With extreme snowy conditions blanketing much of the northern half of the U.S., arriving to warm, sunny California is not a bad place to be in February. With temperatures in the 60’s all week, it was a lovely time to go outside and proclaim the message of salvation.
Praise and Proclaim Ministries received an invitation to come to Crown of Life Lutheran Church to launch an outreach initiative. This multi-church ministry has four campuses in Riverside, Corona, Victorville, and Yucaipa. This initiative was being held in conjunction with the semi-annual western region board of home missions meeting that held at Crown of Life main offices in Riverside.
Rev. Steven Koelpin is the lead pastor at Crown of Life and heads up the ministry in Yucaipa. Rev. Eric Nelson arrived from Green Bay, WI last summer and leads the gospel ministry in Corona. Rev. Dean Ellis graduated from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary last summer and arrived to head up the ministry in Riverside and Victorville.
The training began on Sunday evening, February 24th. All three pastors and members from three campuses attended the training together at the newly refurbished fellowship room in Riverside. The following Monday morning, the pastors and members put their training into action and went out to proclaim the gospel in neighborhoods surrounding the campuses in Riverside, Corona, and Yucaipa.
On Monday morning, members met with their pastor at the three locations in Yucaipa, Corona, and Riverside to put their training into action and proclaim the gospel in neighborhoods surrounding their campuses.
The Lord allowed them to meet several people, proclaim a short gospel message, and provide a face of the congregation.
One team came across two ladies who were bringing a special needs child to school for the first time. They received information about a parent conference [see below] along with a short gospel message. While sharing what Christ has already done for us on the cross, the elementary-school aged girl gave the person a big hug. If only more people could respond to the gospel in the same!
A team was met at the door by a man who lived only a few blocks from the Riverside campus. He was a former member of the old St. Paul Lutheran church and school before it changed its name a few years ago. He admitted that he hasn’t been back to church in a long time. Now a single father with custody of three-year-old and six-year-old girls, he was very interested in the parenting conference and expressed a desire to re-connect with the new church and meet the new pastor.
Members from the district mission boards arrived on Sunday evening to begin two-and-a-half days of meetings. This included board members from the Pacific Northwest and Arizona-California districts along with two guests from Western Wisconsin district. On a beautiful, warm Tuesday afternoon, the boards came to go out into the neighborhood surrounding the Riverside campus to introduce Crown of Life, be acquainted with the nearby community, and provide a short gospel message.
It turned out to be a wonderful experience.
While walking through the neighborhood, you notice the historical nature of the homes that were built over a hundred years ago. They were proud owners who loved their community and kept up their properties. They were also remarkably friendly. Many neighbors were outside and more than willing to visit with us. They were familiar with the congregation and many were curious about the name change, whether the new church was Lutheran or not, and pleased to see the remodeling while maintaining its historical architecture. They expressed appreciation that the congregation was willing to personally engage their neighbors and provide programs to help educate and support their families.
One board member described the door-to-door activity an old-fashioned “front porch” evangelism.
Crown of Life is establishing itself as a credible family of believers who teach from the Bible, care about their neighbors, and seek to preserve its historical identity in the community. With a refurbished fellowship hall and offices, the Riverside campus is now serving as the home base for Crown of Life.
Praise and Proclaim Ministries was blessed with the opportunity to partner with the ministry team at Crown of Life Lutheran Church. As the outreach initiative came to an end, we rejoice that the Lord provided opportunities to plant the seeds of the gospel sixty-five times on Monday and Tuesday. We ask the Lord to continue to bless the training that members of Crown of Life received and that it may enhance the gospel ministries at all four campuses.