You’ve probably noticed by now or heard that the church has been sending out postcards. We’ve received some concerns and questions from members about the purpose of the postcards. Upon further reflection, I realized that we’ve never fully explained why we send the postcards. Consider this my apology and brief attempt to rectify that!
The apostle Peter exhorts pastors in 1 Peter 5:1-2, “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly.” As your pastors, God has given us the responsibility not only to feed you with God’s Word and Sacraments, but also to watch over you and protect you from spiritual danger. The elders, as elected leaders of the congregation, assist the pastors in this responsibility of spiritual care. About a year ago, the elders decided to take a closer look at how we were shepherding the congregation. God has blessed Zion to be a large congregation. Our weekend attendance on average has been nearly 340 this year. We will welcome perhaps eight to ten new adult members through Adult Confirmation or Profession of Faith in 2017. This year, we will be confirming 11 youth. All of these are tremendous blessings of God for which we are thankful!
With the size of the congregation also come additional challenges to shepherding the flock. With so many families to follow up with, it’s very hard to notice every time someone is missing, and we want to be a congregation that notices and cares when members cannot be in worship and hear God’s Word. That’s why we ask you to fill out an attendance card each week, so that we can know who’s been missing and find out what’s going on and how we can help.
To fulfill our responsibility to shepherd the flock at Zion Mitchell, we send out a postcard when we haven’t seen you in church in one month or more. There’s nothing special about one month, but we’d like to notice sooner rather than later. I understand that there are many reasons you might be missing for a month. Perhaps you were on vacation, or there was an illness in your home, or you’ve had to work a few weekends in a row. Perhaps you simply just forgot to fill out the attend-ance card and our memories have failed us. All of that we want to know so that we can encourage you, pray for you, and provide any other kind of spiritual care you may need!
There are other ways we could reach out. It’s my personal opinion, however, that a postcard is a pretty casual way to let you know we’ve been thinking about you. It’s also an efficient way to make sure we’re reaching everyone in a timely manner!
So, if you receive a postcard from the church, does it mean you’re in trouble? Absolutely not! Consider the postcard a friendly “We missed you. How have you been?” All that we intend is to reach out and reconnect with you. You’re not on the naughty list, and you’re not in trouble. I personally write many of the postcards, and as I do, I pray for you and your family, and thank God for you as a member of this congregation. It’s a joy and privilege to be your pastor!