by Dan Flynn
The first Sunday of October 2004 was the launch of Living Water. St. Luke, at 46 years old, was birthing its first child. As with any first child there was considerable excitement and some apprehension. What does it mean to be a parent? What does it mean to birth?
What St. Luke knew is that they were called to move beyond Washtenaw Ave. and extend its ministry in areas where it could not reach. I was approached to establish this first mission. I remember talking to Gail, my wife, and asking her if she were ready for such a trip.
One friend handed me a book by John Ortberg, “If You Want To Walk on Water You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat.” I devoured this book. Ortberg spoke of being a Water Walker and that fear always accompanies Water Walking. He took the Peter story and developed a very practical understanding of Jesus reaching His hand down to us.
I just recently read the book again and underlined what had already been underlined. As Ortberg notes, “Water Walkers accept fear as the price of growth.” It is fearful to step forward into a community that doesn’t know you and ask people to take this step with you into an unknown.
It is fearful to step forward into a community that doesn’t know you and ask people to take this step with you into an unknown.
After an abundance of home visits nearly 50 people said yes to being a part of a launch team. I am so grateful for the faithfulness of those folks. They sacrificed much to birth this child. Simple things, how do we load our two trailers so that all the music equipment, children’s ministry stuff, etc., etc. could be used weekly? They built carts that strategically fit into the trailers, people had to pull the trailers, and unload them.
In the middle school we had to set up and take down chairs creating a worship environment. One of our attenders built an altar out of oak from their family home in Alpena that we still use but it had to be portable so it was designed for that function.
And there is more, much more. These Water Walkers took on the task for a calling to share hope to a community that simply didn’t know us. They loved their calling.
Now ten years later there is still a deep yearning to impact the community around us. This last September we had 400 people from our community come to our “Absolutely Incredible” Kids Event. It was an astounding afternoon seeing a very full high school parking lot and people we did not know.
There are plans to do a worship service at the Pond Hockey Tournament this February on Whitmore Lake. We are always looking for opportunities to serve. It is the calling of our multi site congregation.
As I look out to the next ten years, I do see a base camp, a building, for Living Water to call home. This base camp is our tool to step forward into the community but also a place to invite people to visit. A place where they can find peace and care and affection. I see classes on financial management, parenting support, and Bible classes of various types that push people to be Water Walkers. The next ten years will stretch us as the first ten years have stretched us. It is never easy to walk on water.
So, St. Luke Lutheran Church, Happy Birthday! You have birthed a site that has baptized adults and buried new believers. The Kingdom has expanded because of our multi site partnership.
Check out this video that was shown on our first Sunday from 2004. Yes, my hair has changed style.