Christ Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

November 2020 Newsletter

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 1:3-6

Well it is official.  As of October 18th, I am now your sole pastor. Or as some have come to term it, your “soul” pastor.  Ha! I like it.

In response, I have heard this stated in my life by several pastors and now I stand in the same place to say it to all of you: Congrats to you all!  You guys have, without fail, called and now affirmed a sinner to be your pastor.

With that in mind, I cannot wait to continue through everything that our God will call us to do.  We will face so many wonderful times together.  I guarantee it because I trust that our God is faithful.  We were blown away by the level of support shown when we asked for you to give to the Operation Christmas Child.  You all went above and beyond, and we thank God for it.

Similarly, by walking together in our faith and confession of Christ, we will see God at work in our midst.  I can’t wait.  Now more than ever you need to be prepared.  Be a part of Bible class, come to me to talk and express your hopes, your worries, and your joys.  I want to hear from you.  Call me up and schedule a time.

We will also come face to face with much sadness and sin in one another.  Trust the Scriptures when they say that all have fallen short of the glory of God.  I as your pastor have and will fall short.  I ask for your forgiveness and mercy upon me as one who is a partaker of the sinful flesh with you and shares in the Gospel too.

But no matter what comes our way, we will face it together because our Lord Jesus has bound us together.  You are stuck with me, and I could not be more thrilled by it. God grant me decades of time here. I love you all, and even better than that, the Lord Jesus loves you too. Despite all that is going on around us, the energy in our congregation I have sensed, and what others have expressed in these last few months, has been reassuring.

Paul’s words above give me great hope.  We will partner together in the Gospel.  We will share in this life of faith together.  We will grow and build together as his people.  I will be challenging us all in the coming months.  And whatever happens, God will complete it in us on the day that Jesus Christ returns.  So, take hope and confidence.  Join with me in tilling the fields.  I challenge you to come to me and ask, “What can I do?”  I promise you that I will have a task for you that we will partner together in.

With this all in mind, let’s get to the task at hand that we need you to know this month:

Budget

I cannot stand writing about this.  It is not my job.  Yet I know that the Pastor’s voice is always the voice that speaks the loudest.  So, if you want to know my thoughts on the budget, then here it is: I am responsible for feeding and tending to you spiritually.  I trust God that you all will respond by taking care of matters financially.   My job is to get into that pulpit and Belt out (pun intended) the Word of God with everything that God has given me.  Know that I never step into that pulpit not giving it my best in preparation, writing, practicing, and preaching.  You deserve and expect that from me, and God will demand it from me as his servant. That and giving out the Sacraments, teaching and visiting are the reason God still bothers to wake me up in the morning.
 
In every newsletter we send out a summary of the financials.  Take a look, as of right now we are $64,000 short for this year.  I trust our Triune God.  Money is not our God and we will not fear, love and trust in it.  God is the one who will take care of His Church.  We were blessed to have a lot in our savings this year to absorb this loss.  Every time giving is mentioned in the Scriptures, it is always connected to the fact that God moves people’s hearts.  So, whatever is given, it has its genesis from God.  When you give, it means that God has worked in you.  Theologically this tells me that giving is in proportion to preaching and teaching.

To put my money where my mouth is, my family and I last month prayed about this and decided to increase what we give to our congregation.  In January, we will also be challenging our church budget to image what God expects and motivates in us.  We also have Scrip, which now has an app that you can order from straight to your house! A portion of what you order and buy goes straight to the church.  A fundraiser committee is also getting restarted.  So, if you have ideas or methods, talk to us.  Call me up.  231-920-2519 is my cell.  715-385-3535 is the church’s number.

Thanksgiving, Advent, & Christmas Services

Our various Holiday Services are being worked out.  You will have 4 different opportunities to attend Thanksgiving this year in order for us to be spaced out enough.  Every service will have Communion.  Here are the following dates and times:

Wednesday 11/25 at 9:00am Thanksgiving Eve Chapel
Wednesday 11/25 at 6:30pm Thanksgiving Eve Service
Thursday 11/26 at 9:00am Thanksgiving Day Service
Sunday 11/29 at 9:00am Thanksgiving Day Service

With the exception of 11/25 at 9:00am, all the rest of the services are the same service.  Same sermon, same worship service, same liturgy, you name it.  The Wednesday morning chapel is a shortened 30 min service.  We have had a steady crew of 15 people at this service.

The chapel services are also functioning as our Advent Services this year.  Like our special Lenten Midweek Services during Lent, this year our Wednesday 9:00am focuses on our Advent theme and devotional.

Christmas.  This is the big one.  The last few years we have had 800-900 people attend.  Will we even have that many this year?  If we do, how can we fit you all in?  How many services will we need to have?  How can we space them out?  What will the service look like?  Do I need to clone myself and how can that be done?

As you can read, I have been driving myself crazy running in circles with these thoughts and questions.

Right now, we need more information, and we need your help to get that information.

So, if you do nothing else with this mailing today, please see the attached survey in this mailing.  It asks the questions we need to know.  Fill it out and return it to us in the office by Nov. 29th so we can plan out Christmas.  You can also call us at the church and answer these same questions.  If you have a computer, go to our website and fill out the same survey there under the tab “forms.” If you have our app, you can fill it out there as well.  There is even a place in the survey for you to leave all your burning comments.  We want to hear them!

We have the spreadsheet standing by with every member listed on it with what you will answer.  If we do not hear from you by Nov. 29th, we will move forward with planning Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services assuming you will not be attending them.  Help us by making this Christmas joyful as we celebrate Christ’s birth and by making it as safe as we can.  Next month I will write you on exactly what the services will look like and their times.  Stay tuned!

Spiritual Matters

Finally, since I have the rest of the page to burn here, a few extra thoughts from me.  There are free bibles in the back of the Sanctuary for you to take. (Not the hymnals!!)  They are on the pulpit side in the Narthex.  Several already have been grabbed.  We would like to continue to offer this.  So, if you know someone or yourself that needs a Bible, take one.  If you would like to sponsor and support this ministry, feel free to give money so we can continue to give out the Word of God.

I have been wanting to do extra things in the services that usually go under the radar or are neglected.  You will have noticed that I have had new adult members confess their faith in service.  We did the snowbird sending, the blessing of the shoeboxes, and baptisms are highly encouraged to be done during service.  I want you guys to see these things, it is good for us to witness and do these various liturgical rites.  It helps connect us to the wider picture.  Expect more of these things to come.

This is how we build ourselves up, and honestly, I find them refreshing to do.  We are partakers in the work of the Gospel, and you all deserve to see these things and take part!  It might make services a bit longer when they happen, but I honestly treasure these moments and times with you all.  You are beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and if we have something to celebrate, then we will be celebrating!  It bonds us and that is what the family of Christ does.

I think that is enough for this month.  As always there is more to say.  Bethlehem Walk, Children’s Christmas Program, Evangelism, Confirmation thoughts, Bible Classes Topics, etc. But I just don’t have the space to write all these things.  Keep reading the whole newsletter to find out more on some of these other matters.  But I have written enough.  Thank you for your time to read this, and I pray that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.  I like communicating some of the things and being honest with you about them.

So, until next time, our God will keep you safe in the arms of Christ our Lord!

In Christ,
Pastor Andrew Belt

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