Word from Father Kevin: Savior's 14th Anniversary

This Saturday, we celebrate that on October 23, 2004, Church of the Savior began with Fr. Bill, Mtr. Linda, and 24 other founding members. The church met in West Chicago then and took the name “Church of the Savior” partly in honor of the “inward journey, outward journey" modeled by Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.

In those early days, over a table at Houlihan’s, Alexis Beggs Olsen asked the question, “How would you like the church identified?” Linda and Bill replied with what has become our Vision: “I want us to be known as people who love God, love others, and love life with abandon.”

By year 4, one-third of all church plants have closed. But here we are, celebrating God’s goodness 14 years in. Now we all gratefully receive in this community and take our own parts, learning how to love more fully, deeply, sacrificially, joyfully.

May we always be a place where the Gospel is preached, the Sacraments are rightly administered, children dance, people are known by name, the poor are never forgotten, leaders lead humbly and collaboratively, the disabled find community, guests are welcomed as if they were Jesus, and God receives 100% of the glory.

P.S. After my sermon Saturday, Deacon Josh sent this brilliant 18-minute video by Andy Crouch which underlines so much of what we’ve been learning during our “Blessed to Be a Blessing” series.

Spotlight on Brad Lindsay

Over the next several months, we're highlighting ministry leaders at Savior. These leaders have answered some questions to help us get to know them and their ministries better.


Deacon Brad Lindsay has attended Savior for a little over a year, and in that time he has served in a variety of ways. This fall, he launched the new Welcome Team, a ministry that combines ushers with a team of people who help visitors feel welcome and comfortable at Savior.

Where do you live now and where are you from?

I live in Wheaton with one spouse, two dogs, and three daughters. I grew up mostly in Minnesota, but have lived most of my adult life in the South (North Carolina and Tennessee).

What do you do when you’re not at church?

I’m a computer programmer by trade and by hobby. I enjoy reading books and playing games of the board, card, video, and role-playing variety.

Also, I like to read N.T. Wright’s massive scholarly tomes. They may take me a few years to finish, but I especially enjoy the occasional snarky footnote.

How does the ministry you lead serve the life of our congregation?

The Welcome Team exists to help Church of the Savior cultivate an environment where everyone feels welcomed. We do this through greeting people as they come to the service, guiding them during the service, and assisting them in becoming more involved with the church body.

How can people get involved in the ministry you lead?

They can contact me at my email address: brad.lindsay@gmail.com

Blessed to Be a Blessing Resources: Grace

Affirming how God is already at work


“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” -- Thomas Merton

As we take the time to notice those around us, to listen to their story, how do we affirm the ways in which God is already at work in their lives? How do we allow our interactions to be a blessing?

Resources for further reflection:

  • The Sacrament of Evangelism by Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie

    • These authors want to renew excitement for evangelism in the Church by focusing the reader on how God is already at work in the world, and reenvisioning the work of evangelism in sacramental terms.

  • Ears to Speak podcast episodes https://www.stonecroft.org/earstospeak/

    • The goal of this podcast is to teach Christians how to be better listeners and friends as an essential element of evangelism. For the hosts, the key is cultivating solid communication skills, particularly learning how to listen well. Each episode they discuss a different aspect of evangelism, and encourage their listeners to reimagine evangelism for real relationships.

  • Activity: When we pray for others, we often find our love and connection for them deepening. This week set aside time to pray for one or two people whom you would like to bless and affirm in your interactions. Maybe someone you saw only in passing, maybe a longtime friend, or perhaps a newer acquaintance whose story has stuck with you. As you pray, thank God for being at work in this person’s life, and ask God to illuminate ways you might join him in the work he is already doing.

Hear Father Kevin’s sermon on Grace by clicking here.

The Way of Jesus: A Ministry of Love, Not Mere Grit

Today’s post comes from Sandy Richter, Savior’s Pastor of Adult Formation.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

(1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13)


Grit in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual's perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state.


Lately I am hearing more and more about the concept of grit. I see it on t-shirts, my kids’ teachers are touting its importance, it’s showing up in my Facebook feed and on my Goodreads recommendations. So needless to say, it caught my attention.

I suppose in this moment in history, it shouldn’t surprise me that this term is getting a lot of fanfare. When so many people’s underlying hurt and trauma are being played out in the larger political and social arenas of our nation, and when more and more victims are finding the freedom to share their experiences, we are forced to ask what this all means, and how, if so many have suffered, will they, or have they, learned to move on? Grit, it seems, is the popular answer. Somehow, with enough perseverance and passion--or grit--life’s obstacles can be overcome and dreams still realized.

And truly the human spirit is impressive in this regard. Every time I hear another victim’s story I am moved by their resilience, their strength, their courage to persevere.

But it has also left me wondering, is grit all there is? If so, where does that leave us when we don’t have the strength or courage to keep going? When we can’t summon any more grit?

Jesus presents to us a different way of being that Paul reflected on in this passage from 1 Corinthians 13. I will call this the way of love.

Because our society has romanticized love so thoroughly, it has taken on more sentimentality than substance in our modern parlance. Love is the stuff of movies and greeting cards, not anything powerful or real enough to make a difference in life.

But according to Jesus, love is actually the bedrock of reality. The reality of giving and receiving love is at the center of the universe--the Father loving the Son, the Son loving the Father, in the power and movement of the Holy Spirit--and contrary to popular belief, love is a force much stronger than any other, even stronger than grit. Love has the power to heal, to forgive, to reconcile, to mend. Knowing oneself as the beloved brings courage, hope, joy, and the freedom to love the other.

What does this have to do with us and the ministry of Church of the Savior?


green with round motto.jpg

When our founding members sat together to discuss what values and characteristics they wanted to embody as a new church, three simple and profound things came forth: Loving God, Loving Others, and Loving Life. Sure, that has a nice ring to it, but in a much deeper way these pioneers of our church established in the very DNA of our beginnings the outworking of the reality of belovedness. What resulted is what we enjoy today--a church truly grounded in this way of love, continually seeking to live life together and work together in the kind of ministry of love that Paul described to the Corinthian church.

I don’t know about you, but our family noticed the difference right away. Each Saturday night we visited, we were warmly welcomed. People remembered our names, asked about our lives, seemed to really care. We had three small kids then, including a nearly one-year-old whose bedtime fell right near the beginning of the Eucharist. Every single week someone came up to us after the service with reassuring encouragement that his not-so-little cries only added to their worship experience.

When I started working on staff at our church, I saw this way of love even more explicitly played out. I saw it in the interactions among staff members--people truly concerned with one another’s welfare, not just the tasks that needed completing. I saw it in the way we prayed together and spent time meditating on the Word of God’s love at the beginning of every staff meeting. I saw it in the way we talked about recruitment and our volunteers. Rather than tasks taking the front seat, we spent time brainstorming ways to lighten the load for those heavy burdened; we discussed what it would look like for people to find joy in serving. We talked about people as people, not as cogs working to make a system run smoothly.

This way of being, this value of Loving God, Loving Others, Loving Life, has infused the ministry of Church of the Savior since our beginnings and is still very evident today. It’s why so many of our new members talk about how quickly they felt ‘at home’ here. The love of God seen in the faces of our members, draws people in and invites them to come back.

The thing is, this ministry of love is not always easy to prioritize, even in a church. For one, we quickly get focused on the tasks of our ministry and lose sight of the bigger picture. The tyranny of the urgent, as it’s been called, is a real thing, and constantly calls to be heeded.

And then there is this value of grit, this idea that in order to achieve our goals, we need to dig deeper, try harder, and that in doing so we will get the real work of life accomplished. In my experience, the church has its own kind of grit mentality, framed in more spiritual terms. We teach and strive to believe that if we have enough faith, enough reliance on God, enough self-sacrifice, we can push through, buckle down, and get done what God wants us to do in the world.

But I would suggest that right now it is more imperative than ever that we strive to live out the way of love, rather than any forms of grit or similar self-reliance. Both for our own sakes, and for the sake of the world. We must strive to life as the beloved because as Paul reminds us, love is what endures. Everything else will pass away, but love will remain. Knowing ourselves as God’s dearly loved children is the beginning and end of everything.

Practically, that means that in our ministry together here at Savior, we must continue to attend to the things of love. We need to be honest about the state of our souls. We need to be cognizant of the souls of those around us. We honor one another, care for one another, forgive one another, and ask for forgiveness ourselves.

As we continue in this way of love, we make the habit of living counter-culturally and offer to the world another way. A way that allows for the grit to run dry, a way that offers hope in the God of the universe, in whose unconditional love true healing, hope, peace, and restoration can be found.

Brothers and sisters, let us continue in this way of love together, to the praise and glory of our most gracious God.

Blessed to Be a Blessing Resources: Face

Week Three: Face


Caring enough to learn their story:

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.” —Henri Nouwen

This week, in the place God has placed us, as we slow our pace and notice those around us, we practice what Nouwen calls this “simple ministry of presence:” learning people’s stories, listening deeply, allowing God’s blessing to us to flow through to those around us.

Resources for further reflection:

  • “Evangelism, Meet Soul Care,” Kimberly Penrod Pelletier: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/january-web-only/evangelism-meet-soul-care.html

    • This article teaches us how we can love others better through our own experiences of Christ’s love for us. As we receive God’s love and become aware of the Holy Spirit speaking to us, we learn to be aware of how God is moving in the lives of those we encounter, and are moved to help them engage with his love.

  • The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, by Adam S. McHugh

    • This book emphasizes the importance of listening as a way of life. The author begins by focusing on how God listens to us and how learning to listen to him extends into a countercultural way of life, marked by listening to God and others.

  • “The Power of a Dinner Table,” David Brooks: https://nyti.ms/2edd04H

    • This article shares the story of one family who opened up their home and table to teenagers living in poverty. This article shows how extending a listening ear to others can be the first step to opening your life to bless others in powerful, concrete ways.

Hear Father Kevin’s sermon on Face by clicking here.