I Count Everything as Loss
Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)
Paul could make this statement. Can we? We may sing about it, even pray about it--but as most people know, including me, it may still be too bold a statement to make about one's own life.
The basis of Paul's statement can be traced back to his confrontation with the Resurrected Christ. Prior to that time, he, Saul (not yet renamed
aul by Jesus) had been busily defending the old faith and the tradition of the fathers. It was his pride and joy to be numbered among the most faithful. When he heard of people following this new Way (not yet identified by the name "Christian"), he turned his zeal to their extermination because it was polluting and damaging the faith of the fathers.
It was on Saul's journey to Damascus to find and bind these "wrongheaded," deluded souls that he was abruptly stopped by a bright light and an unfamiliar voice: "Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" Recognizing that he was being confronted by the Lord, Saul asked shakily, "Who are You, Lord?" And the answer came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting"! That did it for Paul. As soon as he regained his eyesight, he turned around 180 degrees. Jesus' gracious conversion included a new name "Paul" to mark his new life. From that time on, his tremendous zeal was devoted to making known the Good News of Jesus.
Being a Christian in those days was risky, dangerous business. This letter to the Philippians was written years later by Paul who was now imprisoned for his witness of faith. The people who had come to know Jesus Christ through Paul's preaching at Philippi had not forgotten their teacher. Paul, their spiritual father, wants these young Christians to know that God is still in charge, regardless of what happens to him or to them. "I want you to know that what happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel." Moreover, as he recounts the course of his own life. he can say, "I count everything as nothing compared with the excellency of knowing Jesus as my Lord."
Only those who have walked with Jesus over the hard ways, the rough roads, and the dark times can make this assertion. The world has nothing compared to what the love of God brings to the human heart.
0 most loving Father, You will us to give thanks for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of You, and to cast all our care on You, who cares for us; preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no cloud of this mortal life may hide from us the light of t
hat love which is immortal, and which You have manifested to us in Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
** IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER! **
Registration Closes --
October 8, 2017
All Memorials due --
October 8, 2017
All Nominations due --
November 1, 2017
Hotel Block Rate Ends --
January 27, 2018
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN!
Any Southern District congregation, meeting in assembly, may submit nominations for offices of the Southern District. Positions open for nomination, nomination forms, and nomination deadlines, are available on our
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2015 2016 2017
$900,000 $900,000 $900,000
Budgeted Income $600,000 $600,000
Actual Income $569,247 $532,935 $507,263
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN SUBMISSIONS
Remember that submissions for the September/October issue of SOS are due by Sept. 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email (email@example.com). Please send photos as JPEG files, attached to the email. Congregational news that is received but exceeds space in the printed SOS will be published on the "Around the District" blog of our website. Thank you for sharing your news!
(click on image for the current issue)
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN UPDATE
All Congregations! Please remember to update your
Spirit of Southern lists. As indicated in the letter each congregation received, you will need to cross off any household that does NOT want a paper copy. Any households left on the list will cost $5.00 each. Thank you for your attention to this!!
|October 8, 2017
||Grace Lutheran Church
150th Anniversary Celebration
|Grace Lutheran Church
|November 19-21, 2017
||2017-2018 Annual Teachers' Conference
||Grace Lutheran Church and School, Huntsville, AL
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATIONS
Holy Cross - Mobile, AL Hope - Santa Rosa Beach, FL (Associate)
Trinity - Monroe, LA
Grace - Pensacola, FL
Immanuel - Bossier City, LA
If your congregation has extended a call, had a call accepted, or had a call returned, please remember to notify the Southern District office.
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
150th Anniversary - Grace Lutheran Church, Mobile, Alabama
October 8, 2017
Rev. Wayne Miller, Pastor
60th Anniversary - Christ the King Lutheran Church
August 27, 2017
Rev. James Endrihs, Pastor
SAVE THE DATE:
ANNUAL TEACHERS' CONFERENCE
Please save the date for the 2017 - 2018 annual Teachers' Conference.
Here is the basic Information:
WHO: The teachers and DCEs of the Southern and Mid-South Districts
: Annual Conference
WHERE: Grace Lutheran School and Church, Huntsville, Alabama
Sunday, November 19 - Tuesday, November 21
WHY: For Professional Growth, Worship, and Camaraderie
For more information, contact Glenn Gerber firstname.lastname@example.org or
the Conference Chairman, Tom Naatz at Grace, Huntsville
There's Still Time ... and Room!
St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Columbus, IN, will host "Best Practices for Ministry: Heartland" on October 11-13, 2017. There is still time and space for you to register to attend!
The Best Practices conferences work with the philosophy of offering a totally free conference to help churches find new ideas for how to best serve God and others using the gifts that God has given in the setting in which God has placed the congregation. The Heartland version of the conference started two years ago, to be even more accessible to folks in and around the Midwest.
Our theme for 2017 Best Practices: Heartland is "Greater Than," based on John 14:12. Some great keynote speakers, practical breakout presenters, and a variety of exhibitors will provide ideas for ministries in your congregation. As we serve God together, we are "greater than" we are individually!
While you are at the event, we will feed you and provide opportunities to worship as well as to relax. All for FREE - you just provide your time and travel / lodging costs.
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS 2017
We are in another "Hurricane Season." The Southern District takes this subject very seriously and wants to help as much as possible. First and foremost, if you receive a mandatory evacuation order, PLEASE heed it! Then, please take a few moments to register with the district so that information can be on file. This can be done by phone or on the District website,
. This flyer can be saved in your evacuation file. It contains all of the information that you will need if and when the time comes.
If you can provide shelter, or are looking for shelter, you can also use the website to provide or receive information.
___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . ___ . _
SOUTHERN DISTRICT EVACUATION REPORTING
In the event of hurricane evacuation, please contact the Southern District with the following information:
Name, Congregation, City, State Report information to: www.southernlcms.org
Evacuated (yes or no)
Church Workers (Mandatory reporting)--
If yes, to: City, State
Contact Phone Number
Congregation Members - 985-796-7577
Opportunities for Local Volunteers this Fall
This August we celebrate 11 years of service at Camp Restore - New Orleans. In that time, we've been blessed to host over 30,000 volunteers from all 50 states and more than 30 countries, including hundreds of local volunteers and nearby neighbors from across the Southern District.
This Fall, we're going to try something new: focusing on a specific construction project for our local churches and volunteers to get involved with, as a way to bring our nearer church family together around a common goal.
We're working out the details soon, in the coming weeks, as our first goal is finishing out the summer strong. Preliminarily, we are thinking of a project in New Orleans as well a project in Baton Rouge, with Camp Restore - Baton Rouge.
For now, keep up with the latest news from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and now Detroit at www.camprestore.org! If you would like to personally receive details as they come available, please email Pastor Goodine at email@example.com.
Standing on Our Heritage: 2017 Rural & Small Town Mission Conference
Registration is only open until Sept. 15! The 2017 National Rural & Small Town Mission Conference will be held Nov. 9-11 in Kansas City, Mo., at the Hilton Kansas City Airport Hotel. Don't miss out! We hope you'll join the event.
The conference will engage in in a focused Bible study based on the theme, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8). The blessings and challenges facing rural and small-town congregations today will be addressed. Congregations will be encouraged to cultivate ways to become healthy churches, eager to bear witness for Christ, able to show mercy to those in need in communities and develop a robust life together with fellow members. Sessions This conference is meant for anyone living in, serving or interested in rural or smalltown areas, with topics and resources specifically suited for this unique mission field.
Breakout topics include: * witness and outreach strategies, * strategic planning, * teaching the faith, * partnership planning, * equipping lay leadership, * use of technology in ministry and * many other topics affecting our rural and small town congregations.
This year's conference will again include a special track for strategic planning; this option will have a limited number of seats and require attendance in all six sessions. We are also bringing back the always popular evening Idea Exchanges. Choose from Rural Ministry Resources, Current Issues and Stewardship Ideas.
There is something planned for everyone ... from lay person to pastor, student to teacher! Registration Adult registration for the conference is $210 per person and includes all plenary and breakout sessions, materials, Thursday dinner, Friday lunch and dinner, and more. Rates are available for couples, meals only and groups.
Please contact our office with questions or for help with group rates.
Don't forget hotel reservations must be made separately from conference registration. The Hilton Kansas City Airport Hotel is offering our group a rate of $104/ Single or $112/Double (plus applicable taxes), including breakfast buffet per day per occupancy level; complimentary self-parking; and complimentary airport transportation on request.
Be sure to ask for the LCMS 2017 Rural & Small Town Mission National Conference special rate. The deadline for hotel reservations is September 21st, but we have filled our hotel block the last few years, so don't delay! Also, a few housing grants are still available for first-time attendees. Please don't miss out! More information and online registration are found at www.lcms.org/rstm/conference.
Greetings from The Lutheran Church of Vestavia Hills
Vicar Kyle Will is the new vicar at Lutheran Church of Vestavia Hills, located in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. One aspect of ministry that really resonates with him personally is the ministry done on college campuses connecting students to faithful LCMS congregations and campus ministries. This time can provide as much confusion as it does excitement and it is so important that students find fellow Christians to share in their spiritual growth. He, himself, became a Lutheran while attending an LCMS campus ministry.
For the past few years, the
Lutheran Church of Vestavia Hills has had an active Young Adult Group meet every week for fellowship and Christian study. Our young adult group has always welcomed students and alumni from universities and colleges in the Birmingham area into our group. We would love to get connected with any incoming students or young adults from your congregation who would like to have a church home away from home. It would also be great to let us know if you have any high school students in their junior or senior year currently considering the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jefferson State Community College, or Samford University so that we can get connected with them should they choose to come to Birmingham.
Kyle would love to connect your young adults to our congregation and group study. If you have any questions or would like to connect your students to our congregation feel free to email Kyle at
. We'd love to get to know your students.
Birmingham Campus Ministry Meetings begin on
THURSDAY, September 7th, 2017 at 6:00 PM.
Our meetings last about 1 hour and are focused on student-interests in Christianity. We will meet in the UAB Recreation Center in
. Pizza will be provided. If you are unable to attend we would appreciate your prayers. For more information, please click on link below:
Annual Southern Dist
rict Junior Youth Gathering
One District, One Gathering, One HUGE event
for our Southern District Junior Highers!
@ Lake Forest Ranch ~ Macon, MS
Early bird August 25th-September 15th $105
Regular registration Sept 16th- October 25th $120
Presenters: Pastor Tim Schutt and Pastor Greg Manning
SOUTHERN DISTRICT 500TH ANNIVERSARY of the REFORMATION CELEBRATIONS
Congregations throughout the Southern District have plans for celebrations and activities to recognize the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. The SD website contains a list of these celebrations with additional information.
STEWARDSHIP OF OUR CONGREGATIONS
In last month's update, I repeated information about the purpose of the
Stewardship of Our Congregations project, specifically, "To make a firm statement that a Lutheran presence in a community is important to us ALL - whether it's connecting and / or revitalizing current congregations or making a new church plant." I emphasized that
"The project is designed to provide a way to connect small congregations across the District." Were you surprised to learn that 48% of the congregations in our District worship 50 people or less on an average Sunday?
Our efforts to recruit congregations in Circuit 12 increased stewardship awareness but did not bear fruit in the form of test clusters. God has redirected our approach from seeking participant congregations (top down) to responding to self-identified congregations desiring to work together (bottom up). Stewardship, in coordination with MMF Rev. Eric Johnson and VP Rev. Dr. McNair Ramsey, is coordinating with pastors and lay leaders in Circuit 8 to form a test cluster in September.
The priority effort is to develop and communicate with Host and Satellite congregations the advantages and disadvantages of connecting with available digital technology to help meet each congregation's Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care ministry needs.
To support your efforts to develop stewardship plans (includes budget) for 2018, the stewardship web pages reflect details on What the District Does, Where Gifts Come From, How Gifts Are Used, and other How We Can Help Resources. I encourage you to check out the site and let us know how to make improvements that better serve you. The 2018 Mission Partnership form will be available in October for both online and paper and submission.
Your stewardship team is researching the Generosity Gap training materials package as a How We Can Help resource. Thrivent and Barna partnered to produce this resource. If you have subscribed to this product and have an opinion about its effectiveness, please share your thoughts with any member of the stewardship team.
We are excited about helping work out the details to form initial clusters for shared ministry. For more information on the Stewardship of Our Congregations initiative or to express interest in participating in the effort, please contact Stewardship Team members Rev. Dr. McNair Ramsey or Don Panzenhagen. Contact information and the project brochure details are on the District Stewardship page of the Southern District website.
Gary Grubb, Stewardship Chairman
WE LIFT UP IN PRAYER. . .
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;..."
John 11:25 (NIV)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with cancer:
Rev. Jerry Conley (Emeritus - Marianna, FL)
Mrs. Gloria Moritz, widow of Rev. Victor Moritz (Emeritus - Metairie, LA)
Rev. Sidney Ponseti (Emeritus - Baton Rouge, LA)
Mrs. Doris Taglauer, wife of Rev. Jim Taglauer (Emeritus - Folsom, LA)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with various health issues:
- Mrs. Melodie Rupp, wife of Rev. Bob Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
- Rev. Michael Shannon (Faith - Shreveport, LA)
- Rev. Rory Hermann (Emeritus - St. Augustine, FL)
- Rev. Dr. James P. Brown (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
- Dr. J. B. Marshall (Concordia College Alabama Board of Regents member)
- Rev. Perry McCulllam (Unity - Birmingham, AL)
- Rev. David Robatzen (Luth Church of the Resurrection - Pensacola, FL)
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed. Thessalonians 2: 16-17
THE GIFT OF GENEROSITY-Electronic Giving
A definition of generous includes this phrase:
Freely sharing valuable things.
. . .no strings attached. . .no tit for tat. . .nothing expected in return.
Valuable things: your child. What is more valuable than a life of someone you love beyond measure? As we reflect on this message, remember
Those Who Don't Yet Know Jesus. Your continued support for the mission and ministry of the Southern District is requested.
If you need a convenient way to make regular offerings, we encourage you to look into our electronic online giving options.
or contact Ronnie Giaise
at the Southern District office for more information --- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.