Exercising leadership in the Church’s ministry for life remains critically important. In an effort to encourage and learn from one another, Pastor Mark Rhoads from Christ Our Savior, Loudon, TN, has answered five questions on behalf of his congregation’s life team. We pray for this wisdom and experience to help us all grow as life leaders.
Rev. Mark Rhoads and the Life Team of Christ our Savior Lutheran Church:
- How are you and your congregation leading on the issue of the sanctity of life?
Our Lutherans for Life team has a line item in our congregational budget. We provide pamphlets for free distribution and numerous books on the topic in our church library. We support a local pregnancy resource center with fund raising drive, baby showers and tours of mobile units. Representatives from this center speak at our church several times a year. We provide Life Thoughts (from the Lutherans for Life website) in our church announcements and monthly newsletter. We have a bulletin board that promotes activities, opportunities and information to the congregation. We have a Life Sunday worship service each year. This past year, we handed out carnations with a Bible verse to each person. In the near future we will be purchasing fetal models and donating them to local Lutheran Schools. This is possible through Thrivent Action Team grants.
- Why did you start a life team, and how long has it been in existence?
We started our Life team two years ago out of a strong desire to give a voice to so many in our community that don’t have one. A group of people in our church became alarmed at reports of sex trafficking, homelessness, end of life issues and abortion in our community. These were not issues that our church members had direct contact with, but felt led to address.
- What are the top priorities and activities for your life team?
Keeping ourselves informed on life issues and then sharing it with the congregation through:
Education—through the bulletin board, newsletter, and weekly announcements and written materials.
Advocating—through partnering with organizations involved with life issues.
Prayer—keeping individuals known to us as well as the “big issues” in prayer.
- Would you advise small congregations to have a life team, and, if so, how should they accomplish this with limited servants filling other roles?
I would encourage each congregation to be a voice for life. It starts with one person. It can be as simple as reprinting information off the Lutherans of Life website. You can also partner with other groups like LHM, LWML and Thrivent for special events.
- How would you advise pastors and congregational leaders to make the sanctity of human life a continual priority?
Recognize that these are issues that directly impact our faith. They may not touch our people’s lives directly, but they do touch us indirectly. The church needs to speak to them in a way that draws people closer to Christ. Too often, society sees the church as judgmental and condemning. Jesus had a much different approach. Pastors have the opportunity to voice a gospel motivated response to issues of life and sexuality. Help our people model the love of Jesus and they will be blessed.
Rev. Philip Young
Mid-South District Life Coordinator