Wednesday, October 8, 2008

125 Years of Ministry - St John's Lutheran Church & School - Midland, MI

Earlier today I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a chapel service commemorating the 125th anniversary of the founding of St. John's Lutheran Church in Midland, Michigan (LC-MS). About seventy children from their school along with twenty to thirty adults visited the building above (our current church home).

Pastor Doug Janetzke led the service and briefly recited the history of the church:

* In 1884 a few German immigrants gathered in a home to hold their first worship service. That first service was held in the kitchen. A golf course exists where the house once stood.

* A year or two later a parcel of land was purchased for the sum of $500 and a building was erected shortly thereafter. That building no longer exists. It was near the river and that part of town flooded often. Eventually the entire neighborhood was razed and turned into a park.

* In 1908 the congregation purchased the property pictured above and built this building for around $3,000.

* In 1915 three large stained glass windows were installed as was the organ. Around this time the first English services were held.

* In 1955 the congregation outgrew this facility and built a new one about six blocks away. Click here to see the current facility and to learn about the church.

Particularly striking to me was the pastor's comment that over the years "thousands of people have passed through this church." What a staggering thought! What began as a small work in someone's kitchen has grown into a church that has been making disciples for 125 years. It has sent people out to serve the Lord as homemakers, mechanics, doctors, lawyers, engineers, ministers, missionaries, teachers, etc.

Having planted my own church only four years ago, I was left longing for the same sort of legacy to grow from my labors, should the Lord tarry.

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