Set Apart to Serve (SAS) is a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) effort launched in 2019 to raise up church workers through conversations between influencers and the youth in their congregation or school. In collaboration with subject matter experts throughout the LCMS, SAS has developed resources to help people be more intentional in having these conversations about church work.
Now an SAS pilot program will field test these resources and seek new ideas for ways that SAS can benefit the Synod. To that end, each district president was asked to nominate a congregation or school to take part in the pilot program. The district presidents and their congregations and schools responded, and each of the 35 LCMS districts now has one pilot site. In addition, one Lutheran camp has volunteered to help.
The Rev. Dr. James Baneck, executive director of LCMS Pastoral Education (PED), noted that Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37–38).
“Responding to our Lord’s command, the goal of Set Apart to Serve is to develop a culture in the LCMS of forming, identifying and encouraging youth and adults to consider a full-time church work vocation,” said Baneck. “Through SAS, we pray the Lord will raise up a new generation of workers for His church.”
Each pilot site has a designated SAS coordinator who will help lead the site through the pilot project. The coordinators will attend two significant meetings — one online and one in St. Louis — to receive training for their congregation’s participation in the program. The LCMS PED will use the feedback from the pilot sites to improve the existing resources and develop further tools for a full rollout to the Synod in 2023.
Research reveals that many who are currently in church work were encouraged to pursue it by their pastor, parent or other church worker. SAS brings together key contributors from across the Synod to foster these important conversations about church work. Those contributors include both LCMS seminaries, the Concordia University System, Concordia Publishing House, LCMS Youth Ministry, LCMS School Ministry, Lutheran Church Extension Fund, Higher Things, National Lutheran Outdoors Ministry Association, the Schwan Foundation, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, the LCMS Office of International Mission, Lutheran Education Association and more.
“SAS is about forming, identifying and encouraging children and adults to consider serving in a full-time church work vocation,” said Baneck. “They will tell the Good News of Jesus Christ to our children and grandchildren for generations to come.”
To learn more, visit lcms.org/sas.
Posted Jan. 4, 2023