"The Most Welcoming Church Around" Has No People

It was my first interview with a church.

I was so fresh out of seminary that I smelled like textbooks. I was just happy to get an interview because the openings in Chicago at the time were few and the candidates who had restricted to Chicago were many.

Especially when it came to churches who would take a chance on a new pastor.

After a tour of the building, I sat down with the call team and they peppered me with questions. And then I peppered them with questions. And as the conversation continued, I asked a question that stumped them, though I didn't mean it like that.

"You say you want children in the church, but I don't see a children or youth line-item in your budget. Why don't you have them in there?"

After an awkward silence, one of the committee members said, "Because we don't have any children here, currently."

And he was right. The average attendance at the time was 28 people on a Sunday, and the average age of an attendee was in their 70's. Which is not wrong, or bad, or problematic until you start denying that reality altogether.

Their gifts, their vision, their action did not match their stated desire.

"I know," I said, "but if you want something, you plan for it, right?"   Read more.

This Sunday's Readings
Jeremiah 11:18-20
Psalm 54
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

Fall worship schedule has started! Worship services at 8:15 am, 10:45 am and 5:30 pm.  

Sunday Morning Education for children, youth, and adults  begins this Sunday at 9:30 am.

Budget Forum - 9:30-10:30 am in Underwood North Join us for this Budget Forum if you are interested in learning more about Good Shepherd's spending plan (budget) preparation process. 

Stewardship Seminar: Gifting from Wills and IRA's - 12:00-12:45 pm in Underwood West  Wondering how you can help your faith community by leaving a legacy?  Come to this seminar to learn a bit about how you can bless GSLC and other faith initiatives through gifting through Wills and IRA's.

Pride Week Interfaith Service -  4:00 pm at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Join us as we celebrate unity, inclusion, and the beautiful diversity of God's creation.

Worship on Wednesdays (WOW) - Wednesday, September 26, 5:15-6:00 pm, Fellowship Hall - This monthly worship service is geared towards families with small children, but all are welcome! Join us for pizza at 5:15 pm followed by a family-friendly worship at 5:30-6:00 pm.

Coffeehouse: An Evening of Fun, Food & Music for Adults of All Abilities - Friday, September 28, 7:00-8:30 pm in Fellowship Hall - 25 adult and youth helpers are needed to set up, help in the kitchen, serve and clean up. Come anytime after 6:00, and stay as long as you want. Sign up here.

Dinner for Eight Kick Off - Sunday, September 30, 6:00 pm at Milton's Pizza & Pasta  - Join Dinner for Eight to share a casual meal and get to know different members of Good Shepherd's community every few months. Email Kris Allsbury to sign up. While the kickoff is at Milton's, most Dinner for Eight meals are shared among small groups (8 people) in homes.

Mail for Mnene Collection through  September 30 The Mail For Mnene table will be set up in the Narthex, so bring your letters of love and support. 

The Endowment Committee is accepting grant applications through September 30 . Information regarding the Fund is available online at gslchurch.org/endowmentgrant . Questions? Contact Joye Groff   or Larry Goode .

Good News, Good Brews: The Bible, the Beach, and Craft Beer - October 12-15 at Kure Beach Faith Center - Ferment your faith as you explore the Bible, enjoy the beach, and sample craft beer. Register here.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's  
Health and Healing for Mary O'Neal; Marcy Bishop, sister of Roxanne Deter; Kathy Hartenstine, friend of Paul and Gail Phillips; Ron and Marge Franck, parents of Bruce Franck; Jordon Fulton; Izzy Bighta, friend of Cortney Tyson; Patrick and Frannie Fleagle, family of Barb Newcomer; and Susie, friend of Natalie Macemore.

Sympathy to family and friends of Sonya Frantz at her death.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish, including Zaranyika Zhou and Lindiwe Maseko.
Zaran is 25 and enrolled at Midlands State University, working towards a degree in Geography & Environmental Studies.  Last winter he completed his attachment (internship) and is back at MSU working to complete his degree.  He and his brother Zvido joined our support program several years ago when their father was killed in an accident.  He spent time with our 2017 mission team. His Mail For Mnene partner is Rosalind Bowling.

Lindiwe is 23.  She was one of our first Mnene support program college graduates, receiving a degree in Theology & Religious Studies from Midlands State University.  She applied for a Masters Degree scholarship in theology in South Africa.   We have not received any updates regarding her acceptance in to this program.  She told our 2017 mission team  "I did not know there was something missing from my life - it was Good Shepherd. After entering this program my rise was so fast.  Our lives (the orphans) are a testimony-unbelievable!"  Her mail For Mnene partner is the Sloman family.

Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.
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