Trinity Lutheran Church member Iris Hackbarth works on her Noah’s Ark quilt in 2018 at TLC Quilters in Algona, Iowa. (LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford)

Did you know that over half of our congregations and members in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod are considered rural and small town?

I had no idea until I accepted a Divine Call to be the director of LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission.

What a wonderful gift from God that He has planted so many churches in so many wonderful and varied small places throughout the United States.

This provides us with fantastic opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with literally millions who do not know Him or the great gift He offers by His grace.

However, as we all know, this work couldn’t possibly be done without countless dedicated servants.

And, in order to provide our congregations with resources and support, the Synod’s RSTM has to count on a myriad of volunteers.

Without volunteer support, RSTM Coordinator Amy Gerdts and I couldn’t begin to do the daily work needed to support this vital ministry from our office in Concordia, Mo.

In fact, volunteers have accomplished more than we could ever hope to accomplish. This list could go on and on, but here is just a sample of the wonderful things our volunteers have done for our congregations over the past six-plus years.

Volunteers have:

  • prayed for our ministry and the congregations we represent, including workers and servant volunteers.
  • compiled, copied, proofed, prepared, and mailed the resources and information congregations depend upon.
  • cooked, fed, and housed students, seminarians, bi-vocational pastors and their families, pastors, church workers, and volunteers.
  • accomplished an astounding number of supportive tasks in order to lift up and equip these vital ministries in rural and small towns throughout our Synod.

I find it simply amazing that these folks, compelled by Christ’s love and the desire to share His Gospel message, selflessly and continuously show their love by supporting RSTM congregations and their workers.

Even more impressive is that these volunteers will most likely never have their name associated with their work or receive any recognition for their efforts.

Yet, they do it anyway for the sake of the Gospel.

This is why we wanted to take a moment during this volunteer appreciation month to give thanks to God for these selfless servants, and we thank volunteers for the incredible support they have provided and will continue to provide to LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission and our constituent congregations. 

May God continue to bless you in your work as He has blessed us through you!

The Rev. Todd E. Kollbaum is director of LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission.