Crown of Life Lutheran Church & School

1292 Tally Ho Trail
Hubertus, WI  53033

Come... My Lord wants me to worship Him

It is our mission to bring people into the Church of Jesus Christ by:

v  Creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is inviting to our members as well as the community we serve

v  Providing worship services which are spiritually uplifting, challenging the spiritually comfortable to re-evaluate their faith while comforting the burdened souls through the forgiving message of Christ

v  Providing all people in the community the opportunity to worship the Lord regardless of age or special needs


Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs… Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  (Psalm 100:2,4)


Regular Service Times

Sunday: 8:00 & 10:30 am
Thursdays: 7:00 pm

Holy Communion:
1st & 3rd weeks

Holy Communion may be received on the first and third Sundays -- both services, and on the Thursday before the corresponding services. Our guests who wish to partake of Holy Communion are asked to speak to the pastor before the service.

Prayer of the Week

Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your Word.  By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy and to bring forth fruits in faith and hope and love; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

What we Believe

We believe that the world was created by one God in six normal days. This God reveals himself in the Bible as one God in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. His once perfect creation fell into imperfection because Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.

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Invitation To Join Us

When a local congregation gathers for worship, education, or fellowship it tends to show its true colors. We can tell you what we are about, but we would love to show you. Our worship times are posted on this website. Our church and school staff is available throughout the week on our campus. Please, join us in any of the settings as you are able!

About Our Worship

Our Worship Team takes seriously the weekly task of providing worship that sets Christ Jesus as Savior at center stage. We place a high value on the way Christians have worshipped for centuries and model their patterns. At the same time we look to embrace new styles and settings that our Heavenly Father is presently giving to his Church in the interest of telling the news of his Son to every soul.

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About Pastor Helwig

Pastor Michael Helwig was born in Milwaukee in 1971. The sixth of eight children, he spent most of his elementary years in Two Rivers, WI until his family moved to Northern Wisconsin. His father served as school principal and teacher in various Lutheran schools. His mother held various careers in the medical field as a registered nurse.Michael Helwig - Pastor


Pastor and his wife, Rachel (Seiltz), have five children, who are presently in their elementary years. Pastor Helwig has a love for music of all kinds and plays piano, guitar and mandolin. Weekly he looks forward to his free time with his family at home. He loves the outdoors; especially camping, boating and fishing. The Helwig family looks forward to the many ways they are welcomed into the ministry of their church family at Crown of Life.

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About Pastor Strey

Johnold Jay Strey is the son of Johnold and Rayola Strey of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, where their family were members at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Pastor Strey attendedJohnoldStrey Calvary Lutheran School in Thiensville and Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson, graduating in 1993. He began his formal education for the pastoral ministry at the former Northwestern College in Watertown Wisconsin, then continuing at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, graduating in 1997. Pastor Strey continued his education for the ministry at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin, graduating in 2001. As a part of his seminary training, he was assigned as vicar at St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, California (part of Los Angeles proper) during the 1999-2000 school year.

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Crown Of Life History

PDF Version




The History of

Crown of Life Evangelical

Lutheran Church

Established 1970



On December 1, 1969, the first meeting was held at Al Pike's residence. Beginning exploration was stipulated in a call accepted by Pastor Ralph Martens of Faith, Sussex. Since the Pike family was a member of Faith and lived in Hubertus, they were asked to host preliminary meetings. Five families were present at this first meeting --Pike, Grosse, Gossfeld, Ruch and Lane.


The second meeting was held on January 20, 1970 at Al Pike's residence. Six families were present at the second meeting -- Pike, Grosse, Gossfeld, Ruch, Lane and Kidney (eleven attended). On January 31, 1970, eleven students from the seminary met at Al Pike's residence to canvas the Hubertus area.


The rental of the Friess Lake Fire Hall was negotiated with Friess Lake Advancement Association by A. Pike, R. Ruch and W. Gossfeld for $50 per month.


The first church service was held in the Friess Lake Fire Hall on February 1, 1970, with 56 in attendance and 19 in Sunday School. Pastor Ralph Martens of Faith Lutheran in Sussex led the service. Hymnals, together with smaller items were kept in a locker we provided at the fire hall. The larger items were stored in Gossfeld's garage and had to be hauled down every Sunday and set up for services, after first clearing miscellaneous debris within the hall. Cindy Pike (at age 11) and Mrs. Raabe alternated as church organist.

In August of 1970, Pastor John Raabe, from the Synod Mission Board, agreed to serve our congregation, and on November 10, 1970, our congregation organized itself as Crown of Life Ev. Lutheran Church. The name of our congregation was suggested by Pastor Ralph Martens. The church constitution was adopted by our congregation on December 1, 1970. The Constitution Committee consisted of A. Pike, Richard Ruch, Layne Kidney, Walter Gossfeld and Pastor Raabe. Original typing was done by Mrs. Rita Cunard at Inland Diesel with booklets printed on Inland's printing press. The original printing of the constitution was kept in a brown (tag board) type loose leaf binder. There were additional pages at the back of the book that contained signatures, dates and addresses of our members as they were accepted into membership. In the early years, all new members were contacted by the Stewardship Committee and asked to sign the Constitution signifying their acceptance into membership. The book was normally kept in the Pastor's office.

A church choir was started and sang for the Children's Christmas Eve Service on December 20, 1970. Mrs. Raabe served as the first choir director. Mrs. Jean Holmburg served as the second choir director for the next six years. The choir rehearsed every Wednesday evening at the Holmburg's home until the church was built.HistoryImg2


A Bible Class, studying the Book of Revelation, was organized and held every second and fourth Thursday, at 7:30 p.m., at the R. Effert's, 4675 Hubertus Road.


The first Confirmation class for children met Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. with Dean Brooker, Roger Duffy, Susan Redrick, Cindy Pike and Pamela Lane being instructed.


Our congregation was incorporated on January 12, 1971.

The 1970 yearbook shows 16 families, 13 voting members, 32 communicants and 61 souls. Listed were:

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Brooker and Dean & Linda

Mr. & Mrs. William DeMunek and Randall & Cheryl

Mrs. Robert Effert and Daryl, Derek, Kim & Kelly

Mr. & Mrs. David Frailing and Beverly, Vicki & Jeffrey

Mr. & Mrs. Walter Gossfeld and Sandi & Shelli

Mrs. J. K. Dixner and Karl, David & Kristin

Mr. & Mrs. Dudley Eickstedt and Daniel & Donald

Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Grosse and Mark, JoAnn, Gina & Tammy

Mr. & Mrs. Layne Kidney

Mr. & Mrs. Donald Kisch and Kevin & Kim

Mrs. Edmund Kryszewski

Mrs. Gerald Lane and David & Pamela

Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Pike and Cindy & James

Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Prosek and Michelle

Mr. & Mrs. Richard Ruch and Sally, Gary & Betsy

Mr. & Mrs. Gary Verhalen and Tamara


On August 18, 1971, six acres of land on the corner of Hubertus Road and Tally Ho Trail were purchased for $10,500.
Duane Anderson, synod architect, was hired to draw preliminary plans and subsequent construction drawings.


On January 11, 1972, our congregation called a graduating seminary student as a permanent pastor. However, not enough men were graduating, and synod was short of funds, etc. On June 5, 1973, Pastor Paul Pankow was called as our first resident pastor.


On July 16, 1973, a parsonage was secured for $35,000 at 1450 Mount Lane; Hubertus, Wisconsin. This parsonage was purchased by our Wisconsin synod for use by Crown of Life. After the permanent home was built, our synod sold the property with all funds and profits, if any, going to the synod. Crown of Life paid no rent while Pastor Pankow and family lived there.

Ground breaking of the new church building took place on July 22, 1973, and on August 5, 1973, Pastor Paul Pankow was installed as our first resident pastor.



In late October of 1973, the actual construction of our church began. Harrison Duffy (member) obtained an excavator at HistoryImg4no charge to us and dug the basement. Duane Anderson, of our synod, was the architect. Basic construction was done by the contractor, but the bulk of the finishing work was done by the congregation and their friends.

Our new church was dedicated to the glory of God on December 1, 1974. An open house for the community was held on dedication Sunday. Pastors Pankow, Raabe, and Koeplien officiated at the dedication service in the evening. Opening ceremonies took place at the morning service.


A day school was provided at Peace, Hartford, for those families who were interested. Financial assistance for tuition costs was offered by the congregation.

On January 21, 1975, our congregation voted to establish youth and Pioneer groups, and our Lutheran Girl Pioneers were chartered in September of 1975.

To provide further Christian education opportunities, Crown of Life joined the Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School Federation on April 7, 1975.


Construction of the new parsonage at 1282 Tally Ho Trail; Hubertus, Wisconsin began in November of 1974
at a cost of $38,000. It was completed in August of 1975. Its dedication was held on June 8, 1975.

On October 14, 1975, Crown of Life joined the Wisconsin Institutional Ministry. By December of 1975, the congregation had grown to 236 baptized souls, 144 communicants, and 56 voters.

On January 18, 1977, the congregation voted to be self- supporting. At this time 20 children of the congregation were attending Christian Day Schools of sister churches.

Mr. Mark Hinds was called on February 19, 1978 to become the principal and teacher of our new Christian Day School. Principal Mark Hinds was installed on July 9, 1978. Our Christian Day School was opened on August 28, 1978 with 30 children enrolled.


On October 17, 1978, the congregation resolved to allow Aid Association for Lutherans to establish a branch at Crown of Life.

Our school was growing, so on August 9, 1979; Miss Bethel Kock was installed as our first teacher of the primary grades. Forty children were enrolled when our Christian Day School opened with the addition of a Kindergarten. Miss Kock served our school until June of 1981.

With the school enrollment increasing, it was determined that an addition was needed for the school. July 13, 1980 saw the ground breaking for a two room school addition to be built. Fifty children were enrolled in our school at this time.


Our tenth anniversary under God's guidance was observed on November 7, 1980.

The new school addition was dedicated on January 18, 1981. Mrs. Margaret Hinds was installed as our Kindergarten teacher on August 23, 1981. At this time, Mrs. Linda Kasten was also installed as the new teacher of the primary grades. Fifty-nine students were under the daily Christian instruction of our three teachers. Mrs. Kasten served our school until June of 1983.

On July 10, 1983, Miss Lisa Jeske was installed as the new teacher of the primary grades in our school. Miss Jeske served our school until June of 1985.

A special anniversary service was held on October 28, 1984, in honor of Pastor Pankow's 25 years in the ministry.



April 21, 1985, a farewell dinner was given for Pastor Pankow and his family. Pastor Pankow faithfully served our congregation for 11 years and 9 months, before accepting an exploratory mission call to Portage, Wisconsin.


Prof. Wayne Mueller served our congregationas interim pastor from April 22, 1985 until June 15, 1985. On June 23, 1985, Pastor John C. Schneidervin was installed as our second resident pastor.


The following year, on June 20, 1986, Miss Jean Christensen was installed as our new primary grades teacher. Miss Christensen served our school until July of 1988. Then Miss Gwen Kammueller was extended a one year call to serve as our primary grades teacher. She was installed on August 21, 1988. Miss Kammueller served our school until July of 1989. On February 12, 1989, Crown of life extended a call to Miss Sharon Becker to serve as our primary grades teacher. She accepted our call and was installed on July 30, 1989.


On April 26, 1993, Mr. Mark Hinds resigned as principal/teacher, and Mrs. Margaret Hinds resigned as teacher at Crown of Life. Our congregation then extended through our synod’s assignment committee a call to Mr. Mark Kahrs, who was graduating from Martin Luther College. He accepted our call and was installed as our new principal and upper grades teacher on July 25, 1993. The following year, on August 28, 1994, Mrs. Nancy Ebeling was installed as our new Kindergarten teacher.


The PEACE organizationof our congregationwas organized around this time. PEACE stands for "Parents Encouraging A Christian Education."

The fall of 1993 saw the rebirth of our youth group under the guidance of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Kahrs. The youth group endeavored to promote spiritual growth in the youth of our congregationthrough Youth Bible Classes on Sunday, as well as planned activities and outings. In 1995 some activities were also held with other area congregations.


As the 25th anniversary of the congregation was gradually approaching, the suggestion was made that the congregation try to acquire a complete set of new paraments in time for the 25th anniversary celebration. Throughout 1994 and early 1995 families of the congregation donated the present paraments being used in our church.

1995 was a year of excitement for our congregation. Not only had we reached our 25th year of service to our Lord, but we also embarked upon new endeavors to reach out to the community. As part of this endeavor, a Task Force was organized in the spring of 1995. The various committees in the Task Force were:

Community Outreach Projects - Coordinator, Linda Mejchar

New Member Assimilation - Coordinator, Jean Mueller

Athletic - Coordinator, Dwayne Ketterer

Social Activities - Coordinator, Susan Kahrs

Member Care - Coordinator, Evelyn Bublitz

Publicity - Coordinator, Beverly Schuelke

Recruitment - Coordinator, Vicki Lemke


We also began our Invisible Sunday School Program in September of 1995. Fifty-two reprint able lessons and small boxes of crayons were purchased for this program. Packets were assembled with a lesson, pages to color, and a box of crayons. These packets were then distributed to various area businesses to be offered to their customers at no charge to occupy the children of their customers. To date, we have businesses in the Menomonee Falls and Richfield areas participating in this endeavor.

In the fall of 1995, Crown of Life began a new K4 program, and Mrs. Becky Wierschem was hired to teach these young souls.


The exciting year of 1995 reached its concluding crescendo in the Christmas Day Song Service. Amid the praise to God for the gift of his SoHistoryImg7n Jesus, our gracious Lord moved the hearts of his people to give the last $18,000 that was needed to pay off the congregation’s Church Extension Fund Loan with our synod. The 25 year loan came due on December 31, 1995. By our Lord’s grace the loan was paid in full and on time. Our Lord’s Spirit had also moved our members to give $40,000 during the twelve weeks leading up to Christmas Day, 1995. This tremendous outpouring of gifts to pay off the congregation’s church loan concluded the Debt Retirement Program, which was begun in the fall of 1989 under the theme “My Love Gives From The Heart.” The program was kicked off with an every member visit that was conducted by Kenneth and Doris Chandler. In 1989, when the Debt Retirement Program was begun, the congregation owed $179,000 on its church. Between the fall of 1989 and Christmas Day of 1995 our Lord enabled his congregation of Crown Of Life to give $250,000 to pay off the principle and interest that was due on the loan. On January 28, 1996, the church officers of Crown of Life together with our pastor burned the mortgage at the conclusion of the Sunday worship service amid the joy and tears of our members.



In 1996 the congregation obtained a ten year Property Improvement Loan from AAL in the amount of $50,000. This loan made it possible to make much needed repairs and improvements to the church and to the parsonage, which had to be put off during the years our congregation was raising the funds to pay off its CEF church loan with our synod. The loan enabled us to repair the church roof and install new carpeting in the church, to pave the parking lot, and to install in the parsonage new windows and floor coverings in the kitchen and family room. Through offerings that the members gave over and above their weekly offerings, plus several large offerings which were given, our Lord enabled his congregation to pay off this ten year loan in two and a half years.


Our lower grades teacher Miss Sharon Becker was married and became Mrs. John Schmidt on June 8, 1996. She resigned effective June 1, 1997, before having her first child. On May 17, 1997, our congregation called from Martin Luther College through our synod’s assignment committee Mrs. Melanie Schoeneck to serve as our primary grades teacher. She accepted our call and was installed on August 3, 1997.


In 1996 Crown of Life’s Church Council formed a Constitutional Review Committee to review the congregation’s constitution and to look into writing a new one, which would better serve the congregation. Mr. Theodore Mech and Mr. Robert Washow were asked to serve as this committee. From the fall of 1996 through the spring of 1997 the two men met. They wrote a new constitution which was based on our synod’s most recent model constitution for congregations. The newly written constitution was submitted to the Church Council and to the voters for review. It was officially adopted at the voters’ meeting held in October, 1997.


The voters of Crown of Life approved in 1996 a Senior Vicar Program for our congregation. A senior seminary student would be asked to assist our pastor from September through May with the distribution of Holy Communion and to preach in one week’s services per month. The Lord blessed our congregation with its first senior vicar in September, 1996.


In April of 1997 special gifts were received for the purchase of our present candelabra, which stand on each side of the altar.

In early 1998 our congregation was informed of the need for an electronic keyboard to accompany the children when they sang in church. At that time our congregation also knew that its electric, tube driven organ was in a deteriorating condition. The voters therefore authorized Mrs. Sharon Schmidt and our pastor to price electronic pianos as well as electronic keyboards. They reported to the Board of Elders that a Yahama Clavinova electronic piano could be purchased for $4,000, not including the cost of its needed external amplifier and speakers. The Board of Elders recommended to the voters on October 27, 1998, that the electronic piano be purchased after it was brought in for a trial in our services. The voters approved purchasing this instrument and necessary equipment when sufficient funds could be obtained to supplement what was in the then current New Organ Fund. The congregation was advised of this decision. Within a few short weeks several families of our congregation gave special gifts which enabled us to purchase our current electronic piano, amplifier, and speakers. Mr. Jerome Zier of our congregation procured the external amplifier and speakers at a reduced price through his place of employment and installed them for us.


An Expansion Study Committee was formed in early 1998. Its assignment was to look into the possibility of our congregation’s building two or three above-ground classrooms, a gymnasium/fellowship hall, and a large narthex on the church to accommodate fellowship before and after our services. The committee held some preliminary meetings with the contracting firm of Anderson-Ashton. Afterwards, the committee conducted a survey of the congregation’s members to learn what new facilities they thought should be built. A number of listening sessions were conducted by Mrs. Christina Johnson in behalf of the committee to listen to the members’ suggestions for every room of the new facility if it were to be built. The results of the listening sessions and a report on a meeting with Anderson-Ashton were given to the voters in its October 27, 1998, quarterly meeting. The members of this committee were:

Mr. Theodore Mech, chairman

Mrs. Christina Johnson

Mr. Dale Garman

Mr. Dennis Sprenger

Mr. Scott Meissner

Mrs. Jeanette Meissner

Mr. Robert Bublitz

Mr. Robert Washow

Pastor Schneidervin, advisor

In the spring of 1998 our principal Mr. Mark Kahrs accepted a call to serve as principal of our sister congregation in Kewaskum. Our congregation extended a call to a graduating senior of Martin Luther College through our synod’s assignment committee. Our call for a graduating principal and upper grades teacher could not be filled. Afterwards, during the short time that our synod allowed calls to be extended to teachers in the field, our congregation issued two more calls. These calls were returned. At the voters’ meeting in July our congregation then asked Pastor Schneidervin to serve as its interim principal. He served in that capacity throughout the 1998/1999 school year. To fill the vacant classroom, Crown of Life extended a one year call to Mrs. Jennifer Kuske, the wife of our senior vicar for the coming school year. She accepted our one year call and was installed on August 30, 1998.


Throughout the years from 1993 to 1998 the enrollment of our day school had been declining, reaching a low of 8 students in the fall of 1998. During the 1998/1999 school year our interim principal and Board of Education began an energetic program to rebuild our school from the bottom up. The members of the board at the time were: Mr. Dale Garman, chairman; Mr. Dwayne Ketterer, Mr. Robert Hauck, and Mr. Timothy Selig. The board adopted a three pronged program for rebuilding the school. First, a recruitment program would be begun. Second, the curriculum would be updated, with the goal of making Crown Of Life’s Day School the best elementary school in the area. Third, the building of new school facilities would be sought, which would include two or three classrooms and a gymnasium. To kick off this program our interim principal visited every family in our congregation with school age children. He visited the parents who had their children in area public schools as well as the parents of the 8 children in our school at the time. Through these visits he listened to what the parents had to say about our school and what they thought was needed to make them interested in enrolling their children in our school. In these visits the interim principal also explained the three pronged program that the Board of Education had adopted to rebuild the school from the bottom up. In the spring of 1999 the interim principal and the newly elected chairman of the Board of Education, Chris Schneidervin, invited all the parents to an open meeting to discuss the findings from the visits. A number of parents attended and began to express interest in enrolling their children. Their doing so, however, depended upon Crown Of Life’s obtaining a full-time principal and teacher for the coming school year.


On December 24, 1998, upon having her first child, Mrs. Melanie Schoeneck resigned as our primary grades teacher. Mrs. Jennifer Kuske then assumed full responsibility for teaching the 8 children in our day school for the remainder of the school year.


The Board of Elders recommended to the Church Council and voters on October 27, 1998, that the congregation consider engaging our synod’s Parish Assistance Program. This recommendation was adopted and all the councilmen and various board members met with Rev. Ronald Heins of our synod’s Parish Assistance Program on November 24, 1998. He outlined the various phases of the Parish Assistance Program and its projected costs. On January 26, 1999, the Board of Elders recommended to the voters to engage Parish Assistance and explained how the program would be funded. The voters approved the recommendation.


During the first quarter of 1999 our interim principal shared with the members of Crown of Life and our Board of Education the idea of purchasing the equipment to install a weather net in our school. The weather net would bolster our reading, mathematics, science, and computer curriculums. Once connected to Milwaukee’s WITI-TV, Channel 6, weather net program, our school’s weather net would also give our school tremendous exposure and advertising on the Channel 6 weather programs. This idea was warmly received. Within a few weeks members gave special gifts and memorials in excess of $4,500 to purchase the equipment.


On February 20, 1999, members of our congregation attended the first Parish Assistance Seminar, which was conducted by Rev. Ronald Heins in the hall of the Pioneer Bowling Alley. This seminar led the congregation to approve entering Phase II, the Analysis, of the Parish Assistance Program.


On February 22, 1999, our congregation extended a call to Mr. Wade R. Cohoon II, to serve as our principal and teacher of all eight grades. Our gracious Lord led him to be excited about what Crown Of Life was doing to build its school for the next century and new millennium. He was eager to be a part of our school program and accepted our call on March 3, 1999.


In April, 1999 the Crown of Life Expansion Committee added three members to work on arranging the financing for the proposed education and fellowship facility. The three added members to work on this financing project with Mr. Theodore Mech, the Expansion Committee Chairman, were: Mr. William Mattson, Mr. Richard Klingele, and Mr. Dwayne Ketterer. Mrs. Deborah Mattson assisted them with typing up and creating an attractive booklet on the financial information of our congregation to submit to the various lending institutions for consideration. The membership of the Expansion Committee then consisted of:

Mr. Theodore Mech, chairman

Mr. Robert Bublitz

Mr. Dale Garman

Mr. Dwayne Ketterer

Mr. Richard Klingele

Mrs. Vickie Lemke

Mr. William Mattson

Mr. Dennis Sprenger

Mr. Robert Washow

Principal Wade Cohoon, advisor

Pastor Schneidervin, advisor


Mrs. Becky Wierschem, who had been hired to teach our K4 program, asked to be relieved of her position on June 1, 1999.

Principal Wade Cohoon was installed on July 18, 1999. The school opened that fall with sixteen students enrolled.


During the summer of 1999 Mrs. Ginger Bonow was interviewed by our Board of Education for the position of teaching our K4 class. She was given the position soon after her interview and she started teaching the class in September.


On July 18, 1999, the voters authorized a special fund drive within the congregation to raise the preliminary money needed to proceed with the building of the proposed new education and fellowship facility. The voters commissioned Mr. Chris Schneidervin and Pastor Schneidervin to put a capital fund raising program together for the congregation. They designed the Forward by Faith special offering program, which was developed as a PowerPoint computer presentation and was also printed in color for an every family visit.

In the summer of 1999 our Information Technology Group also began an energetic program to obtain and install up-to-date computers, printers, and computer programs in our school. This was done in the interest of furthering our computer curriculum for the children. A family also donated a new computer and printer to begin the equipping of a school/church office.

The installation of the weathernet equipment in August of 1999 was overseen by our newly formed Information Technology Group. Our weathernet was made active by the middle of September, 1999.


The team of callers for the Forward by Faith special offering program were assembled and trained in early September, 1999. The team started their family visitations on September 19, 1999, and concluded them by October 17, 1999. A Special Gift & Commitment Sunday was conducted on October 24, 1999. On that day our gracious Lord moved the hearts of his people to give $120,000, plus additional 3 year pledges totaling $129,000. The team of callers were:

Mr. Dennis Sprenger

Mr. David Schneidervin

Mrs. Linda Mejchar

Mrs. Vickie Lemke

Mrs. Carla Stanossek

Mrs. Jeanette Mueller

Mrs. Doris Chandler

Miss. Shirley Radeck

Mr. Chris Schneidervin


On October 31, 1999, our congregation extended to Mrs. Ginger Bonow a teacher’s call to teach the K4 program and to help us begin planning a K3 program as well.

Phase II of the Parish Assistance Program was completed on November 5 & 6, 1999 with the presentation of the Diagnostic Analysis Report. Phase III of the program was then begun with a Listening Thursday and Sunday to hear the members’ concerns and suggestions for our congregation. This information was then given to our newly formed Vision of Ministry Planning Task Force. The members of the Task Force were:

Mr. Timothy Holmes

Mrs. Deborah Mattson

Mrs. Sharon Schmidt

Mrs. Vickie Lemke

Mrs. Catherine Washow

Principal Cohoon

Pastor Schneidervin.


At their annual meeting in January, 2000, the voters approved the proposal for constructing two above ground classrooms with a gymnasium/fellowship facility. The voters gave their approval to the Expansion Committee’s interviewing and hiring an architect and building contractor. After interviewing several architectural firms, the Expansion Committee in February, 2000, hired Excel Engineering to be our architect.


On March 4, 2000, the Vision of Ministry Task Force began to meet weekly to write a Mission Statement.

Enrollment in grades 1 to 8 was beginning to pick up. It was estimated we would have about 20 or more children enrolled in those grades at the start of the 2000-2001 school year. Our congregation then issued a call to Mrs. Susan Mueller on April 4, 2000, to serve as our primary teacher. Our Lord moved her to be excited about the rebuilding of our school and she accepted our call.


In April, 2000, after interviewing several building contractors, the Expansion Committee hired C.D. Smith to be our general contractor.

In April, 2000, the voters gave their final approval to construct the education and fellowship facility with the financing to be arranged through FirstStar Bank.

The Vision of Ministry Task Force concluded its work on June 10, 2000. It then submitted its Vision of Ministry Mission Document to the Church Council and then to the members of the congregation. The Vision of Ministry Mission Document envisioned a new organizational structure that would enable our congregation to carry out the Vision of Ministry it was presenting.


On July 6, 2000, the Town of Richfield Planning Commission approved the building plans that our congregation’s architect, Excel Engineering, submitted to it.

A Ground Breaking Service was conducted on July 23, 2000, for the construction of our new education and fellowship facility. This service was conducted at the end of an outdoor service, in which Mrs. Susan Mueller was installed, and in connection with a church picnic that followed.


In September of 2000 our new K3 program started up. About 20 children were enrolled in the K3 and K4 programs during the 2000/2001 school year.

The voters adopted the Vision of Ministry Mission Statement with its proposed organizational restructuring at their quarterly meeting held on October 29, 2000. A new Leadership Team would replace the existing Church Council. The members of the Leadership Team were elected by the voters. We began the forward by faith program which helped to focus the congregation on moving forward in our ministry, not just in expansion, but also in all mission areas. Our focus is to be a church driven by ministry, basing our priorities on the enhancement of the Lord’s Kingdom. We do this by focusing our efforts in the areas of ministry defined in 2001: Come, Join, Grow Adult, Grow Child, Serve, and Share


Our pastor started Bible study classes for our new Adult Spiritual Growth Program in September, 2000. This program was a part of our Adult Grow Vision of Ministry Program, which was under the leadership of Mr. Robert Washow. The first classes were overview courses of the Old and New Testaments and an Adult Information Class. Twenty-five adults enrolled in these first classes. Additional classes are being planned, namely: Church & Ministry, Gifted to Serve, Role of Man and Woman, and Team Leadership. The classes are being offered to all communicant members of our congregation. Attendance in these classes is required of all leaders, men and women, of our congregation.


Our general contractor, C.D. Smith, started construction of the education and fellowship facility on October 22, 2000, which included two or three above-ground classrooms, a gymnasium/fellowship hall, and a large narthex on the church to accommodate fellowship before and after our services. Construction of our new $930,000 facility was completed in May 2001, and the grounds around our new facility and church were landscaped.


Following our adopted Vision of Ministry Mission Statement with its new organizational structure, the members of our new Leadership Team took office on January 1, 2001. The team members were:

The Executive Committee:

Mr. Theodore Mech, president

Mr. Michael Mejchar, secretary

Mr. William Mattson, controller

Pastor Schneidervin, advisor

Mission Overseers:

Mr. Dennis Sprenger, Come Overseer

Mr. James Pier, Join Overseer

Mr. Robert Washow, Adult Grow Overseer

Mr. Robert Hauck, Child Grow Overseer

Mr. Kim Lemke, Serve Overseer

Mr. Charles Schultz, Share Overseer

Under our new organizational structure a Shared Services Group was created to support the Executive Committee. The Shared Services Group consisted of:

Mrs. Deborah Mattson, Technology Coordinator

Mrs. Jayne Jungmann, the Administrative Coordinator

Mr. John Quill, the Building & Grounds Coordinator.


Mrs. Sharon Schmidt was installed as Crown of Life’s Director of Music on January 28, 2001. This new position was created as part of our Come-Worship Vision of Ministry Program.

In 2001 Crown of Life remained dedicated to its community outreach as it has been for years. The Great Commission is the basis by which our Evangelism Team members endeavor to reach our community. Mr. Timothy Holmes has spearheaded our evangelism efforts for many years with the assistance of his wife Diane. They continue their efforts under our Share Vision of Ministry Program, which is headed by our Share Mission Overseer, Mr. Charles Schultz. We currently have 11 neighborhood block watch families, who deliver 2,200 fliers every month. We also subscribe to a service that provides us with names and addresses of new families who have moved into our area. These new families are sent a welcome brochure and invitation to visit Crown of Life’s church and school. We then attempt to personally visit as many of these new families as possible to extend an invitation to learn of their Savior through our various programs. Special Easter and Christmas invitations are sent to the 115 families on our unchurched mailing list. In the future we will look into various ways in which we can use our new facilities to reach the unchurched in our local area.


Starting in March, 2001, on the weekends and on evenings during the week, a great many members, women as well as men, began painting the interior of our education and fellowship facility, which was still under construction at the time. Even though the concrete floor of the gymnasium had not yet been poured and the floor was dirt with piles of gravel scattered about, our members began painting the interior walls and ceiling of the gymnasium, as well as the bathrooms, the kitchenette, and the balcony. As the construction of the interior hallways and classrooms progressed, our many members painted those areas. Amid the on-going construction and painting Mr. Jerome Zier began installing our modern fire alarm system with its wiring, as well as the wiring for our computer network which was designed by our Information Technology Group.

Construction of our new facility was completed on May 31, 2001. Numerous members then pitched in to help with the massive clean-up that had to be done. On June 9, 2001, an Arbor Day was held. Under the direction of Mr. Kim Lemke and Mr. Dennis Sprenger the grounds around our new facility and our church were landscaped. Under the leadership of Mr. Robert Bublitz, our head painter, together with Principal Wade Cohoon the exterior of our church began to be repainted to match the colorHistoryImg8s of our new education and fellowship facility.


During the summer months our Principal Wade Cohoon, our staff of teachers, and our Christian Education Committee, together with other members moved the furnishings and materials for the classrooms of grades 1 through 8 from the downstairs classrooms to the newly constructed above-ground classrooms. At the same time the downstairs classrooms were repainted and set up to accommodate our kindergarten and preschool programs. Amid the moving of the classrooms a new office area was also set up in the smallest of the three downstairs classrooms. Members donated materials and furnishings for our new classrooms and fellowship area. The new education and fellowship facility was dedicated on September 23, 2001.


The first day of school for our children and teachers in our new education facility took place on August 22, 2001. This first school day in the new facility began with an opening service conducted by Pastor Schneidervin, with Mrs. Ginger Bonow serving as the organist.


On July 31, 2003 after serving our congregation for eighteen years, Pastor John Schneidervin retired. A call to serve as our third resident pastor was sent to Pastor Michael Helwig. Pastor Helwig accepted the call, and became our third resident pastor on September 7, 2003.

The first Pig Roast was held in June 2004 with the purpose of reaching out to the community. It is not the primary purpose to get more COL members (though this has happened), but rather to create an opportunity for believers to have conversation with unbelievers, to redirect straying souls back to faith and their congregations, and to create community awareness of our congregation.


In 2005, more than $500,000 was remaining on the building loan. That debt was paid, and by January of 2006, we owed the bank nothing and were $4,000 in the black. (That $4,000 was generously given to Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School.) In December 2005 Crown of Life held its first Annual Living Nativity.


In 2006, Crown of Life began offering day care to its members and the community. Day care began with ten children (seven of which were non-members), but rapidly grew to the point in 2012 that children were being turned away due to insufficient room.

By 2007, Crown of Life has over 350 souls with a school enrollment of 39 students. Starting in 2007, Crown of Life participated in the tree lighting ceremony, caroling, and Christmas in Richfield. This provided an opportunity to be involved in the community. On July 8, 2007 Pastor John Mattek was installed as our assistant pastor, and served until November 15, 2009.

Though Crown of Life had offered Vacation Bible School through the past, it was in 2010 that we partnered with Camp Philip to organize and teach Vacation Bible School at Crown of Life.HistoryImg9


Ground breaking was held for a major expansion project on April 29, 2012. We have a growing congregation and need more room for service attendance, special services (families have to use another church for weddings, funerals, etc.), Bible studies, and committee meetings (the kitchen or hallways are now used). The Day Care is full and at legal limit, so we are turning people away. This $3,300,000 expansion will provide 21,497 square feet of much needed space for our church and school with a new sanctuary, education wing with five classrooms, a large fellowship area, and an all-purpose / Bible study room. With the donation of labor by the WELS Kingdom Workers ($200,000) and member materials and work donations ($500,000), Crown of Life only needed a mortgage of $2,000,000.



During 2012 and early 2013, WELS Kingdom Workers worked with our members to build an above-ground school facility. Through their efforts, they enabled us to expand our school’s physical facilities and enhance our programs that are designed to glorify his name. With the expanded facilities, our child care can once again reach out to more in our community and hopefully touch many more people with the saving knowledge of our Savior.


Dedication service for our new sanctuary was held on May 12, 2013. Our membership was 423 baptized souls, 323 communicants, and a school enrollment of 44 students.


In 2015, Crown of Life was blessed with an outdoor chapel area through the generous donation of a family in our congregation. This area can seat approximately 30 people, and it has been used for a small wedding, photo opportunities for confirmation, and midweek chapel services. It is a peaceful area for private meditation.



In February 2016 Crown of Life called an associate pastor to help with our growing membership and ministry. At this time our membership had grown to 495 baptized souls, 381 communicants, and 165 voters, with a school enrollment of 37 students. On September 25, 2016, Crown of Life was blessed to install Pastor Johnold Strey as our first associate pastor.





(* indicates resident pastor)

      Pastor Ralph Martens          - pastor at Faith, Sussex helped organize our congregation

      Pastor John Raabe              - from Synod Mission Board, August, 1970 to August 1973

*   Pastor Paul Pankow             - first resident pastor, August 5, 1973 to April 21, 1985

      Prof. Wayne Mueller          - vacancy pastor from April 22, 1985 to June 15, 1985

*   Pastor John Schneidervin    - second resident pastor June 23, 1985 to July 31, 2003

*  Pastor Michael Helwig      - third resident pastor September 7, 2003to present

*   Pastor John Mattek              - assistant pastor July 8, 2007 to November 15, 2009

*   Pastor Johnold Strey         - assistant pastor September 25, 2016 to present

Senior Vicars

      Seminarian Michael Helwig                  - September, 1996 through May, 1997

      Seminarian Daniel Heiderick                - September, 1997 through May, 1998

      Seminarian Matthew Kuske                  - September, 1998 through May, 1999

      Seminarian Anthony Fix                        - September, 1999 through May, 2000

      Seminarian William Ritchie                  - September, 2000 through May, 2001

      Seminarian Christian Christenson         - September, 2001 through May 2002

      Seminarian William Cornelius              - September 2002 through May 2003   

      Seminarian Peter Sulzle                         - September 2003 through May 2004

      Seminarian James Hoogervorst             - September 2004 through May 2005

      Seminarian Timothy Berg                     - September 2005 through May 2006

      Seminarian Brad Krause                        - September 2006 through May 2007   

      Seminarian Zach Gerbert                       - September 2011 through May 2012

      Seminarian Jeffrey Grundmeier            - September 2012 through May 2013

      Seminarian Jeremy Wosje                     - September 2013 through May 2014

      Seminarian Ben Zuberbier                     - September 2014 through May 2015

      Seminarian Greg Sitzman                      - September 2015 through May 2016

      Seminarian Christian Marquardt           - September 2016 through


(* indicates principal … blue indicates present staff)

*    Mr. Mark Hinds                                     - July 9, 1978 to July 16, 1993

      Miss Bethel Kock                                  - August 9, 1979 to June, 1981

      Mrs. Margaret Hinds                             - August 23, 1981 to July 16, 1993

      Mrs. Linda Kasten                                 - August 23, 1981 to June, 1983

      Miss Lisa Jeske                                      - July 10, 1983 to June of 1985

      Miss Jean Christensen                           - June 20, 1986 to July of 1988

      Miss Gwen Kammueller                        - August 21, 1988 to July of 1989

      Mrs. Sharon (Becker) Schmidt              - July 30, 1989 to June 1, 1997

*    Mr. Mark Kahrs                                     - July 25, 1993 to June 30, 1998

      Mrs. Nancy Ebeling                               - August 28, 1994 to July 15, 2006

      Mrs. Becky Wierschem                        - August of 1995 to June, 1999

      Mrs. Melanie Schoeneck                       - August 3, 1997 to December 24, 1998

      Mrs. Jennifer Kuske                               - August 30, 1998 to June, 1999

*    Mr. Wade R. Cohoon II                         - July 18, 1999 to July 31, 2011

      Mrs. Ginger Bonow                               - November 14, 1999 to April of 2008

      Mrs. Susan Mueller                                - July 23, 2000 to July 15, 2008           

      Mrs. Sharon Schmidt                             - September 2004 to the present

      Mrs. Rebecca Lindenberg                     - July 15, 2006 to July 15, 2009

      Mrs. Kristine Franz                                - June 15, 2008 to the present

      Miss Elisabeth (Janke) Babinec             - July 15, 2009 to July 15, 2011

      Mrs. Glori Adams                                  - August, 2009 to the present

*    Mr. Eric Troge                                       - August 1, 2011 to the present

      Mrs. Melissa Sipe                                  - July 15, 2011 to October 19, 2015

     Mrs. Anna Greenman                             - October 19, 2015 to June 30, 2016

      Mrs. Sarah Enstad                                 - September 22, 2016 to the present


We pray that the Lord continues to bless us according to his gracious will,

to move us to meet the challenges that are be placed before us,

and give us the wisdom to manage well what he has entrusted to us.

To God be all glory!

Taste the Word of the Lord

Jeremiah 15: 15-21 (Pentecost 13 – 2017)

“Taste The Word of the LORD”

His fishing crew caught their limit before breakfast. Before the catch of the day could be even cleaned, his fishing Guide had already prepared fish breakfast on beachside coals. The crew sat down to eat. After the meal, the Guide asked the fisherman: “Simon, son of John, do you truly love more than these?” Simon (Peter) replied: “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” That conversation repeated. By the third round Peter insisted: “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.” With each exchange Jesus chimed the theme of Christian ministry: “Feed my lambs … Take care of my sheep … Feed my sheep.” The risen Lord Jesus had restored the relationship with his student and friend. Peter’s denial of his Lord was erased by the voice of our forgiving Shepherd. With the taste of fish breakfast in his mouth Peter was beginning again to taste something far better: The LORD knows me. The Lord Loves Me. The Lord forgives me! He commissions me to feed his lambs that same recipe.

Generations before, the LORD spoke to another servant: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you … Now I have put my words in your mouth ... to uproot and tear down … to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1). Jeremiah was fed the Word in order to be one who would feed others. Jeremiah ate and was satisfied: “your words came and I ate them … they were my joy and my heart’s delight!”

The Lord God grows his kingdom by feeding people his truths. From his heart to the pens of his writers; from his pages to the ears and hearts of people, the Lord provides living bread for souls. He places teachers and learners at the same table of his Word. He invites us, even commands us, to taste those Words often. The Spirit then plants them deep into our souls. When we dine on the Word of the Lord, we taste that he knows us deeply and loves us unconditionally.

Taste That He Knows You

“You understand, O Lord …” Jeremiah’s first bite. You know me, Lord! Jeremiah’s confession reminds us of David in the Psalms: “O Lord you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise … before a word is on my tongue you know it completely.” (Psalm 139: 1-4).

The Lord knew everything about Jeremiah. He designed his mission. He knew about his enemies. He knew about his doubts. He knew about his conviction to remain faithful. He knew about his past. He knew about his future. He knew that his words must first be impressed on Jeremiah’s heart. Once filled by them he spoke to mobs of stiffened necks – whether they listened or not (Ezekiel 4:10).

Jeremiah thankfully did not join in with the disobedience around him: “I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them.”Jeremiah was certainly not claiming to be without sin. He was simply stating that the LORD had kept his feet from slipping into the wickedness that surrounded him. He had been strengthened to resist dining on the tables of idolatry – dining rooms of the filthy, crude behavior which promised temporal pleasures. He did not sit in the seat of mockers for his delight was in the law of the Lord (Psalm 1).

Our first bites of the Word are not so tasty, are they? It tastes awful to our sinful hearts to know that HE knows me so well. He knows my doubting, my weakness of heart; my lazy omissions of good things, the moments I have left the cross in order to eat at the junk food tables of this world. He knows my darkest secrets (David called them hidden faults – Psalm 19). Invitations to the tables of sin surround us; billboards, TV, peers and high speed social networks; they all are ringing their dinner bells to the tables that would satisfy our sinful lusts, laziness, and greed. Could we so readily say with Jeremiah “I never went there …”?

Our sinful heart looks at the Word like a five-year-old looks at Brussels sprouts after tasting chocolate. Ugh! Spend time tasting and chewing the Word of the Lord, anyway. Acquire a taste for repentance and an appreciation for bitter truths. The LORD, who saw Peter in the court yard as the rooster crowed, knows you. Each phrase points out how much God knows about us. It does us well to have a fork full of the knowledge that we deserve nothing but the bitter real taste of eternal damnation.

“You understand, Lord.” What a banquet of food for thought! As we continue to take more bites we taste and see that the Lord is good! He is the LORD who heals diseases and forgives all sins (Psalm 103:3). Keep chewing on that Word and we taste of the God who knows my needs and well provides them. Taste of the Heavenly Father who listens to our jumbled up prayers through the intercession of the Holy Spirit with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8). Taste the voice of the Lord Jesus who stood on a beach - arisen from the dead, open arms, hosting breakfast, who generously serves forgiveness of sins for the main course!


The depth of how much he knows us is so personally connected with how much he loves us.

Taste How He Loves You

            Jeremiah knew that. The LORD said, “If you repent, I will restore you.” The LORD was no deceptive river bed or dried up spring. He promised to refresh his people. He promised to make Jeremiah a fortified wall in the face of obstinate crowds. He promised to save him from the hands of the wicked. He promised to purchase Jeremiah from the grasp of the cruel. And the Lord came through. Jeremiah’s life was spared several times over. The Word of the Lord fed those who would listen. Those whose hope was in the Lord (Isaiah 40:31) were blessed through loving discipline. Jeremiah was kept faithful to the Words which tasted “like joy and his heart’s delight.” He tasted the refreshing words of the LORD who loved him and his people dearly. That was an everlasting cool spring of water, not a dried up brook!

                The Psalm writer sings: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). We, who have acquired a taste for the bitter truth of the law, now hunger for sweet solid food: the name of Jesus tastes good. The Lord who insists we consume the bitterness of the Law loves to wash it down with the Honey of his Son Jesus and soothing news his voice brings.

                Consume that Word. As Peter said: “like newborns, crave spiritual milk” (1 Peter 2:2). The balanced diet of the Lord’s Word feeds kernels of divine love. He sets a table in the presence of our foes (Psalm 23). That table is filled with Jesus. That table is filled with spiritual songs which carry Jesus from the eternal heart of God to ours. A regular table is spread when, invited by his grace, we receive his body and blood together with bread and wine. How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in each believer’s ear. He has purchased us from the grasp of the cruel!


Meal by meal the Lord reveals his love. He creates our acquired taste for healthy truths. He produces resilience to the tables of the wicked. He pours out the sweet honey combs of our crucified and risen Jesus. Taste that Word often.

  • Eat with Jesus who was tempted for you and resisted perfectly. (Matthew 4; Hebrew 4:15)
  • Dine with the Holy Spirit who holds in your hand the shield of faith by which you can extinguish the arrows of Satan. (Ephesians 6:16)
  • Taste the Father’s generosity who pours out the storehouse of blessing so full that we have no room in our homes to store them! (Malachi 3:10)
  • Savor the Almighty Lord who unleashes holy angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91)
  • Feast on a Savior-God who binds up the broken hearted, releases spiritual prisoners from guilt (Isaiah 61: 1), and by his resurrection from the grave opens the kingdom of heaven to all believers (Te Deum).
  • Be fed by the Lord who gives strength for our crosses wherever they may appear for our good. (Romans 8:28)
  • Taste the safety of a Shepherd who tends you like his own and holds you close to his heart (Isaiah 40:11.)

Today we are encouraged to learn what Jeremiah learned: the Word of the Lord tastes like joy and is our heart’s delight. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest that Word! Taste how much God knows you! Taste how deeply he loves you in Jesus! Amen.

His House Is for All People

Isaiah 56: 1, 6-8 (Pentecost 11 -2017)

His House is For All People

Listen in on Solomon’s sermon prayer upon the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem: As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— 42 for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, 43 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel and may know that this house I have built bears your Name” (1 Kings 8).

Outreach was very much on the heart of the Lord, and very much on Solomon’s heart, upon the completion of His Temple. The primary function of the impressive structure was to gather his people to his Name. But the LORD still has the guest in his heart. Generations later he again makes that clear through Isaiah in the lesson today. “These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.” This is true: God’s House is for All People.

For Those Already Gathered

For those already gathered there is the Keeping the Sabbath Day and making it Holy. The most obvious way they did that was … They went to Temple! A full sanctuary speaks a message. In one of the gathering Ascent Psalms, likely song along the journey up the mountain to Jerusalem the people sang: “I rejoiced with those who said to me,   “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1)

There in the House of God they sang songs of the Messiah. Think on Isaiah 53 and the news of the Christ. They sang of his humility and humanity in coming to earth: “he had no majesty that we should look at him … a man of sorrows” (verse 3). They sang of his forgiving work of the cross: “We all like sheep have gone astray and by his stripes we are healed for the LORD has laid on him the guilt of us all” (verse 5-6). They sang of Easter and heaven and the resurrection of all people: “He will see his offspring and the Lord will prolong his days … he will divided him a portion among the many and share the spoils with the strong” (Verses 10-12).

Think on our Christ-centered Worship Today. It is and ought to remain the same. Let our worship be filled with the many who rejoiced at the invite. Let our sanctuary be filled with the gathered who sing the songs of the Christ. Let our songs be filled with the truths of the Scriptures and encased with Treasures Old and New. Let the foreigner join us at the learning gate (or in this case our pews) and see Christ-centered, joy-filled worship that preaches Christ. Let our presentations of the Gospel be seriously genuine! Let the guests leave saying “these people have taught me Jesus Christ and they loved it!”

The Lord also desires that those who gather lead lives that displaying his Righteousness. (CS. Verse 6) In days of before Jesus Israel followed laws that are called: “The Hedge.” God was essentially saying:“When these people do these things that I ask them they are showing themselves to be my people.” “This is what my people look like.”

We have those same expectations in the New: It does matter to God how we conduct our lives among the people not yet gathered. Truthfully, it matters to the skeptics as well. Scan the letters of Paul the missionary to the Gentiles. You will see: Colossians 4: 5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12 “ … and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Timothy 3: 7 “He [the pastors, the elders] must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.” 1 Peter 2 :12 “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

For Those Being Gathered

Think on how that happened in the Old Testament. Think of Rahab’s family in Jericho. When she spared the lives of the 12 spies, the Lord spared her and her family. After Jerico’s destruction, they were welcomed into the family of the True God. Think of Naaman the leper. After the servant girl introduced him to Elisha, he was not only healed of leprosy, he was brought to faith in the Lord of Israel. It is his delight that all be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

That was already evident in the giving of the Law. The Third Commandment, regarding the keep of the Sabbath, includes the proselytes at the gate (Exodus 20:10), i.e. Gentile people who were interested in being converts to the true Israel. Think of all the foreigners among the tents of Abraham and his descendants. Every Sabbath they were included in the significance of the third commandment as the converts at the gate (Exodus 20: 10).

Think on Jesus’ ministry. Sometimes he is preaching to crowds and going Temple. Most often we see him touching the life of individuals. Today in the Gospel lesson that individual is a Canaanite. He goes to great lengths to test her faith. He extends his walk with her long enough to have her begging for crumbs. He gives her more than crumbs! He gives her the complete cake of his grace: healing for her daughter, forgiving love, strength of faith, and most importantly, his sacrifice on the cross was for her sins, too! His salvation is for everyone; first for the Jew and then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). His Table of blessing was for her, too!

This Jesus says: You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5: 14-16).

I was a Sesame Street kid in the 70’s. There was frequent segment on called “Who are the People in your Neighborhood?” It taught the reality that there are all kinds of people in our neighborhood (the fireman, the policeman, the mailman, et.). It has always stuck with me: we ought to know, respect and care about these folks. Do we build a bond with them that is more than a small talk “hello” in the store? Yes! We begin a journey that includes conversations from people who know and believe. Who are the people in your “neighborhood”? They are His, too, bought by the blood of the Lamb who takes away the sins of the whole world. (John 1: 29).

“These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.” This is why Messiah came! Jesus died for all. The unconditional forgiveness he won of the cross brings joy to those who have been brought to know and believe it. Converts to Christianity are some of the most joyful people I know. They know what they were missing. They know the joy of God’s gracious mountain of blessings! God our Savior want all to be saved. He gave his Son for them to prove it! Therefore his House is a House for All; for those of us who gather often, and for those he gathers through us to His Son! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.