Praise and Proclaim launches outreach initiative in Franklin, WI
Praise and Proclaim Ministries had the privilege of partnering with Victory of the Lamb Lutheran Church in Franklin, WI to train members to proclaim the gospel. Despite stormy weather, the Lord provided a window of opportunity in the morning to go out and plant seeds of the gospel.
Victory of the Lamb Lutheran Church started as a new church plant in 2006 with Rev. Ben Kuerth being assigned upon graduation from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to begin the work.
The Lord has blessed the gospel ministry work. Membership has blossomed. A new ministry center was built almost two years ago that includes a large worship space and several classrooms to support a children’s ministry. The center is located off a busy road in South Milwaukee. Since it opened, worship attendance has almost doubled with approximately 350 people coming to worship each Sunday morning.
With an abundance of new visitors now arriving on a Sunday morning, another primary goal for the outreach initiative was to build a core team of members to help the pastors make follow-up connections with first-time visitors. After training on Friday evening, members went out on Saturday morning to put their training into practice by going door-to-door to proclaim the gospel. In the afternoon, members were going to receive the names and addresses of four families who have attended a worship service or their children recently attended the youth soccer camp hosted by Victory of the Lamb this past summer.
Our training emphasizes the importance of minding our own business when it comes to evangelism. It is God’s business to work faith through the power of his Word. It is a believer’s business to be God’s messengers and proclaim his Word to others. The great commission is not about gaining new church members, but to bring as many people as possible to heaven.
Evangelism is far more about God working for us, through us, and in us than it is about us. When the emphasis of proclaiming God’s Word is taken off ourselves, Christians can stop looking at the mirror seeing only fear and a lack of confidence. Instead, we can look to the power of the cross. In Christ, fear and timidity dissolves away. In its place, there is greater concern for lost souls, boldness to proclaim, and thankfulness for the privilege of being a messenger… all because of what Christ has already done for us.
The emphasis on finding joy in being sowers of God’s Word prompted one lady to stand up on Friday evening as the training came to close. She said, “I am a great example of a gospel seed planted.” She described how Pastor Kuerth had knocked on her door eight years ago. After visiting the church, she received a Victory of the Lamb coffee mug from a member.
The coffee mug remained in her cupboard and she was prompted to come back to church every time she saw it. A few months ago, she started coming to church with her family. She told everyone that she came to receive training this evening because she wanted to be a seed planter just like the pastor planted a gospel seed in her.
We give thanks to God for the visible fruit of faithfulness and her message of encouragement.
An important component of the Praise and Proclaim training is providing an opportunity to go out door-to-door to put training into practice. However, this is largely dependent on weather. In the days leading up to the outreach initiative, the weather forecast didn’t look very good. When it started to rain on Friday evening, we prayed that the Lord would provide a small window of opportunity on Saturday morning. And the Lord provided. Sixteen members arrived despite the elements. A wet mist hung in the air throughout the morning, but members were still able to go and proclaim the gospel. Not only did the Lord provide an open window in the weather, he also provided open doors.
Here are a few examples.
Teenagers are awesome at going door-to-door to proclaim the gospel! One member, a freshman at Luther Prep in Watertown, was home for the weekend and eager to knock on the first door. The door opened and he boldly proclaimed the gospel. The lady at the door heard his message and had tears in her eyes. Already a Christian and a member at another church, she was moved that a young teenager was going out in her neighborhood to share the gospel. What an encouragement!
One team met a middle-eastern lady at her door. Upon hearing the gospel message, she told them, “This is the first time I have ever been invited to come to church.” She was going to ask her husband to see if it would be alright to come to church.
One Muslim man listened intently to a message that provided a wonderful, biblical definition of pure grace. A message perhaps he had never heard before.
While the rainy mist hung on for two hours on a Saturday morning, sixteen faithful farmers planted seventy-four seeds of the gospel. We fully trust that the Lord of the harvest will use those seeds planted and that these seeds will not return to him empty.
When all the participants returned for lunch, the heavens opened and the storms caused us to postpone follow-up visits in the afternoon. The pastor rescheduled the follow-up visits for the following Wednesday afternoon.
We rejoice that the Lord provided an opportunity for Praise and Proclaim to come to Franklin, WI and our prayer is that members will continue to proclaim the “victory of the Lamb” in the months ahead.
The conclusion of the outreach initiative marks the beginning of an exciting adventure where members will continue to connect, engage, proclaim, and invite with members of the Franklin community and those who come for a worship service for the first time.