Fruits of the faith grown through life in the church and participation in synod-sponsored training
Dear Friends in Christ,
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.
For if you do these things, you will never fall. 2 Peter 1:10
Peter considers the fruit of faith to be very important, particularly when we share this fruit with our neighbors. But this fruit is not only for the benefit of others— our faith is strengthened as we share it in the doing of good works. That is what makes a strong faith so very different from physical strength. We can get tired and injure ourselves if we overuse our physical strength. But with faith, the more we use it, the stronger it becomes. And if we don’t exercise it, it diminishes.
I am writing this letter to let you know, as a lay person, how the Southern Ohio Synod has helped me grow in faith and bear fruit in these past few years:
· Three+ years ago, the pastor of my congregation, St. Paul, Botkins, retired and we needed supply help. Two of us agreed to lead worship on our two non-communion Sundays each month. I very much enjoyed preparing for and leading worship and preaching the gospel, and I have found the Lay School of Theology, held twice each year, beneficial both in strengthening me for this work and for my own growth in faith.
· The Synod’s workshop for Eucharistic Lay Ministry prepared me to carry communion from the Table to the homebound members of my congregation.
· As a member of our Synod’s Stewardship Team, I have helped to plan the Synod’s Stewardship Academies, and have been grateful for what I learned there.
· At the most recent Synod Assembly, I learned about the many other ministries our Synod carries out together, and, as St. Paul’s treasurer, I am grateful for the good works that are being done with the mission support contributed by our congregation, and glad that St. Paul, Botkins is privileged to be a partner in that work.
My own faith is strengthened by the many fruits of our collective faith, as we come together to support and strengthen small congregations like my own. My participation in the ministries being offered by the Synod has encouraged me to make my “calling and election sure.” I have started the process to eventually become an ordained pastor through the TEEM (Theological Education for Emerging Ministries) program.
The Southern Ohio Synod—all of us working together out of a conviction that we are Stronger and Better Together—has been integral in helping my faith to grow. The programs and ministries we offer can inspire, develop, help solve problems, and lead to greater blessings. In the coming weeks, you will receive other invitations to support these ministries through your congregation’s mission support contributions to the Synod. I thank you for your partnership and ongoing support of these good works. “For if you do these things, you will never fall.”
Dale L. Poppe
Southern Ohio Synod Stewardship Team