Thursday, October 30, 2008

Focus on the Family's Truth Project, Wed. nights.

The last several weeks, of an on, I have joined the local townspeople attending the "Truth Project" at the local Alliance church. (Our Lutheran church is not local.)

It has been a very interesting and positive experience. There are a lot of people attending whom I have not seen in years, good friends even, who attend different churches. Also, I see many of our patients, again from different churches and walks of life. The discussion around the table is frank and good.

This is how is happened. There were big professional quality signs posted ahead of time along the highway. Then there was a professional quality flier in the mail. Then I ended up talking with two people who were thinking about going. Then I went to check it out.

Everything is very well organized and moves along at a tight schedule as people have babysitters, etc. Actually child care is also provided here, too.

At 7:00 pm there is a standing up food time. People bring things. And coffee, etc.
Then we move into the main hall, where the round tables have been set up with table cloths and a candle. Then there is the viewing of the video lecture (ca. 1 hour). Then there is discussion time and prayer. Then there is a short "teaser video" to get you ready for next time. At 9:00 pm it's all done and you visit a bit with your townspeople if you have time and inclination.

The contents has been mostly ok, and I think most Christians would benefit from most of it.

There are several things that amaze me about this experience: the open discussion, the seeing of a diversity of local people in one place (and it's not a funeral), the hugs and reunions, and the willingness of people to sit through 1 hour lectures that are slightly demanding. Everyone helps out. The tables are organized into weeks for set-up and take-down, etc.

The other amazing thing is the growth of this Alliance church from non-existent (when we first moved into town a pastor was just starting to try and organize people), while our three not that far away Lutheran churches rather have seen decline in the same time period.

What's the conclusion? We could provide similar lecture series and congregational learning from a Lutheran perspective, maybe the catechism, or the reformation. As our institutions are not all very well funded and it is tough to maintain schools, provide enough catechesis, I'd like to see more work done at the congregational level. Media is so pervasive and can be used effectively with ease, these days. We must think about using it to save money, time, travel costs and provided resources at the local level.

We won't have money like the LDS to link everything via satellite. But we can develop distinctly lutheran resources that can be utilized locally. Would the pastors feel supplanted by this approach? It should be seen as a supplement and a way to broadbase the work load. As long as there is electricity, it should work.

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