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Weekly Announcements 02.16.18

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February 18, 2018

First Sunday in Lent

Our society is convinced that truth is relative. Why? Because the Truth is often inconvenient. Those who know God’s Word is Truth can’t help but, by the Spirit, be conformed to it. The truth is we are our own worst enemy. The truth is God loves us despite ourselves. Thanks be to God that the way of Truth has been made known in Christ!


LENTEN SERVICES have begun! Join us Wednesdays in Lent for services at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. There will be a meal served each week in the gym between the services at 5:30 p.m. A free-will offering will be collected by the group that is hosting the meal. Weekly Bible study will follow the 6:30 p.m. service.

TOWN HALL MEETING—Join us on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. for a 20 minute presentation followed by an open Q&A session with our officers, Head Elder, and pastors. This meeting will provide members an opportunity to discuss our future plans.

CONGREGATIONAL SUMMIT—Please RSVP for our Congregational Summit on Friday, March 9, 6:00-8:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 10, 9 a.m.-Noon. We will pray, ponder and discuss plans for the next ten years at Our Shepherd. For more information pick up the article at the Communication Center in the narthex.

EASTER SERVICES—We will follow our regular Sunday service schedule on April 1st, Easter Day. Services will be held at 8:00, 10:30, and 10:45 a.m. with Sunday School at 9:30 a.m.

OSLS MEET-SEE-EXPERIENCE—In lieu of the Egg Hunt, we are inviting our community members to our school to meet alumni, experience a chapel service, and participate in hands-on learning activities in math and science on March 9 from 9 a.m-5 p.m. and March 10 from 3-6 p.m. Contact Pastor Matt to learn more.


Lori Boettcher, Barry Clark, Charles Crowder, Adler G., Henry F., Dale Floyd, Trudy Gierke, Skip Jochim, Tee Lipsey, Arlen Levenhagen, Linda Pruett, Buddy Ray, Al & Marian Schafer, Doreen Schneider, and Norie Strakis. For all of our homebound members including Francis Wells. For our active Armed Forces members: Andrew Pierson, Rex Rafferty, and Robert Ritter.


OSLS Open Enrollment, NOW

Lenten Services, Feb. 21, 28, Mar. 7, 14, 21, 4:30 & 6:30 p.m.

Town Hall Meeting, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.

Ladies Guild Meeting, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.

Hunger Project, Mar. 3, 1-3 p.m.

Congregational Summit, Mar. 9-10

Easter Sunday, Apr. 1

Men’s Retreat, Apr. 6-8



1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” 15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

EPISTLE READING, James 1:12-18

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. 


In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” 12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”




We recently received a report from our Feasibility Study based on member interviews conducted by Walsh and Associates. Our Feasibility Study demonstrated widespread support among our membership sample for a capital campaign to address the needs of our growing church and school ministries. Five different ways to invest in our ministry were vetted. All but one received widespread support. Based upon the study findings, we will consider pros/cons of each of the following ministry investments at the Congregational Summit. The goal of our summit is to identify the priorities of a campaign and build consensus. The campaign could possibly be launched in the fall of this year.

To gauge approval of the following projects we categorized the top three levels of responses (“Very Important,” “Important,” and “Nice to do”) as approval for the proposed project. Participants were given the option of “Not Important” as well.

Permanent Contemporary Worship Space-100% of Feasibility Study participants were in favor of making room for a permanent home for contemporary worship.

Over the past few years we have seen significant growth in worship. According to synodical stats, average attendance in 2013 was 414. In 2017, average attendance was 578. Attendance growth led us to add the third Sunday worship service in 2015, but Sunday School quickly evaporated to about 50 people per week in Sunday morning discipleship.

In order to get Sunday school back (which it is with SS attendance now nearly 250 per week, or nearly 50% of our worship attendance!), we invested about $129,000 in equipment for portable contemporary worship. This provides a much enhanced contemporary worship environment and allows contemporary worship every Sunday morning. However, every week, one of four teams of ten volunteers each and staff (approx. 40 people) spend 2-3 hours setting-up and tearing down. This places an unsustainable burden on ministry staff and volunteers who need to set-up at 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon and stay until after 1 o’clock Sunday afternoon to tear-down.

In order to alleviate the volunteer burden and provide a permanent home for contemporary worship, we propose to add an extension to the gym with an elevated platform. This would allow our musicians to practice where we worship and leave equipment setup through the week. A retractable protective barrier would protect our equipment when the space is used for school activities. Were we to expand the space, we could furnish it so that it is multi-use. On the weekends, it would be a truly reverent environment conducive for worship, yet have the capability to be transformed during the week for athletic activities.

Expanded Drive/Parking-97% of Feasibility Study participants were in favor of adding a drive with expanded parking.

Insufficient handicapped parking spaces, an often cramped parking lot on Sunday mornings, and congestion during school drop-off and pick-up times have been identified as current issues with our parking lot. In response, Elders place cones marking temporary handicapped spaces each week to ensure there are enough spaces for those who need them. Additionally, many members began parking on the gravel drive to open-up more parking for visitors. Before this practice, there were routinely less than ten empty spaces during our 10:30/10:45 a.m. worship services. Moreover, the school car line often exceeds our driving lane space and results in cars waiting in the turn lanes on 100 N. This creates an unsafe situation for our parents and students.

We continue to count cars on Sunday mornings and have discovered that there are already routine Sundays where more cars are parked on campus than there are parking spaces. We would like to add to our current 192 parking spaces so that everyone has a place to park. If visitors and members can’t find parking, they can’t worship or come to Sunday School.

Our proposal is to add a drive around the building with parking spaces around the drive and add to the side lot. This would nearly double the parking capabilities. This new drive will also add plenty of space for parents and grandparents to pick-up their children without obstructing traffic.

A Larger Gym and Expanded Early Childhood Programing-94% of Feasibility Study participants were in favor of both of these two separate projects.

Early Childhood and Infant Care (94% approval)-

Nearly every week we are turning away families because our Early Childhood Program is currently over desired capacity. Of the twelve tours we conducted for prospective students November-January, ten were for early childhood, one was for kindergarten, the other for first grade. This demonstrates the need for early childhood care in our community and ministry opportunities that we are currently forfeiting.

Mrs. Tracie Douglas recently applied for a $15,000 grant to furnish the nursery as an additional PS/PK classroom to add ten students. We are also exploring conversion of the nursery, another classroom, and the Luther Room into three more early childhood classes, which would increase capacity up to 36 more students. The Luther Room would move to the computer lab and double meeting/multi-use space. These expansions would serve as a pilot for a larger program.

If warranted, additional expansion phases could occur in phases as the demand increases. If the demand is substantiated and a financial blessing to us, then the prospect of a school expansion could be discussed. This would allow us to share Christ with the youngest in our community, whether or not they continued in the school or joined the church. What a wonderful service for us to provide for our young, growing families! A potential school expansion would also provide space for youth programming on a second floor, spectator space for the gym, storage and other benefits.

Gym Expansion (94% approval)-

The gym is often our only space for indoor athletics, fellowship, and is the home for our contemporary worship. There are logistical hoops that need to be jumped through regularly to accommodate the wide range of activities happening in this shared space. We routinely deny requests to rent our gym because it’s already scheduled. Because there’s only one gym, there are times that three or four teams must practice on the same court to accommodate school needs and family time constraints.

We’ve restricted use of the gym for athletics from 3:30 p.m. Saturday until Sunday afternoon because contemporary worship is set up. We also prioritize requests for gym use according to ministry priorities. Our Athletics Department and school, particularly middle-school students, often help to set-up the gym for dinners and other activities to ease the transition from church to school use of the gym.

If the gym were expanded with a dividable, truly multi-use space, we could accommodate double the number of athletic events. We’d also be able to partition the multi-use portion of the space for worship for most of the year so that chairs, equipment, sound and lighting could remain out, easing most of the volunteer burden of preparing the space for worship. This would also provide a reverential space for worship.

Traditional Worship Campus

Worship attendance has grown at about 8.7% per year over the past four years. While our growth is split between traditional and contemporary worship, there is more room in the current contemporary worship venue for growth than in the traditional sanctuary. While our traditional space may still seem roomy at many services, we are already tight at special services such as holidays and confirmation. If we continue to grow at the observed average rate for ten years, this what our average weekly attendance would be going forward:
























We already have Sunday morning and Saturday evening worship services. We may soon consider having a Saturday evening traditional service if we continue to see growth. After that, we run out of time on the weekend to add services and would need to consider building a larger traditional worship space. Thus far, there has been much concern about this because many feel we’d lose the close personal relationships we enjoy with other worshippers and are very concerned about the cost of adding this space.

A solution, which is relatively new to our congregation could be to start a traditional campus somewhere else. Think of it as a daughter church, but one that is an extension of our ministry here. Not a separate church, but Our Shepherd worshipping in a second, or third, or fourth location. There could be an Our Shepherd in Speedway or West Indianapolis, Avon South or Danville, towards Camby or Plainfield. We already have members living in all of these communities and a closer campus may restore much of what many fear could be lost in an ever growing church.

This would restore the “small church” feel, while retaining some of the benefits of the larger church ministry such as additional staff and savings through shared resources. This was not a subject of the Feasibility Study, but concern over the $5-7 million price tag of building an expansive traditional space here was the least desirable aspect of the study (43% thought it was important, 31% nice to do and 26% not important)

What next? We don’t know yet. God knows. He’s giving us a chance to pray, talk and explore our options.

Any combination of these five proposals could be funded by a capital campaign. What are the costs? What are the benefits? These will be topics of an article next week.

Posted by Daniel Lepley with

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