The Messenger

Thank you for your gifts to God

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

We have spent a great deal of time this year reflecting over what it means to be faithful stewards of all that God has given us. Over the past several weeks, we’ve heard sermons from our ministry leaders and temple talks from a variety of voices within our congregation, we’ve spent time in study with the book Giving to God by Mark Allan Powell, and we’ve been learning new ways to think and talk about stewardship. Leadership is hopeful that God has been working on your heart, encouraging you to steward your gifts of time, talents, and finances in ways that are familiar, and to stretch yourself just a bit to use those gifts in new ways as well.

We would like to continue this journey together by saying thanks to all of you who have responded to God’s grace in your lives by sharing it with others. In Acts 20:35, it says that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” And we, as a community of faith, have been truly blessed through your generosity. Thanks be to God for the gifts He has given to us all, most-especially the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, in whom we have received grace upon grace; grace meant to be shared freely and generously with the world. Amen.

Milestone Ministries

Deacon Amanda Sabelko
Deacon of Faith Formation

During the last couple school years, we have been experimenting with our children’s faith formation classes to learn about parts of Luther’s Small Catechism. We’ve been calling these Milestone Ministries. The purpose of our milestone ministries is to name both sacred and ordinary events in our daily lives by creating rituals and traditions that shape our identities and give us a sense of belonging to the family of God. By learning about sacred texts it is our hope to help students as they build a foundation of faith. 

Each age from 3-years-old through 6th grade has a specific milestone:

  • Preschool—receive gifts from our congregation to learn about certain parts of their faith – prayer pillows and Bibles
  • Kindergarten—learn the whys, whats, wheres, whos, and hows of worship.
  • 1st Grade—learn about prayer and memorize the Lord’s Prayer
  • 2nd Grade—learn about Moses and the Ten Commandments
  • 3rd Grade—learn about the Bible
  • 4th grade—learn about the sacraments and participates in First Communion
  • 5th & 6th grade—learn about Martin Luther and the Apostles’ Creed one year and Stewardship the next (studying together, so the topics rotate years)

At baptism, we promise to walk along-side the newly baptized as they live their life of faith. This is one of the ways that we help the youngest in our midst to learn about our faith. We thank you for the gifts you share so we can fulfill this promise!

Your commitments

On Sunday, October 27 and Wednesday, October 30 during worship, we collected “Commitment Cards” to help us plan for next year’s ministry here at St. John’s. Sometimes referred to as “pledge cards,” we are thinking about stewardship this year not only as your pledge of financial support, but also your willingness to commit your time and your talents for next year.

If you have not yet submitted a card, there is still time! Leadership asks that you prayerfully consider how you are currently stewarding your time, talents and finances, to consider the many needs to be met here in our congregation, and make a commitment according to your means for 2020. In order to do our best in planning for next year, we are asking that you put your cards in the offering basket or leave in the office by Friday, November 15, 2019.

Prayer Pillow Milestone

On November 10 & 13 at all services all 3-year-olds receive a prayer pillow from the congregation. They will then receive written prayers each month December through October 2020. Keep these young ones in your prayers as we support them in learning the power of prayer in their lives.

Advent & Christmas worship

Advent begins December 1, which means we’re preparing a number of meaningful worship experiences! Mark your calendars for:

  • Children’s Christmas Worship
    December 8, 10:15 am
  • Lessons & Carols Worship
    December 11, 8:00 am & 10:15 am
  • Christmas Rhythm & Readings
    December 15, 6:30 pm
  • WELCA Christmas Luncheon
    December 14, 9:00 am
  • Senior Christmas Worship
    December 19, 2:00 pm followed by refreshments
  • Christmas Eve Worship
    December 24, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 10:00 pm
  • Christmas Day Worship
    December 25, 9:00 am

A chance to give thanks

On November 10 St. John’s Women of the ELCA (WELCA) will have our Thankoffering Service. This Thankoffering service is a time to celebrate Women of the ELCA and share their commitment to the churchwide women’s organization who in turn support many organizations for women and children along with Women in Ministry.

We will bring food/supplies, quilts along with the offering to be blessed. Women and children will take part in this service by bringing sacks of items forward. This food will be donated to Semcac.

If you would like to be involved please contact Kay Hodge at (507-634-7192). Special offering envelopes will be at the Welcome Center and by the bulletins.

Decorating for the season

We’ll be decorating the building for Advent and Christmas on Friday, November 29 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Potluck to follow. Start early on your seasonal celebrations and join in the fun! All are invited.

Poinsettia orders

Altar Guild will sell poinsettias to decorate our sanctuary for Advent and Christmas beginning November 10. Place your order at the table in the nathex Sundays between services or Wednesdays before worship. Forms are also available in the office during regular office hours. Orders must be placed by Sunday, November 24. Costs are $15 for one plant and $25 for two plants

Youth tree auction returns

Once again, our youth will be decorating beautiful Christmas trees to be auctioned off this Advent. Tree and decoration donations will be accepted now through November 20. The auction will run from December 1-15 and will benefit 2020 summer camp, service trips, and day camp. Any questions can be directed to Lindsay at lindsay@stjohnskasson.org or (507) 634-7110.

2019 Lutefisk review

MANGE TAKK (many thanks) to everyone who volunteered their time during the week of this year’s Lutefisk Dinner, brought in their requested household donation, and contributed to the bake sale. It was a great day for food and fellowship and together we served 1,830 meals to guests and workers.

We also would like to thank the following businesses: Erdman’s County Market, Casey’s General Store, CHS Elevator, City of Kasson, Culligan, Home Federal, Kwik Trip, and Thrivent Financial. We appreciate their generosity and all they do to help make our annual Lutefisk Dinner a success.

Help provide Thanksgiving meals

Food For Friends will be providing a Thanksgiving meal to Kasson-Mantorville families in need this holiday. As we give thanks for this year’s blessings, please consider a donation. Food donations may be placed in the tote labeled “Food For Friends” by 11:00 am, Sunday, November 24. We’re seeking: five pound bags of potatoes, cans of corn, boxed stuffing, gravy mix packets, cranberry relish, butter, and disposable roasting pans. Monetary donations to go towards the purchase of turkeys and pies may be made out to “Food For Friends” and left in the St. John’s office. Thank you for sharing your blessings with Food for Friends!

October Special Events

  • Confirmation Sunday
    October 6 | 10:15 am
  • CKP Pancake Breakfast & Silent Auction
    October 13 | 9:00 am
  • New Member Meeting
    October 13 | 11:30 am
  • Lutefisk Dinner
    October 24 | All Day
  • New Members Received in Worship
    October 27 & 30

Full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

What if you put God in charge of everything?

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

Jesus said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs.”
(Mark 4:30-32)

We’ve been spending these past few weeks learning what it means to be good stewards of all God has given us. It has been an uplifting experience indeed! Because we’ve been talking about stewardship of time and talents, as well as finances, I thought I would offer this information about our current giving. These are from St. John’s August financials:

Year to Date Giving Units
$0 975
$1-$50 45
$51-$150 53
$151-$250 37
$251-$450 36
$451-$520 54
$521-$800 36
$801-$1,040 28
$1,041-$1,300 25
$1,301-$2,300 24
$2,301-$5,200 26
$6,000-$12,000 6

Total number of giving units at SJK = 1,425
Total giving from Tithe.ly: approx. $40,000
The total number of giving units on Tithe.ly = 80
The total number of recurring giving units on Tithe.ly = 42

Jesus says that we’re to scatter our faith like seeds on the soil. And, even if it seems like our faith is the size of a mustard seed, God will still go to work, bringing about the biggest harvest from the smallest of seeds. We don’t know how. It’s truly a mystery. But faith gets its greatest opportunity to grow in that mystery.

What would it be like you put God in charge of everything in your life? How might this change your outlook on sharing your gifts, your time and your finances? Would you hear God encouraging you to give up a little more time each week for worship or engaging in outreach ministry? Would you hear God directing you to share your talents on a ministry in the congregation? Would you feel God leading you to give a little more each week? What would it be like if, in that first category of givers, even half gave just $5 per month on a regular basis? What about $10? Even the smallest of gifts, given generously, can make a huge difference! And you can do just that in our Stewardship Bucket Challenge through November 3, either in the offering plate or through Tithe.ly (download the Tithe.ly app or at stjohnskasson.org/giving).

Join me in giving thanks for God’s amazing providence and abundant gifts. Let’s continue to step out together on this path of faith, and see where God is leading! Amen.

What can God do with you?

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

October is upon us and the new program year is underway. This year as we take stock of what it means to be good stewards of our time, our talents, and our finances, our students will be joining in as well. As many of you know we have an incredibly talented group of kids that attend St. John’s. We have a myriad of talented musicians who play a variety of instruments or sing. Our VBS programming each summer is able to happen due to all of our middle school, high school, and young adult leaders (think college students home for the summer) who help us out. One of our high school seniors is single-handedly leading a group of 7th grade confirmation students on Sunday mornings. Our Wednesday afterschool Children’s Ministry Assistants continue to volunteer every Wednesday afternoon to make our Oasis programming possible. And the best memory to date was one of our high school juniors walking in last Advent season with a stack of ELCA Good Gift tags that she was spending her own hard-earned money on to the total of $100. Even though they may not quite have the language to describe what they do as stewardship they are doing one better…they are living out their stewardship.

In this new era at St. John’s, let’s see what sort of amazing things we can do in the Kingdom of God when we use our students as models. I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes and make a list of all of the things you would do if you had unlimited time, nothing holding you back from using your talents, and unlimited amounts of spending money. Day dream a little. And then just pick one. Pick one block of time, one talent, or one small thing financially and do it. Jump in with both feet. See what God can do with you when you remind yourself that all of you belongs to God.

Ministry Together: A review of the All Commission Meeting

Jen Smith, Congregational President

On Sunday, September 28 St. John’s commissions sat together to discuss the important work each commission does to actualize the ministries of St. John’s.

Everyone shared “what is important right now,” which was defined as one of the guiding principles St. John’s must continue to embrace during our time of transition.

We also engaged in conversation regarding the use of St. John’s space and property. We appreciate the important role we play opening our doors, yet want to better manage multiple groups and property usage. We are creating a committee to better evaluate this. I appreciate the time each of you gives to the important work we do here at St. John’s.

If you were unable to attend, a packet with minutes from the meeting is currently being compiled. This will be available online to help everyone understand what each commission does and where you can volunteer your time and talents.

Topics discussed:

  • Facility Usage – A committee is being formed to create a better understanding of how we and the community use our space and property. If you are interested in serving on this committee, contact Jen Smith
  • 2020 Budget – Kim Allen was available to answer questions regarding budget planning worksheet and upcoming meetings
  • Commissions – What is important right now? Who does what? How do we best work together?