My Changing Ministry
Gretchen Suskovic - December 21, 2020
Since 2001, I have worked for the church as the New Member Coordinator. What that means is that I identify visitors coming to the church and try to connect with them either on Sunday morning or with a follow up phone call or quick email or I schedule a coffee with them in order to introduce them to the church and answer questions. For those who express interest, I invite them to the New Member Orientation, walk them through the process and help assimilate them into the life and ministry of Christ Lutheran.
For nineteen years, this has resulted in about 5-6 New Member Classes per year as Christ Lutheran has consistently welcomed in about 150-200 new members each year. I love my work. I get to meet new people, talk about the church that Scott and I have been blessed to raise our children in and help them grow in their faith.
All that changed on March 15 when we closed down in-person worship.
How do you identify people worshipping online? How do you have an in-depth conversation with someone in the chat feature? How do you meet people for coffee when we are supposed to quarantine? How do you have a new member class when we can’t meet? How do you connect people to ministries that have shut down?
My ministry has changed a lot since March 15.
But then a couple of weeks ago, I got a glimpse of what my new ministry looks like. After nine months, on December 3rd we had our first online “Covid” New Member Class. These are people who have worshipped with us almost exclusively online. And here is what they are saying:
· “Thank you for the online worship. We watch every Sunday. The technology is amazing, the sermons are inspiring and we are having communion together as a family in our living room.”
· “I feel very much a part of Christ Lutheran even though I have never stepped foot in the building.”
· “We live in St. Louis, Missouri, and haven’t found a churchlike Christ Lutheran. Even though we don’t live in town, Christ Lutheran is our church home.”
· “I’m so glad that we found Christ Lutheran online. We look forward to worshipping in person once Covid is over.”
My ministry is changing. Oh, I am still meeting visitors, still answering questions, still inviting them to a deeper faith walk and still connecting them to Christ Lutheran, but it has changed. Online worship is not just an option when people are sick or on vacation. It is a legitimate campus with its own minister. Even after Covid has lifted, there will continue to be those who will never set foot in our buildings, never attend a class in person and never live within driving distance. It will be virtual. Nevertheless, they will be areal part of the large family of faith that we enjoy at Christ Lutheran.
My ministry is changing, and so are we all. . .for the better.
Changing and Reaching!