Records are meant to be broken.
Praise and Proclaim Ministries had the privilege of partnering with St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schofield, WI to launch our forty-third outreach initiative since our gospel ministry started in 2016.
Established in 1902, St. Peter Lutheran in Schofield (mysaintpeter.org) has over eight hundred baptized members and a K-8 school. To continue to reach out to the community, the congregation established Key to Life Christian Childcare and Community Center in nearby Weston.
The pastoral team at St. Peter has been serving the vacancy at Salem Lutheran Church – a congregation that was established over a hundred years ago in Wausau (population of 40,000). Located on the eastern banks of the Wisconsin River, the faithful group of members have lovingly preserved the sanctuary and property. After careful deliberations, the congregation decided it was best to merge with St. Peter beginning in April 2019. In conjunction with this merger, it was determined to partner with Praise and Proclaim to launch an outreach initiative to provide evangelism training for members and help them go out into the surrounding neighborhood.
A core group of members from Schofield now attend the new second-site in Wausau. Together with the remaining members of the former Salem Lutheran, a group of 72 adults filled the church basement at the new Wausau campus on Friday evening for two-and-a-half hours of training. On the following Saturday, participants received an opportunity to put their training into action.
However, the weather chose not to cooperate.
When people gathered to go out door-to-door to proclaim the gospel the temperature was 28 degrees with a brisk wind from the north. The conditions smashed the old record for the coldest canvassing date at a Praise and Proclaim outreach initiative.
But it was not the only record that was broken.
Despite a wind chill of nineteen degrees, 56 members from St. Peter Lutheran arrived to go door-to-door and established a new Praise and Proclaim record was set for the most number of participants to go out into the community to proclaim the gospel.
And the Lord blessed us.
Despite the cold temperatures, most of the neighbors greeted us warmly. They were impressed that we were braving the elements and going outside to share more about the “new” St. Peter Lutheran Church. One neighbor told the person at the door that he was looking for a new church home and was interested to learn more about the congregation. Some people met former school teachers or former classmates. One young family lived in a house only two doors away from the church. They appreciated seeing a face of the congregation and the invitation to come and meet the church family at St. Peter Lutheran. Several families indicated an interest to come to church on Easter Sunday. One mother even expressed great interest to have her children join the active Pioneers group that was meeting the following day.
A large majority of the people we met at the door were already familiar with the congregation since it was located on a well-travelled street. Two weeks prior to the outreach initiative, a large blue “St. Peter Lutheran Church” sign was installed on the property. Many people expressed to us that they had seen the new blue sign.
At the end of the day, our faithful group knocked on over 1,100 doors and were provided an opportunity to verbally proclaim the gospel 233 times! We rejoice in the number of gospel seeds that were planted. We also rejoice that we were able to provide a face of the new St. Peter Lutheran Church in Wausau.
Whenever you go out into the community, you receive some amusing responses. In Wausau, a gentleman answered the door and when he saw a person holding a clipboard, he immediately replied, “I already voted!”. Another group consisting of two ladies and two teenagers saw an open garage with several Hmong men inside drinking some beers. They boldly went to the garage and said, “I didn’t know there was a party going on here.” One of the younger men appreciated her response. When finding out about the church, he replied, “I don’t know St. Peter Lutheran, but I know Jesus!” and held out two twenty-dollar bills as a donation.
It was a blessing for Praise and Proclaim to partner with St. Peter Lutheran Church and help them start their new multi-site ministry in Wausau. We pray that the evangelism training will serve to enhance their ongoing efforts to proclaim the gospel in Marathon County. There is now a core group of members who are eager and equipped to go out and engage the community, invite them to future events at church, and plant seeds of the gospel.