A little over 100 years ago, 5 small churches in the Midwest which shared a common Lutheran heritage, theology and practice joined together to form a synod of churches for fellowship and so that they could send missionaries to China. Through the years, God added more churches to our number so that today there are 115 churches in the US and Canada; our international mission focus has shifted to Taiwan, Japan, Chad and Cameroon; and our synod has grown to encompass a seminary, church planting, youth ministries, publishing and pastoral care.
The synod that was created by those first churches has grown to become a denomination called the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. It is easy for us (even those who have been members of the CLB all of their lives) to forget that our synod is the creation, the child, of our local churches. It exists only to serve as the representative of our local churches in carrying out the Great Commission and has no mission, goal, or reason for existence apart from our congregations.
Many of our parishioners have no idea how their local church is connected to those people from Fergus Falls, Minnesota who occasionally bring a greeting on Sunday morning during their worship services. Perhaps it’s worth repeating the Vision Statement of the CLB: “We see God stirring in our church a fresh passion to reach beyond our own comfort to all people among whom God places us. We embrace God's mission to bring the life changing Gospel to unreached people in Asia and Africa, and we sense God convicting us to more intentionally reach out to people who live in our midst in North America as well.
So when you think about the ministry of your local church, please remember that your congregation is a member of the CLB Family and the mission of your congregation includes ALL that the CLB does. As children depend on the care of their parents, the CLB looks to you for your prayer and support.
Roy Heggland is Chairman of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren Council of Directors
(Originally printed in Faith & Fellowship Magazine, March/April 2011 - click here for online version)
The Church of the Lutheran Brethren is currently only 59% to the contribution goal with only a month and a half left in the fiscal year.