Martin Luther argued that we are saved by grace through faith on account of Christ’s work. His critics responded by saying, what then of “good works?” The fear from the inception of Lutheranism was that Lutherans would become “spiritually lazy” and “neglect the needs of their neighbors.” This, however, was has not been the case. Lutheran Services in America (LSA) touches the lives of one in fifty Americans each year. The ELCA is a publicly engaged church that advocates at multiple levels of government on behalf of the needs of the “least of these.” The ELCA also participates in international relief efforts through a variety of ecumenical and interfaith partnerships.
Given the many fruits of the ELCA’s socially minded consciousness, you may be wondering why the Discipleship Academy offers a course titled, “Serving Our Communities.” Essentially, service is a way to put into practice our faith grown though discipleship. With a biblical foundation, this course will invite participants to see their community with a new lens of faith and become more deeply engaged with the community in which they live.
|Week 1||For God so Loved the World||Why serve? The biblical precedents for service and community.
Practice: Discuss why and whom should you serve?
|Week 2||Won’t You be my Neighbor?||Who is my neighbor and who is a “stranger” and why?
Practice: List the people in your community. How is the church involved (or not) in their lives?
|Week 3||The Cross in Our Communities||What needs in your community are going unmet?
Practice: Make a list of the needs going unmet in your community
|Week 4||Can We Help?||What resources do church members, the NJ Synod, the ELCA, and other service agencies have?
Practice: Create a plan to address unmet needs in your community.