Our Lutheran ancestors in Europe, Scandinavia and North America were passionate about spreading the Gospel, baptizing and making disciples.
The two largest Lutheran church bodies in the world (Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania) were blessed by the early efforts of missionaries.
Often, these missionaries and their efforts were initiated, funded and continued through the work of various mission societies organized specifically to reach the world, in obedience to Jesus’ own commission for his followers to “make disciples of all nations.”
Sadly, in the last generation or two, this mission fervor has cooled as many Christians, congregations and church bodies have become more inwardly focused, struggling to simply maintain the Church as an institution while in the midst of decline, loss of members and income.
The North American Lutheran Church, from its inception, has been intentionally Christ Centered and Mission Driven! In every aspect of our life together, we are focused on Christ and his mission. We have a Life-to-Life Discipleship initiative in obedience to the Great Commission. We are planting new congregations and welcoming Spanish-speaking, Chinese, Oromo, Amharic and other multi-national communities. We support global workers serving in various locations around the world, and we are encouraging every local congregation to partner with at least one international missionary effort.
We also have what may be considered the proverbial best-kept secret in the NALC — the Great Commission Society! The GCS is a voluntary group of individuals and congregations who commit to monthly giving to support local mission congregations, global workers around the world, and anything and everything having to do with mission in the NALC.
To get the word out about the GCS, “Moments of Mission” original artwork has been created and will be available for the first time at the 2017 Lutheran Week in Nashville, Tenn.
In keeping with the theme of supporting missions in a concrete and practical way, accomplished artist Pastor Phil Gagnon of St. Albert Lutheran Church in St. Albert, Alberta, has prepared 12 “Moments of Mission” watercolor paintings.
These paintings give glimpses of life and mission around the world, from Mexico to Tanzania and Ethiopia, intending to inspire hearts for mission and the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The original art pieces, signed by the artist, will be framed and available for purchase during Lutheran Week (Aug. 7-11).
The artwork will also be incorporated into calendars and notecards which will be available for sale. All participants and visitors to Lutheran Week are encouraged to find the “Moments of Mission” display and consider taking one (or more) of these beautiful, unique pieces of artwork back for home or church!
Proceeds will go to the Great Commission Society fund to support the NALC’s annual grant program which provides up to three years of emergency or transitional aid for missions and global workers, as well as start-up funds for new mission starts in North America.
By having this inspiring artwork available and visible in our homes and churches, it is hoped that mission will be on our hearts and minds day by day! It is also hoped that they will serve as an ongoing invitation for individuals and congregations to join the Great Commission Society by making a monthly commitment to participate in supporting and encouraging missions around the world.
Together, let’s be Mission Driven!