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The goal of this ministry project is to create a strategy for confronting the challenges that threaten the fulfillment of the responsibilities laid upon the parents of children baptized at Shepherd of the Hill Lutheran Church in Lockport, Illinois. The problem is not just a lack of knowledge or skill in how parents can disciple their children for faith in God; equally at fault is the lack of time in a family’s schedule caused by society’s pressure to ignore Sabbath.
Through an examination of both classical Lutheran theology and its critique by both evangelical and Lutheran theologians, an argument is put forth that discipleship is not contrary to the Lutheran emphasis of “salvation by grace through faith.” Simultaneously, a case is made that, due to our present anxiety-laden economic system, there is an increasing pressure to ignore God’s gift of Sabbath and thus a tendency to forget who we are and whose we are.
This ministry initiative proposes a strategy that seeks do three things at the same time: better equip parents for the work of discipling their children, plant within families a thirst for God’s gift of rest, and create a structure of support as these families begin a distinctively counter-cultural path. The equipping of parents is facilitated by new aspects of the congregation’s Sunday school and confirmation instruction. The thirst for Sabbath is established through a proposed quarterly practice of Sabbath-keeping and a yearly assessment of family commitments. Parental support is given by the organization of a parents’ small group. The overall goal of this initiative is to better equip parents to say “no” to those things that draw their family away from God, enabling them to say “yes” to those things that draw the family nearer.
Content Reader: Randy L. Rowland
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Pedersen, Jon, "Making Time for Growth: Discipleship for the Families of Shepherd of the Hill Lutheran Church" (2016). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 252.