Concordia Lutheran Church, located in Kirkwood, MO has long had the vision of “Touching People with Jesus Christ for Healing and for Service”. However, in the past year, the leadership’s intentional efforts to engage members with the needs of their community led to 660 members participating in acts of community service. This incredible achievement came through much prayer in initiating a new strategic plan which provided support staff, service opportunities, and – perhaps most importantly – teaching from the Word that connected people’s faith with the impetus to therefore serve their community.
In evaluating where they have come in this past year, Pastor Monte Haun describes how the church has transformed from just being a church where congregants can feel at home to one that is partnering with their community and causing a stir. Their involvement in activities such as hosting community basketball tournaments, having a prayer walk, or fixing a widow’s home are all examples of ways that the community is taking notice of Concordia’s heart for people. Not only that though, members lives are being changed as for some, they are validated for the service they were already doing. For others they are stretched to go out of their comfort zone to see and meet needs of those around them, and for all they are learning what it means to live out their faith in service.
As Condordia is celebrating their successes, they are striving to continue improving the manner in which they run programs. They are focusing more on the individuals in their church, particularly new members to do assessments of their gifts and talents in order to find a best-fit for them within the volunteering opportunities. They are also working to strengthen the connection that participants experience between faith and service, so that there is no doubt why volunteering is such a critical push.
Send Me St. Louis has been privileged to play a supporting role for the church by providing opportunities for volunteering with Send Me Saturday and modeling the value of having devotions that help people to further reflect and grow in their faith from their serving experiences.
For congregations that desire to increase their social service outreach involvement, Pastor Haun underscores the importance of truly getting to know and value one’s community. He emphasizes how critical it is to understand the context, assess strengths and needs of a community, and find the places where a congregation’s skills can join with those needs.
Today, when Pastor Haun gives directions to Concordia Lutheran Church, he explains that it is the large church across from the Magic House. His dream, though, is that one day people will be so familiar with the missional outreach of Concordia that they will give directions to the Magic House as the place across from the church that’s so intentionally involved in their community!