When LCA International Mission’s Pastor Matt Anker, Erin Kerber and Nevin Nitschke and I discussed possible cover ideas for this edition we kept coming back to one subject: baptism.

As we walk with our overseas church partners, we share in the call to ‘make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …’ (Matthew 28:19). Baptism goes to the heart of all mission – whether local, regional or global. It is central and essential to the Great Co-mission we have with the triune God and with all believers.

Where there are baptisms, God is growing his church. Where there are adult baptisms, people who have been without the hope we have are coming to know Jesus as their Saviour and Friend – and that gives cause for great rejoicing in heaven (Luke 15:7) and on earth.

Of course, if we stay focused only on what we see happening within the four walls of long-established congregations in Australia and New Zealand, many of which may be shrinking, it can be easy to miss that joy and the vitality and passion that new believers can bring to a faith community. (Naturally, there are exceptions to this experience, including some of our church-plant communities and multi-ethnic ministries).

But for our overseas partners, many of whom face far greater financial, logistical and spiritual challenges to mission and ministry than we do, witnessing people being transformed by God’s awesome, unbounded love and forgiveness is a regular blessing. And we are privileged to share some wonderful stories in this edition about lives changed by the freeing power of the gospel.

It is indeed a great blessing for our LCANZ to be able to serve with, support and learn from these international friends in their kingdom work through LCA International Mission, and you’ll read about some of the many ways in which that’s already happening and how you can be involved. Along with volunteering and giving, prayer is a vital support for our regional church friends and this month’s prayer calendar is also dedicated to these relationships.

I hope and pray that you’ll be excited, encouraged and inspired by what you read in these pages.


PS – I’ve been disappointed to learn that some of our subscribers are having to wait many weeks for their copy of The Lutheran – in fact, my own home-delivered September copy took more than two weeks to arrive from one part of Adelaide to another! If you are experiencing long delays in getting your copy, you may wish to contact your local Australia Post outlet and let them know. We lodged the September edition for postage on 31 August.

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