By Matt Miller, Send Me St. Louis
God is moving in powerful ways at Light of Christ Lutheran Chinese Mission, a congregation started by Immanuel Lutheran Church-Olivette in response to the large number of Chinese people living nearby. While the church might not be known by many, they have a powerful story worth telling. Currently led by Rev. Paul Shaw and his wife, Becky, Light of Christ is a wonderful example of a church serving their neighbors in bold ways in response to the Gospel.
According to Becky, Ministry Assistant at Light of Christ, connecting with and serving the Chinese community is a priority for the congregation. A primary way they serve this community is by offering services needed by recent arrivals to America and St. Louis. Their Chinese Community Service Center is one example of an intentional outreach that seeks to meet newcomers’ needs and hopefully connect them with the church. The center, originally operated by a different entity, actually almost closed, but the church took it over because they saw the strategic role it could play in helping serve their community. Through various programs, the center provides a gathering place for local Chinese people to develop themselves in body, mind, and spirit (based on Biblical principles). Additionally, Light of Christ facilitates a monthly health clinic that provides vital services to the Chinese community. In addition to their specific outreach programs, the fact that many of the current Light of Christ members were once newcomers to American culture makes their congregation an especially welcoming place where people can easily “belong”.
As Light of Christ seeks to be good stewards of the gifts God has entrusted to them, they have reached out to Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis and Send Me St. Louis for support. They were able to secure funding through the Foundation to expand the efforts of the Chinese Community Service Center, and Send Me is providing coaching as they seek to align their mission, values, and programs/ministries.
Woven throughout their activities is the Gospel of Christ and how it changes lives. Because of the transient nature of their church population (graduate students, families of students, etc…), they see their role as equipping future missionaries who will move elsewhere in the United States or around the world. One family who attended Light of Christ has now moved to Indiana and helped start a Chinese church there, while another couple went back to a university in their home country to start Bible studies.
When asked what it means to Serve Boldly, Becky responded that it means each person understands their role as an ambassador for Christ and that God wants to use them to impact others for eternity. Seems like a great place for all of us to start as we consider what it looks like to Serve Boldly.