Studies for Faith Communities
LSS offers a variety of free studies for congregations to use in their ministry.
It has been a shock to so many of us to learn that what we used to call prostitution has been quietly replaced by an Internet-driven industry of luring kids into phony relationships, controlling them, and selling them in the sex trade right under our noses in communities everywhere. Over the past couple of years, LSS and others have offered “Safe Harbor” services in several communities that reach out to youth trapped in trafficking, help them escape the life, and support them in getting back into strong and healthy lives, utilizing our years of experience working with homeless youth.
Our affiliation with Cherish All Children adds a rich dimension of congregational outreach and education and a focus on helping our children and youth protect themselves from trafficking by teaching them to beware of the signals that they are being lured into the danger zone. It is our sincere hope that congregations will use this tool to become educated on this topic and see the needs in their own communities.
And It May Not Be the Neighbor I Think
Many Americans do not understand Medicaid and who is eligible for Medicaid services. As our population has aged, more and more seniors have “spent down” all their own assets, ending up with Medicaid support to pay for nursing home care in the last years of their lives. People born with disabilities, such as autism, depend almost entirely on Medicaid support throughout their lives for healthcare and social services. We couldn’t possibly make anyone an expert in these complex federal programs in a few pages, but our hope is to:
- Remind Christians of God’s call to love older adults, people with disabilities, families living in poverty, and children.
- Lay out a very few basics from reliable sources of how Medicaid works and what “per capita caps” and “block-granting” means.
- Introduce Americans to some of their neighbors who are supported by the U.S. Medicaid program today.
Talking About Race and Racial Equity
The anti-Muslim sentiment we have confronted in Minnesota, the death of Philando Castile, and protests by Black Lives Matter, have served to shed light on racial tensions and disparities which call for better understanding of each other and a move toward constructive action.
We are offering a study on racial equity to congregations called And Who is My Neighbor? as a grace-filled entry into this conversation. This study was authored by Dr. Eric Barreto, professor at Luther Seminary when he started the work, now on the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. Respondents to Eric’s writing are five pastors of color in Minnesota – who don’t always agree with him. This guide also includes a sampler of video aids and experiential exercises on the subject from our own anti-racism training. It includes video stories by five people of different racial backgrounds associated with LSS. And it includes an appendix of further reading and next steps for consideration.
A Small Group Study Exploring the Muslim Faith
In response to questions and concerns about refugees being resettled throughout Minnesota, LSS has heeded the call of the pastors for a resource to spread accurate information about foundations of the Muslim faith. In 2017, Minnesota resettled 1,623 refugees, the highest per capita in the country. Many of these new neighbors are Muslim. Because Minnesota has always had the reputation as a very welcoming state, we are sure to welcome more Muslim neighbors in the future.
“My Neighbor is Muslim” is a seven-week small group study with contributions from Luther College Professor Todd Green and commentary from faculty at Luther Seminary and LSS staff. Our intention is simply that this resource will open doors, minds, and hearts and dispel stereotypes and myths about Muslim neighbors just enough to start more conversations.
Exploring Youth Homelessness
To help you raise awareness among your congregation about youth homelessness, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota has partnered with Luther Seminary professors to create a five-week Bible study.
Use it as a five-week adult education study, Lenten study and preaching aid, confirmation study, or any way that works best for your congregation.
Living the Second Half of Your Life on Purpose
Our Abundant Aging materials are the result of uncovering an "assumption" that our congregations have great expectations of our confirmands and high school graduates for their participation in and contributions back to our communities. Yet when our neighbors reach elderhood in our culture – or as we have come to call it, "life after full-time work" – we have virtually no expectations of our elders.
We believe that older adults have a rich role to play in the community. Our book study and accompanying Abundant Aging illustration gives your congregation an opportunity to explore these questions and encourages individuals to design their own intentional elderhood.