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Curious about the call process?

Your St. John’s Call Committee is meeting to keep moving us forward toward calling a Lead Pastor. Our Ministry Site Profile, a kind of resume potential candidates will review to learn more about our congregation, has been submitted.

Join us Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30 pm for a Town Hall Meeting with Rev. Susan Miller from our Southeastern Minnesota Synod office. She’ll address what we can expect from the call process and answer your questions.

If you know a pastor that the Call Committee should consider, there are forms at the Welcome Center you can fill out and submit. These will be sent on to the synod office.

A time to get involved

Jen Smith
Council President

(More about the transition here.)

As Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us there is “A time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” We are especially reminded of this at this time of year as we celebrate another class of graduates, many of our young congregation members enlisting in the Armed Forces and adoption of our summer worship schedule.

There is indeed a time for everything and here at St. John’s it time to engage. The transition team has worked dutifully to identify who we are as well as garner an insight of what we need. These past few months our council has been engaging in where we are at and how we continue to move forward. A Call Committee has been commissioned. Thank you to those who are serving in these leadership roles. We have several commissions carrying out the work of St. John’s both in house and outside our walls. We are committed to serving our community.

I’m asking each of you to find where it is you belong here and ask that you reach out and volunteer. Our programming cannot run without engagement from each of us. The most prominent need for the summer is adult volunteers with our summer programming. We also have a landscape project starting soon which I hope to see as a congregational activity with families participating together. I know there are several maintenance and upkeep project continually happening under the direction of our Properties Commission. Our leadership goes beyond the council and commissions. We each have a role to play.

On Sunday, June 3 the council and members of the transition team gave a report. The video recording is available below. We are excited about the future of St. John’s and want to be sure to engage all of you in this excitement as well. Everything we do is with, and because of, God’s grace.

(More about the transition here.)

Breakfast & a Transition Update

This update was recorded. Watch it here.

The Congregational Council invites you to breakfast Sunday, June 3 after worship (breakfast begins at 10:00 am). They’ll have an update on the transition process to share with you at that time. Come find out where we’re going next as a congregation.

More about the transition process.

Call Committee Announced

On behalf of the council, we are very excited to announce that a call committee has been put together, voted on, and will begin the last stages of this transition process as they work to call a new lead pastor to St. John’s. The committee consists of eight members. They were officially commissioned in worship Sunday, May 20, and Wednesday, May 23.

  • Al Flickinger- Council
  • Dick Buckwalter – Transition Team
  • Ashley Johnson – Youth
  • Dennis Foster
  • Alyssa Trow
  • Jen Hodgman
  • Daryl Melquist
  • Katie Freerksen

We believe this team represents the various populations within our congregation, including those defined by age, interests, involvements, length of membership, stage of faith development, and more. Over the next couple of weeks, members of the Transition Team will work closely with this group to bring them up to speed on the work that has been done over the last year and to complete the Ministry Site Profile, a document that will serve as St. John’s “resume” as we move forward. The call committee will also work closely with Susan Miller from the synod office and present the final Ministry Site Profile to the congregation during a town hall style meeting sometime in June. Upon congregational approval, the synod then sends this profile on to potential candidates with the interview process to follow.

We ask that you keep each of these call committee members in your prayers as they move forward in this very important and exciting work, as well as the pastoral candidates that God may be calling to join us in continuing the mission, ministries, and story that is St. John’s Lutheran Church.

A Call Committee is Coming!

You have heard that the work of the Transition Team is coming to a close, but what comes next?

Lots of things!

But one big thing is that a Call Committee will be formed. Our Congregational President, Jen Smith, is collecting potential names. If you would like to suggest a name – your own or someone else’s – contact her in person or at jlobergsmith@gmail.com by Tuesday, May 8. 

Once names are brought forward, a committee of up to 8 individuals will be appointed. The committee is to be a balanced representation of our congregation. Potential candidates should be committed to the future of St. John’s and be able to respect the confidentiality of the process.

The future Call Committee will do its best to keep the congregation updated on their progress within their abilities to share.

The call committee has been announced. Click here for more.

An update from the Transition Team

Jen Smith
smithfamilyrks@gmail.com

Temple talk by Jen Smith

We have been dutifully moving forward identifying what God is calling St. John’s to do. Over the last 8 weeks we have utilized The Advantage as our guide to address crucial questions to help us name our identify, intentions and ability to serve God in a rich a meaningful way. We have prayed, discussed…at times with more emotion than we anticipated, and searched for the exact RIGHT answers. You may have seen our work in progress in the Fellowship Hall. The information we have gathered since we began in May assisted us in our continued dialogue to reach consensus. These six questions are now being pondered and answered by our leadership council.

The six critical questions:

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is most important -right now?
  6. Who must do what?

The leadership council and transition team will begin to work in tandem in the upcoming weeks to ensure we have a solid foundation in which to lean on while completing our ministry site profile and calling a pastor. Beyond that, we are confident that the process we’ve utilized and Gods continued guidance and grace has helped us put in writing who St. John’s is and what God calls us to do. It has helped us form a sense of ownership for our congregation and we hope many of you feel the same way.

Discussion has begun regarding the formation of a call committee. We are preparing to complete a ministry site profile. This will be a collaborative effort of members of the transition team, leadership council and call committee.

Dennis Foster, Marlo Bungum, and I met with Susan Miller in the synod office last week to introduce ourselves and establish what will be a working relationship during the call process. She is excited to see where we are at and is positive about us finding a great fit in calling a Lead Pastor.

We anticipate focused prayerful work in the next 6-8 weeks. I speak for both the transition team as well as leadership council that we are ready for the final stretch!

So YES…there is an end in sight to the transition part of this team; but certainly no end for the teamwork, leadership and visioning of many dedicated members of our congregation.

They wish to see Jesus

In Pastor John’s sermon on March 18, he reflected on the story of some Greeks coming to see Jesus. They wanted to know more about him and what he was all about. Which raises the question, how do we help people see Jesus?

The Transition Team is trying to help answer that question on behalf of our congregation.

They are putting in a lot of hours to formulate answers to the following questions:

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is important right now?
  6. Who must do what?

They’re not done yet, but Pastor John shared some of their ideas in his message. Listen to it for more:

What will St. John’s look like going forward?

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

I’ve heard it recognized a number of times, “this interim is different than the others before it.” I hope it is, because that difference is intentional. When it is complete, we will have spent about eighteen months reflecting, analyzing, dreaming, and visioning. Of course, the main expectation is that you will call a new “settled” senior pastor, and possibly an additional pastor after that. But, what else should we expect for the future. What difference will you see for the effort made?

There is a book called The Unstuck Church. In it, author Tony Morgan describes stages of growth and decline that congregations experience in their natural lives. The title implies that congregations or ministries can get stuck in any of those stages, and it takes vision, insight, and perseverance to move from one stage to a healthier one. Morgan labels the seven stages: Launch, Momentum Growth, Strategic Growth, Sustained Health, Maintenance, Preservation, and Life-Support. Honestly speaking, St. John’s most likely fits the description of “Maintenance,” meaning we’re working pretty hard just to keep the status quo.

Our vision for the future, however, borrows some of the best attributes of a momentum growth congregation, to jump start a path to sustained health. Imagine this being the description of St. John’s ministry:

  1. We will have an “outward focus.” That is, we will not be “unashamed about [our] desire to reach people for Jesus.”
  2. “There’s a lot of buzz.” We will be known in the community by word-of-mouth.
  3. “Creativity and innovation (therefore change) will be expected.” We will be “risk driven.”
  4. We will be “driven by personality.” For better or worse, the ministry will often be identified with the senior pastor, but we will “multiply the voices and personalities that carry out the ministry strategy.”
  5. We will “begin to focus [our] vision.” We will “mark out the specifics of where [our] ministries are heading in the future. There will always be “a new mountain the ministry team intends to take on.”
  6. We will “begin to give leadership away.” We will “recognize the one person can’t call all the shots.” We will seek out and raise up leaders within the congregation.

This sounds a lot like what your congregation council and transition team have been working on. It describes an exciting future, “unstuck” and moving forward. This is my hope and prayer for you. May God so inspire and ordain it.

God Bless.

Transition Forums

The Transition Team will be hosting two open forums in the Fireside Room about the “Trends Shaping the Future of St Johns.”

  • Wednesday, February 7 from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Sunday, February 11 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am

We’ll be discussing the following chart, which was originally presented at the annual meeting:

What did you say in the transition activity?

At the annual meeting, the Transition Team shared what they learned from the activity the congregation went through in November. The team worked hard to compile everything that YOU, the members of the congregation told them without interpreting it yet. The next step will including interpreting the information and determining, “What does this mean?”

Much of the information they shared can be found in the report below:

What we learned from the transition activity

A Temple Talk by Jen Smith on January 7 & 10.

The transition team has been busy over the past 8 months. We have met 2 hours a week most weeks (including the summer and busy month of December). Most recently we met 4 separate times to process the information collected from the “game board” activity. We had over 300 people participate in this activity helping us understand who we are and where we are going as a congregation.

“Gameboard”

  • Nearly 300 participants.
  • Rich dialogue has been generate and should continue.
  • This activity was about more than the answers written on the board, it was also about the discussions it has generated.
  • Conversations need to continue. This is where the work continues giving us direction and also validating where we are.

History:

We have a rich history which we are proud of. Of particular note is that MANY of them touched upon the importance of relationships. These relationships are instrumental in everything we do within our wall, through service and community. A wide variety of favorite memories were identified:

  • worship experiences
  • youth offerings
  • relationships
  • service opportunities

Something for Everyone:

We asked what makes St. John’s unique. In particular the response that there is something for everyone stood out. There is something for everyone. And if there isn’t, we want and need to hear about. We want St. John’s to be something to everyone. Lutefisk isn’t just about the fish. It is the spirit or everyone working together. Everyone makes the donation they are asked of in order to provide a meal and experience for the community. We open out doors and show them our best. What if this is what everyone saw every time they entered our building?

  • Over 40 programs were identified as important
  • Oasis Afterschool, including the big blue bus picking up kids at school
  • CKP
  • Variety of programs
  • Lutefisk

Worship:

  • Our worship experiences are diverse and dynamic
  • Identified ways to enrich what we have
  • Looked at gaps
  • We are blessed with excellent musicians vocally and instrumentally – we need to utilized them more

Faith Formation:

  • We need to attract, train and support our volunteers. Our programming is only as good as our volunteers
  • Offer a variety of experiences
  • Find ways to incorporate technology
  • Enhance bible study offering for all ages
  • Celebrate our unique offerings such as Oasis

Leadership:

We formed this transition team to look into who we are as a congregation. After 8 months and several interactions with the congregation including discussions during coffee  and on Wednesday evenings, our open forum, and information gathered from the game board; one thing in apparent. Leadership is not the responsibility of the lead pastor alone. We need to look to our council, our lay leaders, our programming staff, and each other. We have done great work to gather a sense of who we are. This information has been compiled and can be handed off to each of our commissions. We have the information necessary to complete a rich and accurate site profile. We do know that what we need is someone engaged, visible and personable. Again, that someone isn’t just the lead pastor, that is each of us.

Thank you for helping with the transition activity

Jen Smith
smithfamilyrks@gmail.com

Temple Talk by Jen Smith

This week we lit an advent candle of Hope. We are hopeful for so many things in our lives as individuals, Christians and as members of St. Johns. The transition team has spent several hours reflecting on the data we collected from over 300 individuals through our game board activity. We appreciate the time you each took to partake in helping us realize the hope we have as a congregation of St. Johns.

As in Advent, we are patient in knowing careful reflection, prayer and listening will lead us in the right direction. I am confident that the enthusiasm, criticisms and dedication of all of you will help us as the transition team define who we are and how we continue to move forward. This is evident in the words and ideas that have been shared. We continue to discuss all that has been gathered both formally and informally and cannot wait to share with you what we have found. At the very basic level what we have seen so far is that we are a congregation ready to engage in forward progress. We ask for your prayers as we translate the words, ideas and suggestions you have shared.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

Participate in the Transition

After months of dialogue within our group, the Transition Team has come to a place where we can comfortably and confidently engage in productive, informed conversations with the greater congregation. The most effective way to develop a clear sense of identity, purpose, and mission, as well as build consensus and commitments for the future, is to draw from continued input that represents the whole congregation.

October activity included a well-attended Sunday forum in the Fireside Room, a “Keep, Change, Add” exercise that elicited some wonderfully creative and insightful responses, and a meeting with Bishop Delzer that was incredibly informative and served as a valuable opportunity to grow a healthy understanding and linkage to the Southeastern Minnesota Synod (Missed it? Watch or listen at www.stjohnskasson.org/bishop-town-hall).

In November, we are excited to introduce an interactive game board activity that has been created to deepen and widen congregational conversations. We will be offering several opportunities for Transition Team-led participation (see below). We ask that you make a special effort to be part of one of these opportunities. We can also provide your group (commission, family, friends) the materials to self-facilitate the activity.

We thank you for taking the time to talk with us and with each other and for praying for our congregation. God continues to lead us into a very exciting and promising future!

Interactive Game Board Dates:

11/7 – 6:30 pm – Commission and Circles
11/12 – 9:10 am – Coffee Hour and Sunday Confirmation
11/15 – 4:45 pm – Wednesday Club 56
11/15 – 5:30 pm – Families with Free Pizza provided!

Watch the Bishop’s Town Hall

On October 11, 2017 our Southeastern Minnesota Synod bishop, Steven Delzer, addressed a packed Fellowship Hall to say more about the synod, how we fit into it, what to expect from the bishop’s office as we continue through our transition process, how the bishop’s office helps support congregations and leaders, and more!

If you missed it, watch online:

 

Expect Positive Change

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

I wish all of you could know the amount and quality of time and work your Transition Team has put in, and how rewarding it has been. The Transition Team is a group of eight specially chosen members, plus myself. They were assigned by the congregation council with five developmental tasks to help our congregation renew, refresh and plan for the future. We are intentionally taking some significant time to assure that your congregation has a clear sense of mission and direction, in order to attract and call a pastor with the commensurate skills to lead you into to the future to which God is calling you.

Here are the five developmental tasks:

  1. Come to terms with the past of the congregation
  2. Discover a new identity
  3. Enable positive change in leadership
  4. Renew relationships with the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and other expressions of the wider Church of Christ.
  5. Commit to new directions in ministry.

The team members have, so far, put in more than two hours each week, reading, thinking, discussing, and wrestling with the tasks listed above. We only wish you could know how enlightening and rewarding it has been for us as a group. And there is so much more to do.

Right now the team is looking for effective and creative ways to engage you in that same conversation. The team is now planning small forums for as many groups as they can gather to share what they have learned and also listen to your reflections. Small blue flyer is available at worship services and at the welcome desk with very general bullet statements, to invite you into the conversation.Please take advantage of these group meetings, and invite team members to your groups.

Here are the names of Transition Team members:

  • Dick Buckwalter
  • Marlo Bungum
  • Madi Flickinger
  • Nancy Johnson
  • Jen Smith
  • Tim Tjosaas
  • Jodie Tvedt
  • Ariana Wright
  • Pastor John Allen