What do these new believers love about their church?
They find wonder in worship. Worship is special. It’s not old hat, or yawning their way through the service. No, they are excited. They are thrilled. They want to be there. Worship is a wonder for them—to be accepted, welcomed, and forgiven by a loving heavenly Father! Wow! And so, worship is far from routine. It is their lifeline. And they love it.
Secondly, they want to tell their story. They want to tell others Jesus’ story, and what He has done for them. And so, they have a zeal for the lost, and especially for those still Muslim.
Thirdly, they want to get involved. They want to serve and help in the church. They want to be part of “their” church, attending Bible study, helping and serving. And so they are also zealous volunteers. They are often asking, “What can I do?” This is “their” church, and they are making a difference in it.
Through the addition of these new members from non-Christian (and also Christian) ethnic backgrounds, local LCMS churches grow in reflecting the new face of America. There are Arab Christians, and Pakistani Christians getting connected to LCMS congregations. There are converts from Islam, converts and seekers from Hindu faith. POBLO missionaries are the catalyst. They go out and find these people, bring them to the church, make them feel welcome, and give them the Gospel. And so, POBLO missionaries are working hard to add new people to the body of Christ and the local church. And this is happening in a number of congregations including Brookfield Lutheran Church—WI, Atonement Lutheran Church, Dearborn—MI, Redeemer and Trinity Rochester—MN, Shepherd’s Gate Shelby Township—MI, St. John Rochester--MI.
In a smaller sized congregation, the kind of zeal a new convert brings can be transforming. Andy, a 49 year old man from the Middle East is a great example. From the day that he believed he started reaching out to others, telling them how Jesus changed his life, talking about “my church”, which happens to be Atonement Dearborn. Pastor Rohwer (Atonements pastor) comments about the transformation: “Andy points out people in more than a dozen homes on his street and neighboring streets whom he’s been talking to. Andy comes to me and says, ‘Hey I got two more Iraqi families’, or “I talked with this guy and he wants to come with me to church.’ Andy sits on his front porch in Dearborn, without fear, sipping a cup of sweet tea and inviting his Arab Muslim neighbors to join him. He tells all of them how he used to be Muslim, but how Christ changed his life. He’s bringing people to the church. He just brought a new person last Sunday. This Arab man was thrilled to be welcomed at the church. And he’s already indicated that he wants to be a Christian.
Other new members include a Pakistani woman who volunteers as an English and sewing teacher. She is meeting and befriending Muslim women. The beautiful thing about many of these converts is that they don’t want to sit! They want to serve! And their zeal is making a difference in the life of the local churches. What a blessing!
POBLO missionaries spend hours and hours meeting with people, sitting, talking, helping seekers, showing them the way, speaking the truth. Now, these converts are LCMS members who themselves are spending hours to love, serve and witness to others. They are impacting the local church. And that’s the way it should be. Disciples making disciples making more disciples.