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
Join us for a ministry festival loaded with resources and encouragement for ministry to and with older adults!
Executive Director of ALOA, Mark Schoepp will be the keynote speaker.
A number breakout sessions will be offered, including ministry to those with dementia, parish nursing in your congregation, and senior safety.
Download a bulletin insert here.
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR BOTH DATES:
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.
Download a daily news summary of Saturday's convention business, including final elections and resolutions, a report on registration, the second part of the Synodical President's report, as well as reports from various district ministries and other invited guests.
Download a daily news summary of Friday's convention business, including elections and resolutions, a report on registration, and Friday evening's worship service.
A summary of Saturday's convention business will be posted soon.
News & Events
Mission and ministry events & opportunities from around the NJ District and beyond.