And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness (Acts 4:29)
This verse is part of the prayer of the Church in Acts. The people prayed for boldness to speak the Word – the proclamation of the Gospel.
The 175th Anniversary of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was on April 26, 2022. This is when the confessional German Lutheran Churches in “Missouri, Ohio, and Other States…” met to walk together in their confession. There were German speaking Christian churches in America at the time, but the churches were not speaking the whole truth of the Bible – they were not speaking the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It was also a world wanting to suppress that Biblical truth.
Our church body formed to boldly proclaim God’s Word in a place needing to hear the Word of God. Those Lutherans left Germany to be able to speak the truth of God’s Word in its fullness. They knew that God’s true Word was for the German Lutherans in every walk of life – farmers, factory workers, tradesmen, and entrepreneurs. But that is not all. God’s Word was for their neighbors and all people in a world trying to silence God’s true Word.
That tradition remains in the LCMS, today. We boldly speak God’s Word in its fullness. Our confessions speak the Bible in its fullness. Thus, our Book of Concord applies and speaks God’s Word. To be a Lutheran is to boldly speak God’s Word in its fullness to all people in our lives. It is to boldly speak in a world muzzling God’s truth and His Word.
“What does this Mean?” (Yes, that good Lutheran phrase!) We do boldly speak God’s Word in church every Sunday. It is easy for pastors to speak from the pulpit, but what about the people? The meaning includes Lutheran congregation members speaking the confession of God’s Word. So, we as pastors need to pray with our people the same prayer asking God to grant us boldness to speak the Word…and then go and speak the Word.
We need to equip God’s people for this speaking of God’s Word through teaching and training. Obviously, people will not know the truth until it is taught to them. It seems simple, but Biblical scholarship connects God’s Word to the lives of the people. Teach the Word! Training for the people to boldly proclaim involves learning how to apply God’s Word in daily life – within our vocations and a world hostile to God’s truth. A foundational teaching, and great place to start, is the summary of God’s Word also known as Luther’s Small Catechism. It then makes training with Each 1 Reach 1 or Everyone His Witness more effective to build confidence. With those foundations, the people can speak boldly in a challenging world.
When the people are ready to speak boldly, the Mid-South District offers GROW Grants for assistance. These are one-time grants up to $15,000.00 for creating self-sustaining outreach efforts. You are invited to consider how a GROW Grant might be used in your congregation to serve the Gospel to people in your community.
So, in this the 175th Anniversary of our Synod, we remember the boldness of the early Church, and how the truth of God’s Word was brought to “Missouri, Ohio, and other States” in the frontier days of our country. We do the same. This year, we boldly speak God’s Word.