Trinity Mission Outreach
"All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on Earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”
In this day and age any mission effort is perceived as politically incorrect. Yet Jesus, who we consider Lord, directed us to make disciples. So we believe that mission work is not an option. Neither do we believe that mission work should be forced, after all we were saved by grace, and grace should be our attitude in missions. At Trinity Lutheran Church, mission flows naturally out of our “Ministry of the Hand” (Acts 2:42) orientation. Each of the five Ministry emphases, that we dedicate ourselves to, also have mission components to them. Below are a few of the 87 different missions and ministries at Trinity.
The Ministry of The Word
A Devotion to the Disciples' Teaching
Lutherans especially emphasize the Ministry of the Word. We express the good news of God's grace, of course, in worship and in the variety of Sunday morning educational experiences. We also have a preschool and an afterschool which are based on the Gospel. Other extensions of that mission include: preaching at local nursing homes; a radio Ministry on WMHR FM; Vacation Bible School -- for children ages 4 to 13; campus ministry focused on Bible study; a distribution of Bibles and Christian literature at the New York State Fair; support for medical missionary teams in Kyrgyzstan and Turkey (Trinity Lutheran has been a supporter of international missions for over 25 years); direct support for Bible translators for the Chimila people in Colombia; Parables in the Park -- a ministry that shares the parables of Jesus in a relaxed setting; various home Bible studies; general mission support for churches throughout New York and Pennsylvania, (at least 10% of our budget goes to these efforts); ministry and sacramental support for our sister congregation in Interlaken, New York, which is presently without a pastor; confirmation class for children ages 11 through 13; adult instruction class for people who are interested in learning more about Christianity and Lutheranism.
The Ministry of Fellowship
A Devotion to Fellowship
Each week, Christians at Trinity gather in Fellowship after church and in the homes of various members. On occasion, younger mom's gather with each other for crafts and fellowship in SCROP: Socially, Creatively, Renewing Ourselves through Projects! Students often gather for lunch after church, and during the week for dinner. Preschool moms gather for meetings throughout the year to do scrap booking for the children in preschool. We've had neighborhood picnics and Oktoberfests, and picnics in the Park -- utilizing some of the beautiful parks around Ithaca. Although it may not always seem like it, our ministry teams, including the church council, pre-school board, trustees who care for the church property, and other groups who gather on a regular basis, are both work- and rest-oriented. There are also times for leaders to have fellowship together. We have a growing and active youth group, that meets regularly for fellowship, prayer, Bible study, and doing good works of love.
The Ministry of The Sacraments
A Devotion to Sacramental Ministry
Lutherans believe that there are two sacraments -- baptism and Holy Communion. Families considering baptism visit with Pastor Foote to understand the nature of baptism and the spiritual responsibility of parents. Others who desire baptism are prepared for it through “catechesis” - a brief period of instruction. Because St. Paul, in I Corinthians 11, instructs Christians to understand the sacrament of communion, we prepare people to receive communion through a period of instruction. Holy Communion is celebrated two or three times a month, usually the first, third, and fifth Sundays of the month. Communion is also taken to people who are in the hospital or are not able to worship, and including those who are in nursing homes. Martin Luther also spoke of confession and absolution as a sort of sacrament. All members of Trinity are strongly encouraged to openly confess their sins - especially those against another Christian, and to exercise forgiveness. For the most part, Trinity does a pretty good job in maintaining healthy and peaceful relationships. For this we are grateful!
The Ministry of Prayer
A Devotion to Prayer
Like many Christian churches, Trinity Lutheran also has a prayer chain. People who desire prayer can, either through the website or through a phone call, request prayers from the pastor, the elders, or people on the prayer chain. When you come to worship, there are orange cards in the pews available for requesting both private and worship prayer. There is a men's prayer breakfast which also includes a book read, fellowship, and a discussion of Scripture. It concludes with a significant time for prayer. The elders at Trinity gather on a monthly basis to pray for each other and for people that are on our hearts. Prayer is currently the glue that holds us together, and we hope that it will be the fuel for the fire of mission work in the future.
The Ministry of Loving Service
A Devotion to Loving Service
This particular emphasis is not found in Acts 2:42, but it appears later in verse 2:45. In this verse we find the early Christians helping fellow Christians who are in need. Trinity has a long history of caring for the weak and marginalized. For over 30 years we have carried on a refugee Ministry. In the last decade we have purchased a house next to the church, specifically for support of refugees who come to Ithaca and Central New York. We had discovered that one of the greatest needs is short-term, immediate housing. Our support for refugees has circled the globe. We have received immigrants from various places in Southeast Asia, Asia, Russia, Africa, and the former Soviet republics. We also have an annual drive of clothing for people in Kyrgyzstan. We will include the needy in Afghanistan and Iraq in the drive this year. We monetarily support medical mission work in Kyrgyzstan, as well as a vital care Ministry right here in Ithaca -- helping people in times of crisis and need.