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Showing items filed under “July 2012”

An Extraordinary Year

To God be the glory!  

Here is a list of many of the amazing things that Zion did together as a congregation during our fiscal year July 1, 2011- June 30, 2012.  This list is a testimony presented to you so that you can celebrate and give glory to God for his faithfulness.  There is no way that the list is complete, so if you see something that got left off, don’t take offense, just please let us know so that we can add it and celebrate it.  

I know it seems amazing that our congregation could be used to do so much in just a year. But with Christ all things are possible.  I’m so excited to share this list with you.  My prayer is that the next ministry year will be just as amazing.  To God be all the glory.  Thanks for your support, your prayers, your patience, and your participation.  

Peace, Joy, Love.

Pastor John


  • Art Camp for over 90 kids.  
  • Summit Serve youth service trip to CO.
  • South Africa Mission Trip
  • Camperships for neighborhood kids to go to Bible Camp. 
  • Transporting neighborhood kids to swimming lessons for LSI
  • 300 backpacks for FFY
  • Zion hosts Camp Child Serve (June-Aug) for third year. 
  • Summer Outreaches to DTA
  • WEE becomes a part of the Zion family. 
  • Church cleaning day with Mizo
  • Pastor Brent’s call and ordination
  • Beaverdale Parade and Z-Fest/food and fun.
  • DMOM sale
  • Care Team goes into high gear.
  • Started ESL classes
  • Started bringing neighborhood kids to Sunday School 
  • LCMC National Gathering/Zion hosted the New Ministries Seminar
  • Zion pastors asked to Negotiate settlement between two Muslims in dispute
  • Oktoberfest
  • Church establishes pre-paid Funeral/Plots pricing for all members with Merle Hay funeral home.  
  • New Carpet in Lobby
  • Angel Tree/Dove Tree/Xmas Baskets
  • Christmas Eve Dinner, including the local Imam and Muslim guests.
  • New Fellowship Hall wall
  • Mhezi Mission Trip to Tanzania
  • Arabic Alpha starts for Arabic speakers.
  • Camp In 
  • Dominican Republic Mission Trip
  • Narcotics Anonymous starts at Zion.
  • Awaken comes and does performance
  • Began Monthly worship starts with Gakunzi’s church at 10:30 service
  • Staffed Samuelson Family Fun Night
  • Sent 3 tutors into Samuelson Elementary
  • Pharmacy/First Aid Seminar for Mizo
  • New Men’s Breakfast does Quest for Authentic Manhood
  • New website
  • Financial Seminar for Mizo
  • New sound board, equipment
  • Dispensed 72 paris of shoes given as a donation by Wildwood Hills Camp for refugee kids.  
  • Community Gardens open at Zion! 
  • Finished our first phase 3 of ChristLife
  • Clothes Closet expansion
  • Whiz Kidz ends with 184 kids
  • Began running 2 vans with Samuelson Express
  • New bulletins/newsletters
  • ACS - new Zion data base
  • Alcoholics Anonymous group starts
  • Vacation Bible School with 150 kids! 
  • Wednesday Afternoon Outreaches
  • Zion became a Polk County emergency shelter and part of the Counties emergency plans. 
  • Iowa Workforce Development gave us an ICAP computer to help people find jobs.
  • Backpack buddies provides meals on weekend for 24 kids in need.  
  • New Rain Garden
  • Provided Furniture for more than 50 families new to our area.  
  • Assisted with rent, food and utilities for 30 families in need.
  • The usual:  weddings/funerals/baptisms/confirmations/first communions
  • Invited Inn
  • Street Outreach provided prayer, food, supplies, 
  • Quilts made with love for needy families.
  • Wednesday pm Meals serves a record number of hot meals
  • Another successful year of WOW, Sunday School
  • New Members
  • Sierre Leone mission trip 

Head First Through the Cross Cultural Wall

One of the hardest things about pastoring a diverse church with different people groups in it is developing a cross cultural competency.  Mark DeYmaz talks extensively about this in his great book, Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church.  We are all learning about each other’s cultures and learning how to live and act together as the body of Christ.


For example, when doing things with the Mizo, you have to understand that they will avoid saying “no” at almost any cost.  In their culture it’s rude or disrespectful to say “no” to someone.  So you have to listen very closely to what they do say.  If they don’t say, “yes” very emphatically, and you have a sense that they aren’t really excited about what you’re proposing, it could be that they are trying not to say “yes” directly which really means, in their culture, “no.”  If you push on assuming “yes” when it isn’t ever said, you may find yourself disappointed.  


In our Iowa culture I’d say that one of our cultural monikers is that we want to avoid conflict at almost any cost.  In Iowa, it’s seen as very rude to disagree with someone or to raise your voice.  Almost no one honks their horn when driving to reproach another driver.  We just try to get away from the disagreeable person as fast as possible.  This leaves a lot of conflicts unresolved.


Pastor Gakunzi asked me if he could use Zion to hold a theological conference.  At least that’s what I thought he was asking me.  Since the calendar was free and we want people to use the building, especially for talking about Jesus, I said an enthusiastic “yes!”  He also asked for help with food for two meals for the participants.  No problem.  We’ve got great people for that.  


Turns out I got it wrong.  I didn’t understand where he was coming from culturally.  Gakunzi and I both assumed the other understood what we were saying.  And what we both assumed to be true turned out, to our mutual embarrassment, not to be what either of us expected.


When Gakunzi asked if Zion would help him hold a theological conference, he assumed I would be the host.  I’m the pastor, after all.  He assumed that I’d preach at the conference.  He assumed I’d make some arrangements.  He assumed a level of participation that my schedule simply couldn’t support.  


When Gakunzi said “theological conference” I assumed he meant a conference like we’d have in the Lutheran Church:  some lectures and a nice lunch.  Very academic.  Very orderly.  Very mundane.  Turns out, conference in his mind is more like revival in ours.  


So we had a bit of train wreck in our cross cultural conversation.  But we realize it now.  We’ve laughed at our mistake and our assumptions and next time we do this, by golly, we’ll be on the same page.


Growing together to be the body of Christ, regardless of race, age, ability or class, requires us to manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit together:  to be patient with one another, to be loving, to be joyful for each other, to assume the best intentions about one another.  


The theological conference this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Zion may not be as well attended as it should be.  I didn’t realize what was expected.  But we’ve grown.  And in growing we’ve become closer rather than farther apart.  Closer to being one body of Christ together.  I think Jesus laughs at our attempts.  But he knows that all we want to do is bring him the glory.  


I’m sure there will be more going head first through cross cultural walls ahead of us.  I’m sure we’ll get confused and I’m sure things will, from time to time, get complicated.  But without taking the risk of all that we will never manifest the kingdom together.  And I think our Master would have us take the risk.  Don’t you?  


Later in the summer I’m going to get some information about crashing through another wall head first:  the generational wall.  Grace and I are headed to a conference on how to make the church’s ministry more intergenerational.  We believe that in order to truly be the body we need to honor and integrate across all the lines the world uses to divide us, including age.  Hope to come back with some good stuff.  Thanks for reading.  God bless.  PJ 

Ramblings about God, the Church and Everything.

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  • with relevant, Bible based teaching,
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  • of prayer,
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  • where the love of our Lord is evident in the way we live and minister together. 

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