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We had another wonderful LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ) Annual Gathering. It was October 5-8 in Des Moines. I always return from these gatherings inspired and excited about bringing Jesus to this generation.
    Our first keynote speaker was Professor Walter Sundberg from Luther Seminary, my alma mater. He  shared that historically it has been the restless ones in the church that have often brought the gospel to a hurting world, while the church establishment has often been complacent regarding this call or has even opposed those seeking to make disciples of Jesus in the world.  It was a reminder to me of the importance of never being complacent regarding God’s call in life.
The second keynote speaker was Margaret Manning of RZIM ministries.  She spoke of how quickly our culture has shifted from being faith friendly to being openly skeptical of Christianity and the claims of Christ. This shift has been especially pronounced among the millennial generation, those aged 25 to 34.  She would quote Frodo in the movie “Lord of the Rings” in a different context as saying he was sorry to see such things “in his  lifetime.” She mentioned that in the same way, we may regret seeing this shift in attitudes toward our faith “in our lifetime.” However we need to live in the world in which we find ourselves and respond.  Our loving response can be one which will always have the power of the Holy Spirit in it,  which is simply to issue invitations, to invite people to come and meet Jesus, or as Scripture says, to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”
LCMC president Mark Vander tuig would lay out a vision for starting a thousand congregations in ten years. He would also mention that even as we remain faithful to our doctrines, beliefs and values we need to be open to changing our methods and ways of doing things as our world changes.  He asked “what would you be willing to change so that your grandchildren are eager to attend church on Sunday mornings?”
We were blessed to be able to finish our time in Des Moines assembling food packets with hundreds of others at the gathering. The goal was to assemble thousands of packets to feed the hungry in our world.