John Stelljes, pastor of Light of Life, Greenwood, Ind., is humble when asked about his congregation’s ministry.
“We’re just faithfully witnessing and taking hold of the opportunities before us,” says Stelljes. “We’re not doing anything particularly innovative. We are not special, but we are blessed.”
Light of Life, which began as an exploratory in the summer of 2009 when Stelljes began his call there, is located in a growing southern suburb of Indianapolis. Stelljes began his ministry as many exploratory pastors do—canvassing and teaching Bible information classes. He and his wife, Angela, also became involved in the community. As the congregation began to grow (it now numbers 103 members), members also saw the importance of community involvement.
As Stelljes says, “We just know that in order to share God’s Word with people, you need to be out with people. And God has blessed us.”
One of the congregation’s recent blessings has been the construction of its own worship facility. After operating from rental facilities for the past five years, the congregation broke ground on its own church building in August 2013. It is planning to dedicate the building in October. Much of the work is being done by volunteers from Builders For Christ, a division of Kingdom Workers. Members from Light of Life are also actively involved. Stelljes loves the attitude that his members have brought to this project and all the work that they do together as brothers and sisters in Christ.
“The personality of our congregation is amazing,” he says. “Our members put their faith into action. I have never had to worry that things won’t get done. They really exemplify what the body of Christ is all about.”
Light of Life member Angela Meister agrees. She wrote the following blog as her congregation embarked on its building project:
“What a wonderful journey our group of believers has been on! It seems like just yesterday that we were meeting with Pastor John about the experiences he was having becoming a part of the community—before we even began meeting on a regular basis. Our excitement over meeting at the community center for our first worship service seems like such a long time ago. The joy of saying ‘Hello!’ to families in the area at the free festival we had was multiplied in witnessing a little girl we met there baptized into her loving Father’s kingdom. She is growing up, and each year she is with us marks in my mind the passage of time in relation to the ‘milestones’ of Light of Life as a congregation.
“We moved yet again into a new, larger space—and it felt good to spread out, to interact with our neighbors from a more ‘permanent’ space. But we have had in our mind a place more fixed from which to operate God’s ministry. And from the beginning of this project, what a wonderful reassurance it was to see that every survey we collected shared the mindset—this isn’t about the building, it’s about the ministry—a place for meeting people with the truth of God’s timeless message of love, peace, forgiveness, and hope in Christ Jesus.
“The saying is stated often, ‘The church is the people’—but it really came to me personally in this project. As this building comes to fruition, I think we will all remember that though we picked this doorknob or that carpet color—that none of this really matters eternally; that this building is temporary; that the church is the people. We are just passing through sharing the love of Christ and the joy we have in our salvation with all of the world so that they too may know that same joy and peace that we have in being confident of who we belong to eternally. May this building be a wonderful tool for us to go forth with our mission.”
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Volume 101, Number 7
Issue: July 2014
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