Friday, March 24, 2017

Victory News - Easter is Just Around The Corner!

Thank you to everyone for providing beautiful flowers for the altar every week!
Dear Friends,

Do you see how God can use your story, including your weaknesses, to bring him glory? In case you missed it, watch or read my sermon from last Sunday about how God opens our eyes to see what he’s up to in our lives…and what even more amazing things he has in store!

This Sunday we continue our series Like Us In Every Way as we learn what it means that Jesus drank the cup of suffering for us. Join us at either 9 or 10:45 as we worship God, grow together, and welcome guests from our community.

Call Decision – Did you hear? This week I officially decided to decline the call to St John’s in Two Rivers so that I can continue to share Christ’s victory with you at Victory of the Lamb. You can read the letter I sent to our church family posted here. Thank you for all your encouragement and prayers!

New Bible 101 Opportunities Starting Soon! – Bible 101 is the first step at our church for anyone who has questions about God, wants to learn what we believe or teach from the Bible, or is interested in receiving the sacrament of holy communion with our church family. Choose the schedule that works best for you: Super Saturday, April 22nd from 10am-3:30pm. All 4 lessons in one day. Or Tuesday nights April 25, May 2, May 9 and May 16 from 6:30-8pm. One lesson each week for 4 weeks. Register online here!

Easter for Kids is coming up soon! It’s an awesome, fun outreach event for kids of any background. Join us on Saturday April 8th from 11am-3pm at Victory of the Lamb. This program is open to anyone ages 3-11 and is free of charge. Lunch is also provided. Kids are invited to join us on Palm Sunday, April 9th at 9am when the kids will sing their song in church. Click here for more information, to register, or to sign up to help.  

Soccer Camp 2017 - Mark your calendars for the best week of the summer! The 10th annual Soccer Camp will be June 13-16 This year camp will be from 11am-3pm and include lunch. Register here. Hurry, space is limited and June will be here before you know it!

Fun Runs – There are a number of 5K runs coming up in the area that you might want to enjoy and support. The Seminary Scurry is scheduled for April 29th at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon! For more information and to register go here.  On May 6th is Operation Fit Franklin, the first of its kind.  Register here for Operation Fit Franklin. Kristin Andersen of the Franklin Health Department is also looking for volunteers. Email or call her at 414-427-7537 if you’re able and willing to help.

Life-a-thon 2017 is Saturday, May 13th. Benefits the pregnancy care ministry of WELS Lutherans for Life. Get friends together, recruit sponsors, and help save lives! Two locations: Mequon and West Allis, or go virtual. Walk or run with everyone else or on your own! $25 individual or $60 family. Register at www.Life-A-Thon.org or call 414-727-8176. If you’re unable to attend in person, you can also participate "Virtually" on your own or with some friends. Learn how at Life-A-Thon.org/virtual-participation. Watch a Life-a-thon 2017 promo video here.

Victory Kids – Volunteers Needed. Our Sunday morning kids’ program continues to grow! Please consider volunteering and make a huge difference in the lives of kids. A once a month commitment is all that is needed. Training provided. There are many roles to fill besides being a teacher. Some with little to no prep required. What is required? Most of all a heart that loves God and a willingness to show that love to others. Contact Liz to volunteer.

Host Team – Volunteers Needed. You may have noticed…the lobby quickly fills with people on Sunday morning and we’re growing. This is wonderful! What it also means is that it’s more important than ever that our guests feel welcome and are able to find their way around. It can be intimidating to attend a church for the first time. This is where the Host Team helps by creating great first impressions. Please consider helping out once a month. Contact Christie to volunteer.

Leadership Team meeting notes from our March 13th can be found online here. Printed copies also available on the info table at the ministry center.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, March 3, 2017

Victory News - Lasting Impressions

Thank you to our teen group, Quest, for serving supper on Ash Wednesday this week

Dear Friends,

I don’t know about you, but last Sunday carved a lasting impression upon my heart. Pastor Mike Duncan’s message on our world mission work in Nepal resonated with me deeply. I think for me it had something to do with the fact that I could see myself reflected in the faces of the young men and their families who are putting their livelihood and their lives on the line to share the gospel over there.

Certainly after seeing the pictures from Nepal and hearing stories about our main contact family there, I went home much more keenly aware of two things. #1 We are so blessed as Christians in this country and especially as members of our local church, Victory of the Lamb. #2 My own challenges in life pale in comparison and so do my frustrations. As a result, my own apathy and cynicism was placed in stark contrast to their passion and persistence which I aspire to. And yet God is good. He sent his Son for us all! He calls us into his family and gives us a purpose as members of his church. There are opportunities near and far to share Christ’s victory and show the love of God.

And so in a good way, my daily prayer life has also been enriched with greater thanksgiving and specific petitions for real people. Now when I pray “Your kingdom come” in the Lord’s prayer, I have pictures of people, specific names, that I have in mind. I hope you do too and will keep those people in your prayers.

In fact I’m confident that you will, because last Sunday you again demonstrated extraordinary generosity. $2,660…you donated to help a little girl in Nepal hear with God's help! Likewise, poor people in Pakistan are going to be incredibly blessed through the sales of the beautifully crafted items that were sold as part of Bachana (Urdu for “to save”). I don’t have the exact figures but from what I hear our church bought more items than any other church so far! I don’t say that to boast, but rather to thank God for the culture of generosity he has produced at our church because I know what it ultimately means: the good news of Jesus is going to continue to be shared with many. Generosity in response to the gospel creates more opportunities to share the gospel. And for that I rejoice!

New Sermon Series – Join us this Sunday as we begin Like Us In Every Way. Through this series we’ll gain a new appreciation for all that Jesus went through to rescue us. This Sunday also we’ll find strength in our own battles against temptation—the very real struggles we all face to honor God with our lives.

Usher Team – Volunteers Needed. Looking for more ushers who would be willing to serve once a month to help provide a friendly face, help people receive a worship folder, collect the offering and find their way around. Please contact Karl to volunteer.

Victory Kids – Volunteers Needed. Our Sunday morning kids’ program continues to grow! Please consider volunteering. A once a month commitment is all that is needed. Training provided. There are many roles to fill besides being a teacher. Some with little to no prep required. What is required? Most of all a heart that loves God and a willingness to show that love to others. Contact Liz to volunteer.

Host Team – Volunteers Needed. You may have noticed…the lobby quickly fills with people on Sunday morning and we’re growing. This is wonderful! What it also means is that it’s more important than ever that our guests feel welcome and are able to find their way around. It can be intimidating to attend a church for the first time. This is where the Host Team helps by creating great first impressions. Please consider helping out once a month. Contact Christie to volunteer.

Parking Request – We have ample parking around the northwest side of the ministry center, but guests aren’t always able to see that right away. If possible, out of love for our guests, I’m asking our members and regular attenders to think about parking on this northwest side of the building to leave as many parking spots available in the front of the building as possible.

Easter for Kids is a one day event where kids will learn about Jesus’ resurrection in exciting and powerful ways. Kids will experience the gospel message through skits, interactive learning stations, crafts, games and snacks. It’s an experience they won’t soon forget! Join us on Saturday April 8th from 11am-3pm at Victory of the Lamb. This program is open to anyone ages 3-11 and is free of charge. Lunch is also provided. Kids are invited to join us on Palm Sunday, April 9th at 9am when the kids will sing their song in church. Click here for more information, to register, or to sign up to help.  

Soccer Camp 2017 - Mark your calendars for the best week of the summer! The 10th annual Soccer Camp will be June 13-16! This year camp will be from 11am-3pm and include lunch.  You will be able to register and sign up to help in the next couple of weeks. We look forward to seeing you at camp this summer!

Sanctuary Art Update – Funding for the project is in place. This funding was received solely through your generosity over and above regular giving. We are excited to proceed. This week I met with Paul Mattek from Design Fugitives to plan our next steps. We mutually agreed that an Easter completion date isn’t realistic at this point. There is some consulting to do yet with our audio / visual / lighting consultants from AVE. We will do this soon and determine a new timeline for completion this year.

Koiné Special Service @VotL -- Footsteps to the Cross is a musical experience arranged by Koiné that weaves together scripture texts, music, and multimedia to highlight the final steps of Jesus Christ. Join us on March 15 at 6:30 pm. Invite a friend. Come early. Expect a full house!

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, February 24, 2017

Victory News - World Mission Sunday

Nepal is a small, mountainous country sandwiched between India and China

Dear Friends,

1%. That’s the percentage of people who are Christian in Nepal. But twelve years ago a small church started there…with two people. That church, by God’s grace, now numbers 4,000 and is growing! But it’s not without incredible challenges. Please join me this Sunday as we celebrate the Gospel of Jesus being shared in Nepal and pray over the difficulties that our brothers and sisters there are facing.

This Sunday at Victory of the Lamb is World Mission Sunday. We’re honored to be welcoming Pastor Mike Duncan as our guest speaker. He is our mission counselor for Nepal and Pakistan. As part of our More Than Bricks campaign we are helping to directly support the mission work going on in Nepal. So come and see how God is using your generosity to help share Jesus with people on the other side of the globe! One quick note: due to security reasons, we will not be live streaming Pastor Duncan’s presentation. All the more reason to join us in person either at 9 or 10:45!

{ICYMI – Watch my message from last Sunday based on Jesus’ words, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” as part three of our series What Jesus Said.}

Help a Little Girl Hear – This Sunday you will have an opportunity to donate for a special cause. Our contact in Nepal is undergoing severe persecution. At the same time his newborn daughter who is 17 months old has many health problems. Out of necessity he has to make an emergency trip to the hospital in Kathmandu nearly every month of her short life. She has profound hearing loss and will need 2 cochlear ear implants which will cost $46,000. She will also need one year of therapy after the surgery. There will be a special donation box at church this Sunday to help this little child of God.

Help Christians in Pakistan – Christians are the “poorest of the poor” in Pakistan. They often have the worst jobs – working in a brick kiln, cleaning toilets or sweeping streets. Pastors are often looked on as beggars who wander from house to house looking for a handout. Since the church in Pakistan is in its infancy – and is experiencing exceptional circumstances with the persecution of Christians – our goal is to use a “tent ministry” similar to the Apostle Paul’s in the book of Acts. For this reason we are selling baskets, rugs and copperware made by poor people in Pakistan. You will have an opportunity to purchase some of these this Sunday at Victory of the Lamb. The profit from these sales will help develop Christian leaders who are well-trained theologically and are self-sustaining financially. We call this “tent-ministry” Bachana which is the Urdu word for "to save" or "to rescue."

Ash Wednesday – This coming Wednesday, March 1st is Ash Wednesday and our Quest teens will serve a meal from 5:30-6:30 pm. There will be a brief but meaningful worship service following from 6:30-7:00 pm. An optional opportunity to experience the “imposition of ashes” will be included in the service.

Free Movie Event – Victory of the Lamb is hosting Alison’s Choice, a free movie event this Friday evening, February 24th. Invite your family and friends to join you for a positive message about God’s gracious gift of life.  RSVP here. Doors open at 6:30 and the movie will begin at 7:00.

Pre-marriage Class – New class starting next week and running 4 consecutive Tuesday. For anyone getting married. More welcome! 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, and 3/21 from 6:30-8:00 pm. Contact me with questions.

Usher Team – Volunteers Needed. Still looking for a couple more ushers who would be willing to serve once a month to help provide a friendly face, help people receive a worship folder, collect the offering and find their way around. Please contact Karl if you can help or to learn more.

Easter for Kids is a one day event where kids will learn about Jesus’ resurrection in exciting and powerful ways. Kids will experience the gospel message through skits, interactive learning stations, crafts, games and snacks. It’s an experience they won’t soon forget! Join us on Saturday April 8th from 11am-3pm at Victory of the Lamb. This program is open to anyone ages 3-11 and is free of charge. Lunch is also provided. Kids are invited to join us on Palm Sunday, April 9th at 9am when the kids will sing their song in church. Click here for more information, to register, or to sign up to help.  

Soccer Camp 2017 - Mark your calendars for the best week of the summer! The 10th annual Soccer Camp will be June 13-16!  This year camp will be from 11am-3pm and include lunch.  You will be able to register and sign up to help in the next couple of weeks. We look forward to seeing you at camp this summer!

Victory Kids Security – Just a friendly reminder that no one is allowed in the Victory Kids wing during Sunday morning worship times unless they have a parent security label. We love our kids and we want parents to have maximum confidence in their children’s safety while worshiping with us. As a growing church our volunteers cannot be expected to know everyone. That’s why our Victory Kids hall security people are trained to check for labels.


Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Monday, February 13, 2017

Victory News - Love Your Enemies

...and why he said it.

Dear Friends,

“Align your heart with Jesus and you’ll find no room for hate.” ICYMI – Watch my message from last Sunday based on Jesus’ words, “Love your enemies” as part one of our new series What Jesus Said. Special thanks to our VotL teen band who led the music for their first time together in a service!

Tonight I’m putting the finishing touches on my presentation for the Men of His Word conference Saturday in Oshkosh.

This Sunday at Victory of the Lamb we’re continuing our series What Jesus Said as Pastor Bill helps us better understand and apply Jesus’ words, “Do not judge.” I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we grow together in our understanding of Jesus’ words that help us to balance truth and love.

Easter for Kids is a one day event where kids will learn about Jesus’ resurrection in exciting and powerful ways. Kids will experience the gospel message through skits, interactive learning stations, crafts, games and snacks. It’s an experience they won’t soon forget! Join us on Saturday April 8th from 11am-3pm at Victory of the Lamb. This program is open to anyone ages 3-11 and is free of charge. Lunch is also provided. Kids are invited to join us on Palm Sunday, April 9th at 9am when the kids will sing their song in church. Click here for more information, to register, or to sign up to help.  

Soccer Camp 2017 - Mark your calendars for the best week of the summer! The 10th annual Soccer Camp will be June 13-16!  This year camp will be from 11am-3pm and include lunch.  You will be able to register and sign up to help in the next couple of weeks. We look forward to seeing you at camp this summer!

Heartsaver Safety Classes - The Franklin Fire Department is offering a training class for Victory of the Lamb. The class will be Tuesday evening, Feb 21 from 6-9:30pm and will be held at Fire Station #1 on Drexel. This class will offer certification in Adult CPR/choking/defibrillator along with Child and Infant CPR/choking. There is no cost to take the class and first priority for sign-up (12 people per class) will be for those serving on our Victory Kids team and other Sunday serving teams. If you are interested in this class, or others that may be provided in the future, please fill out this form and you will be put on the contact list. For more information, contact Nancy Thompson , 414-559-1391.

Alison’s Choice – Free Movie Event. As many of you know, I’m on the Board of Directors of a wonderful pro-life group whose mission is protecting a child’s right to live and be loved. We’re hosting a free movie event on Friday evening, February 24th at our ministry center. Invite your family / friends to join you for a positive message film about God’s precious gift of life. Please RSVP here to let us know you’re coming or to watch a trailer for the movie. Because of the story, it is somewhat a PG-13 movie. Doors open @ 6:30pm, Screening @ 7pm.

Usher Team – Volunteers Needed. Still looking for a couple more ushers who would be willing to serve once a month to help provide a friendly face, help people receive a worship folder, collect the offering and find their way around. Please contact Karl if you can help or to learn more.

Pre-marriage Class – I’ve got two couples lined up to take part in my 4 session pre-marriage class. More are welcome. 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, and 3/21 from 6:30-8:00 pm. Contact me with questions.

School Open House - St. Paul's Lutheran School in Franklin (on 51st and Rawson) is showing off their school this Sunday, February 12th 11:30AM until 2PM. They have changed their tuition policy to make Christian education available to members of Victory of the Lamb for the same rate their members pay. They are committed to sharing their quality, Christ-centered school with us, their brothers and sisters down the road. Come and grab a snack, meet the teachers, see the classrooms, and learn about the great education available to students from 3k up to 8th grade. If that doesn't work for your schedule, you can always call and set up a different time to visit (414-421-1930).

Next Leadership Team Meeting – is this Monday at 6:30 pm at the ministry center. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our mission and ministry, please feel free to reach out to anyone on the Leadership Team.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, January 27, 2017

Victory News - Aha! Moments


I am thankful that for as often as I have been a part-time follower of Jesus (yikes…and I’m a pastor!), he has always been my full-time Savior. Watch this past Sunday’s message where I explore this truth and make some real life applications related to social media and personal relationships for all of us. And let me know how these truths are impacting you. Did you have any Aha! moments this week? Please share…through email, on social media, in person, etc. A lot of people have expressed how helpful it is to watch the message more than once and then to discuss it as a family.

This Sunday, Pastor Bill is going to unpack some “blessings in disguise” as we continue our Aha! series. I hope you can join us and discover more of God’s truth that can transform your heart…and the lives of the people in your life.

Host Team - Volunteers Needed. Christie, our host team coordinator is providing a half hour training session after the 2nd service this Sunday. Anyone who is interested in being part of the host team is welcome to attend. If you’re interested in helping make great first impressions but can’t make it to this training session, please email Christie and she will set up a training session with you.

Usher Team – Volunteers Needed. Karl, our usher team coordinator is requesting at least 4-6 more ushers would be willing to once a month to help provide a friendly face, help people receive a worship folder, collect the offering and find their way around. Please contact Karl if you’re interested or serving and wish to learn more.

Send a Card to Jackson. For updates on Jackson’s surgery and recovery, follow his story on the Army For Jackson Facebook page. Since Jackson will be in the hospital for at least another two weeks down in Houston, one way to let him know we love him and are praying for him would be to help him decorate his hospital room. Please consider sending Jackson a card over the next few weeks. His address is:
MD Anderson
Attn:  Jackson Poulos
1515 Holcombe Blvd
Room G954
Houston, TX  77030

“Deep Love” seminar on building healthy relationships – starts Feb 1. A new relationships group to meet 4 consecutive Wednesday evenings Feb 1- Feb 22 6:30-8:00 pm. Childcare provided. It’s for couples who want to move from broken to better as well as those moving from good to great. Also open to couples who are engaged or dating. Visit our event page for more and to register. Sign up asap!

Men of His Word National Conference – “Be Strong and Courageous!” Coming up in February I’ll be a presenter at what has become a fast growing, gospel filled gathering of men who want to grow in their faith and become the leaders that God has called us to be in our world, our homes, and churches. Last year, over 600 men gathered for this inexpensive, one-day event. It’s being hosted at the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center in Oshkosh on Saturday, February 11. Check out the Men of His Word website for registration details. Here’s a link with descriptions of the session topics including mine that I’ve titled “What It Takes To Be Tough.”

Alison’s Choice – Free Movie Event. As many of you know, I’m on the Board of Directors for a wonderful pro-life group whose mission is protecting a child’s right to live and be loved. We’re hosting a free movie event on Friday evening, February 24th at our ministry center. Invite your family / friends to join you for a positive message film about God’s precious gift of life. Please RSVP here to let us know you’re coming or to watch a trailer for the movie. Because of the story, it is somewhat a PG-13 movie. Doors open @ 6:30pm, Screening @ 7pm.

2016 Thrivent Choice Dollars – Thank you to everyone who directed $1,119 in charitable giving funds from Thrivent Financial to Victory of the Lamb! If you’re an eligible Thrivent Financial member and have Choice Dollars available to direct, please keep Victory of the Lamb in mind. You can direct 2016 funds to eligible organizations like VotL until March 31. For more info or to direct Choice Dollars, call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice.” Or click here.

Leadership Team Update Here’s a link to the summary of this month’s meeting.

Additional Resources – After talking last Sunday so specifically about technology use, I’ve had a number of conversations this week about it. If you’re interested…here are links to two more talks I’ve found helpful recently in shaping some of the thoughts I expressed:

From a completely secular standpoint: Simon Sinek’s talk on “Millennials in the Workplace.”

From a Christian standpoint: Rev. Matt Popovits (LCMS) on “Christian Community for the Highly Skeptical and Hyper-Connected.”

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, January 20, 2017

Victory News - An Aha! Inauguration


Questions have abounded the last couple weeks about who would show up at today’s Presidential inauguration. It seems that many people think that making an appearance of any kind much less a performance makes a statement about the individual being inaugurated into office.

But if so then what matters most is who decided to show up when Jesus was inaugurated! Of course I’m not talking about being inaugurated for the office of POTUS, but for something even more important: the office of Christ—aka Messiah, our world’s Savior.

When Jesus was baptized, it was the beginning of his 3 year public ministry as the stand-in representative of all humanity. Was he qualified for this job? Absolutely! Because who showed up to represent? The Triune God, in perfect harmony. God the Son was present being baptized. God the Holy Spirit was present in the form of a dove which alighted upon Jesus and remained. God the Father was present in the voice that boomed, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased!” (cf Mat. 3:17).

Join me this coming Sunday as we continue to experience Aha! moments related to what Jesus has done for us and what makes him so uniquely special. In case you missed it, catch up by watching my message from last week. It’s about how you can stop carrying what Jesus carried away. So if you’re tired of all the inauguration coverage on tv…or perhaps more importantly you’re tired of carrying around your own personal baggage, check it out!

Bible 101 Class – Saturdays @10:30am. Our new group began last Saturday, but if you’d like to jump in you still can. After all, this week’s lesson is on Grace! We’ll be meeting then the next 3 weeks ending Feb. 4. // 10:30-Noon at the ministry center. All materials provided. For anyone interested in learning more about God and the Bible. The first step also for anyone wanting to learn more about our church or wanting to take Holy Communion. Contact me and I’ll have materials for you tomorrow morning.

“Deep Love” seminar on building healthy relationships – starts Feb 1. A new relationships group to meet 4 consecutive Wednesday evenings Feb 1- Feb 22 6:30-8:00 pm. Childcare provided. It’s for couples who want to move from broken to better as well as those moving from good to great. Also open to couples who are engaged or dating. Visit our event page for more and to register. Space is limited so sign up asap!

Men of His Word National Conference – “Be Strong and Courageous!” Coming up in February I’ll be a presenter at what has become a fast growing, gospel filled gathering of men who want to grow in their faith and become the leaders that God has called us to be in our world, our homes, and churches. Last year, over 600 men gathered for this inexpensive, one-day event. It’s being hosted at the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center in Oshkosh on Saturday, February 11. Check out the Men of His Word website for registration details. Here’s a link with descriptions of the session topics including mine that I’m titled “What It Takes To Be Tough.” Men of VotL…I would love to have you join me at this conference. Let me know if you want to catch a ride.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Victory News - Another Year of God's Grace

One family's VotL Christmas Eve even while out of town

Dear Friends,

(In case you missed them – Watch our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services online. Enjoy a fresh perspective on what a difference Christmas makes every single day!)

It’s a little hard to believe but our next opportunity to worship together will be in 2017! Join me this Sunday on New Year’s Day as we begin another new year of God’s grace. I can’t imagine any better way to start a new year than being with my church family gathering to hear God’s Word—to be reassured of God’s forgiveness and a fresh start, to seek God’s guidance for how to be a better version of myself, to help carry each other’s burdens, and to pray for God’s blessings for the road ahead.

In the News – Check out a great article from local reporter Tiffany Stoiber about our Operation Jesus Cares Christmas Project with Christ-St Peter’s school. Thanks again to all who donated, prayed, or volunteered for this event!

New Bible 101 Class – Saturdays @10:30am. Start the new year out right. New class is starting January 14th. Meets for 4 weeks ending Feb. 4. // 10:30-Noon at the ministry center. All materials provided. For anyone interested in learning more about God and the Bible. The first step also for anyone wanting to learn more about our church or wanting to take Holy Communion. Contact me to register.

“Deep Love” building healthy relationships – starts Feb 1. A new relationships group to meet 4 consecutive Wednesday evenings Feb 1- Feb 22 6:30-8:00 pm. Childcare provided. It’s for couples who want to move from broken to better as well as those moving from good to great. Also open to couples who are engaged or dating. Contact Pastor Bill if interested.

New Bible 301 Class – Tuesdays @6:30pm. Class meets on 8 consecutive Tuesday nights Jan 17-Mar 7. This is the next step for those who have completed Bible 101 and 201 // 6:30-8:00 pm at the ministry center. Contact Pastor Bill if interested.

Home with His Savior – Tuesday morning this week our Savior Jesus called home Ray Milosch, the father of Liz Scheel, our Victory Kids Director. His health had been declining for a while and was in home hospice care. While we grieve with Liz and her family, with also rejoice with them that Ray is now perfectly at peace with his Savior and ours--enjoying the eternal victory won for us by Jesus and stored up for us in heaven! Here’s a link to Ray’s obituary with today’s service details at the Heritage Funeral Home on 27th St in Oak Creek.

Matching Gift Opportunity - Sanctuary Art and Furnishings. Generous donors have volunteered to match dollar for dollar any special gifts given between now and the end of the year! So far we’ve raised about 40K of the 50K required to fully fund the project. That means we have just 10K to go—5K in gifts received by the end of the year would be fully matched to bring us to finish line! Details of the project can be found online here as well as ways to donate.

More Than Bricks Update
MTB kicked off in December 2014 as a major funding campaign for our new Ministry Center, with a goal of $500,000.  80% of the money received ($400,000) is being used to reduce our mortgage debt and related expenses, and 20% ($100,000) is being used to support mission work in North Dakota, St. Lucia and Nepal.  We are 2 years into the 3 year campaign, and you’ve seen monthly status updates in the Friday blog from Pastor Ben and Pastor Bill.

Commitments                                                $416,000    (83.2% of Goal)
Donations Received in December                $5,986    (Need $7,225/mo to reach commitment goal)
Total Received through December               $329,302   (79.2% of Commitments, 66% of goal)
Total Received in 2015:  $206,052                        Total Received in 2016:  $123,250

God has blessed us richly in this campaign, and our prayer is that we strive to reach the $500,000 in commitments during the next 12 months.  As a reminder, your box of donation envelopes includes a monthly MTB envelope, and you can also donate either on line or via text.  If you are a new member or would like an informational packet about MTB, please ask an usher at church.

A Year of Blessings – Our total worship attendance (adults and kids) in 2016 was 18,295 vs. 12,319 in 2015. This is 49% growth overall. God be praised! Attendance in Victory Kids was 3,381 (including helpers) vs 2,154 in 2015 (including helpers). This is 54% growth in Victory Kids overall when including the number of helpers serving per Sunday. The growth of kids in the program is about 35%. God be praised!

New Leadership Team Members – Steve Abramowski and Jason Seiberlich will be installed this Sunday during the 9 am service.

In Jesus’ peace,

Pastor Ben