By James A. Baneck
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,” wrote the evangelist Luke in the Book of Acts (4:12). During His earthly ministry, Jesus looked over the crowd with great love and compassion and said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Luke 10:2). So many do not know Jesus Christ and do not, therefore, have eternal life.
Today, still, the church prays for workers to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ and to teach His Word for life and salvation. Jesus instituted the Office of the Holy Ministry to do this work. In love, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) established other workers to support the Office of the Holy Ministry and to assist the faithful in their God-given vocations. These are teachers, directors of Christian education, directors of Christian outreach, directors of family life ministry, directors of parish music, directors of church ministries and deaconesses.
Jesus said, “Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37–38). We in the LCMS are praying, and the Lord is answering our prayer by using us as His servants in forming and recruiting workers for His church.
Collaboration is when a group of people come together to contribute their expertise for the benefit of a shared objective, project or mission. Dear friends, if this is the definition of collaboration, then the LCMS is collaborating with Set Apart to Serve (SAS)! Here are a few examples for which we give thanks and praise to God:
- The SAS leadership team. This includes the LCMS Office of Pastoral Education, LCMS Communications, and the St. Louis-based communications and marketing firm Standing Partnership.
- Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. Their expertise has contributed greatly to the building and ongoing development of SAS.
- Concordia Publishing House (CPH). In partnership with the SAS leadership team, CPH is developing a church work formation and recruitment curriculum for preschool through adult learners.
- Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF). LCEF is contributing $200,000 toward providing every LCMS preschool through high school with the SAS CPH curri-culum and resources for all students.
- The Concordia universities. Concordia presidents, church work directors and administration teams have been enthusiastic partners in the development and promotion of SAS, including preparing to highlight SAS at the 2023 Synod convention and contributing $5,000 each toward the CPH SAS curriculum.
- LCMS Youth Ministry and LCMS School Ministry. They have been tremendous partners with SAS by sharing resources and expertise, inviting SAS leaders to speak at events and write resources, and promoting SAS.
- Concordia Plan Services and LCMS Worker Wellness. Together with SAS, they are addressing church worker well-being.
- Worldwide KFUO. KFUO has partnered with SAS in highlighting church worker formation and recruitment every Friday morning on “The Coffee Hour.”
- Higher Things (HT). HT has been a great partner in sharing SAS resources, providing speaking opportunities and collaborating on our mutual commitment to form workers for the church.
- District presidents and education executives. Leadership at all 35 LCMS districts nominated SAS pilot sites. LCMS districts have also invited SAS to present at their conventions and board meetings and promoted SAS on their websites and to their circuits and congregations.
- National Lutheran Outdoors Ministry Association. These Lutheran camps have extended invitations to SAS to speak at their annual conference and have shared SAS with their summer campers.
- LCMS congregations and schools. The raising up of church workers takes place in our congregations and schools. Many congregations and schools are using SAS resources to increase these efforts.
These highlights don’t cover the full extent of the rich and marvelous collaboration taking place throughout the Synod in forming and recruiting workers in the Lord’s harvest. We give thanks and praise to God that, through us, He raises up workers for His church in the proclamation of the Gospel!
Learn more about Set Apart to Serve at lcms.org/sas.
Posted March 10, 2023