Helping the Tacoma Community Through Simple Acts

Keeping it simple.

That’s what this ongoing Bible Study group does at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Tacoma, Washington. It all started with a men’s retreat in which a group of men wanted to form a Bible study on Saturday mornings before the family activities started. So, what is important about this group? If you asked them, they might say – nothing, except loving God, loving others and living like Jesus!

Sure, it is important to study God’s word, and this group has done just that. They have gone through several books of the Bible including Nehemiah, Matthew, Luke, Ephesians, Revelation. They have also taken on both Luther’s Small and Large Catechism. But they felt there is more to sharing God’s Love to others and not keep it in their own group.

They put their words to action by forming several other ministries that are growing at Our Savior today. The first ministry is the Makah Mission Trip, in which they secured the sheetrock for a two-story activity building and spent an entire week with 30 men to help with the project. They also helped repair reservation homes and do some cleanup work. That mission is still going on today.

Then they started “Faith in Action,” which came from the idea of the mission trip – where they helped those in need in the community. It was easy – they would first find a home that needed some TLC and ask permission from the owners to clean it up for them. They later opened this up to the church… and it has taken off and is still going strong today!

Next, a wife of one of the members came up with the idea of Abundance Garden – and it has served thousands of people in the nearby community for years and is still growing. This year saw another great season, as OSLC met and exceeded the goal of more 1,000 pounds (total was 1127.5). All harvested produce is donated Nourish Food Bank. Many, many volunteers from the congregation work to keep this endeavor running.

Then a group member came up with the Idea of a car shop. They had a building that was perfect for it, so they thought, “Why not?” It started off with simple oil changes, and today there are three lifts that can accommodate a variety of safety repairs. They service anywhere from eight to 12 cars on the third Saturday of the month.

Another member was a former police officer and started a rest area for Pierce County police in one of the buildings that wasn’t being used. What a blessing this has been – not only for the police officers, but also for Our Savior Lutheran Church.

Besides the efforts above, this group has also played a major part in many other ministries including backpacks for kids, youth ministry, men’s ministry, men’s breakfast where they do the cooking with other men, and other various ministries.

“Keeping it simple is simply doing what is put in front of us to do.” It all started with the pastor of Makah Lutheran Church visiting one Sunday and one of the men in the group asking what they could do. That started the Makah Mission. When they returned, they brought the idea of doing the same thing in their own community – and they did it. Then it was apparent that single moms and families in need could use car repairs, so they started the car shop. Then the police needed a rest area, so they provided one for them.

So where can God use you and your small group? What is tugging at your heart? Members of this OSLC group note: “The key we found is simply keeping our hearts and minds open to what God has in store for us to do. It may be something that you never thought you would ever have done. God is great all the time. Keep it simple and follow whatever God is leading you to do. He will make it possible. “

Kirk Van Natta

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