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Power of the Word: From Law Enforcement in Alaska to the Seminary

It is the power of God’s Word that creates and sustains a believer’s faith in Christ.

There is also power in proclaiming the Word. 

In my experience in helping faithful Christians to step outside their comfort zones to proclaim the gospel, I see an amazing transformation take place. From timidity to courage — from fear to extreme joy — a personal evangelism experience has a lasting effect on a person’s faith. It’s the power of the Word in action.

A great example happened four years ago in Kenai, Alaska. Grace Lutheran Church hosted a Praise and Proclaim outreach initiative. One of the members who participated was a law enforcement officer named Chris. I recall how meaningful the canvassing experience was for him, but I never knew the powerful effect it had on him and his family.

Chris wrote about his Praise and Proclaim experience:

“God has used personal evangelism to open new doors for me.

After having served as a law enforcement officer for 23 years, I have seen my share of broken lives and families – destroyed by sin.

Recently my wife Jennie noticed a change in my attitude towards work. Law enforcement had become increasingly more dangerous with officers being killed weekly. In my opinion, it seems the public (and media) has less regard than ever before for law enforcement. School shootings are sensationalized and occur now more than ever. Substance abuse is an epidemic in most states. It was becoming more and more apparent change was badly needed, not just for my health and longevity, but for my family, too.

That’s where my story starts.

I am blessed to be the father of six children — three boys and three girls. When our prior church had a vacancy for the youth group leader position no one was stepping up. My oldest at the time was approaching the age to participate and I recall ‘struggling’ with the decision. After all, I had never participated in youth group as my parents didn’t push or encourage it. Not wanting the program to die and youth in the congregation to miss out I thought ‘Who am I?’ — certainly I have none of the skills or ability to take on that role. I was given the role and recall how nervous I was at first, but thoroughly enjoyed it and took pride in helping build faith in several youth of the congregation.

Then, I served as the evangelism chairman for Grace Lutheran Church in Kenai, AK. Dave Malnes from Praise and Proclaim Ministries came to our congregation in August 2017 to train us. Several of us went door to door, sharing information about our church and school and planting ‘gospel seeds.’ I admit at first it was more than a little scary, going up to a stranger’s door to share a message. But after a few houses, one gets into a ‘groove’ and the fear subsides. It was an incredible boost of encouragement to have people thank you for your efforts, many of whom were from other denominations and commented how they wished their church did something similar.

Fast forward seven months and we had two more neighborhood evangelism efforts completed. The last was a beautiful March afternoon. I enjoyed walking door-to-door with my wife, basking in the sunshine and sharing this important message with strangers.

It was during this time that I realized how much I enjoyed doing this. It seemed God was showing me this opportunity to ‘plant seeds’ to make a difference in people’s lives. As an officer, I unfortunately saw how the loss of a loved one would sometimes devastate families. More than just grieving, it was as if they had no hope, no coping skills — their entire world was turned upside down.

I felt by going door-to-door I was giving people the opportunity to have hope, peace and eternity. On some of the door-to-door efforts I took my kids with me and told them if it caused one — just one person to believe — all our effort was worthwhile.

Checking into WELS ministry, I have begun distance learning by studying Greek. Immediately it seemed like my ‘yoke’ became lighter and was a breath of air that was long overdue. It is with eager enthusiasm that I continue my studies so that I may someday have the opportunities to use the skills and ability to serve the Lord and bring others to the saving faith.

I am proof that God equips the called, he doesn’t call the equipped.

I pray my article may inspire others to ‘step-up’ in faith, participate in Praise and Proclaim outreach initiatives and see what new doors God opens in their lives.

Your brother in Christ,

Chris Gorr
October, 2017
The Grace Lutheran Team in Kenai, Alaska in 2017. Christ is second from the left.

Fast forward to 2021

Praise and Proclaim trained the incoming junior class at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Some of the class went to Redeemer in Fond du Lac, and the rest of the class participated at St. John’s in Wauwatosa.

I couldn’t believe it! 

There was Chris Gorr from Kenai, Alaska!  He is now going to school full-time at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.  

Seminary students participating in an outreach initiative at Redeemer in Fond du Lac, WI. Chris is in the back row, 4th from the right.

The Lord answered his prayer and provided for his family to graduate from Martin Luther College. And now, Chris is training to be a WELS pastor. 

Proclaiming the gospel is an amazing exercise of our faith because believers must fully rely on God’s promises and assurances.

“I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

1 Corinthians 9:23

Perhaps the greatest blessing we receive from sharing the gospel is a greater zeal to be God’s messengers.

And for some people like Chris, it can lead a person to becoming a full-time called worker.

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