Three churches to share worship, outdoor service

Three churches of varying denominations will be taking their faith outside the church walls Sunday.

Pastors Gary Behrns, James Jackson and Scott Musselman have met frequently for years to share the challenges and joys of being clergy.

The 25th anniversary of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America gave them the opportunity to bring together their congregations, as well.

“We were encouraged to move our congregations out into the community and live out the mission: God’s Work Our Hands,” said Musselman, pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

It was a natural progression for Behrns and Jackson to encourage their respective congregations — Christian Fellowship of Jefferson City and House of Prayer Family Church — to join in.

Sunday morning, several members from each of the three churches will worship at one of the other two churches’ services.

“Sharing in others’ worship is a chance to have our spirituality enhanced,” Musselman said.

Then all three churches will gather for a bring-your-own lunch at Our Savior’s on Southwest Boulevard.

From there, work groups will be assigned tasks at McKay and East Miller Street parks, including trash removal and mulching.

Before they part for community service, the members of all three churches will join together in prayer.

“We want to live out Christian unity,” Musselman said.

At the heart of the day is fellowship, Behrns said.

“We want to develop relationships between members of our congregations.”

These pastors also hope to thwart a 21st century stereotype that churches are obsolete.

“The church is not supposed to stay within its walls,” Behrns said. “We are here to serve and want to make the community better for everybody.”

Many of the church members have been anticipating this opportunity to get out into the community, too, Jackson said.

“We want to share as believers within this community.”

As they move and spread mulch at public greenspaces Sunday, they hope to interact with park visitors, too.

“I hope they see the true, Biblical church,” Behrns said. “Jesus was out with the people.”

The pastors hope this is a first step toward something bigger.

Jackson quoted Edward Everett Hale, an 1800s Unitarian, who said, “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

Stadium-sized religious events typically draw attention and applause, but the long-term affects of small projects or simple relationships may go unseen.

“You don’t have to solve the world’s problems,” Jackson said. “We can meet people one-on-one and allow God to use us where we are.”

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