Tag Archives: Western North Dakota Synod

A Simple Question…or Is It?

October 31, 2022

Grace and peace to you from our Savior Jesus the Christ!

Happy Reformation Day!!

This is a significant day for Lutheran Christians. On this day we remember and give thanks for a 16th Century German monk named the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther. October 31, 1517 is the day that Lutheran Christians believe Dr. Luther offered 95 theses or the Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences that expressed concerns he had about the church. I don’t believe Luther was looking for fame as one of the world’s great church fathers and reformers. I don’t think Luther was interested in starting a new branch of the Christian tree. Luther was challenging the church to be in the daily practice of reform.

Here’s the simple and honest question I’d like us to think about on this year’s Reformation Day …

Is the church you and I are connected to a church that has reformed?

This church started a long time ago and hasn’t done anything new since. And refuses to do anything new now.

Or…

Is the church you and I are connected to a church that is constantly reforming?

These churches constantly look for new ways to bless and serve their neighbor in Jesus’ name; seek new opportunities to proclaim the gospel of Jesus for the sake of the salvation of all of God’s creation; and have an ongoing awareness of where the Holy Spirit may be leading them next in mission and ministry.

As I travel across this church (the ELCA) as a synod bishop, the number of faith communities I encounter that have reformed and have no interest in reforming is a bit disheartening.

I am also filled with abundant hope by the many faith communities I encounter who are reforming in amazing and grace-filled ways. It’s in their DNA.

Has your church reformed??

Or, is your church reforming??

As you think about the church being in a constant state of reform on this year’s Reformation Day, I’d love hear what’s happening in your faith community that is bringing forth reform!

Use the comment sections to share your faith community’s story of reform.

Until next time, may the peace of Christ be with you always and in all ways…

Bishop Craig

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My Heart is Full from LYO!!

October 24, 2022

In the past two years, I’ve been pretty inactive in posting something to my blog. I’m not sure why I stopped posting. I thoroughly enjoyed the connection and conversation that resulted in many things I shared. And I used many blog posts to sort through the things that I was wrestling with in my head and heart. One of the excuses I could offer is that the “busyness” of serving in the Office of Bishop sometimes gets in the way of the time it takes to put together a blog post.

Whatever excuse I might use, I’m going give it another try to be more consistent with posting. I won’t promise perfect grammar or sentence structure. I won’t promise deep theological dives into the mysteries of the Christian faith every time.

I will promise to share what’s been on my heart or occupying space in my head.

I will promise to share things that have given me joy as a synod bishop as I travel across this church and witness God working through each one of God’s children in amazing and holy ways.

Let’s start with today’s post.

This past weekend, I was invited to preach for almost 400 middle and high school youth and their adult leaders at the Western North Dakota Synod’s LYO (Lutheran Youth Organization) Gathering. This, without question, was/is one of the most challenging preaching opportunities I am invited into each year.

I LOVE the LYO Gathering. It is so joyful to see youth and adults from across our synod gathered for worship and prayer, learning from each other and singing a little karaoke together, community service experiences and snacks so abundant and sugar-filled it makes ones head spin and stomach ache.

And…this weekend event reminded me of why I continue to dislike one of the great clichés of the Christian movement! We’ve all heard it before. It goes something like this…

“We need to support the youth of our church because they are the future of the church.”

I cringe whenever I hear that cliché.

I believe deeply that the youth in our local congregations are not the future of the church, they are part of the church…TODAY! Right here. Right now. Attending the LYO Gathering this weekend gave me, and the entire church, a chance to witness firsthand just how true that is. The church is blessed abundantly because our youth are participating in the work God is doing through the church today!

What do you think?

Are our youth the future of the church?

Or are they already part of the work God is doing through the church here and now?

I invite you to take a few seconds and share a comment about how you are seeing the youth of your congregation blessing God’s work in the world today.

Until next time, may God’s peace be with you always and in all ways…

Bishop Craig