Immanuel Lutheran Church in Medford, Wisconsin has been faithfully serving the community as a light for the gospel since the congregation was established over a hundred years ago.
Though many small towns and cities throughout the Midwest have experienced stagnation and loss, the city of Medford is considered “the industrial hub” of Northcentral Wisconsin by providing over 6700 jobs. Considering that the population of Medford is 4,362, this means that thousands of people drive into the city each day to work. Tombstone Frozen Pizza (owned by Nestle) was founded in Medford in the 1960s and is now one of its biggest employers.
It was a privilege for Praise and Proclaim to come and a launch a major outreach initiative June 25-27th. Our goal was to provide comprehensive evangelism training for the members and staff at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School.
Christian education is a significant source of outreach. Immanuel Lutheran School has over forty students enrolled and many of the children come from non-member families in the nearby community. In response to the growing number of people driving into Medford to work, Immanuel opened Little Lamb Academy of Medford (LLAM) to provide care for their children. The Lord has blessed this effort with over thirty children enrolled in the program.
In response to the demand and growing need for childcare, Immanuel decided to provide a major upgrade to their facility by building a new center that is due to open this fall. The evangelism training was held in conjunction with this major building project. It is the desire of the members and the school faculty to learn how to take full advantage of the new building for the LLAM along with being trained to give reasons for the hope they have in Christ throughout the community.
Praise and Proclaim provides a weekend of training that includes instruction and a meaningful experience for members to put their training into action. It is the intent of the training to have members feel comfortable talking about their faith in Christ and feel equipped to say something whenever the Lord provides an opportunity to proclaim the gospel.
It is becoming imperative for congregations in today’s world to not just invite people to hear the Word during a worship service on Sunday morning, but bring the message of good news to the people around them. Members at Immanuel were given training to do this both personally and digitally.
To assist Immanuel Lutheran Church in digital evangelism, a landing page was constructed to support digital advertising and for members to use as a tool in their personal witness. Both Pastor Daniel Iwinski and Pastor James Krueger provided short video messages revolving around hope in Christ.
Throughout the outreach initiative weekend, the weather was rainy and stormy. It was uncertain whether members would receive the opportunity to put their training into action. The Lord answered our prayers by providing an umbrella on Saturday morning. Several members and faculty from Immanuel Lutheran School went out into the surrounding neighborhoods to provide a free pasta dinner and point people to the risen Savior and what he has already done for the world.
Heavy rains arrived in the afternoon, yet we were very grateful for the opportunity to visit with people, provide a face for Immanuel at a person’s door, and discover that a number of people desired to learn more about the church and its message.
Some of the comments given during our afternoon debriefing session included:
“It was awesome to discover and meet three families who expressed interest to learn more about my church in only an hour and a half of being in our community.”
“It was definitely easier to engage people at the door when you provided them with a free dinner. Even though some people didn’t take the bag, it gave a very positive impression of our church.”
“I was a bit surprised to discover that everybody I met this morning was cordial and kind.”
“A highlight for me was meeting fellow members of Immanuel at their door. I didn’t know any of them. And, many of them probably have not come to church in a while. It turned out to be very positive visits.”
“It was fascinating to see that when you establish a connection with people, they are willing to hear you out. This experience was emboldening for me. I am much more prepared to talk to anybody about my faith in Jesus.”
We ask the Lord to bless the faithful gospel ministry at Immanuel Lutheran Church, School, and the Little Lamb Academy. They can be encouraged that there is an audience within the community of Medford who are willing to hear what Jesus has done for them.
It was fascinating to see that when you establish a connection with people, they are willing to hear you out. This experience was emboldening for me. I am much more prepared to talk to anybody about my faith in Jesus.
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