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					What’s So Lutheran
 About Mission?

    Some Thoughts From
      Luther’s Work
        Quick Reality Check
 1991 Evangelism Strategy declared 1991-2000 a
  “decade of evangelism.”
 Over 300 programs and resources developed
 Millions of dollars given away in grants to
 The ELCA shrunk! (minus 100,000+ members
  and in weekly worship attendance)
 Conclusion: We have a real problem with
                The problem
 Lutherans sometimes see mission as “non-
  Lutheran” (especially evangelism).
 Disinterested in many cases (“it is our northern
  European nature to be quiet”).
 Oppositional in many cases.
 Often separate various parts of the mission and
  select one over another (we do lots of service
  with no evangelism in many sectors of the
 Look elsewhere for mission theology.
       Luther Has A Mission
 It is simple and it is clear
 Premise: Look to Luther’s simple works
  and he will be the clearest and most
 “What to Look for and Expect in the
 It includes evangelism!!
    Luther’s Mission Theology
 Initial caution: Don’t be a legalist
 “Be sure, moreover, that you do not make Christ
  into a Moses, as if Christ did nothing more than
  teach and provide examples....”
 “...for on this level Christ is of no more help to
  you than some other saint. His life remains his
  own and does not as yet contribute anything to
    Luther’s Mission Theology
 Point One: It All Starts With Christ as Gift
 “The chief article and foundation of the gospel is
  that before you take Christ as an example, you
  accept and recognize him as a gift, as a present
  that God has given you and that is your own....”
 Note that it is Christ himself and not the benefits
  that is the gift! This is the heart of “real
  presence” for Luther.
    Luther’s Mission Theology
 Point Two: Treasure and Use the Gift
 “Now when you have Christ as the foundation
  and chief blessing of your salvation, then the
  other part follows that you take him as your
 “Christ drives and compels no one. Indeed he
  teaches so gently that he entices rather than
 This is the outcome of “real presence” for Luther.
 Christ acts as your guide.
    Luther’s Mission Theology
 Point Three: As Christ is Gift to you, so be
  a gift to others.
 “After that it is necessary that you turn this
  into an example and deal with you
  neighbor in the very same way, be given
  also to him as a gift and as an example.”
 “This double kindness is the twofold aspect
  of Christ: gift and example.
      Being A Gift and Guide
 Love other people. In Luther’s theology,
  love of neighbor is the basis for all
  Christian interaction. Any other
  motivation is not guided by Christ.
 Show this love by caring for people in
  relevant and helpful ways (gift).
 Explain your care. Connect it to Jesus and
  faith practices (guide).
   Luther’s Mission Theology
 A summary:
  – Christ is gift to you (action)
  – Christ is guide to you (words)
  – Be a gift to others (action)
  – Guide others to Christ (words)
          How This Impacts
 Transformation is grounded in God’s gift
  to us in Jesus Christ.
 Transformation begins with a spiritual
  renewal – reconnect to Christ as gift and
 Mission happens when we follow Christ –
  giving ourselves as gifts and guides to the
         How This Means:
 “Changed People, Changed Church”
 The “pro me” (“for me”) of the
  Reformation meant a shift from “the
  church believes for me” to “my faith
  contributes to the whole faith of the
 Every Christian must ask this of
  him/herself before they can, with any
  integrity ask it of the church.
     Continuing How This Means:
  “Changed People, Changed Church”
 Corporate responsibility is the product of
  responsible people (this is true in the
  “secular” and the “church” worlds).
 A group that is static is unlikely to move
  until someone moves it.
 God calls on and empowers persons to
  change and lead people forward into new
  ways of living.
  Questions for every Christian
  and congregation to consider:
 How is Jesus a gift to you each day?
 How does Christ teach and guide you
 How do you act as a gift to others?
 How do you guide in ministry so others
  meet and recognize Christ?
    Some tips for church leaders
 Keep this flow of gift and guide consciously in your mind. It
  is at the heart of Lutheran theology.
 Give thanks for the gift and ask for the guidance of Jesus.
 Ask yourself daily, “Jesus, how can you use me as a gift
  today?” and “how did you use me as a gift today?” AND
  “How can you use me as a guide today?” and “How did you
  use me as a guide today?”
 Lift gift/guide up in Bible studies, preaching, teaching, etc.
  as a lens for people to see God working
 Utilize the questions at the congregational level/leadership
  level when making decisions (i.e. – Will we be serving as a
  better gift to our neighbors or a worse gift to our neighbors
  if we choose this option?)
     A Final Reminder

Jesus is Gift and Guide to you
  and sends you as gifts and
  guides for the sake of the

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