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Continuing our conversation

Jen Smith
Council President

Thank you to all who took the time to engage in discussion at the All Commission meeting on September 23. We had an excellent representation of commission leaders as well as staff and other programs supported by St. Johns including Lutefisk, Creation Kids Preschool, and Food for Friends. It is my hope that each commission will continue the conversations we started. We discussed strengths and challenges of St. John’s as well as ways to empower each of out commissions to carry out the work identified by each. Looking forward, we challenge each commission to review the minutes from this meeting (coming soon! watch the weekly enews and other publications for the link) and discuss strategies to utilize our strengths to overcome our challenges. Each of you were left with homework. We have asked each commission to identify: “What is most important right now?” and “Who must do what?” To be successful, these two questions must be asked by all of us on a regular basis. As we complete tasks and transition through the seasons of the church, these answers will change. I encourage each of you to see where your time and talents can be shared with St. Johns. Together, we can live as witnesses of Jesus Christ and serve the many programs and ministries of St. John’s. Continue to prayerfully reflect all that you see God doing through us.

In addition to the minutes from the meeting, you can also review the packet that was distributed at the meeting.

All Commission Meeting

On Sunday, September 23 following worship everyone involved with a commission, committee, or organization at St. John’s is invited to an All Commission Meeting. The meeting is scheduled 11:30 am – 2:00 pm, lunch will be served.

This will be a great opportunity to bring everyone to the table. Many of the ministries lean on each other. By getting everyone together we can work as one voice. We look forward to this experience to see the energy, commitment, and capabilities we have as a collective front. If you are not on a Commission but are looking to get involved, this is an excellent day to participate and find out where your talents can serve.

The goals for this workshop are:

  1. Align commissions with St. John’s Purpose and Guiding Principles. Initiate ownership of ministries and activities under each commission.
  2. Empower leadership and decision making within each Commission.
  3. Introduce financially responsible budget planning
  4. Capture: Who is doing what. Who needs to do what? What are we missing?

Every commission is asked to answer some questions and submit them by September 19. Questions, submission information, and further details are in this document.

What can congregational leadership look like today?

John Allen 4 webPastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

The congregation in which I grew up had one pastor who did virtually everything. Thank goodness he almost always had a stay-at-home wife, who did virtually everything else. He did almost all the teaching of adults. He taught confirmation for seventh and eighth grade students. He also taught confirmation to any new initiates to the Lutheran faith. Lay adults could teach Sunday school and vacation Bible school, with supervision by the pastor. The pastor was either the president of the council, or approved most or all the action.

High school youth group or “Luther League” was organized like most groups of the congregation: by electing a president, vice president and secretary. Regular meetings were held and notes were taken. Dues were accepted from members to cover any expenses of the group. Besides Bible studies, regular outings, or service activities were planned at the meetings. Car washes were a regular form of fund raising. Outings were chaperoned by adult volunteers. The pastor was nearly always present at Luther League meeting and outings. When the congregation grew too large for one pastor (usually due to worship size and building capacity), the solution was simply to add another pastor—usually a younger one, to help manage youth ministry. Worship was very traditional and uniform with little variation between one service and another.

I suspect these “pastor centric” congregations were a product of a time when pastors, lawyers, and doctors were virtually the only members of the community educated beyond high school, let alone college. It’s not surprising that, with the prevalence of college educated adults, church leadership and activity has evolved to include male and female pastors, lay professionals, and volunteers in the leadership roles. People have also come to expect a wide selection of things and activities. Adults and young people are no longer content with a single option—whether it be with worship or any other activity.

That being said, it’s surprising how many congregations want to call a pastor who can do all and be all in the congregation. Expecting leadership to come almost exclusively from one person “at the top,” is a recipe for confusion and dysfunction. The larger the congregation grows, the more it should, and can, rely on a variety of leaders with a broad range of skills. Though it may still be wise to have a trained theologian and skilled administrator to be the key leader of a large congregation, there are many levels of leadership and responsibility that allow for the variety of programing beyond what any one person can lead and be involved in.

Congregational councils are wise not to try to manage all of committee or commission activities. Appoint skilled leaders at all levels and divisions of church work. Give them the freedom to operate within guidelines established by the leadership and approved by the congregation. Let the council be occupied with the vision and general direction of the congregation and God’s mission. Let the congregation seek to call a lead pastor with good management and people skills and a vision of the future development of the congregation. Let the congregation be committed to prayer and discernment of God’s work. Let them be committed to a common vision and strong support of all leadership throughout the congregation and the wider church. And let the glory belong to God alone.

2015 Church Council

The list below indicates the current 2015 Church Council and the Commissions and/or Committees they have been assigned to as their board representative. You can always find a listing at www.stjohnskasson.org/council

Dennis Foster, President (Patty)
dcfostermn@gmail.com
Executive, Personnel

Deb Smith, Vice President  (Wayne)
smithmif@kmtel.com
Executive, Finance, Worship & Music, Foundation, Memorials

Adam Richards, Secretary  (Angie)
aerichards1977@gmail.com
Executive, Evangelism

Jay Harris, Treasurer (Denise)
pinkman@kmtel.com
Executive, Finance

Carol Cady
carolcady1964@gmail.com
Altar Guild, Evangelism

Roger Carlsen (Lori)
roger@rogercarlsen.com
Properties

Wayne Hendrickson (Genny)
waynehen@kmtel.com
Properties

Bill Thornburg (Sherri)
thornburg.william@mayo.edu
Youth & Family, Education

Tim Tjosaas (Chris)
ttjosaas@kmtel.com
Creation Kids Preschool, Education

Dan Ziebell
dlziebell@kmtel.com
Stewardship