In these first decades of
the 21st Century, Pittsburgh Lutherans are giving
birth to a renewed enthusiasm for the mission of the Gospel.
Nine congregations have begun to respond to God’s Call for
transformation. They have discovered that the best way to live
into this calling is through an intentional cooperative
ministry. We call it "Pittsburgh Lutheran United
Gradually our members are
learning that faithfulness to the challenge of the Gospel
requires a move out of the confinement of our church buildings
and unbinding the restrictions of traditionalism. This will
renew the congregations’ commitment to the Great Commission:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”
Bringing the joy of the
Gospel into the streets and homes of the people living around
our buildings requires a transformation of our congregations.
This is neither an easy task nor is it a ‘quick fix’ for
congregations that are in various stages of decline,
discouragement, and detachment from the Gospel’s Call.
The great prophet Elijah
provides an illustration
(1 Kings 19). Having defeated the
false prophets of Baal and publicly challenging the political
powers of his day, Elijah escaped arrest and began a journey to
Mt. Sinai. In his exhaustion, he sat under a broom tree and he
thought he might die there. Instead of dying, angels came with
food. He continued his journey in the strength of God’s
providence only to hear God say to him, “What are you doing
(1 Kings 19.13b)
This question was
followed by instructions from God. Elijah had a new mission
So it is with PLUM’s nine
congregations! As we have turned the corner from survival to
mission, members have begun to think in terms of the church’s
mission. Some initial examples of their transformation into
this new mission include:
Moving a Saturday Summer worship out on the front porch
(including fire pot and a fellowship of marshmallows and hot
dogs). This has attracted the attention of passers-by.
Giving a block party for the neighborhood. This has
resulted in baptisms and new member families.
Cooking, serving and delivering 700 full turkey dinners
One congregation, whose financial resources are very
limited, made the decision to take 10% of the weekly
offerings and divide them evenly between support of the ELCA
and a local mission or benevolence (a different group is
chosen each month).
The new enthusiasm recently inspired two visitors at one of
our churches to step forward with an interest in building
outreach to children and youth.
Two congregations are now offering a free lunch program for
The most recent
(on July 28, 2013) is the identification of $400.00 each month, in each
congregation, caused by a reduction of the congregation’s
monthly contribution towards pastoral care. The Pastoral Team
and the PLUM Board are challenging each congregation to put that
money into a Congregational Mission Fund that would be
used for new mission efforts. In other words, each
congregation could have $4,800 mission dollars annually, or
collectively PLUM would have $43,200 mission dollars available.
The ultimate goal is to
see each congregation as a Mission Outpost. We hope to
see the Gospel’s mission at the center of the congregation’s
planning, ministry, and life.
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