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Author Archive -- Pastor Joshua Gale


Pastor Joshua Gale was born in Danville, IL, and later studied at Illinois State University, graduating with a degree in Philosophy in 2007. He then began his studies toward ordination into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN. Pastor Gale served a summer vicarage at a rural church plant in Hartford City, IN, and later a vicarage in Gary, IN, as an urban missionary to the city. Upon graduation from the seminary, Pastor Gale served as a missionary pastor with Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries, developing urban mission plans for mercy work and church planting in Philadelphia. In 2013, he accepted the call to serve in Lima, Peru, as a mission developer and church planter, focusing on the neighborhood of La Victoria through the recently opened Castillo Fuerte Mercy Center. He and his wife Amanda have two children, Zechariah and Katharina. View his blog here.

Voluntourism and the Church

March 13th, 2014 9 comments

The “little white lie” in church PR may just be the contrast between how we view the import of our mission trips and the actual impact they might have on the mission field. The word “voluntourism” has been used to describe the market that surrounds the frivolous mission trips that do little to serve the mission field. An article recently began circulating the internet, written by a “white girl” who lamented over some of the international aid work she had done in the the past. Her main conclusion was that workers may be more productive staying home and sending the   More…

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Unwrapped–A Review and Encouragement

January 9th, 2013 47 comments

How should I put this?  I’m an insufferable pessimist.  I find it easier to just assume at best a neutral outcome.  It drives my wife nuts, but I usually greet those feel-good personal interest stories on the news with an audible groan.  Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I find optimism somehow unrealistic.  Having been raised in Central Illinois, I was accustomed to the ubiquitous statement from a Cubs fan: “There’s always next year.” And for my time in the LCMS, especially on the clergy roster, I’ve gone through times like many of us were I wonder if much good   More…

Steadfast in the City–Building Update

October 14th, 2012 12 comments

We have reached a joyous milestone here at Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries.  After a year of a complicated and at times frustrating process, we have acquired our first set of buildings in Northeast Philadelphia.  The buildings belonged to an existing LCMS church, Lutheran Church of St Luke, and the congregation agreed to allow us to take over and develop their property.  St Luke, an extremely small congregation, has chosen to still exist as an LCMS congregation as part of the negotiation. We did, however, inherit substantial expenses in remodeling the property that has fallen into decay, as well as updating the   More…

Steadfast in the City — The Story

August 6th, 2012 3 comments

Everyone seems to get a little piece of what I do out here in Philadelphia.  I wanted to take this chance to tell the story of the last year, an where we are going.  Since Lutherans across the nation know the name of this city’s mayor, I think I know the picture people get the most.  My media attention is also almost solely dedicated to my homeless relief work, but that is only a byproduct of where we are going.  So, here’s the story.  Not this Philadelphia story (video below), but this one (text below)…     (Boring history paragraph)    More…

Steadfast in the City–Just Cookies…

August 2nd, 2012 1 comment

Just Cookies… I believe in investing in the homeless in any way we can, and giving them the abilities to improve their situation and break the cycle of homelessness in their own lives.  Many times, the resources of the church can help to make this happen. One of the projects I inherited at Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries from the previous leadership is community wealth generation.  Some years back, a substantial fund was created to provide grants and generous loans to at-risk individuals for starting their own for-profit business.  Though they were successful in a few projects, the fund stood dormant until   More…

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Steadfast in the City–Food Ban Update

July 12th, 2012 8 comments

Today in Philadelphia, a federal judge blocked the enforcement of the ban to prohibit feeding the homeless in public.  Since much of a homeless person’s food supply is distributed outside due to high costs for downtown kitchens, and much of my mercy work is literally on the streets, this is truly an amazing development.  In the ruling, relief agencies are required to work toward long-term solutions.  I rejoice that the poor have been given justice in the courts and better cooperation is encouraged. Click HERE to read more.

Steadfast in the City– “Mercy or Ulterior Motives”

My friend and brother in the ministry, Matt Lorfeld, recently wrote a short, marvelous post on his church’s blog about the nature of mercy work and its possible “ulterior motives.” As a pastor who spends most of his time with what is generally called mission and evangelism work with the homeless and very poor, I know the difficulty in speaking on the topic of mercy. Mercy is not the Gospel. Mercy, though it attends to physical needs, does not save anyone. Mercy to the poor is the church in action in one of its forms, but to think that showing   More…

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Steadfast in the City–Short-Term Mission Trips

March 26th, 2012 13 comments

In a recent post here on BJS, a link to a video was displayed where a young guy with Fisk-like energy critiqued the phenomenon of “short-term mission trips.”  The video largely criticized the self-serving goal of some of those who take the trips.  He railed against the kind who seek some super-spiritual experience while treating their parents horribly, neglecting those in their own backyard, etc.  A further point was made that the thousands of dollars raised for the trip could go directly to the missionary, instead of laying it all on the counter when you check in with Delta Airlines.   More…

Steadfast in the City — City Hall Opposition: A Response

March 16th, 2012 42 comments

While hanging rafters in a Chicago suburb seven years ago, I decided I would go to seminary to be a pastor in the LCMS. I never thought much of my work in my first call would be illegal. I serve food to the homeless every Saturday night in Love Park, and often throughout the week while on foot—something that will be illegal in a few short weeks. In a statement from Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter delivered Wednesday, giving food to the homeless in public will be illegal, punishable by fines. The rationale the mayor gave us for the ban is   More…

Steadfast in the City…

February 13th, 2012 11 comments

Assoc. Editor’s Note:  BJS is expanding and will be bringing on a number of new authors who will all be writing about being “steadfast” in a given situation in life.   As the urban missionary for Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries, I spend my days walking the streets of Philadelphia, under bridges, in tunnels and homeless camps, preaching, teaching and praying.  I will introduce my work to the BJS readers in three installments, following the new synod focus on “Witness, Mercy and Life Together.” First, we are a steadfast witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ among a thoroughly diverse, intensely urban   More…