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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?

Pastor Dave Efflandt to start at St. John’s February 18

St. John’s is excitedly awaiting the arrival of Pastor Dave Efflandt, the next Lead Pastor of the congregation. He was approved by a vote of the congregation on January 6 after a thorough interview process by the St. John’s Call Committee and approval by the Congregational Council.

Pastor Dave currently leaves in Northwood, Iowa, with his wife (Sarah), two children (Austin, 16, and Bella, 15), and mother-in-law (Maryell). He is the pastor to Bethlehem and Deer Creek Valley Lutheran Churches in Glenville, Minn. Please keep those congregations in your prayers – as excited as we are to welcome Pastor Dave, they are facing losing a beloved pastor!
The Glenville congregations are his first call as an ordained pastor. Early in his career he managed restaurants and taught band in the Twin Cities, and later he and Sarah, moved to California where he continued teaching middle school band and working as a church music minister.

In 2011, after feeling a calling to ordained ministry, the Efflandt family moved to Iowa where he began studies at Wartburg Theological Seminary. He was called to Bethlehem and Deer Creek Valley in 2015.

During his time in the Southeastern Minnesota Synod he has been active on the synod level including Committee to Elect a Bishop (current), Synod Assembly planning team, Minnesota Technology of Participation, mentor for first call pastors, and Power and Boundaries Facilitator.

According to his references, Pastor Dave:

  • “Loves his people”
  • “Works well with Staff”
  • “Previous life experience is invaluable”
  • “He is out in the community”
  • “Awesome”
  • “Not an ivory tower pastor”
  • “Very wise”
  • “His life experience strengthens his preaching”
  • “Strong leader”

As he focuses on the final days of his time in Glenville, Pastor Dave took the time to share:

People have been telling me what an amazing congregation St. John’s is, and I am so looking forward to getting to know you all in person. Whether in ministry, during worship, working alongside staff, or in fellowship, I look forward to hearing your stories of what it means to be church, to hear about your hopes and dreams for future ministry together, and to be a part of such a vibrant and growing community of faith. Thanks be to God for the ministry you have been a part of in the past, and for allowing our paths to cross for ministry together in the future. See you soon!

Plan to be at worship Sunday, March 3 as we formally install Pastor Dave!

Announcing our next pastor

St. John’s is excited to announce that Pastor Dave Efflandt will be joining us as our Lead Pastor on February 18, 2019. He will be formally installed at both worship services Sunday, March 3.

As we celebrate our next step in this transition, we also lift up the congregations of Bethlehem and Deer Creek Valley (Glenville, MN) as they enter into their own transition.

Congregational vote January 6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God.
~ Philippians 4:6

On December 11, St. John’s Leadership Council met with representatives from the Call Committee who presented an excellent candidate for our next lead pastor. By a unanimous vote, the recommendation was accepted. This is not the final “yes” for this candidate. This candidate is ready to accept a formal offer from us however, we as a congregation will vote to call the pastor to be our next Lead Pastor. We will have a special congregational meeting on Sunday, January 6 following the 10:15 worship. In order to extend a call, we will need a 2/3 majority vote saying “yes” to the candidate presented. All confirmed members are encouraged to attend and exercise their right to vote.

Please continue to pray for the process of calling our next Lead Pastor to St. John’s. It is through prayer and patience that we continue to move forward.

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 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.