I confess that my own spiritual growth was not my top priority when my family began attending Luther Memorial in the summer of 2012. Blame it on the kids.
My children were 3 and 5 at the time and my wife, Krista, and I were “neck-deep” in making decisions to guide and impact (and hopefully better) their lives. Move into a safe community? Check! Find a good school? Check. Krista’s father is a Lutheran pastor and she grew up in the Lutheran church. As a result, she amended our “checklist” to include one final piece of the puzzle – find the right spiritual community for our family.
We were initially attracted to Luther because of the quality, size and scope of its Sunday School program. (A brief aside – it is easy with all of the amazing things happening at LMC to lose track of the greatness of the Sunday School. Every now and then the kids chirp some tidbit they have learned about the Bible and we have a momentary “Hallelujah” moment that something useful has actually seeped into their noggins. Such moments always deepen our appreciation for the Sunday School and the volunteer teachers that make it possible).
Thus, Luther was the final “check” on our list. We had invested in our children’s spiritual enrichment. My wife was happy! I am Father and Husband of the Year! I will now comfortably reside to my corner of the family room (where the football is always on and the pizza always has black olives) satisfied to rest on my achievements. End of Story!
Funny thing, though. I never contemplated how much I would come to personally like and value LMC. This article is designed to be an “introduction” and not “preaching to the choir” – so I won’t go into detail as to the various aspects of the church that forged such a connection. Suffice it to say, that the hospitality and diversity of the congregation, LMC’s community outreach and the Lincoln Square Friendship Center (and commitment to such mission), and an energetic and insightful pastor were all important factors. The Memorial Day Barbeque was just a recent reminder of how lucky we all are to be a part of such a vibrant, active, and (never forget) fun community. Such connection cultivated a desire to give back and contribute to LMC.
LMC did not create this positive community by happenstance. Nor will this community be maintained by mere inertia. I also wonder if “maintaining” is the true goal or if there isn’t a greater aspiration for which to strive. What are the possibilities here and what best serves LMC’s particular mission? Although I had dozens of sound reasons to refuse, it was these concerns/questions that prompted me to accept a position on the council at the beginning of this year. I also serve as the council’s liaison to the stewardship committee. (One more aside – I am very excited about the initiatives being developed by Justin Bush and the other members of the stewardship committee – but we will save that discussion for another day.)
I don’t know where any of these grand thoughts are going to take us. I do know that I have opinions on the subject. I know many of you do as well. I can’t wait to engage in such conversations, as we figure this all out as a congregation. I look forward to it!