Oh, L.A.S.S.I.E., Where Are You?

Evangelism

Oh, L.A.S.S.I.E., Where Are You?

By Rev. John Diener

No, I’m not talking about the television show and our favorite collie that last aired in 1973.  More importantly, I'm referring to the approach to witnessing that was shared through our English District communications, convention and website with the acronym:  L.A.S.S.I.E.:  Listen – Ask – Seek – Share – Invite – Encourage! 

…  Has this approach been helpful for you in your individual witnessing?

…  Has your congregation implemented this approach in your canvassing, greeting or Vacation Bible School outreach?

What?  Out of sight, out of mind, you say?  Well…we will have to do something about that.  And by WE, I mean the Evangelization Team of your English District.  We have, as a modest goal for 2017, to encourage every English District congregation and every member of every congregation to lift up the L.A.S.S.I.E. model for personal witnessing and to enhance the outreach efforts of the congregation.  We propose the following sub-goals to help us succeed in reaching this goal:

1.       We are asking that every congregation establish 10:00 a.m. each day as a time of prayer to lift up witness, outreach and mission prayer requests.  You can pray the concerns of the Scripture of the week from the Witness and Outreach Sentences, the goals of your congregation for witness and outreach, for mission starts and missionaries, etc.  The possibilities for prayer requests are endless – and the time in prayer will be fruitful as you take these petitions to the Lord each day, joined hand in hand with your fellow English District family.

2.       We encourage you to consider inviting the LCMS Office of National Mission to host a workshop at your congregation of “Everyone His Witness” or “Re: Vitality – Connect to Disciple.”  Both of these workshops encourage you to look outside the walls of your congregation to make connections with the unchurched with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

3.       Help us help you.  What resources do you need to “Love Your Neighbor?” Give us some feedback so that when we meet on a monthly basis we can serve you as an English District and meet your witness and outreach needs.

This past week, we heard from God’s Word the encouragement to BE who we are in Christ – SALT and LIGHT – so that God is praised.  The starting point in sharing the Gospel and loving our neighbor is really just being who we are – and listening and asking.  While hosting an evening meeting at our church, we had a visitor come in our door nearest the office and he called out, “Hello, hello! Can anyone help me?”  I immediately left the meeting to greet him. Out of breath, he explained that he was directed to come to our church by the local gas station.  He was nearly out of gas and needed to return to his home, which was over an hour away.  He had asked everyone at the station for help, but to no avail.  The attendant told him, “Good luck. There are a couple of churches nearby, but they won’t help you. You probably won’t find anyone there at this late hour.  And if you did, they won’t let you in looking scruffy like you are.  And with the rash of burglaries lately they aren’t likely to let you in or help you.”  He explained that his wife was in tears since they had checked out two other churches and found the doors locked.  She feared the attendant to be a prophet. They were people of faith, but that faith was wavering. They were encouraged, however, to find our door open – a pastor present – and a listening ear.  I asked him how I could help but I knew the answer.  He needed gas money.  I gave him $20 with a condition – that he return to the same gas station and attendant with a message:  “That God answers prayer.  He is good.  His Church is alive and well.”  On his own accord, he returned 15 minutes later to tell me that the attendant could only say, “I’m glad to be proven wrong.  Praise God that there is still good in the world.”

While this man may have seen that gas money as an answer to his prayer, I saw him and his wife as an answer to prayer.  They allowed me and my church family to be what we were called to be – SALT and LIGHT – and they in turn gave witness so that God could be praised in greater ways than we can even imagine.

Oh, L.A.S.S.I.E., where are you?  I pray for all English District congregations and members -- that listening – asking – seeking – sharing – inviting – encouraging – begins with our next encounter and continues as we build relationships with those around us, loving one another as those who have been loved with an everlasting love.  Now that’s a Valentine worth sharing.  And it makes a world of difference – for eternity.

Rev. John Diener is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Wyoming, MI, and is the chair of the English District Evangelization Committee. Do you have a ministry experience you would like to share? If so, you, too, could be a guest blogger for the English District. For consideration, please send an email to Lynne Cobb, Communications Coordinator for the English District LCMS, at lcobb@englishdistrict.org.