What’s New With YOU?
Updates from congregations around the Church of the Lutheran Confession
The Bible mentions only a few things which will never come to an end. God’s Word itself will stand forever even though grass withers and flowers fade (Isaiah 40:8). Love will never end even though prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will pass away (1 Corinthians 13:8). And the inspired psalmist instructs us that the Church (that is, Mount Zion) cannot be moved, but abides forever. Jesus went so far as to say, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 ESV)
More than ever, the events of the last twelve months have required the members of Mount Zion to live up to our congregation’s namesake by placing all trust in Him Who promises to forever preserve His Church. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, months of civil unrest, and the hotly contested presidential election, there seems to be much for a person to worry about these days. But not the members of Mount Zion Lutheran Church, and not those who belong to the Holy Christian Church—that eternal Mount Zion—either. For we trust in the Lord Who has redeemed us with the blood of His Son, justified us by faith through the Holy Spirit, and has promised to work all things for our good. What’s left to worry about?
With these things in mind, it’s easy to find the good hidden in the last twelve months, especially at our small congregation in Madison Heights, Michigan (a north- central suburb of Detroit). When in-person worship and Bible class were suspended, the Lord provided the ability to live stream Sunday services and hold online Wednesday Bible class. When Vacation Bible School was called off, the Lord provided Mount Zion’s Outreach Committee the opportunity and skill to produce a virtual VBS video series with help from congregational volunteers (view the series at mtzionlutheran.info/virtual-vbs). When the annual evangelism workshop was in danger of cancelation, the Lord provided an alternate arrangement in the form of an online webinar so that His people might still be encouraged in their personal outreach. When an in-person children’s Christmas Eve program failed to materialize, the Lord again provided a virtual proclamation, this time it was a video “mini-program” hosted by Mount Zion congregation with footage included from CLC children around the country (view at youtu.be/X362Am_xEv4). When baptisms, adult instruction classes, and potlucks became impossible indoors, the Lord provided backyards, parks, and pavilions so that His sacraments might still be administered, His Word might still be learned, and His people might still enjoy the blessings of Christian fellowship.
More clear evidence of the Lord’s good grace is that Mount Zion congregation continues to grow during these strange times—both in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and in number. Membership is at an all-time high as the truth of God’s Word continues to attract new people, many of whom have been drawn to the excellent job market in the metro Detroit area. The Lord has also provided Mount Zion with the wonderful gift of an abundance of young adults. More than half of our members are in their 20’s and 30’s, including several who, along with other at-a-distance Ohio members, regularly gather for monthly worship at a home in Cleveland. With all these gifts, in addition to the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Mount Zion congregation has much to be thankful for. With long-term plans to end mission status, relocate to a new church building, and possibly even open a Christian day school one day, Mount Zion congregation also has much to pray for.
Yes, it is certainly true: “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved.” The family of believers at Mount Zion congregation is firm proof of this gracious truth. No virus can move us from the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ our Savior. No worldly unrest can move us from the sure promise of eternal life. No earthly rule or government can move us from the steadfast love and mercy of God. Trust in the Lord, for Mount Zion abides forever.
Thomas Naumann is pastor of Mount Zion Lutheran Church of Madison Heights, Michigan.