Easter is an exciting time in the Church year even though it is for only 50 days. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost is also exciting, but this excitement rests completely on the resurrection of Jesus. Everything in our faith walk is grounded in the resurrection.

Easter is filled with many wonderful things — the empty tomb, the face cloth and linen cloths, the angels, the message of Mary (“I have seen the Lord!”), the mission directive of Jesus (“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”), Jesus’ teaching on the road to Emmaus, the catch of fish, the three questions to Peter, being seen by more than 500 people, and more. St. Paul would write to the churches that Easter is foundational to all that we do and the solid rock on which our faith and life is based.

Let me encourage you not to let Easter go by too quickly. Meditate on and study the Scripture teaching on Jesus’ resurrection and ours. Listen and take in the words of the resurrected Lord. Let the resurrection change your life and strengthen your faith that Jesus is the promised Messiah and the one who redeems and blesses you.

In the November 2017 issue of The Lutheran Witness, a number of articles touched on the state of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). From 1966 to 2016, the number of children baptized was down about 50,000. Confirmed membership went down about 220,000, and the total baptized membership decreased by more than 710,000. A recent study by the LCMS has the Synod possibly losing 500,000 baptized members during the next 10 to 15 years. That study also pointed out that people are moving to areas in our country where there are no LCMS congregations.

We all become discouraged with numbers like these. However, these numbers should spur us into action for planting more congregations and sharing our faith with more people. Instead of being depressed about the numbers, we should reconnect ourselves to the Great Commission the Lord has given us.

This is where Easter helps us. Jesus conquered sin, death and Satan. Nothing can stand against Jesus and His resurrection, and it is this resurrection power that enlivens us and encourages us to share God’s love and forgiveness with others. It is the encouragement of the resurrection that keeps us planting new congregations. It is the resurrection that opens the financial doors to support this church-planting effort along with the training and sending of evangelists into new communities. And it is resurrection encouragement that empowers Christians to engage people in their communities through acts of loving kindness and through sharing the reason for the joy and peace in their lives.

Numbers are helpful, but we don’t need the numbers to carry out God’s mission in the Texas District or in Synod. Easter is the reason for all of our mission and ministry efforts locally and worldwide.

Yes, celebrate Easter!
Jesus is alive,
He lives in us
and leads us in mission
in His name.

By Rev. Ken Hennings
President, Texas District