“Worship at the Cross” service helps church share God’s Word
Starting a new Jesus Cares Ministries can be challenging, but our efforts are always blessed.
St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schofield, Wisconsin, recently discovered that with their church’s “Worship at the Cross” (WATC) service.
Mike Hennig, Program Coordinator for Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM), shares their story:
St. Peter Lutheran Church started their program in November 2009, but it hadn’t been well attended. Then, on April 20, about 13 guests from group homes came. They were excited about the service after attending.
One staff member said this was exactly what everyone needed even though many of them already attend a church. She just felt they were never really getting anything out of the service or able to participate. WATC gave them an opportunity to understand and participate.
Another staff member asked for extra postcards to hand out. One of our guests told me that she had a twin that has already died, but the songs we sang reminded her that he was in heaven. Another staff member said she didn’t realize many of them knew the Apostle’s Creed or Lord’s Prayer until that night. And they weren’t reading it either! They were reciting it!
The people who attended couldn’t wait to share the news and come back next month. They even suggested that another church in the area offer this service at a different time of the month so that they can attend twice!
It appears that the right person was simply not receiving the invitation because they all said they would have attended back in November had they known about this. We are so excited to have this opportunity to share God’s Word!
In May, it got even better.
One van arrived at 6:30 p.m., and I noticed the group’s arrival in the parking lot, so I went out to greet them.
As we talked, the staff member said, “By the way, there are six more of our homes on their way.”
I did my best to calmly walk back into church to tell our volunteers to get more name tags ready. In all, 33 people, not including our volunteers, attended our service! That they enjoyed the service is clear from their reactions:
One man told me as he walked in that he didn’t want to come, but that it was good to try new things. I asked him to light the candle and ring the bell at the beginning of the service. He said he was glad he changed his mind and decided not to stay home.
One prayer request was for the people back at the group home that didn’t want to come to the service, “Pray that they want to come with me next month.”
Another man told me he wasn’t completely convinced he was forgiven since he had done some bad things, and that his family’s religion always told him he needed to do something to make up for his wrongs. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do enough” he said. I reminded him that Jesus did everything for us and that he could go home knowing he was forgiven. He smiled.
As they were preparing to leave, a younger staff member told me she doesn’t normally like or go to church. She changed her mind about that last night.
Our efforts are all in God’s hands. It can be a long and sometimes frustrating process. You keep finding new ways to invite people to come to a service, even thought it isn’t just about the number of people who come. Whether 3 or 30 people come, we have the opportunity to share God’s Word.
St. Peter holds WATC on their third Tuesday of every month. You can also learn more about Jesus Cares Ministries and “Worship at the Cross” by contacting our National Ministry Offices at 1-888-600-TLHA (8542) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.