My church newsletter pastor’s column for St. Peter Lutheran Church, Greene, Iowa, for January, 2017.
Telling the Old, Old Story Anew
“I love to tell the story
I’ll sing this theme in glory
And tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and his love.”
-Katherine Hankey, 1866
Our faith is built on stories. There’s the Christmas story of God the creator coming to live among us, the Good Friday story of Jesus giving up everything and dying the death we deserve, and the Easter story of his rising to defeat the power of death. The Bible, our book of faith, is full of stories about war and peace, miracles and healings, betrayal and redemption. Most importantly, it’s the story of Jesus and his love, and it is a story that includes all of us.
As a church, we continue to tell the “same old story”—the greatest story in the world—over and over, because it is fresh every time we hear it. The Gospel story never gets old, and there are always new, fresh ways to tell it. As the song says, “Those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This story can transform our world and lives.
As we begin this new year, I want to say thank you to those of you who have shared your stories with me, and who have welcomed me into the story of St. Peter Lutheran Church. At the cottage meetings in early December (a big THANK YOU to everyone who hosted or attended!), Christin and I heard new pieces of the story of what God has done and is continuing to do in this church. Many of you shared wonderful memories of how this church has been your home.
This year, part of my focus is how we share our story as a congregation, the story of what God is doing in our lives, our community, and in our world. One of the ways we’re going to work on this is by having church council members share a little bit in the newsletter each month. Thank you to Kelly Hoodjer for being willing to go first in sharing part of his faith story this month.
We’re also telling the story online through our newly redone website stpetergreene.com as well as on social media. Are you following St. Peter Lutheran Church on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? We are @stpetergreene on all those platforms.
On Sunday, January 29th, at the annual meeting, we’ll be voting to approve a budget for our ministry for this year. A budget can seem like a boring accounting exercise, but in reality, our budget tells the story of what we plan to do with the resources God has entrusted to us. A budget is a document of our faith. I hope you can come to the budget discussions on January 21/22 as well as the annual meeting so we can all be on the same page in this story!
This year, I am particularly excited we have the opportunity to expand our ministry with a new staff position focused on our youth and children. As we seek to help all people see their story as part of God’s story, this position will help us improve how we tell that story to the next generation.
Thank you for your part in sharing the story of God’s work in our world this year!
Pastor Daniel Flucke