FAITH IN ACTION LUTHERAN CHURCH IS A TEACHING CHURCH.
By that we mean that we seek to advance our congregation’s knowledge in the following ways:
1) increased awareness of their past (church history);
2) multiple opportunities for Bible study in order to develop growth in wisdom and awareness of God’s truth; and
3) by motivating the congregation to mature as Christians through active ministry in our community.
We strongly believe that being active in our community and congregation results in spiritual growth for members as well as providing an effective witness to the community at large.
Faith In Action Lutheran Church
Apache Junction Arizona
Read about our plans to develop a Home Mission Program for teaching those who know little or nothing about Jesus and the Gospel.
An in-depth Bible study program that will cover all 66 books of the Bible.
Faith in Action seeks also to serve as a teaching church for those pastors and leaders who visit us.
Our desire is to provide the types of resources that will assist any church to be more of a teaching community.
History of Christianity
Understanding the history of the church is critically important in our world today.
The apostles and disciples learned from Jesus and after the resurrection the disciples learned from the apostles. Early church leadership was trained to teach.
Today Bible illiteracy is everywhere. Knowledge of the history of Christianity is rare. Even on the seminary level the amount of focus on the churches history is minimal.
The development of church doctrine, the writing of the creeds that we say we affirm, requires an awareness of the history that developed these essential parts of the church. To fully grasp doctrine, one needs to lay hold of the history that formulated the development of that doctrine. The doctrine of the trinity and its development is an important example of this.
The Home Mission Program
Faith In Action Lutheran Church seeks to develop a Home Mission Program to reach out to those that know little or nothing about Jesus. This is part of our purpose as a Teaching Church. We are currently looking for churches that currently have organized and successful teaching programs. We start with a A Lutheran Pastor and his wife now missionaries for 20 years in Chad Africa
They have devoted their lives to growing and training native Missionaries to reach out to Chad people. The results have been impressive. We wanted you to see their approach, to understand what we are wanting to emulate in our own Home Mission Program. Read their story below and if you have a mission program that works we would like to hear about it.
Little Messengers of Jesus (Paul and Teresa Szobody, missionaries)
Jesus is the missionary sent from God. How did he enter this world to accomplish his mission? He humbled himself, joining himself to our humanity, embedding himself into our existence by way of a simple, hidden and devout family and community life.
During this “hidden life”—in Bethlehem, Egypt, and in Nazareth—the Son clothed himself in love with lowliness and precarity, as one seemingly unimportant, receiving a spiritual, intellectual and social education in the midst of common people. He followed a plain path that possessed a divine pedagogy, the Holy Spirit shaping him in view of later, more public ministry. In this hidden pathway the kingdom of God was already present. Twice Luke writes: He grew in wisdom and in grace with God and before people (2:40, 52).
In like fashion, when Jesus later called his apostles, he desired that they first be “with him” (Mk. 3:14). They would spend time together in a spiritual and instructional environment, like members of his family (Mk. 3:33-35). Jesus was their model of the balanced life of a servant of God, one that oscillates between activity and solitude, at times with others and then again alone with God (Mk. 1:35; 6:46; 14:32). This education of the Twelve was so they could be sent out just as Jesus was sent (Jn. 20:21).
It is only reasonable, therefore, that the Church today consider the early training of Jesus, and the similar way he prepared his apostles, as a pattern for preparing missionaries today. For Jesus is the mission of God—the states of his life unveil the ways the Father operates the grace of the Spirit in the humanity of the Son to accomplish his plan of salvation for the peoples. Since the acts, words, and dispositions of Christ’s earthly life express the eternal Word in flesh, they are thus themselves eternal: “The redemptive activity [of Jesus] is not a historic memory, but a reality for today” (Bremond). Consequently, the grace revealed in the varied aspects of Jesus’ life is ever present for faith; they are employed like molds in the hands of the Holy Spirit who sculpts the members of Christ’s body to the contours of Jesus’ life and mission.
Just so, a missionary training community in Chad, Africa is pursuing a pathway of education that seeks to be shaped by the grace manifest at Nazareth: a life together in simplicity and spiritual growth in knowledge and wisdom. In a hidden place, we seek to be made little, like Jesus, to listen from the heart to Scripture and pray it, to learn to love our neighbors, their culture and language, and to deepen our understanding of theology and mission work. All of this we do, like Jesus, in a context of family and community life, of simple labor and friendships among unreached people. Through this experience we pray that each person will offer themselves better fitted for service in the mission of God.
Therefore, this community exists so that
1) the new convert can find a place of instruction (be discipled);
2) the seasoned Christian worker and his family can find further training; 3) the expatriate missionary can find continuing education, and that
3) the Gospel be communicated through friendships with neighbors.
Our common life is built upon…
Prayer (daily office, worship services, spiritual accompaniment/retreats),
Word (biblical, doctrinal and spiritual readings and discussions),
Repentance (continual conversion and renewal in light of the Word), and
Work (common life/labor, friendship and loving witness, 1 Pt. 3:15).
If the Lord doesn’t build the house, the builders labor in vain. Ps. 127:1
Paul and Teresa Szobody, missionaries
After teaching in a seminary. In the Bush. Where a dozen or so different tribes. Sent their candidates for ministry to be trained. We began to wonder about the process. Seminary instruction. Tests. Diplomas. It’s all a western implant. As an institution. Something was missing, especially in the culture.
From colonial days. French influenced education. Was largely based on dictation. Chadians. Can memorize vast amounts of information. But you have no idea if things are processed with understanding. Furthermore, to form leaders who wash feet, whose family life is shaped by the gospel and whose spiritual life is conducive to shepherding God’s people. Well. These more biblical concerns can go rather untouched. In this culture of poverty and subsistence farming, a diploma is social privilege and power, quickly making a seminary grad a chief in a new tribe- His denomination.
So before starting a new missionary training ministry. Six years ago, we did some research and found that both Evangelical and Catholic charities. We’re having the same problem. To borrow 1 Kenyan chief’s remark. Bible schools were giving little boys big heads. So we sought under the Lord’s direction. To find a different way of training leaders, one more in harmony with the life of Jesus and one truly Incarnate that is, that would respect the pedagogy of African culture. And instruction through a relationship. An oral orality. Those are the two highest values in this Culture. These concerns. Let us back to rereading the early part of Christ’s life. Along with the insights. Of. Charles. foucauld a, Monk mentioned, who gave much thought to the mission. In African Islamic culture. This. All led to a sort of awakening. To the concept of Nazareth.
At Nazareth, Jesus passed through his own missionary formation. Through learning to relate well to his neighbors to become truly human and appreciating that humanity and culture and learning to be alone in scripture, reading, meditation, and prayer. And Common labor. Within community.
We pray that this little Nazareth of our training camp. Embedded within a totally untouched, illiterate, poor Arab village on the edge of the Sahara would be such a place at future Chadian missionary families might experience the specific grace. Of Christ at Nazareth. The grace of wisdom and spiritual growth formation and Bible theology spiritual life. Islam, missiology and most of all Incarnate humility in this obscure village where the missionary candidates learn to become a nobody. And all this through a. Pedagogy based on relationship and orality while living in community and common labor together in daily prayer. Officers and discussing classic texts and learning how to disciple others one-on-one. And on heard of in this culture, the wives learn everything alongside their husband, like Mary and Joseph in mission together. Families pass through the formation for one to three years. These three groups have completed time here and serve as missionaries in remote regions. To unreached Muslim peoples usually teamed up with their own. Missionaries.
A Chadian Lutheran Pastor overseas a group of churches from 5 to 15 or even more, sometimes quite far apart. He’s often gone on motorcycle or bicycle. Rainy season may, may through September is especially difficult. His family and spiritual life suffers. His preaching becomes dry and often legalistic, lacking life giving gospel. This place of ministry has become a sort of spiritual retreat for the whole family in a desert experience of spiritual renewal.
As a sort of boot camp between the busy pastorate and becoming Incarnate into a new culture. And language missionary. I find this work with chadians highly rewarding. And give thanks to our Lord for his light and direction
Mission fraternelle lutheienne au Tchad
Dr. Theology University of Strasbourg France