Someone has said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In regard to parenting, I’m not entirely sure that’s true. But the sentiment is deeply true when it comes to planting a church.
In order for Epiphany to get started it is absolutely essential for many partners to take part in the work: There is the work of a leadership team that makes decisions about direction and budget. There is essential coaching, networking, and on-the-ground ministry assistance from Fifth Act Church Planting. There is teaching from Redeemer City to City. There are financial donations from people and churches. And of course there are the prayers of the saints! I could go on with many examples of partnerships that are coming together to help plant this Lutheran Brethren church in the heart of New York City…
That last sentence leads me to the reason I’m writing this today: You see those letters in bold? They say “Lutheran Brethren.” What that means is that this church, here in NYC, is a church that adheres to the Lutheran Brethren’s Statement of Faith and Constitution. It means that, in the heart of NYC, the gospel message that we have been privileged to share together as a Church body is actively being proclaimed on the streets of the biggest city in America. But those words also mean more than that…. They also mean that the Lutheran Brethren is actively supporting this startup with your donations. For Epiphany’s first year the CLB’s North American Mission has contributed 40% of our budget. This support will continue for the next three years, and although each year the contribution level will go down, NAM will continue to contribute to insure the success of Epiphany Lutheran Church.
Epiphany still needs to raise the bulk of its funding from individual donors, but we couldn’t even begin this process if it weren’t for seed money from NAM. So this means, in a sense, that when you give to the CLB, you are part of the village it will take to raise this church! Even now your gifts are bearing fruit: Weekly, we meet for a Bible study with a committed core group of people. Already, we are hosting a twice monthly outreach in which leaders from Epiphany gather at a local restaurant to discuss the basics of the Christian faith with outsiders. Already, we are in talks to potentially rent a church building for worship meetings.
When you give to the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, you participate in this village. You are helping a church plant that is already beginning to share the gospel with people from literally all over the world! Thanks for your support.
Rev. Erick Sorensen is pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in New York City, NY.