*Responses by Katie Bixler, Life Group Coordinator
What are Life Groups and how do they fit into the greater mission of Faith Lutheran Church?
A Life Group is a group of people striving to live out the Gospel together. These are the people who care about you, your family, your dreams, life’s disappointments, and all of the big and little things that happen in your life. Life Groups come together to live in a growing relationship with the Lord and one another, and to reach and serve people in a variety of places. Life Groups have different passions and people, but the heartbeat remains the same: to love and help people where they are by connecting them to the extraordinary life found in Jesus.
At Faith Lutheran Church, we strive to be disciples who come together to get the life of Christ through a growing relationship with the Lord, experience the life of Christ in community with one another, and give the life away by reaching out and serving people in a variety of places. We believe there are mission fields everywhere and depend on our Life Groups to reach them.
What does the missional aspect of Life Groups look like?
Life Groups mobilized to bring ‘Good News’ can look very different – from helping a non-profit, to supporting children in another country, to identifying an unmet community need.
Nearly all our groups take their service beyond our congregation into the community by supporting local prison ministries or volunteering regularly at places like Feed My People, St. Trinity Food Pantry, Bethlehem Lutheran, and Lemay Child & Family Center. We also have life groups that take their mission beyond St. Louis to serve and make disciples.
Our members see that they don’t have to be a pastor to share the gospel – their stories and actions can speak louder than a pastor from a pulpit!
What are some ways Life Groups have engaged the community?
South County Foster Closet
- This ministry, which has grown into a 501(c)(3), was created in March 2018 when a group of moms began collecting clothing, shoes, and baby items to be delivered to children in foster care, free of charge. Since then, they’ve served over 500 children and youth impacted by foster care. Check out this video by KSDK!
Weekend Food Bags
- More than 10 years ago, a member of Faith was inspired by a food bag program her aunt was leading in Oklahoma. She went to meet with an area elementary principal so see how their group could be on mission and was surprised to learn that Weekend Food Bags was a need that would benefit 20 students a month right in her own neighborhood. Ten years later, the program provides 400 weekend food bags on average per month. The area schools also reach out with specific needs throughout the year, for things like hats or gloves.
- This ministry, which has grown into a 501(c)(3), uses their jewelry and accessories to increase awareness, raise funds, and encourage others to fight against sex trafficking. They are in partnership with the organization, Crisis Aid International, which fights sex slavery in St. Louis and around the world. For more information, visit their website.
Family Mission Trips
- Throughout the year, these life groups take part in family oriented mission by making cookies for our first responders, creating ‘birthday parties in a box’ for local organizations, holding drives for the food pantry, etc. They also venture out on a summer mission trip. Their main goal is to raise the next generation to be generous and spread the love of Jesus. Learn more by reading their blogs here and here.
What impact or fruit have you seen from Life Group efforts?
The community has felt our compassion, experienced our generosity, and seen the change we’re making. They now call upon us when they see a need we can help meet. For instance, last year, the local elementary school came up short on their fundraising efforts to put in a new playground that would meet the needs of all students. The principal called on us to see how we could partner. Together, through our members’ time and treasure, we were able to get them the playground they needed.
No matter what the mission, or where the service, our life groups have directly seen the impact of their efforts in the community!