Domestic Mission congregation series: Mapleton, North Dakota
Domestic Mission congregation series Gift of God Lutheran Church, Mapleton, North Dakota
Here is an update from the worst weather place in the United States. Fargo, ND can now claim that title following a weather.com survey.
Gift of God organized as a preaching station in the fall of 1991. It was organized as an extension of the ministry of St. Paul, Ponsford, MN and Mt.Olive, Detroit Lakes, MN.
In 2001, about the same time we organized as a congregation, we moved from a hotel conference room in Fargo and started renting a vacant church building in Mapleton, ND. The following year, we purchased the building for $50,000 with the aid of a loan from the CLC Church Extension Fund. The building can hold 100+ worshipers with just as much room downstairs including an adequate kitchen from which to serve potlucks.
If you haven’t heard, Gift of God Lutheran Church is the only church in the town of Mapleton, ND. The town is twelve miles west of the I-94/29 interchange in Fargo. No matter where you go in the United States, much less the Midwestern States, being the only church in a midsized community just isn’t very common. Being so close to most of the homes in this town, many could realistically walk. Of course, for 9 months of the year, in the harsh ND winters everyone does drive. The town is predominantly filled with nonchurch goers. Therefore we have many opportunities to reach out with the Gospel message.
Here are a few instances in which the Lord has blessed us tremendously to be where we are. From time to time we hear about various members of the CLC coming to the F-M (Fargo- Moorhead) area to further their education at the local universities and colleges. In the past, those college students have benefited from attending our worship services here in the area. We in turn appreciate their fellowship and pray that will continue. At the beginning of this past school year, a home Bible study began consisting of college students and others in their 20’s. They have been meeting monthly and currently digging into the book of Hebrews. The group of 5-7 people take turns hosting the study and there really are some great discussions!
In our Vacation Bible School each summer, we routinely get the opportunity to share the Gospel with about 30 children (mostly non-members). This past summer the online registration feature through our website (mapletonluth-eran.com) was a real boost. A few of those children have been baptized and others come to our Sunday School on a regular basis. On the Sunday following VBS, we hold an outdoor worship service at the local playground/park which is well attended by visitors.
Hopefully we have learned to use the advantages which the Lord has presented to us. To that point, we have made use of the very friendly environment in the Mapleton Community Center on various occasions. It is just one block away from our church. They allow us to use it for free. And anyone who lives in Mapleton stops in there because of the post office which is attached. The different seminars and Bible studies which we (Gift of God Continued) have held over the past couple of years have been good opportunities to get the word out about our church, not to mention the actual Word. A sampling of those studies include: Mapleton Mardi Gras (Fasting and Lent), 2012 – Will that be the End?, Halloween and Reformation, To Spank or Not to Spank.
A bright spot for our congregation of late has been the confirmation class with 1 member attending and as of last week 5 non-members coming. They have taken part in studies at the Community Center, as well as giving their unique perspective.
By the time you read this the whole Fargo/ Moorhead community will have endured yet another spring flooding season. Sandbagging with other people from all walks of life presents itself as another opportunity year after year to speak about the Lord Jesus Christ and give out invitations for our worship services and other church activities.
We thank the Lord for the salvation He has won for us, and for the privilege of bringing it to others here in the frigid Fargo area. We also thank the Lord for fellow CLC members who keep us in their prayers and support us with their Mission offerings.
– Pastor Matthew Gurath