Using the Gifts of a Changing World
How Does the Church Deal with Today?
In his book Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned his Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe – and Started the Protestant Reformation, author Andrew Pettegree notes that printing with moveable type had been available for decades, but most printers found it difficult to make money producing books. “Within five years of penning the ninety -five theses, Luther was Europe’s most published author – ever.” Until Luther came along most printers produced theological books for scholars to read - a very limited audience – and one reason they often went out of business.
“Luther created what was essentially a new form of theological writing that was lucid,accessible, and above all short....Luther madethe bold and radical decision to speak beyondan informed audience of trained theologians and address the wider German public in their own language.” (not in Latin!) “Luther’s writings electrified Germany, but they also transformed the dynamics of the printing industry.” “Until 1517 Wittenberg had only onenot very competent printing press. By the timeof Luther’s death, the town’s production matched that of Germany’s mightiest cities. Over the 16th century as a whole, Wittenberg was Germany’s largest printing center.”
Andrew Pettegree notes that not only did Luther oversee the design – including pic- tures – of his books, but he used every communication technique available. In addition to the printing press, Luther used music, art, and, of course, the pulpit.
So, what change(s) or reforming may be necessary for St. John, Mohnton? Once upon a time, Germans dominated this part of the country, as did Lutheran congregations. The number attending a service of worship (and Faith Formation – aka Sunday School) was not a concern. That’s the past.
In our very different world today, what other forms of communication might we need to consider, even in worship? In addition to what we are doing (God’s Work, Our Hands) are there other outreach ministries we need to explore that will help support our community? How do we care for each other? How do we maintain our buildings? Do we seek smaller facilities?
To be Jesus followers, we need to be wise and good stewards of resources. We need to consider how we work with other Lutheran communities of faith in this area to worship, declare God’s love and grace, and be God’s hands as we serve.