The Messenger

January Special Events

  • Budget Presentation
    January 19| 9:10 am
  • Annual Meeting
    January 22| 7:30 pm
  • Date Night  (babysitting)
    January 24+ 6:30 pm
  • Ordination of Nicole Hanson-Lynn
    January 25| 1:00 pm

Full schedule of events at

Gifts and Talents

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1Cor 12:4-7)

With the arrival of January comes the inevitable arrival of our annual meeting; those times when we get together to talk about the business of the church. And these words from Paul to the early church in Corinth provide us with the foundation upon which we plan our time together, reflecting on who we are as a church, not only here in our community, but also throughout the world; a community of faith gathered together around God at work in each of us through the Spirit.

We have our own strengths and abilities as congregations in our community, gifted with a vibrant worshipping environment and the joy of serving through our gifts of time and our finances. But Paul also reminds us that we are part of something bigger in the world; members of the body of Christ. We are part of the church in the world, utilizing our gifts of the Spirit for the “common good.” When we engage in worship and ministry, we’re letting the whole world know who God is in the things that we say and do.

Blessings to you all as we embrace not only our own gifts and talents, but also in the ways that we are connected to others throughout the world; members of the body of Christ. With that in mind, come and join other members of St. John’s at our annual meeting to reflect upon this past year’s ministries, as well as to pray and plan for our ministries in the year to come. Amen.

Reflecting on a successful year

Deacon Amanda Sabelko
Deacon of Faith Formation

It seems that we spend a lot of time looking forward during this time of year rather than taking time to relish in what has happened over the last year. So, I thought I would share some of the successes of our Faith Formation ministry in 2019!

This past year was the first year our kindergarten through sixth grade students spent the whole school year focusing on one part of the Small Catechism. In these “milestone” classes, our students memorized scripture and creeds, they even created projects to share what they learned with the whole congregation. Lookout in April for these projects again.

Did you know that we have over 120 kids at Vacation Bible School this year? With the additional dropping off kids, via the Big Blue Bus, at Just Like Home and Project Kids, we’ve been able to reach out to more families in the Kasson-Mantorville area. Those kids plus over 40 volunteers and staff made for a fantastic week of learning about the ways that God Saves!

This fall began my seventh program year serving at St. John’s and over that time I’ve seen a lot of students come and go. It has been a privilege to walk alongside them in their faith journeys! I have never had the opportunity to work with such supportive parents and volunteers in Children’s Ministry until my last few years here at St. John’s – and for that I give thanks! Thank you so much to all of our Children’s Ministry parents and volunteers who have helped out over the years, including this current one! 

I look forward to another great year.

2020 Annual Meeting and Budget Presentation

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 22 at 7:30 pm. The annual report will be available in hard copy and electronic format in mid-January. There will also be a budget presentation on Sunday, January 19 at 9:10 am so you can ask questions about the budget.

Are You Called to Lead in 2020?

Do you feel called to commit your time and energy St. John’s in a leadership capacity in 2020? At the Annual Meeting on January 22, we will elect a council president, council treasurer, and two at-large council positions as well as members of the St. John’s Foundation, Nominating Committee, and Audit Committee. We’re also seeking youth and adults to attend the 2020 Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly May 15-16 in Rochester. If you feel God’s call to serve in any of these capacities – or know someone who should – contact the office (507-634-7110) or talk to any council member.

Thank You For Your Support

By Nicole Hanson-Lynn

Grace and Peace to you, people of St. John’s Lutheran Church. I am writing in gratitude and celebration. I grew up in this congregation. You nurtured me, noticed my gifts and encouraged me to pursue my calling to ordained ministry. You taught me and gave me opportunities to teach. You showed me what it means to lead worship. You supported me with scholarships and prayers as I attended college and seminary. And now, I celebrate with you that I have completed my training. I graduated from Luther Seminary in August and was assigned to the Northern Great Lakes Synod (Upper Peninsula of Mich. and NE corner of Wis.).

So thank you: For your support throughout the years. For helping me discern this call to ministry. For walking with me through training. For being such a big part of my spiritual formation. Grace and peace be with you now, and I pray that you continue to be the blessing to others that you have been to me.

Ms. Hanson-Lynn will be ordained at St. John’s Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 pm. All are invited to this celebration.

Marriage & Family Retreat

All married couples, no matter how long you’ve been together, and children (or grandchildren or no children!) are invited to participate in a retreat to celebrate their strengths and identify growth areas in their relationship. The retreat will be February 15-16 at Good Earth Village in Spring Valley, Minn.

We will utilize the “Group Program” from Prepare and Enrich, an online relationship assessment tool which each couple will complete prior to the retreat. We hope to encourage couples to dialogue about their relationship in meaningful and productive ways. We will talk about practical relationship skills in Communication, Conflict Resolution, Closeness, Flexibility, and Financial Management. You can expect to come away from this retreat with as an understanding of issues in Personality, Affection, Family of Origin, and more, and have your marriage relationship uplifted and strengthened for years to come.

Children/youth will have special programming led by Deacon Amanda and Lindsay. The time together will be filled with active learning and fun based on the age groups we have attending. The two groups will come together for meals and worship throughout the retreat.

Cost is $76 a person and includes lodging and meals. Families will be housed together in Log Lodge rooms.

Register here.

Any questions? Talk to Pastor Dave ( or Lindsay (

Date Nights provided by St. John’s youth

Need a chance to get out without the kids? Go on a date? Do some errands? Finish a project at home?

The youth of St. John’s will be providing monthly date nights for kids ages 12 months-12 years. Dates for these will be:

  • Friday, January 24, 6:30-9:30 pm
  • Friday, February 21, 6:30-9:30 pm
  • Saturday, March 7, 6:00-9:00 pm (in partnership with coffeehouse event)
  • Friday, April 17, 6:30-9:30 pm

Cost is $15 per child, max cost per family is $40.

Event will include games/active play, craft, snack, and a movie.

Register here.

Funds support the youth going on summer 2020 camps and trips.

Coffeehouse event is coming

On Saturday, March 7 from 6:00-9:00 pm, St. John’s Stewardship Commission will host a showcase of the visual and performing artists in our midst. Come enjoy fancy coffee, appetizers, and performances. Childcare will be provided by the youth. See above.

Do you have a talent to share? Contact Lindsay – or (507) 634-7110).

Christmas & Advent 2019

  • Children’s Christmas Worship
    December 8 | 10:15 am
  • Christmas Rhythm & Readings
    December 11 | 6:30 pm
  • Lessons & Carols Worship
    December 15 services
  • WELCA Christmas Luncheon
    December 14 | 9:00 am
  • Senior Christmas Worship
    December 19 | 2:00 pm followed by refreshments
  • Christmas Eve Worship
    2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 10:00 pm
  • Christmas Day Worship
    9:00 am
  • One service, coffee to follow
    December 30 | 9:00 am
  • No worship
    January 1

Full schedule of events at

Be Content

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

“Be content with what you have; for God has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid…Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.'” (Hebrews 13:5-6, 8)

It’s easy to be “in the swing of things” and lose track of time. Being at the mercy of a busy schedule or dealing with all of the things that life offers, both good and troubling, can make it difficult to see God at work in your life. This is why it’s important for us to take time and remember just how amazing God is.

In December, we enter the new church year. Before we get too far into Advent, I invite you to take a look back at this last year, at the peaks and valleys, and remember what our faith felt like during each of those moments. Also remember that God’s promise is to be steadfast through it all. God has promised to be the same yesterday, today and forever. This is the promise on which our faith is built. God’s faithfulness will be the one constant in our lives, no matter what is happening.

Give thanks for the blessings. Give thanks for God’s faithfulness in the valleys when it was so difficult to be faithful on your own. And give thanks for the promise of His steadfast love yesterday, today, which helps us prepare ourselves to encounter God’s faithfulness in the days ahead. Amen.

Serving & Stewardship

Lindsay Colwell
Director of Youth & Family Ministry

It is hard to believe that the season of Advent and Christmas is already upon us. Before we know it 2020 will be here! Things here at St. John’s continue to change and evolve as we work in our community of faith to follow God’s call into this changing world. As we head into the new year there is a specific change that I would like to draw your attention to as 2020 approaches. This year our 7th-12th grade students are going to be taking service trips to Duluth and New Orleans in summer 2020. In the past, as students fundraise an individual account tally has been kept for the work that they do and the funds applied accordingly. In light of the time that we spent this fall on talking about the importance of stewarding our time, talents, and finances the Youth and Family Commission has made a change in how we keep track of our fundraising efforts. Rather than asking students to raise money for themselves, we are asking students and their families to shift their perspective to think of the whole group attending the trip, and in turn, placing their focus on how we contribute and fit into the whole of our faith community. Families will pay a flat fee of $200 for the trip and then take part in at least 10 events of service to our congregation. We have several events planned, including this month’s Advent Tree Auction and Christmas Bake Sale. If you have service opportunities that you think would be a good fit for our students to take part in, please consider connecting with me. Our young people love to be of service to others. Giving them opportunities to exercise that passion is how we train and mentor the next generation of church leaders. Thanks be to God!

2020 Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 22 at 7:30 pm. The annual report will be available in hard copy and electronic format in mid-January. All commissions and committees are asked to submit written reports by January 3 to