September 7, 2017

the following is a testimony from one (Jeff Wilhelm) who regularly attends FiveTwo local gatherings...

The FiveTwo local (catalyst group) has been a blessing to me and the congregation I serve because it encourages a special entrepreneurial spirit within the context of Word and Sacrament ministry. FiveTwo continues to identify the best practices and business principles for the institution of the church and mesh those into an encouraging framework for beginning and continuing Word and Sacrament ministry.

When I first heard about FiveTwo, I thought it was only for new start-up ministries. However, I discovered that FiveTwo provides a very workable and encouraging framework for existing congregations to revive their discipleship and outreach in the community where God has placed them.

I was curious to find out more about FiveTwo and how it might benefit me and my rural congregation, so I started attending a few local catalyst meetings in Grand Rapids, MI. The Lord used those meetings to further encourage and inspire me to continue developing thoughts and ideas for community outreach and discipleship that were unique to our congregation’s setting. I have found mutual support, Bible-centered discussion, Christian networking and prayer to be hallmarks of the local catalyst group, similar to the activity recorded in the book of Acts.

As a circuit representative in the Michigan District’s “Here We Stand” campaign, one of the features I’ve highlighted is the start-up of new missional initiatives for any congregation. I’ve encouraged my congregation to consider new ways of engaging the community, along with resources that can help us get started. As a result, I received a probing inquiry from a congregation member. Having attended a couple FiveTwo catalyst meetings, I was able to respond as follows:

I’ve benefited from meeting with other LCMS church leaders in the GR area under what has come to be known as the West Michigan Catalyst (local) group to discuss, consider and support new ideas and initiatives that can hopefully help us reach new unchurched people, especially young families. This catalyst group was begun by some folks involved with FiveTwo, as an opportunity for laity and church workers to be encouraged, learn skills and find support to be "Sacramental Entrepreneurs" in their communities.
The Five Two Network is something that was introduced to everyone by the Michigan District back in 2015. I believe it’s one of several support resources for the Michigan District’s initiative to encourage new missional initiatives. Here’s a link: https://www.michigandistrict.org/startnew. Whether or not we use these resources is up to the congregation, and the MCLC “Cross Point” working group, who will hopefully step forward when we meet on Wednesday, April 19, and thereafter. I invite you to consider getting involved, and possibly attend the next Catalyst meeting with me in GR.

Fortunately, my congregation’s local “Cross Point” initiative, which encourages community outreach and intersection of culture and faith, is continuing to move forward. I’m thankful for how God has used the FiveTwo Network in inspiring church leaders to meet and discern God’s missional and entrepreneurial desires in the context of the local congregation reaching out into the current culture with the love of Christ through Bible-centered and Christ-centered missional activity, to support and encourage further ongoing Word and Sacrament ministry.

In His service,
Jeff Wilhelm

If you are interested in connecting with a local catalyst and others with whom you can find encouragement and support towards igniting something new to reach new with Jesus' love in your area, please visit our local catalyst webpage. If there is not a local catalyst in your area, we also have virtual options. Please contact our Catalyst Coordinator with any questions and/or how to get connected. 


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