At the Kairos Network we are very excited about new church plants coming into the district, as well as the work we are currently doing to raise up lay leaders! When you think of The Kairos Network you may think of us as only a church planting network, but we do much more than plant churches. We also work with existing churches in New Jersey as they embark on their next season of ministry. We currently have the joy of aiding Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Old Bridge with their visioning process. We’ve also partnered with Grace Lutheran in Union to become our first video venue. This is an opportunity to aid them in a critical state as they do not have a pastor. Our partners Bethlehem Lutheran provide the preaching and teaching every Sunday, which Grace Lutheran shares with their congregation via video. These are just a few ways the Kairos Network is able to help churches local to New Jersey step into a new season of ministry and impact in the 21st century. If you’re interested in learning more about partnering, planting churches or looking to step into a new season of ministry, please contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Message from Pastor Matt Lytikainen of Mile Square Church
Our second worship service is in the books! We had 39 people join us, almost all of whom were Hoboken residents. It’s all very exciting, but amidst all the hype about our services, I always need to remember why we're doing this. We're doing this for people like Edgar. I met Edgar at a Chamber of Commerce networking night, and he's preparing for marriage. It's got him thinking about his Christian roots, and how important it is to be connected to the local church. My prayer is that I'll see Edgar and his fiancé one of these Sundays. Who knows what the Lord is up to? Our job is to keep joining Jesus on his mission so we can find out!
Support Mile Square Church: (https://thekairosnetwork.churchcenter.com/giving/to/kairos-hoboken-mile-square-church)
Message from Pastor Dan Fenco of Camino de Fe:
In early February we started a new weekly gathering in Dunellen, NJ. This opportunity came after meeting people at a memorial service I’d officiated who were eager to start a community to pray and learn about God. We will continue our gathering in Dunellen every Saturday at 5:00 pm. Our community in Bernardsville continues to gather weekly gatherings on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm. I am training three leaders who by the end of March will be able to lead our weekly gatherings. We also recently had our second life-skill workshop on budgeting where people were encouraged and given tools to prepare and lead a better life. We will have our next workshop sometime in March on how to use a credit card.
In mid-February we held our third monthly worship gathering with 30 in attendance. We will continue our monthly gatherings and find a more centric location for our communities in Bernardsville and Dunellen. Our monthly gatherings are the third Sunday of every month.
I did want to share that I met a woman that worked at one of the delis I frequent in Basking Ridge. She told me she would never come to church and wasn’t interested in religion or God but I continued to visit her and one year later she showed up to one of our weekly gatherings. In our fellowship time, she said to me, “I know I promised that I would never show up, but here I am.”
All I can say is that God is working in her and working in all the people that I build relationships with. I often pray that God guides my conversations and that I have the opportunity to meet new people every day. This woman, as well as the other people that we interact with on a daily basis, are special to God and God wants to use us to show them Jesus. I pray that God continues to use you as you develop and seek relationships with non-believers.
Support Camino de Fe: (https://caminodefe.church/give-donar/)
We have many exciting updates to share with you! We are currently developing an app to provide our church planters and leaders with training resources, right at their fingertips! The app is currently being prepped for the app store with a hope to launch it out in March. We are also working to update our website which, like the app, will be easy to navigate and a helpful resource for those going through The Kairos Network training. We’re also working on streamlining our communication with the help of our Communications Coordinator, Susan Schultz, who is mapping out a plan for email campaigns and social media. We have big plans in 2019 and can’t wait to share more with you! Here’s an update from our planters, Pastor Matt Lytikainen of Mile Square Church and Pastor Dan Fenco of Camino de Fe.
Camino de Fe
On December 23rd Camino de Fe had their first monthly Bilingual Worship service at Somerset Hills Lutheran Church with 35 people in attendance! Their second monthly Bilingual Worship service was on January 20th with 30 in attendance. Their monthly Bilingual Worship services will continue every third Sunday of the month at 12:30 pm in different locations. Pastor Dan Fenco is training two leaders in Bernardsville with hopes that they will be ready to start a new weekly worship community in March.
They are also in the process of starting a new worship community in Dunellen, NJ. After Pastor Fenco met around 30 people at two different funerals he presided over, people showed interest in the church. It is his hope to start a weekly worship gathering there beginning on February 9 at 5:00 pm.
Pastor Fenco wanted to share this exciting story with you: Last August, Somerset Hills and Camino de Fe hosted a VBS in a park in Bernardsville. The families that participated are continually contacted with reminders about weekly worship gatherings and special events. Some have visited Camino de Fe’s worship gatherings and some have not. Last week, someone who had not attended their worship gatherings responded and asked for prayer for her hospitalized husband. Pastor Fenco assured her he would pray for him. The woman then sent another text asking for prayer, in replying Pastor Fenco asked her if he could visit and pray in person. When he visited the family at the hospital and prayed with them the woman said she had the intention of joining their worship gatherings, but couldn’t because she isn’t able to drive and her husband is not religious. She then promised to visit in the future. Pastor Fenco assured her that God is not looking down on us reminding us of the wrongs we have done, but that He is always present waiting for us to turn to Him. God is working!
Camino de Fe thanks you for your prayers and financial support. Pastor Fenco encourages you to continue to pray for them as they continue to work on expanding the Kingdom of God in Central Jersey. Pray especially for the faith of their families at Camino de Fe, and for the new community forming in Dunellen, that they will be receptive to God’s Word.
Mile Square Church
On January 20th they had their very first worship service in Hoboken, which kicked off what we in the church planting world call "preview season". And what a kick-off it was!
They had 56 people worshipping with them. Some were from other sister churches in New Jersey, but about 70% were Hoboken locals! That's incredible! What makes it even more significant was that in addition to the overhyped weather, the governor of NJ had also declared a state of emergency. Despite it all, they still had a great morning. They couldn't have done it without their helpers on Sunday morning who rallied together to set-up the church and welcome the community with smiling faces. And they certainly couldn't have done it without YOU. They thank you for your prayer support and financial support. Their next service is on February 17, but in the meantime, check out some pictures below.
Looking to support Mile Square Church’s mission? Please do so at http://supportmilesquare.church. In addition, if you are in the area, please feel free to attend worship so they have an energetic worship service for all who attend!
Greetings in Christ from the mission field in Hoboken, NJ!
If we haven’t had the privilege to meet, my name is Matt Lytikainen, pastor of Mile Square Church. The Lord has been faithful, and continues to be so as we get closer and closer to our first worship service. That service is a significant milestone for us because since the moment we hit the ground here people have been asking me, “Where is your church?” In his timing, God has given us the grace to be able to identify a worship space, and has opened the doors for us to begin worship services on a monthly basis starting January 20, 2019. That’s less than two months away!
However, church shopping isn’t the only thing we’ve been up to. Not having regular services hasn’t stopped us from being the church in our city. Over the past 2 months or so we’ve begun and concluded our Fall term of Connect groups, which are Bible studies that meet weekly in various places throughout our community. Each of these groups are completely different from one another, and each have born fruit for the kingdom as we grow in relationship with Jesus and with one another. Our Adulting group (pictured below) had the privilege of welcoming 13 people into the group over the term. Alpha, an introduction course to Christianity, saw 11 people connect to our church over the course of the term, and our women’s group, Altogether Beautiful connected 3 women to Mile Square. One amazing story from Alpha is that mid-way through, one woman shared that she ordered her very first Bible, and she was excited to crack the cover. Even better, the entire group has insisted that we continue doing studies there even after Alpha is done. How cool is that? Praise God!
In addition to small group Bible studies, we’ve also continued hosting outreach events in the city. One such outreach is called Real Talk, which is a community forum we host where we talk about religion politics and everything in between all while seeking to raise the bar on the quality of the conversation we have in the public square. Our last Real Talk in November welcomed 19 people into the conversation. In addition, we also had a Thanksgiving Luncheon at a housing authority complex we’ve been reaching out to and 23 people attended and had a delicious meal! One person from Real Talk shared with me how excited he was that he’d found a church like Mile Square. He had grown up in a tradition that worshipped in a different language, but he never understood what was being said. He assured me he was looking forward to coming to a church that spoke his language and was willing to dialogue about the stuff he cared about. Amazing grace!
We celebrate all we’ve been able to accomplish even just over the past three months. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows on the mission field, but at the end of the day joining Jesus on his mission is the truly the most satisfying thing Nyssa (my wife) and I could imagine doing. However, we still have so much to do before we start worship. We need to buy equipment, build teams to help run the morning, and plan the whole thing! One of the biggest things you could do to help get us there would be to pray for us. We need God to move in big ways in the hearts and minds of the people in Hoboken! You can also share the names and contacts of anyone you might know in Hoboken with me, so I can meet with them and invite them to church. But you can also help us by supporting financially. Even a gift of $50 would be a tremendous blessing to us. You can support online by visiting http://supportmilesquare.church or by sending a check made out to “Mile Square Church” to the district office at the address below:
Attn: Elaine Schleifer
1168 Springfield Ave.
Mountainside, NJ 07092
In addition, if you want to stay updated with the mission, text “Support” to 201-754-5271. This will subscribe you to monthly texts which will include a video from me, Pastor Matt, sharing a quick story about how things are going. You can also text or call that number with any questions you might want to ask me. May the peace of Christ be with you always!
~Pastor Matt Lytikainen
From time to time, the NJ District's church planters will be sharing updates from their ministries. This time you will hear about the church plant in Bernardsville, but before I share what has happened this past summer, let me give you a quick recap.
Our Spanish speaking church plant in Bernardsville, NJ is called Camino de Fe (FaithJourney). We started a Wednesday gathering with prayer, fellowship and study of God’s word on November 1, 2017. We started with one family and today Camino de Fe continues to meet every Wednesday with 20 people.
Camino de Fe exists to share the love of God with the Bilingual/Spanish community in Bernardsville, NJ so that they can share the love of God with others. We also offer the tools and resources necessary to help the community be part of, and engaged in, the American way of life.
In May, we had a Bilingual worship service at Somerset Hills Lutheran Church with our first two baptisms and 70 people in attendance. In April, we hosted our “First Time Homebuyers” seminar with 30 people in attendance. We partnered with a realtor from town and they did the entire seminar in Spanish. We were able to provide information and resources regarding homeownership.
Part of our dream is to own a laundromat that will serve as a worship and outreach center for our congregation. After listening to our community we found out that people were driving 25 minutes each direction to do their laundry. So, what if we own a laundromat and provide for the need of the community, hire people within the community, use the space for worship and workshops, and the laundromat can support the church financially. This is what God has put on our hearts.
And now to this Summer . . . This was an awesome Summer!
In August, we had a BBQ in which we played games, enjoyed time together and talked about our plans for the future. We re-iterated our vision. In addition, each member agreed to start leading our Wednesday gatherings (this summer we had two members leading our gatherings), and we will start some Preview Worship Services this fall. A preview worship service is a worship service that shows the community a sample of what our worship would be like.
This was also a busy summer! We applied for a grant to the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) – Kaleidoscope Fund for the amount of $250,000.00. This amount will cover all the equipment necessary for our laundromat. The Kaleidoscope Fund is a grant program designed to support eligible Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) ministries with outreach and expansion, education (K-12 Lutheran Schools) and church worker wellness. LCEF is always looking for opportunities to support the Church in fulfilling its mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Camino de Fe submitted a grant proposal in June. We were one of 41 proposals (out of 400) that were invited to apply for this grant. This past September 1st, we submitted our final application and now we wait and we pray.
Help us in praying for Camino de Fe, that if it’s God’s will, this grant will be approved for us. If not, then God will show us other ways to make our vision a reality. We will find out the LCEF decision regarding the grant on November 9, 2018.
I want to give a big thank you to Cheryl, the Somerset Hills Lutheran Church office Administrator, for helping me through this process. We could not have done it without her! Thank you also to Jack Baron, Pastor John, our district President Anthony Steinbronn, Elaine M. Schleifer, NJ District’s Office and Business Manager and LCEF Eastern District President Rick Porter for their wisdom and guidance. I am forever grateful!
Here are some ways you can continue to support us:
You can write your checks to:
LCMS New Jersey District
1168 Springfield Ave
Mountainside, NJ 07092
Attn: Bernardsville Church Plant
You can also give safe and secure online at this link.
Follow Camino de Fe on Social media to see pictures, videos and much more.
Email Pastor Dan Fenco for more information.
The 11th Annual NJ District Mission Classic Golf Outing - MC11 was held on Thursday, May 14 at Heron Glen Golf Course in Ringoes, NJ.
Approximately $15,000 was raised in support of mission work in the LCMS New Jersey District. Ninety-six (96) golfers and 19 congregations were involved as players and/or sponsors. The winning team from Calvary Lutheran Church (Verona, NJ), comprised of Harold Thompson, Peter Strumolo, Michael Catena, and Dave Hildebrandt, came in at 12 under Par. Harold Thompson is Calvary's congregational president, and this was Calvary's first time playing in the Mission Classic.
A special thanks to this year's Mission Classic Sponsors: Our Redeemer Fords, Wacks & Hartman, Transforming Churches Network (TCN), Rev. Paul Huneke, The Noelke Family, Rev. William Klettke, and Fords Jewelers (Fords Jewelers offered a Rolex Watch for the Hole-in-One contest).
Also, thanks to LWML, LCEF, Affinity Credit, Karcher Law Firm, and the 31 Tee Sponsors for their very generous support.
Enjoy these photos from the day - more will be added to the online photo album soon!
News & Events
Mission and ministry events & opportunities from around the NJ District and beyond.