During the past few years the elders at Peace Lutheran Brethren Church, in Olympia, WA have witnessed the Holy Spirit leading young men into leadership roles within their church. At the 2010 Biennial Convention, the elders at Peace followed God’s leading and sent three of those young men, Joshua Lowe, Daniel Stenberg, and Joshua Sjoding, to represent their congregation as delegates. The following are some answers from Pastor Luther Stenberg. He also talks about how they are utlizing the talents and vision of the younger generation in planning the future direction of the congregation.
What was the motivation for sending younger members to serve as delegates?
We need younger men (and women) to take hold of leadership roles and bring “energy, and a different perspective” that comes from their generation. They have awesome ideas that are in touch with the age groups I have to admit I am not in tune with as I ought. They are not the future of the church – they are the church now just as every age group is. They also needed to know what the L.B. is all about and the best way for them to do that is to go to convention and rub shoulders with pastors, youth workers and members of other churches to exchange ideas and learn from one other. It sounds like it was quite effective and the learned a lot.
The only reservation I had in sending them was that they got all these offers from other churches to come and be a part of their ministry. We as a church are starting up something new as far as service format and content that I have not heard of or seen in other LB churches if not in any other church. You would not believe how far down the road we had to go and how long a process it was to get to this point for our Church Council to make the move toward such a shift. I would hate to see that be derailed before it is fine tuned by having our young leadership leave for other ministries. That is the risk we take in sending them to convention.
Knowing that LB churches are autonomous and therefore have a unique culture within their walls, such a format as we are developing may not “fit” their worship style, but there may be those churches who could benefit from such a format and help in reaching the younger generations. If this new format flies for us at Peace, we would hope to share our findings with other churches who may be interested with the possibility of sending one of our young men to their church to help them set something up.
How did you determine who to send?
Some of this question was answered above but more to the point. These young men have shown leadership within our church. One of them will be called to be an elder this Tuesday after a time of fasting and prayer and a confirmation from the Lord. We believe all these guys will help our church and our synod become more effective in the ministry/commission God has given us as the church of the L.B. Yet it was not only their leadership but we sensed the Spirit leading us to send them.
Pastor Luther Stenberg serves as pastor of Peace Lutheran Brethren Church in Olympia, WA