August 2021 Newsletter

A Word from the Pastor: Be Like Paul

I remember when I worked as a full-time, installed pastor, I would sometimes go an entire week (or even more!) without speaking to someone who belonged to either 1) my immediate family or 2) my church. I lived in a cocoon, submerged in church business—managing volunteers, coordinating music and worship, leading meetings and gatherings. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pleasant cocoon. I enjoyed my church family. But it was still a cocoon, and I was curiously insulated from “regular,” non-churchy people. And as I look back on that time, I realize how different my life was than that of the apostle Paul.

Paul was all the time engaging with unbelievers. He traveled the (non-Christian) Mediterranean world, looking for opportunities to preach the gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike. He sought out moments to discuss faith with those who did not know Jesus Christ. Acts 17 tells us the story of how Paul traveled through Thessalonica and Berea before heading into the cultural heart of the empire—to Athens—to interact with pagan philosophers who knew nothing of the God of Israel and who sneered at Paul’s proclamation of the resurrection of the dead.

Then, after his stay in Athens, Paul went to neighboring Corinth where he met his lifelong friends, married couple Priscilla and Aquila. Scripture tells us explicitly that Paul stayed on with them and worked with them, since he had been trained in the same trade as they had: tentmaking. So, Paul worked a “regular” day job, among “regular” people, but on the Sabbaths, he went to the synagogue to witness to the Jews and Greeks that Jesus was the Messiah and the Savior of the world. And this became Paul’s model of ministry: he worked to earn his own keep (see 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:8) so he could then preach the gospel.

And it’s a good model, even to this day. I’ve known tentmaking pastors over the years who have held down “regular” jobs during the week while preaching on the weekends. The main benefit of this arrangement is that it gets pastors out of the cocoon and into the world so they can interact with “regular” people. It gives them an opportunity to be like Paul: to work and to witness.

And it’s a model I’m happy to embrace these days for myself. As I take on more classes at IWCC, I see the importance of working a “regular” job among “regular” people. I hear their concerns. I see their struggles. I perceive what their dreams and aspirations are. I get a sense of what motivates them. And if I can be salt and light in a place that needs salt and light, then all the better! (See Matthew 5:13-16.)

But the tentmaking model is not just for church professionals—however important that is. All of us who follow Jesus should be like Paul. We should work in the world among real people (or, if we’re retired, we should volunteer and shop and travel in the world among real people). We should look for opportunities to witness to our faith and to be salt and light in a darkened world that needs more light. But on the Lord’s Day, we should find ourselves among God’s people, worshiping and recharging our spiritual batteries for another week in the world.

So, as I begin my full-time job at IWCC, let’s all take a moment and think about our personal missions in the world. Let’s all make an effort to be like Paul.

Pastor Ray

The Life of Our Church

Online or In-Person Services

We are open in a “new normal”! But if you are uncomfortable coming to worship in person, you may worship virtually through our YouTube channel. We will stream the service live, and the service will be archived after that.

Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to discover our videos:

Sunday School

Bring your Bible and a friend. Every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. We will skip August 1 (since Ray will be gone) and August 15 (worship in the park) but then we will resume for the fall.

American Baptist Women’s Ministries

ABWM will meet on Wednesday, August 18, at 1:30 p.m.

Diaconate Meeting

Our deacons will gather after worship on Sunday, August 8.

Hymn Sing at Altamont

Altamont Baptist Church in rural Harlan has invited us for a hymn sing Sunday evening, August 22, at 5:00 p.m. at their house of worship. Stay tuned for more details! Altamont Baptist is located at 516 Quince Rd, Harlan, IA 51537

Worship in the Park

On Sunday, August 15, we will be joining our Presbyterian neighbors at Sunnyside Park for a morning of praise and worship. The service will begin at 10:15 at the Camblin Addition (top of the hill, far south). We will celebrate the day with a potluck lunch following. Please bring your table service and food to share. Drinks will be provided.

Welcome, New Members!

In 2021, we have welcomed several new members to our church family: Darwin & Ylene Alm, Irania Smith, Mark & Diane Aupperle, and Barb Strand (affiliate member). Welcome! You make our congregation special.

Atlantic Food Pantry

Please remember to support our local food pantry, either directly or by dropping off goods here at our sanctuary. The food pantry is looking for paper grocery sacks, but they don’t need any more empty egg cartons.

Sermon Series: Is. 40-55

Pastor Ray will be exploring “The Gospel According to Isaiah” throughout this summer and fall. We will hear from the various prophecies of Isaiah that point toward the Messiah, Jesus. Bring a friend and hear God’s Word!


We celebrate the Lord’s Supper every first Sunday of the month. We will be observing it next on August 1. And if you are watching worship on YouTube, you are certainly encouraged to participate at home with your own elements.

Sharing God’s Word with the Nations

In July, our congregation voted to support Anthony and Liz Smith, formerly of Atlantic, in their mission to translate the Bible for an indigenous African people group that does not have access to the Christian Bible in their first language. Did you know? There are over 7,350 languages in the world, and nearly 4,000 of them do not have a Bible. That’s over 255 million people without access to God’s Word in their heart language. With our help, the Smiths are on their way to North Africa to bring God’s Word to a group of refugees who are desperate for the hope that only Christ can bring. They will finish their training this summer in Texas, and, God willing, they will move their family overseas to begin translation work in the fall. The Smiths ask us to join them in praying for these things:

  • Pray that God would continue to provide prayer partners who will lift their mission before him each day.
  • Ask that God supplies the final remaining monthly financial partners they need to move to North Africa this fall.
  • Pray that their final preparations would proceed quickly and smoothly, without delaying their field-departure date.
  • Seek God’s blessing on their future national translation team that he is preparing before their arrival.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. This is an exciting mission, and you are encouraged to pray for them and keep track of their progress.

Stay Connected!

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