Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Proclaiming Christ on the streets...how do we do it?

Proclaiming Jesus on the streets!

This is a picture of my field work church in downtown St. Louis. Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Rev. John Schmidtke has been the pastor there for 19 years and the church has gone from 30 people over the age of 70 to now over 150 people each Sunday, majority of which are under 40.

During the summer months they do something called, "Taking Jesus to the Streets." They gather a group of people and they start to sing gospel music on a street corner, in front of a church, or in someone's yard. What is amazing is that in the city, people start to flock from the homes and by the end of the night they do skits, sing more songs, and finish with a craft. The people are well equiped to share their faith to the people in the community and they always gather 20-30 names for the local churches. They literally take the message of the crucified Christ to the streets.

From this experience, I always wondered how do we as confessional Lutherans "bring Jesus to the streets?" Typically in a rural or suburban context, ministry is different. If we started blaring music over a loud speaker on a street corner, people would flee. We typically participate in the local parade and hand out water bottles with our names and go home feeling better about ourselves. But are we proclaiming or advertising? What ways can we proclaim Christ in a community that at times goes beyond the walls of our church?

The focal point of our church is the worship life and mercy to our neighbor, but what other ways can we proclaim Christ faithful to our Confessional roots?

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