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Come one, come all

by Pastor Bill Walles Pastor (Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Marysville, WA, WordAlone board member)

March 19, 2003

photo of Pastor Bill WallesIt's that time of year when I'm already looking ahead to summer.

Certainly not because the weather in the Pacific Northwest is very summer-like. But because plans already are being made for trips in which I'll play a part.

There are, of course, the youth trips. We'll be taking the senior high to Washington D.C. for a national youth gathering sponsored by Youth for Christ. There are camps with junior high kids, vacation Bible school weeks, mission trips, even a trip to Russia. It will be a busy summer.

Why do we do it? Why do we pack our summer vacation with so much that the vacation is almost taken out of it? I would argue that it's the same reason why the early church would gather together as often as it could, the same reason why Christians living today gather together as often as they can. We love fellowship. We need it. God has placed it in our hearts to join together as the body of Christ. And when we don't do it, we feel something missing.

One of the great things about WordAlone has been its grassroots nature. We have always been a motley crew of rag-tag believers in a cause much larger than our individual selves, given life only because of our passion and our hope. Grassroots is good.

The work done on behalf of WordAlone in your neck of the woods is a gift to the movement and to the greater church.

But every now and then, grassroots aren’t enough.

You need community. You need fellowship. You need to get together with a thousand other people and rediscover that you're not the only activist in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

You need to sit with people who have the same passion for their Book of Concord that you do. You need to worship next to another person who also devotes way too much time to those three church-changing letters: CCM (Called to Common Mission, a full communion agreement with The Episcopal Church USA.) You need the National WordAlone Convention. And it needs you. This is our time to do all those things that Christians are "supposed" to do.

Worship, pray, learn, grow and fellowship. This is our time to see that we don't do this alone. This is our time to be renewed by the strength of others. This is our time to be challenged by great speakers, and to learn in a wealth of workshops.

If you're a part of WordAlone, then this is your time. Come to the convention April 25-26 in Roseville, Minn. Join us in this great weekend of Renewal, Reflection, and Reform. You won't regret you did. I'll see you then.