The Messenger

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.

Look for God every day

liturgy-of-the-ordinary

LindsayColwell 2017webLindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

When people aren’t familiar with the type of job that I have or are not familiar with St. John’s they tend to say to me as the school year winds to a close, “Things must be slowing down for you now that the school year is ending, right?” Usually that produces a laugh from me and the comment, “No, I am actually MUCH busier in the summer.” I spend my summer preparing last-minute details for the high school and confirmation trips, putting together summer mid-week worship with Amanda, and trying desperately to get everything ready for the coming school year. Three months sounds like a lot of time, but in reality it goes by in a flash.

This summer in mid-week worship around the fire pit we are using a book called Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. The book outlines how everything from waking up in the morning to checking email to going to bed are sacred practices in the life of our faith. We are also spending time concentrating on prayer. How can we not only make prayer a more regular part of our lives, but how can we pray for one another. One of the things that we are trying out is writing our prayer requests for the week on a Post-It note and then at the end of the service taking home someone else’s prayer request to include in our own prayers. Busy lives get in the way of our faith at times, but perhaps if we spend a little time shifting our perspective about what prayer looks like we will see that our entire day can be seen as a prayer. I have a quote up in my office that says, “God comes to you disguised as your life” (Paula D’Arcy).liturgy-of-the-ordinary

Take a moment to look around and see where God is showing up in your life. Take a moment to pray for someone else. Open your eyes to the possibility of the sacred in the everyday ordinary occurrences in your life. Find a few moments this summer to set aside the busyness and thank God for the wonder that is life. God’s blessings to you in your sacred, ordinary life.

 

Looking Ahead: Lutefisk 2017

Make plans now to help with the 56th annual lutefisk dinner to be held on Thursday, October 26, 2017.  Lefse bakes will begin on August 23 and continue for nine weeks. In addition to lefse bakes, you can volunteer in many different capacities. Renee Solberg will continue as dinner chairperson; Shelley Gustafson and Marge Albright will again serve as co-lefse leaders.

If you have been looking for a new project to become involved in, the lutefisk committee begins meeting this summer. Our current committee members have all served many years and for this dinner to continue, new leaders need to join the committee. Please think about saying “YES”!

The lutefisk committee is pleased to report that most proceeds from the 2016 dinner and bake sale have been dispersed. Many organizations and groups have benefited from our proceeds. THANK YOU!

2017 Dates to Remember

  • Tuesday, August 22: First Lefse Setup and Potato Preparation
  • Wednesday, August 23: First Lefse Bake Begins
  • Sunday, September 24: Worker Signup Begins
  • Wednesday, September 27: Worker Signup Continues

Mark Your Calendar: Annual Brat & Pie Social August 17, 5-7 pm

Join us for this annual night to get out and enjoy food, friends, and music! Brats, hotdogs, chips, & beverage for a small charge provided by Adult Fellowship. Pie & ice cream provided by WELCA for a small charge. Don & Peggy Holtan are back with their “Old Time” musical selections.

Vacation with Jesus

NirmalaReinschmidt2017webPastor Nirmala Reinschmidt
Interim Pastor

Summer time is a wonderful time of the year! The days are warmer and most of us take time off to go on vacation. Many like to go camping and fishing and others enjoy going to a different city to visit friends and families.

Who do you vacation with? Do you take best friend along with you? Do you spend time with Jesus in the summer? Many Christians find it very easy not to think much about Jesus all summer long. Many don’t attend worship as much, and some don’t come at all. Where are these people? Often they are out trying to have fun on their own without Jesus.

A woman said to me once, “Pastor, don’t worry, when September comes I will come back to church. This is my vacation from church.” This woman did come back to church in September. However, she also said that she was lonely for Jesus and that it felt good to come to church again and hear Jesus speak to her there through scriptures, hymns and the sermons. Think of how much happier her life and her summer could have been if she had regularly heard the Lord speak to her through the Bible. How refreshed she would have been to worship with her fellow Christians all summer long. We are blessed to have churches throughout the nation and the world. When you go on vacation make effort to find a church and go there to be refreshed by the Word and Sacrament. If you won’t be near a church make sure that you take your Bible, hymnals and the devotional books along to read and sing along with your families and friends to worship and praise the Lord. Make it a point that you remember to begin the day with the Lord and with His word and end the day with the Lord and with His word. True rest and Peace comes from the Lord and through His word alone.

Remember that our Lord Jesus be with us at all times. He never takes time off including summer. So we too should never take time off from Him. Let us remember that by His grace and patience alone that we live. As Hebrews 10:25 says “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing, instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see the Lord is coming nearer”

May you all have a blessed summer!

vacation with jesus

Thank You

amandasabelko2016-1Deacon Amanda Sabelko
CYF Ministry Development Coordinator

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our Faith Formation volunteers and staff this past year! From our Sunday and Oasis teachers to our adult education leaders, and confirmation guides we could not have gotten through this whole year without your support and dedication to the faith life of our congregation and its visitors. Thank you also to Country Pleasures & the Confirmation groups for your work with the Oasis Meals. We have been truly blessed by your service!

Vacation Bible School

This June 19-23 at St. John’s we will be learning about God’s love through the stories of Dr. Seuss! From 8:30-11:30 am each day we will learn how God helps us to care for creation and each other!

Sign up today, it’s free!

3 years – 4th grade (2016-2017)

For questions or to volunteer contact Amanda at (507) 634-7110 or
amanda@stjohnkasson.org

A Dr. Seuss VBS

Worship by the Fire Schedule

2017 worship by the fire

We’ll be worshipping at St. John’s new fire pit every Wednesday at 6:30 pm. We do worship rain or shine! We just move inside if weather dictates.

Every week we’ll worship guided by a book called Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life. You bring a camp chair and we’ll bring the s’mores!

  • June 24: Blessing of the Pets
  • June 21: Celebration of VBS and Family Fun Night
  • June 28: Prayers for those on St. John’s mission & faith formation trips
  • July 5: Christmas in July
  • July 12: Celebration of Haiti Mission
  • July 19: Celebrate the County Fair
  • July 26: Prayers for confirmation campers
  • Aug 2: Celebration of Backpacking Trip
  • Aug 9: Festival in the Park/Celebrate our community
  • Aug 16: Celebration of Confirmation Camp
  • Aug 23: Affirmation of Baptism
  • Aug 30: Back to School Backpack Blessing

Family Fun Night June 21

Family Fun Night 2017 feature

Come on out and bring a friend or neighbor! We’ll once again host a Family Fun Night as a way for our community to get together and have some fun! Food, face painting, games, balloons, songs by the VBS kids, and more!

Wednesday, June 21
5-8 pm
Here at St. John’s

We need a few helpers! If you can help set up, clean up, or welcome people (be near games, serve food, etc.) sign up here.

Women to Women

St. John’s women are doing a Women to Women project with the women of Haiti. We would like you to help us send funds with the St. John’s women who will travel to Haiti this summer.

During the summer the children in Haiti are not in school and miss out on the meal they would receive at school. When their mothers attend a Bible study, we sent a bag of food supplies home with them for meals at home.

If you would like to participate in this project, there is a Women’s Food Fund Basket at the Welcome Center (or in the office) for your contributions. (This is a women’s project, but of course we welcome assistance from our male friends as well!)

June Special Events

June 15 – Worship at Fairview @ 9 am
June 15 – Worship at Sunwood @ 2 pm
June 16-18 – Ironwood Springs Youth Retreat
June 19-23 – Dr. Seuss Vacation Bible School
June 21 – Family Fun Night @ 5 pm
June 23-29 – Haiti Mission Trip

Summer Worship Schedule

Worship by the Fire
Wednesday 6:30 pm service on the South Lawn by the Fire Pit. Schedule at www.stjohnskasson.org/worship

Sunday Worship
Sundays 9:00 am

More details & events available online at www.stjohnskasson.org/calendar

The Face(s) of the Synod

John Allen 4 webPastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

Sitting in a session of Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly earlier this month, I kept thinking of that quote from the old Pogo comic series, “We have met the enemy—and they is us!” The synod is not the enemy, of course, but I’ve sure met congregational members who seem to think it is. Seven members of St. John’s attending that assembly have met the synod, and we know, “they is us.”

Our church, the ELCA, practices a participatory form of governance. We don’t have a top-down kind of authority that we often associate with other churches. We don’t have a pope, for instance. Our bishops and other leaders are elected by us to administer the ministries that we, as congregations have chosen to share. We can use the word “synod” to refer to the bishop’s office, or the synod office, but when we speak of what the synod does, “they is us.”

At the assembly, we saw the face (or faces) of the synod at work. We met at the Civic Center in Rochester, together with some three or four hundred representatives of local congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), to listen, worship, learn, talk, share, compare…and elect. Some members came from small struggling congregations. Others came from large struggling congregations…and every configuration in between. We heard some engaging preaching and Bible studies. And, as always among Lutherans, we heard some great music. Together, we shared our common desire to be the hands and voice of our Lord. We shared our common faith and hope. We shared concern for the challenges and barriers that make proclamation of the Gospel difficult in our time and age. We came to name our fears and challenges, and we came to pledge our commitment to one another and our Lord Jesus. So, next time you hear the word “synod,” or see it in our budget, think of all of the ministry, mission, and outreach that happens on our behalf.

Summer is Almost Here

LindsayColwell 2017webLindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

The summer is fast approaching and we have many opportunities to take part in as the weather warms up!

  • Summer worship on Sunday mornings at 9 am (one service) will begin on Sunday, May 28. Our Wednesday evening worship will move outdoors beginning on June 7 (we will not have worship on May 31) with a time change to 6:30 pm. Come join us around our brand new fire pit care of Eagle Scout candidate, John Kllinkhammer.
  • We will be celebrating our graduating seniors at worship on Sunday, May 21 at both services, as well as on Wednesday, May 24 at 6:15 pm. Come celebrate this milestone with us!
  • Community baccalaureate will be held on Sunday, May 21 at 7 pm at First Baptist Church of Kasson.
  • Our high school discipleship retreat for 8th-12th grade students has been moved to June 16th-18. This retreat will take place at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch near Stewartville. Cost is $50, which includes zip line, challenge course, and all meals. Space is limited.
  • This year’s Vacation Bible School will be held June 19-23 from 8:30am-11:30am. Our theme this year is Dr. Seuss! Come have some wild fun with us! Sign-up at www.stjohnskasson.org/vbs or in the office.
  • Good Earth Village is offering two family camps this summer: Family Camp (July 28-30) and Grand Camp (July 5-7). More information available at www.goodearthvillage.org.
  • Our middle school day camp, Action Packed Day Camp returns this year for 5th-8th graders. This camp is planned for July 10-13, 9am-3pm (at least one day will end around 6pm). Cost for this week of constant action is $50. Schedule of activities and sign-up available soon. Space is limited to 25 students.

Summer Worship

summer worship

Summer worship begins Sunday, May 28 and Wednesday, June 7 (no worship Wednesday, May 31). We will worship:

  • Sundays at 9:00 am
  • Wednesdays at 6:30 pm by St. John’s new fire pit