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Call Committee Update

Call Committee Chairperson Dennis Foster has shared that the committee has one more name to coordinate with and they are working to compile their “short list” from the first round of interviews. This means the first phase is nearly complete. Continue to keep the Call Committee in your prayers as they continue through their process.

If you missed the September 23/26 Temple Talk in worship, take a moment to listen to it here. Al Flickinger gave a great review on where they’ve been and what the committee needs from the congregation.

Priorities for our future

Pastor John Allen

Interim Pastor

Most or all of you know that we are in the final stage of a transition period we started two Christmases ago. Your Call Committee is conducting interviews to identify a solid candidate to call as your next Lead Pastor.

This is a good time to review some very powerful work your Transition Team produced and published. This work is not meant to be relegated to the scraps of history, but, much like a catechism, it is meant to be used over and over again to guide and coordinate all of the work of the St. John’s congregation.

Here are the most enduring four answers to six critical questions pondered long and hard by the Transition Team. The answers are very specific to St. John’s. As you do the work of commissions, council, or the general work of individual members, please read and re-read these carefully to guide your thought and work. With God’s blessing, they will work to unite this ministry and define it for years to come.

Why do we exist? Living in God’s grace, St. John’s Lutheran Church is an inclusive community worshiping together, growing in faith, serving others, and living as witnesses of Jesus Christ.

How do we behave? We reflect God’s love in our actions and decision-making by: Providing hospitality; Embracing each individual’s faith journey; Modeling forgiveness and; Committing to a life of devotion and service.

What do we do? We provide worship, service, fellowship, and faith formation opportunities for the members of our congregation, community and the world.

How will we succeed? We will succeed by Investing in and empowering people to lead and serve; by offering unique and innovative forms of worship, fellowship, service and education; by fostering intergenerational faith relationships; by connecting with the greater community in visible ways; by communicating clearly and consistently using all media types; by teaching and modeling generous giving to remain financially viable and; by being intentional in our evangelism.

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.

Keep praying for our call process

Looking for more on our ongoing transition, including the call process? Get all the info here. 

On Sunday, September 23 and Wednesday, September 26 the Call Committee reported in worship. They’re still working through the interview process. They are working closely with the synod office. They remind us that the call process requires a lot of confidentiality. And most of all, they continue to ask for your prayers as they seek the right fit for our congregation.

Listen to the full update from Call Committee member Al Flickinger – it’s less than 2 minutes to get the full story!

Call Process Update

The Call Committee has begun the first round of interviews with several candidates. Continue to keep them and the process in your prayers.

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.

Our Ministry Site Profile

Our Transition Process continues as we enter into the Call Process.

On Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30 pm we met to hear from Rev. Susan Miller from our Southeastern Minnesota Synod office and from our own St. John’s Call Committee. They presented our Ministry Site Profile (MSP) and explained what to expect from the call process.

The MSP is a form that serves as a kind of resume for St. John’s. The synod will share our MSP with possible candidates. You can download our 2018 Ministry Site Profile (a few hard copies are also on the Welcome Center at St. John’s).

Catch up on what you missed:

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.