If you have entered the front door of Zion on a Sunday morning in the last five years, you have probably shaken the hand of Wes Mahlberg. Wes has been a member of Zion since 1976, is an identical twin, and has a passion for making Zion a welcoming place that has driven him to be there, almost every Sunday, waiting to welcome you.
Wes grew up on a farm in Worthington. He attended an LCA congregation where his fondest memory is stopping for candy with his family after Lenten services.
My mother and father always put church and faith first. At 91, my mother still tries hard to attend. If she can’t make it, she will listen on the radio.
His favorite Bible verse is Psalm 91.
It’s the promise of protection and comfort for whatever comes our way in this world.
Wes is married to his high school sweetheart, Mary, and they have three grown children and four grandchildren. He and Mary visited several local churches upon moving to Buffalo in 1975.
Pastor Blair was from my home congregation and Mary’s dad used to sell cars to his dad, so that made for a natural connection. When making a recruiting visit to our home, Pastor Blair requested that we serve him no food as he was watching his weight but he would love a grape soda. We felt very welcome at Zion and joined in the fall of 1976.Preview
Zion for me has been, and is, a body of believers that has always been blessed with a sense of service. I have been blessed to witness Christians in service to Zion and the community, and now the world, for over 40 years. We are Christ’s hands and feet in this world. I am looking forward to seeing this work continuing at Zion.
Wes has been a member and customer of Thrivent Financial for many years.
My dad was a Lutheran Brotherhood member during his life. They are now an important part of life insurance and retirement planning for Mary and me. We really like the church and community support they sponsor.
Thrivent Financial has a program called Thrivent Choice that allows a member to designate a portion of Thrivent Choice charitable outreach to eligible organizations like Zion. Last year, 43 Zion members directed a combined $3,789 in Choice Dollars to a variety of Zion projects. Over the six years and nine months that the Thrivent Choice program, Zion has received over $41,000 in designations.
To me, living in Christ means I try to do everything in honor and glory to Him. All that I have, including finances, is for just a short time on this earth. It all truly belongs to God. This year, Mary and I supported the Zion Legacy campaign with our own giving, and in addition designated Choice Dollars from Thrivent to this program.
Over the years Wes has served on the Church Council, Building, Pastoral Call, and Social Ministry committees, and the Zion Foundation, as well as volunteering with confirmation, home-bound communion, the Lutefisk Dinner, and Wednesday suppers. Serving on the Outreach and Evangelism Committee led him to his most visible role, as an outside greeter on Sunday mornings.
As a member of the Outreach and Evangelism Committee, I read about what makes a church welcoming. One of the suggestions was to have someone open the doors on a consistent basis. I tried it. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I was hooked. I would strongly recommend Sunday Welcome Crews as a way to connect and serve, and meet people at Zion.
I am really excited to see the range of ages of people coming through the doors on a Sunday morning, from the babies to the seniors. It is rewarding to welcome members and guests alike to our worship services. I have been known to study the church directory and it is fun to put names with faces. I feel I get more out of this than I give. Every Sunday morning we have opportunities to help brighten someone’s day or lighten their load. Something as simple as a smile and a friendly “good morning” can make a difference. Of course, you don’t have to be standing by the door with a name tag to do it. Either way, I believe this helps to set the tone for a joyful worship experience, as God intended it to be.
- If you are a Thrivent member, contact your financial representative or visit Thrivent.com/thriventchoice to learn more or designate your Thrivent Choice Dollars.
- If you are interested in getting involved with a Sunday Welcome Crew, speak to Wes at the front door some Sunday, or contact Sherilyn in the church office.