Throughout Southwood’s “Focusing on Our Future” stewardship campaign this month, we’ll be sharing stories about congregational members who make faith a focus in their life. This focus has led them to share their time, talents and resources to help Southwood grow as a church.
In early 2012, Todd and Tiffany Johnson set out in search of a new church. They had visited many different churches, but never seemed to find a church to meet their one main goal -- Youth Ministry. They previously attended a church that was diligent in teaching memorization of prayers and bible verses. The children could repeat information back to their instructor but the essence of the prayers, verses and passages was missing. “We longed for our children to learn about what it means to have a relationship with God and what serving truly looked like. With a slight nudge and several suggestions later from our good friends Nick and Amy Reiss, we gave Southwood Lutheran a shot.” They were overjoyed with what they found.
Over time, Todd and Tiffany have volunteered in several areas of the church, including Sunday School, DELVE and most recently with the High School Youth Group’s playset building project. They’ve volunteered with local mission partners and participated in mission trips. “The mission trips are the most memorable. As you travel to distant places and live in simple accommodations with little privacy, you have more time to spend with your peers getting to know them and where they are on their path with Christ. All the while, you are serving others and helping to make someone’s life a little better.”
For the Johnsons, coming to the decision to make a regular financial contribution to Southwood wasn’t a hard one. They saw firsthand how the church transformed their family into honoring stewardship and service. “We believe strongly that everyone has a place and when you are called to step up, you step up. Everyone has challenging times, some are greater than others, but none the less we all are called to prioritize our life. When we faced our financial strains, we knew that we had many ways to contribute to the church, including our time, talent and resources.”
When asked to share advice with others, Tiffany said “We often coin the phrase, ‘it takes a village,’ the church is no different. We need all hands-on board, supporting each other to meet our mission. Start small. Make a commitment. Stick to the plan. Every year review the plan and add something new to the plan. Commit to it. Make it happen. Slowly, but surely, your contributions will add up to something substantial. In the end you will meet some great people, build amazing relationships, and fill your spiritual bucket in ways you didn’t think were possible.”
When asked what they see as the greatest opportunity for Southwood’s future, the Johnsons are excited about filling the Senior Pastor position and how that individual will work with the Church Council on the future direction of the church. The Johnson family hopes that mission continues to be the main focus for Southwood.
“We have a small prayer hanging on our wall as we walk in and out of our back door every day; it was given to us by a visiting student. It reads ‘With Your Strength and Our Service, Amen.’” They believe this prayer is the essence of the glue that holds Southwood together.
Looking for ways to make faith a focus in your life? Get involved with Southwood’s “Focusing on Our Future’ campaign by submitting your 2023 commitment card by November 23.