Message from the President: ‘Seeing Jesus in the NOW District’


Greetings in the name of our living Lord Jesus.

Do you recall the account of Zacchaeus? Yes, the wee little man. That one. Luke 19 tells us that he was so eager to see Jesus that he “ran on ahead and climbed into a sycamore tree to see him” (v. 4).

If only there were a tree tall enough, a perch from which to view the entire Northwest District, I’d like to look. I’d like to see Jesus. I’d like to see what he’s doing in every ministry setting, every church, every school, every early childhood center, summer camp, and care ministry of the NOW. It’s my hope as I settle into this new role serving you in the call of District President that I will not only see where Jesus is at work, but also that we in the NOW District Office will see – and as we do, we’ll continue to point it out to you.

I know you find him each week in the preaching of his word and in the sharing of his body and blood around the fellowship of his altar… So, let me tell you about Zion in Klamath Falls, Oregon, which just celebrated 100 years of Word and Sacrament ministry.

Youth also find him in the Bible study that ensues after a Wednesday night meal and water games at Grace Lutheran in Molalla, Oregon, where there are as many unique faces from the Molalla community coming to the midweek youth activities as there are adults in worship on Sunday morning.

Students also find him at Anchor Lutheran School in Anchorage, Alaska, where looking up means seeing through skylight windows the workbooks of the construction crew members as the school grows taller by a story, adding more classrooms and a new gym for a continually expanding student body. The sound of building above is not just drills and pneumatic nail guns; it’s the sound of God at work. Jesus, through his people, is building that ministry. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they that build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127).

I’m thrilled to be working alongside our seasoned team at the NOW District Office whose work encouraging youth leaders, providing mission clarity and LCEF loans, supporting schools, coaching ministry leaders, and caring for church workers is providing a perch from which I can see – not every part of the district at once, but a little at a time. Stay tuned to the stories at and check out the NewsNOW emails. Soon you might hear Jesus calling your name and saying he has a place in his mission just for you. That’s what he did with Zacchaeus.

Through you, Jesus has called me into this unique place to serve and support your endeavors as you carry out his mission. I ask for your patience as I step into and learn this new role. President Emeritus Paul Linnemann served this district with a heart of grace and offered a leadership model that supported leaders in doing their best work together. I know that Jesus has more of the same in store as we faithfully seek him. I’ll be doing so, and I’m excited to be doing it together with you.

In Jesus,
Rev. Michael T. Von Behren
President of the Northwest District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

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