Ministry in Spanish Lake

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

In the thick of any ministry, it can be easy to become discouraged by the context around you. In Urban ministry, this feeling seems to be accelerated in many ways by the geographical and sociological factors that come into play as well. It can be difficult to see the ways in which God is moving when you feel as if there are so many challenges. Has God left the building? Is His Word still working?

At St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spanish Lake—The Word of God is going out and not returning void. The church oversees a small farm in its backyard that grows plants/produce for the community. While the produce grows in the backyard from small seeds, the people of God grow in His House from small seeds as well—the ministry starts with the children.

Through the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Northside Urban Ministry Coalition (NUMC), new life is coming back to the community through the lives of young people. In an intentional partnership with neighborhood schools, the Spanish Lake Campus was able to serve over 75 different kids this school year with intentional after school programming. Each child not only received a healthy meal and a safe place to be after school, but they also received the Word of God through biblical study and devotion with loving Christian adults at our program. The Seeds of Hope Farm in the backyard of the congregation provided important agricultural learning as our kids learned about healthy habits/eating from the farmers! The ministry continues this summer as we invited those same children to attend full day Summer Camp! What an awesome summer it will be as we spread the Gospel for 8 hours a day at camp.

This is also an exciting time as God is adding new workers to the harvest to serve and help in the Spanish Lake Community. In addition to Pastor Bolling serving as Lead Pastor at Bethlehem, we have also brought on a new Associate Pastor—Pastor Chris Knepper. Pastor Knepper’s role is be focused on community engagement on the Northside for our ministry sites—one of which is Spanish Lake. The goal is to engage Team Ministry so that the Gospel of Hope can be planted in many hearts and minds within the Spanish Lake community.

On the first day of summer camp—the kids planted seeds and were encouraged to watch them grow in the garden. We pray that just like the seeds of Hope planted in the ground, the Word of God would be planted in the hearts and minds of the children served daily at Spanish Lake and at all of Bethlehem’s Northside ministry locations! It will certainly not return empty.