@michigandistrict.org.

One of the things Ray can provide you is alternate ways to become involved without putting the campaign in your annual budget. Many congregations have found a variety of creative ways to participate. He will be happy and joyous to share those with you.

Thank you again for the opportunity to update you on HWS. The 143 participating congregations of the District have already blessed the initiatives of the campaign abundantly. Nearly $6 million of the $10 million campaign goal has been given or committed already, which makes the goal attainable over the next three years. Please make 2019 your participation year if you have not already done so. Thank you.

A blessed and joyous New Year to everyone,

maier_signature

Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier, President
Michigan District, LCMS

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