Update from District President Dan Gilbert - What Lutherans are doing in mission and outreach in northern Illinois. This issue: Another new way to connect in the community.
May 2017

Mike Mast explains the soccer ball colors to NID staff.
One Way ... Many Ways ... One New Way 
From District President Dan Gilbert

Our district's mission facilitators are always (always!) on the alert for new and additional ways the members of our congregations can interact with and build relationships in their community. 

Pres. Dan Gilbert
We know, believe and confess that Jesus, broken through death on a cross but victorious and alive again through his resurrection, is the  one way for broken people to return to the Father. ("I am the way, and the truth, and the life," he says. "No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6). But there is no one way for his people to tell others that Good News. 

There is not just one new thing that helps us go into our communities, become involved in people's lives and earn the opportunity to help them hear the voice of Jesus. There are  many ways , and thanks be to God, more district congregations than ever are looking for them and taking action on our local mission field to try something new.

So, here's one new way Mission Facilitator Mike Mast brought us this spring: colored soccer balls.
Not just any colors. The balls have colors that help tell the story of God's design in making us, our brokenness in sin, Jesus' perfect life, his death for our sake and resurrection for our restoration, life as a Christian and the perfect home waiting for us in heaven. The balls are a great witness and teaching tool with children, and not just children. They can be used in devotions, talking, mentoring and bringing hope to men and women, girls and boys anywhere.

Mike Mast already is working with our Hispanic outreach missions (where soccer is more than a sport) to make them available for summer outreach. Other congregations and Lutheran schools also will be invited to learn how to effectively use this new witnessing tool. Our ever-enthused Mission Facilitator quipped just this week: " Can't you just see it . . . my car goes down the road and suddenly someone says, Hey, there goes the NID Soccer Guy! Think of the people getting passionate for new starts!"

It's one new way among many new ways. There's one that's right for your congregation, for you personally. Have you found it yet? My prayer is you keep looking and trying them out. And that the Holy Spirit will multiply new believers as you go out into your community.

Today, I especially say thank you to our donors for your part in bringing these soccer balls into the NID. A new start partnership grant will help us purchase several hundred balls from J316 Ministries, which originated this concept. 

Here's a video from J316 that helps you see how this works if you'd like to get a better picture of the concept.

Thank you for your partnership!

Your online gift today helps the Northern Illinois District work with congregations to see and become equipped for opportunities the Lord gives them to be active in his mission, right beyond their church doors. Your generosity is appreciated.

New Starts in Lutheran Schools
Rev. Bob Geaschel conducts baptisms during a chapel service at Trinity Lutheran School in Burr Ridge, Illinois, earlier this year.
From District's Lutheran Schools Mission Facilitator Mike Zimmer
Last week I witnessed the baptism of an eighth grader and his mom at one of our Lutheran schools. Afterwards, the principal walked over to me and said, "I've been so busy with the end of the year stuff that I just realized there are at least five other children here who are not yet baptized but are thinking about it. I think I will talk with them before they leave for the summer." He got focused on what truly matters!
Here's Something New:
Cedars Lutheran Living Center
Concept photo for new senior residence center.
This spring, Cedars Lutheran Living Center became a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This is a new ministry coming out of St. Peter Lutheran Church, North Plato (Hampshire), Illinois, under the leadership of Deaconess Barb Hemme.

Barb Hemme
A board of directors has been chosen and is working to birth a residence for a new kind of senior living, which will be built on St. Peter's property. In this type of residence, a small group of older adults share a living module (suite of rooms) under the watchful eye of caring deaconesses and with other services. Modules interconnect and can be added as needed to expand the center as the number of groups grows.

Deaconess Hemme's dream also includes adding a separate Deaconess House where LCMS deaconesses could make their home, whether they were employees of this ministry, worked elsewhere in the district, or were seeking a home in their retirement.

RSO status now enables Cedars to begin seeking funding as the project's next step. Add this to your prayers, won't you? This looks to be an interesting model and a wonderful new door for churches to engage with America's growing aging population.

Deaconess Hemme was CFO of a manufacturing company before going through deaconess formation where her vision for Cedars Lutheran Living Center evolved.

For more information, visit
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New Starts...New Believers, a Mission Movement of the LCMS Northern Illinois District | nidlcms.org  | NIDnews.org for Northern Light Online

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