Dear siblings in Christ,
As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we are freed by grace to live faithfully, witness boldly and serve joyfully. As communities of Jesus that nurture life changing relationships with God, one another and the world, we are confident about who we are in Christ and what God is calling us to do. Whether worshiping wherever two or more are gathered, engaging in lively conversations about faith, or rolling up our sleeves and getting to work, we strive to share God’s grace and love in Christ for all people and creation. This reflects the vitality we find in Jesus Christ, our own spiritual life and our desire to participate in what God is doing today.
Within each community of Jesus there are leaders who strive to model an attitude of servanthood, trustworthiness, humility, patience and listening first while striving to work with others in healthy ways. These leaders teach all ages, motivate believers, build consensus, share a vision, discern direction and facilitate action. Their attention is focused on growing disciples who are sent into their daily life to love and serve others as friends, neighbors, parents, citizens and workers. Together we recognize the importance of growing disciples and multiplying leaders who serve inside your congregation and beyond your walls.
As our congregations plan their work for the coming year and how to use the resources God has entrusted to them, I invite you all to think about the relationships that bring you vitality and the leaders you nurture for God’s mission in the world. While you make many decisions, remember you are not alone. We are all partners in sharing the gospel. Together, by God’s grace, we can do what God is calling us to. May you go forth to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.
Serving together in Christ’s name,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
also available in spanish: https://www.livinglutheran.org/2017/01/feliz-ano-nuevo/