Things at Victory continue to grow and expand. We had an average attendance in April of a 170 people per week. Membership is 157 with 103 communicants. There are 20 people in various stages of Adult Bible Instruction. We have just sent off our call to the Seminary for “Call Day” on May 20th to call a second “Tent Minister”. This will be a part-time pastor that will focus on Church In-reach while Pastor Ben continues his focus on Outreach and Evangelism. This new pastor will focus on member visitation, Bible study, Confirmation, youth ministry oversight and things that help develop the members of the congregation. Since Victory is nearly half made up of new Christians or were non-attending members of other churches, we need to have the ability to strengthen new Christians with Bible study and growing in faith. This will allow each pastor to focus on their strengths.
Additionally since we have been self-supporting for awhile now and have a surplus in our budget and a decent amount of money in the Land fund we have commissioned a group to start following the Franklin Zoning project that is reclassifying the city. They will be looking for potential properties and identifying the hurdles there may be in getting land. This is great but it is not a high priority. Right now we have a space to worship that can accommodate a large number of people. We have found that not having a building has actually been a blessing to us. Also it has been shown that often congregations build too early, with not enough money, and too small of a building and they end up shooting themselves in the foot. We will only build when being in temporary spaces becomes a hindrance to spreading the Gospel.
Victory has got some neat new things going on. The first thing is that our Children’s Ministry Director, Cassie, has revamped the Kids Ministry for ages 10 and under to be super-charged. We now have nearly 40 kids per week for Bible Quest. Not bad considering we started with two kids two years ago. After having been Sunday School superintendent and Sunday school teacher I would have to say that anything I have seen synod-wide pales in comparison. Cassie has really created something to note here. We call the program Bible Quest and I am in the process of developing a separate website for it to highlight all the activities and teaching that is going on. I volunteered for BQ last week and wow! I was impressed with just how energetic and comprehensive it is. The engagement level of the kids is sooo much higher. I was exhausted by the end but it was very rewarding.
The next thing Victory has started is a teen group. Our teens have been steadily growing in number so that we have about 10 of them. We now have some leaders that will be doing the teen group and getting them organized and get the Teen activities and bible study going. They are still working on voting for a name.
Lastly, Ike will be confirmed this Sunday. He represents the first teen confirmation at Victory in terms of the traditional notion of confirmation. There will be several others starting to occur in the next months/year. Victory has been working in two ways with confirmation. Either they can take it at one of the neighboring congregations with the “public school” kids in whatever way those congregations run that, or we have been currently having parents catechize their own children with pastoral oversight (soon to be the role of the new pastor). This has been a great thing I believe. I think it helps parents and children learn about their confession of faith and the Lutheran doctrines. So Confirmations with the little white robes that happen every May are probably a thing of the past here. I think it will be very age independent and depend on the timing and thoroughness of the training of each teenager involved.