Friday, August 16, 2019

Anticipating Worship (August 18)

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
What a privilege it is to bring our prayers to the Lord God! Paul writes of how this privilege was earned for us by Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. Abraham is the perfect example of persistence in prayer and Christ teaches us how to pray in the Gospel lesson.

Readings:
Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 6
Colossians 2:6-15
Luke 11:1-13

Prayer of the Day:
O Lord, your ears are always open to the prayers of your humble servants, who come to you in Jesus’ name. Teach us always to ask according to your will that we may never fail to obtain the blessings you have promised; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon:   Jeremiah 11:18-20
"The Lord Knows Best"
   1: Rely on his wisdom
   2: Rejoice in his victory

Please join us this Sunday at 9:30 am.
Seminarian Tyler Swiderski will be leading us in worship. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Focus Area Update - St. John: A Mission Church?

Imagine God has called you to start a mission church in a growing urban neighborhood. Think of all the questions you might have. Who lives there? What are their customs? What are their needs? How can I build relationships in the community? To be successful, your mission church would need to answer these questions to reach those in the neighborhood.

In many ways, this imaginary scenario is similar to St. John. To successfully reach those in our neighborhood, we need a plan. As previously announced, we are engaging Crossroads Ministry Consulting to help us define our ministry plan. We want you to be a part of this plan in determining God’s will for us. Join us on Saturday September 21st, from 8:30AM to 12:30PM, for step 1 of our strategic planning process. In an introductory seminar, Pastor Elton Stroh from Crossroads will lead us through an engaging discussion about trends impacting ministry today and essential steps in successful ministries.

What to know more? Start by checking out this video describing the Crossroads Consulting Process and then review answers to Frequently Asked Questions below.

Lastly, pray for St. John. Pray daily. On our own, we may fail. But with God, all things are possible. Romans 8:31-32 “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Pray daily that God super-charges our efforts and gives us the wisdom to develop an effective, God-pleasing ministry plan.




Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend the seminar?
You! Seriously! Every member at St. John should attend! The Crossroads planning process engages the entire congregation in a pro-active and consensus-building approach.

God has called each of us to carry out the great commission. Being a part of the ministry planning process is one way everyone can be a part of our ministry efforts. Over 40 people attended the Self-Assessment and Adjustment (SAA) program in February. Let’s see if we can exceed this number!

When is the seminar? How long is it?
Please arrive at St. John by 8:30AM on Saturday September 21st to allow time to get coffee/breakfast and get settled in. The introductory seminar will start promptly at 8:45AM and conclude at 12:30PM.

What is the purpose of the seminar?
The seminar serves two purposes: 1) to inform you about the Crossroads ministry planning process and 2) build consensus for moving forward with the full planning process.

What can I expect at the seminar?
You can expect to study God’s Word, learn about the Crossroads ministry planning process, and hear lots of useful information from Pastor Stroh. Here is the schedule for the morning:

  • 8:30 - 8:45 am Arrival – Refreshments
  • 8:45 - 9:00 am Devotional Thoughts 
  • 9:00 - 10:30 am Session 1: The Cultural Context for Ministry 
  • 10:30 - 10:45 am Morning Break 
  • 10:45 - 12:15 pm Session 2: The Church Confronts Change 
  • 12:15 - 12:30 pm Q & A – Wrap Up 

Who will lead the seminar? What will we discuss?
The seminar will be led by Pastor Elton Stroh of Crossroads Ministry Consulting. Pastor Stroh has 19 years of experience consulting with churches on strategic planning and will lead us through two sessions:


1. The Cultural Context for Ministry
    • Factors that Shape Ministry Context 
    • Some Trends that Impact Ministry 
    • Trends in WELS and Our Congregation 
    • Connecting Church and Culture 
    • Questions to Consider 
2. The Church Confronts Change
    • Collecting and Comparing Our Thoughts on Change
    • Three Key Questions on Change in the Church 
    • Church Sizes (Growth Obstacles and Strategies) 
    • Vital Components of Ministry Planning 
    • Learning from Turnaround and Growing WELS Churches 

How is this different than the Self-Assessment and Adjustment (SAA) program?
In some ways, there is overlap. Both programs are focused on the Bible, both involve research, and both programs are focused on the future for St. John. Some of the research and surveys we did for the SAA will actually help us and expedite our planning process.

The key difference is the Crossroads ministry planning process is a much more comprehensive, consensus-building program to develop a ministry plan from scratch and takes advantage of Pastor Stroh’s 19 years of strategic planning experience. The SAA program is better suited for congregations looking to make small changes to its ministry plan based solely on the congregation’s own ideas. St. John really needs a more comprehensive process with outside expertise and guidance.

While the SAA program may not have been the best fit for St. John, it was an important step for us as a congregation. In many ways it re-energized us as a congregation to refocus on our ministry efforts and prepared us to take on this planning process.

Is childcare available?
Childcare will be provided. Look for more details and a registration form to follow in another blog post.

Will food/beverages be provided?Isn’t that the 11th commandment? Thou shalt serve coffee and food at all church gatherings. On a serious note, coffee, beverages, and a light breakfast will be provided. It’s the least we could do as a thank you for your investment of time and energy.

What happens after the seminar? How long will the planning process take?
The seminar is just step 1. After the seminar, we as a congregation need to decide if we want to move forward with the strategic planning process offered by Crossroads consulting. We’ll learn about the process, the effort required by us as a congregation, and the cost of the program. We need to decide: Is the process a good fit for us? Are we willing to support the initiative with time and money?

If we decide to move forward, we’ll embark immediately on a 6 - 10 month process to define our unique mission and vision for our ministry efforts in St. Paul. Then Pastor Stroh will support us for an additional 12 months as we implement our ministry plan. Exciting right? Below is a full overview of the process:


Friday, August 9, 2019

Anticipating Worship (August 11)

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
Labor for the Lord begins with sitting at his feet and listening to his Word. With hearts full of faith Abraham and Mary listened to what their God had to say and considered this activity great service. Likewise, Paul considered the simple presentation of God’s Word to be his greatest ministry.

Readings:
Genesis 18:1-14
Psalm 119a
Colossians 1:21-29
Luke 10:38-42

Sermon:   Luke 10:38-42
                 "Just Relax"


Please join us this Sunday at 9:30 am.
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship. 
           











Farewell for Cindy Lendt

Cindy Lendt, one of our former teachers, has joined Friends of China and is going to be heading to China with them to teach English to Chinese students. If you would like to wish Cindy good luck, there is going to be a farewell reception on Sunday, August 11th, at 1:00 pm, at Salem Ev. Lutheran Church in Stillwater

Friday, August 2, 2019

Anticipating Worship (August 4)

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
True faith in Christ, created and strengthened by the Word, will produce fruit. Moses and Paul encourage their readers to stay close to God through his Word so that a life of sanctification may result. The Good Samaritan of Jesus’ parable had a faith that made him a neighbor to everyone.

Readings:
Deuteronomy 30:1-9
Psalm 25
Colossians 1:1-14
Luke 10:25-37

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your Word. By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy and bring forth fruits in faith and hope and love; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon: Colossians 1:1-14
               "Live a life worthy of the Lord"

Please join us on Sunday for worship and fellowship!
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship. 


Thursday, August 1, 2019

National Night Out

National Night Out is Tuesday, August 6, at 6:00 PM, in Swede Hollow Park.  Please plan to attend if you are able to greet our neighbors and invite them to worship with us.  St John will be providing free hot dogs for everyone there. There are also flyers around the church with more details.

Vacation Bible School


St. John members are invited to attend Immanuel Hmong's evening Vacation Bible School (VBS) program 
"Set Sail" , August 19-21, from 6-8 p.m.  There is a registration sign up sheet in the narthex for your convenience. If you prefer to text your registration, please do so to 651-308-5271 with the following:
“VBS"
Parent name
Phone (if different from text)
Child (ren) name + age
Shirt size
Allergies
*Registrations preferred no later than August 11.  Friends and neighbors encouraged!


Save the Date!

Reserve the afternoon of Sunday, September 8th on your calendar... Plans are underway for a church picnic at the Harmon Park Neighborhood Center & splash pad in West Saint Paul. More details to follow.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Anticipating Worship (July 28)

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
It is by God’s power alone that his kingdom of grace is extended throughout the world. Jesus sent out the 72 with the command to trust in God’s power for their results. Isaiah prophesied the same for the messianic kingdom of all believers. And Paul’s only boast was in the cross, not his efforts.

Readings:
Isaiah 66:10-14
Psalm 66
Galatians 6:1-10,14-16
Luke 10:1-12,16-20

Sermon:     Galatians 6:1-2
Two Traits of a True Christian Friend
    I. We tell the truth about transgression
   II. We bear each other's burdens       

Prayer of the Day:
God of all power and might, you are the giver of all that is good. Help us love you with all our heart, strengthen us in true faith, provide us with all we need, and keep us safe in your care; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.
 

Please join us on Sunday!
Pastor Jon Ladner will be leading us in worship. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Farewell for Cindy Lendt


Cindy Lendt, one of our former teachers, has joined Friends of China and is going to be heading to China with them to teach English to Chinese students. If you would like to wish Cindy good luck, there is going to be a farewell reception on Sunday, August 11th, at 1:00 pm, at Salem Ev. Lutheran Church in Stillwater



Friday, July 19, 2019

Anticipating Worship (July 21)

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
Being a disciple of Christ is not without cost. Elijah wondered whether he was the only one left that followed God’s ways. Jesus urged three would-be disciples to count the cost of following him. Yet, the path of discipleship brings the fruit of the Spirit mentioned by Paul and ends in the eternal bliss of heaven.

Readings:
1 Kings 19:14-21
Psalm 62
Galatians 5:1,13-25
Luke 9:51-62

Prayer of the Day:
O God, you have prepared joys beyond understanding for those who love you. Pour into our hearts such love for you that, loving you above all things, we may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon: Galatians 5:1,13-25
"What Does It Mean to be Really Free?"

Please join us Sunday for worship and fellowship.
Pastor Percy Damrow will be leading us in worship. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Anticipating Worship (July 14)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus: 
Only the eyes of Christian faith can recognize Christ for who he really is – the God-man who is our Savior from sin. Zechariah prophesied, and the people of Jesus’ day bore out the truth, that Christ is often not recognized by the majority because they refuse to accept a Suffering Shepherd as their Savior. Yet, as Paul reminds us, all of Scripture serves to prepare us for a Savior who suffers on our behalf.

Readings:
Zechariah 13:7-9
Psalm 22
Galatians 2:2-29
Luke 9:18-24

Sermon:
Matthew 16:19
"Will God Forgive me...even if someone else won't?"

Prayer of the Day:
O Lord, our God, govern the nations on earth and direct the affairs of this world so that your Church may worship you in peace and joy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.




Please join us on Sunday for worship and fellowship.
Pastor Mark Kom will lead us in worship. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

St. John Ministry Update

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) How many times have you read that verse and thought “it would be a lot easier if God just told me what those plans are!” That was certainly on our minds Monday night as the council discussed plans to move forward after hearing Divinity decided not to pursue a potential merger (see blog post here). The news from Divinity brings mixed emotions for us at St. John as we consider the potential stability it may have brought for future WELS ministries in St. Paul. This also reinforces the need for a strategic plan.

The path forward...
On Monday the council decided to move forward with Phase 1 of the strategic planning process offered by Crossroads Ministry Consulting. Crossroads has a comprehensive process that starts with a congregational study on how churches can respond to today’s realities. This process concludes with a congregational decision on whether to move forward with Phases 2 - 4. More information will follow, including a date in late August or September, but we are excited to engage with Pastor Elton Stroh, of Crossroads Ministry Consulting to guide us through this process.

Many questions remain...
Still, we consider many questions, most notably the timing of extending a call to fill our pastoral vacancy. The council discussed many aspects, some of which are outlined below, but ultimately decided that we should continue to hold off on extending a call or making decisions about any of the below considerations until we have more clarity on our strategic plan. We will continue to discuss all of these moving forward and welcome your input. Below are some of the items the council discussed Monday:

  • In many ways, St. John is like a mission church, determining the best way to reach those on the east side of St. Paul. This mission first mindset and willingness to embrace change has been encouraging to see in our members.
  • The budget needs to be re-evaluated as our ministry changes. If we add a pastor to our budget, the current budget will not work long term without making budget cuts or an increase in offerings. The council did talk about what expenses could be eliminated when adding a pastor, but did not want to finalize that decision until Phase 1 of the strategic planning is completed. St. John is receiving substantial rental income from our lease with CLUES that is not included in our budget and that looks promising for the immediate future, but we don't want to rely on it to pay our expenses. 
  • The council discussed Immanuel Hmong, who is in our prayers and always considered in our planning. Specifically we discussed the potential of a merger, which is likely not an option as they are very focused on outreach in the Hmong community and the mission roles Pastor Moua serves in.
  • Our facility has outgrown our needs and consumes a lot of resources to maintain. We discussed the potential to sell the facility and refocus those resources on ministry efforts.
We know you have many questions. It’s important we take the time to prayerfully consider God’s specific calling for St. John on the east side of St. Paul. We strongly feel a strategic plan will help answer these questions. We are very much looking forward to Phase 1 of the strategic planning process. We would like your help in two areas: 
  1. Be prayerful. Pray for St. John and pray for those leading the focus areas; and
  2. Consider your talents. What talents has the Lord given to you? Are you interested in helping in any of the focus areas? Connect with us if you are interested.
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3) 
Suggested prayer: Dear God, While we face uncertainty, I know that You have plans for us to prosper. Help me to grow as a Christian through this time of uncertainty and use my gifts to help St. John. I ask that You bless our strategic planning process. Give us the guidance and wisdom to know Your calling for us in St. Paul. Open our minds and provide us the wisdom to define a plan to reach the lost in our community and continue to grow in our faith. To You be all the praise and glory for all that you have done and will continue to do for us. Amen.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Member turns 100!

One of our homebound members, Elsie Anderson, turns 100 tomorrow, July 11th. To add to the excitement of that she will be featured tonight on the Channel 4, 6:00 pm news. The story will air during the weather segment. If interested to know a little more about Elsie be sure to tune in.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Anticipating Worship (July 7)

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
The life of a Christian is a repentant life. Repentance begins with a true recognition of and sorrow over our sins. God led King David, Simon the Pharisee, and the Apostle Peter to this realization in our Scripture lesson today.

Readings:
2 Samuel 11:26-12:10,13-15
Psalm 32
Galatians 2:11-21
Luke 7:36-50

Sermon:
Matthew 6:14-15
"Will God Refuse to Forgive...if we Refuse to Forgive?"

Prayer of the Day:
O God, protector of all the faithful, you alone make strong; you alone make holy. Show us your mercy and forgive our sins day by day. Guide us through our earthly lives that we do not lose the things you have prepared for us in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Please join us on Sunday for worship.
Pastor Mark Kom will be sharing God's Message about forgiveness with us.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Open Forum and Divinity Update

Thank you to the members who attended the June 30th Voters’ Meeting and Open Forum. We received valuable insights and feedback as we consider the next steps for St. John. At the open forum, we discussed various topics including: focus area updates, ‘deal breakers’ for a merger with Divinity, our financial situation, a pastoral call, property, and appreciation for improved communications. 

On Tuesday, July 2nd Tony Wimmer received an email from Pastor Berg at Divinity. Divinity held their open forum, and at this time a majority of their congregation is not interested in a merger or moving to a new location.

While Divinity’s decision may raise questions, we must trust in the Lord and the path on which He is leading us, and remember his limitless capabilities. We will continue to focus on the three remaining focus areas (read here for June 3rd e-news). The church council’s next meeting is July 8th. During this meeting, they will discuss the next steps for us at St. John and the implications of Divinity’s decision (including the strategy consultant and pastoral call). 

Please continue to pray for St. John and those in leadership positions. Are you interested in helping in any of the focus areas? Connect with us if you are interested by going to www.stjohnev.net/participate. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Focus Area Update - Prospect List

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” - Mark 16:15

Derek Meyer was a first-time participant this year, joining Tony Wimmer and Tamara Julian in visiting homes in our neighborhood. After 3 evenings Derek had this to share: “I was surprised how easy it is. I was nervous that I wouldn’t know what to say or that people would slam the door on me. It has been the opposite. We go in pairs and people are generally very willing to talk. Many are appreciative of us visiting them. For those that aren’t able to talk, we just thank them and move on. It is very easy. Anyone could do it.”

The insights collected from these visits help us further decide who we want to target in our outreach efforts -- but we need more touchpoints to find common needs. Read the stories below from two different homes who both provided valuable insights. These individuals have very different needs and desires --- we can’t reach both, and we need to decide who we are going to focus on (names have been changed for anonymity).

  • One evening, Tony and Derek talked with Joe, who is in his late 60s and has lived on the east side with his wife for a long time. He remembers when it was different. Joe is tired of the lack of respect from those in the neighborhood, especially from the youth, and longs for the days when people would say “Hello” to each other. Joe grew up catholic and regularly attended church until his son died of cancer in his late 30s and he lost faith. He’s not sure anything could bring him back to faith. Joe appreciates receiving the “Good News” letters we mail to him on a monthly basis and he appreciated the invitation we extended to join us at St. John, a place where saying “Hello” is still a regular occurrence. Joe thanked us for visiting him and said our visit gave him “some hope in humanity.” 
  • On a separate evening, Tamara and Derek had a longer discussion with Houa. Houa is around 40 years old, is married, and has 3 kids ages 5 - 18. She currently attends nursing school while also working and taking care of her kids. Houa is constantly tired from her many responsibilities and the daily grind of trying to make ends meet financially. Houa even sat down on the steps while talking to us and seemed to have a sense of relief that someone was willing to listen to her. She considers herself spiritual but doesn’t see herself going to church as it is “just one more thing she has to do.” She referenced a sister who is “too involved” with church, attending 3-4 times per week but never finding the time to visit Houa and her 3 kids. She felt churches were all about themselves, wanting people to do things for the church instead of the church wanting to do things for people. She thought churches could be most impactful in the community by focusing on children and making church something she wants to attend instead of an obligation to attend.
We are trying to reach as many houses as we can from our prospect list - 140 homes! So far we’ve reached 15 - please help us visit these homes. To join us, talk to Tony Wimmer or complete the online form.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Anticipating Worship (June 30th)

Third Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
Our gracious God has the power to bring people from death to life. Whether it be from physical death to life, as we see in our Old Testament and Gospel lessons today; or the spiritual regeneration which Paul describes, God is the One who gives life.

Readings:
1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalm 30
Galatians 1:11-24
Luke 7:11-17

Sermon:  Psalm 30
"Our Security Issue"


Please join us Sunday morning for worship and fellowship.
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship. 



Friday, June 21, 2019

Focus Areas Spotlight - Crossroads Ministry Consulting

Jeff Abrahamson and Derek Meyer met with Pastor Elton Stroh from Crossroads Ministry Consulting. Jeff and Derek were very encouraged by the discussion and offerings Crossroads Ministry can provide to St. John. Both agree this is a better fit for St. John than the previous consulting group - MLI.

A few key highlights of their meeting is below. We are still evaluating how this may fit with happenings with Divinity, etc.  Pastor Stroh has provided a proposal to St. John, so the next step is for the council to decide if we want to move forward and how Divinity fits in, and then present a recommendation to the congregation.

  • Pastor Stroh has 18 years of consulting experience between a prior role in WELS Parish Assistance and the last decade founding Crossroads. He has worked with approximately 200 different congregations.
  • Overall they offer various levels of support from a basic program that is only a weekend long, to a comprehensive 12+ month program, and can modify as needed to meet congregation needs.
  • Primary goal of the process is to develop a strategic plan and then support the implementation of that plan. 
  • This process differs from the MLI process as it more broadly engages the congregation and Pastor Stroh would play a more active role in helping us define the vision.
  • There is some overlap with the SAA that would save us as a congregation some time in the Crossroads process; however, the process is mostly new. The overlapping items are the member pulse survey and congregational profile.
  • The effort would be led by a "guiding coalition" of 5-7 members that represents the congregation (both men and women).

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Anticipating Worship (June 23)

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
The Lord keeps his promises and is worthy of all our trust. King Solomon, the Apostle Paul, and the Centurion of great faith all knew that their trust could only be founded in the one true God.

Readings:
1 Kings 8:22-23;41-43
Psalm 100
Galatians 1:1-10
Luke 7:1-10

Sermon: 1 Kings 17:1-16
"See How God Cares For His People."

Prayer of the Day:
O God, you rule over all things in wisdom and kindness. Take away everything that may be harmful and give us whatever is good; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Please join us Sunday for worship and Christian fellowship.
Pastor Percy Damrow will be leading us in worship.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Lunch on June 30th - Voters Meeting and Open Forum

Lunch on June 30th will be provided for the voters' meeting and open forum. This includes sandwiches and veggies. Please bring a dessert to share! If you are able to help set up or clean up, please let Tony Wimmer know.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Focus Area Spotlight - Divinity


On June 11th the church council met with Divinity’s Council. The focus of the meeting was to discuss joint ministries and what we could look like as a single church. Although I can’t list every topic discussed in this newsletter, a few highlights are below:

  • Divinity and St. John have approximately the same number of members;
  • Divinity has considered relocation previously, they are not gaining membership from their pre-school;
  • Impact to Immanuel Hmong - we do not want to negatively impact their congregation;
  • Ministry Plan - identify a strategic plan and follow it; and
  • Facility/Location - likely a new location and name.
Divinity recently has been struggling to grow, similar to St John. Both councils agreed that if we do decide to merge the churches together, a strategic vision for better outreach and a more defined ministry plan needs to be determined first.

As you can imagine, there are several pros and cons to merging the congregations. In fact, you are likely thinking of some now! Considering this, both church councils agreed to hold an open forum to bring information to members and seek input. After open forums have taken place, the church councils will meet again to continue the conversation.

St. John will hold an open forum on June 30th, immediately after the voters meeting.
The purpose of the open forum is to gain feedback from St. John members if this is a path we want to continue pursuing. In the meantime, St. John will continue to focus work efforts on the four focus areas (click here for posting).

As we end this note, you may be wondering… Where will we relocate? What will it cost? How long will this take? What about our present property? Before we proceed and continue with this effort, we need to complete a feasibility study. This began with the initial meeting with Divinity’s leadership to consider the possibility. Now we need to know if you (the congregations) believe this may be the direction the Lord is taking us. If we move forward and run into obstacles that would make a merger less feasible or even impossible, the effort could be abandoned and we would have to pursue other avenues. The open forum on June 30th will let us know if we want to continue down this path for St. John.

Please continue to be prayerful during this time. Pray for St. John and pray for those leading us.


Anticipating Worship (June 16)

Holy Trinity Sunday - with Lord's Supper

Worship Focus: The mystery of the Trinity serves to comfort all believers in the completeness of their salvation. The Word of God stresses how Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together within the Godhead to bring saving grace to all people.

Readings:
Numbers 6:22-27
Psalm 150
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

Sermon:  John 16:12-15
"Expect Only the Truth From the True God."

Prayer of the Day: Almighty God and Father, dwelling in majesty and mystery, filling and renewing all creation by your eternal Spirit, and manifesting your saving grace through our Lord Jesus Christ: in mercy cleanse our hearts and lips that, free from doubt and fear, we may ever worship you, one true immortal God, with your Son and the Holy Spirit, living and reigning, now and forever. Amen.

Please join us on Sunday for worship, as Pastor John Zeitler shares God's Message with us. 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Call Update to Congregation


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

2019 has brought the church mixed emotions. As we talk about the need for change at St. John we are excited about the new and what could be … but we are also scared about the uncertainty change brings. As a council, we are committed to the members at St. John and bettering communication methods during this time. No important decisions about St. John’s future will be made without you. Currently we are in an information gathering phase (the SAA and open forum were part of this phase). When we have a decision to be made we will meet as a congregation and have an open forum, voters meeting, or whatever is appropriate at that time.


I hope you have had a chance to read the four focus areas the council is centering work efforts on (click here or see link at bottom). One very important thing we are lacking is having a clear strategy and ministry plan. Without having a clear vision for our congregation, it is difficult to make the most impactful next step in each focus area. Because of the uncertainty in strategy at this time the council has agreed to not make any Pastoral Calls. When we have more clarity on our path to define a ministry strategy and discussions with Divinity about the potential for joint ministry efforts, we will make a Pastoral Call if that will align with our needs.

Important decisions like these never seem to move fast enough. Things like this take time and we will keep you informed of the efforts we are undertaking.

As I end this note, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. My phone number is listed at the bottom for you to call me. You also may email the church office at church@stjohnev.net. I also strongly encourage you to stay up to date by subscribing to e-news (click here or see link at bottom) or notify the church office if you’d like e-news updates printed for your mailbox.

Most importantly, please pray that the Lord will lead us in the direction that He has planned.

Tony Wimmer
612-306-5329



Anticipating Worship (June 9)

Worship Focus:
The Holy Spirit comes to us to bless us.

Readings:
Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 51b
Acts 2:1-21
John 15:26-27

Sermon:  Numbers 6:22-27
"Going with God's Blessing"

Prayer of the Day:
Holy Spirit, God, and Lord come to us this joyful day with your sevenfold gift of grace.
Rekindle in our hearts the holy fire of your love that in a true and living faith we may tell abroad the glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Dan Lindner, from St. John's, Minneapolis will be leading us in our Pentecost Worship. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Focus Area Update - Divinity

On May 23rd Jim Connolly and Jim Julian met with two leaders at Divinity: Pastor Berg and the Church Chairman. Divinity initiated this conversation with St. John, they are interested in further exploring options with St. John for what joint future ministries could look like. The small group discussed the following topics:
  • Strengths of each congregation;
  • Similarities of St. John and Divinity;
  • Shared struggles in gaining new members from communities; and
  • Unique challenges that our current facilities pose for growth.
As you can imagine, there are several different paths this could lead us -- nothing specifically worth pointing out. Both congregations are optimistic, which led to scheduling a second meeting on June 11th with both church councils.

Please keep in mind that although we are excited about this, St. John will continue to focus in the four areas mentioned in the previous newsletter. No decisions regarding St. John’s future plans will be made without your input.

In closing, we would like your help in these two areas:

  1. Be prayerful. Pray for St. John and pray for those leading the focus areas; and
  2. Consider your talents. What talents has the Lord given to you? Are you interested in helping in any of the focus areas? Connect with us if you are interested by going to www.stjohnev.net/participate.

Questions? Email church@stjohnev.net

Monday, June 3, 2019

St. John Congregational Update

On our May 5th Congregational Meeting and during informal discussions at St. John with our members, we’ve learned that we need to communicate better. In an effort to help with this I, Mary Meyer, will be writing periodic newsletters to update you on happenings since our meeting.

The May 5th meeting it was very evident that our members are devoted to the St. John and sharing the Gospel. We want to thrive as a church and grow the ministry God has entrusted to us. The church council was very encouraged by the enthusiasm, which helped them identify four equally important focus areas during the May 8th council meeting. These areas are listed at the end of this newsletter. First, we want your help with two things:

  1. Be prayerful. Pray for St. John and pray for those leading the focus areas; and
  2. Consider your talents. What talents has the Lord given to you? Are you interested in helping in any of the focus areas? Connect with us if you are interested.
Focus Areas:
1) Determine the best approach for strategic planning.
Jeff Abrahamsson and Derek Meyer met with the Ministry Leadership Institute, the consulting group recommended in our self assessment. It was determined that their original approach may not be the best fit for St. John. They are going to rethink their approach to see if they can tailor a program that would be better for us. In addition, Jeff and Derek will reach out to a second consulting group, Crossroads Ministry, to discuss if they are able to help St. John in this area.

2) Informal discussions with Divinity
Jim Connolly and Jim Julian will be leading discussions with Divinity about their future plans. The first occurred on May 23rd (more information to follow).

3) Outreach for straying members
Tom Koepsell will lead outreach for how we can better reach straying members.

4) Getting to know our community through our prospect list
Tony Wimmer is organizing and planning the best ways to contact houses on our prospect list to better understand their needs.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Meal Train for the Gerke Family


The online Meal Train for the Gerke family continues through June. This busy household has recently been blessed with twins! If you are able to assist them with a prepared meal it would be greatly appreciated. To volunteer, go to Mealtrain.com. You will need to sign in and then use the code https://mealtrain.com/48dv77 to get to the Gerke Family train. Pick a date and bring your meal to church the Sunday before it is expected. Label it and put it in the kitchen refrigerator. Someone from the family will see that it is delivered to Jim and Tracy! Sincere thanks to those who have already participated.

Anticipating Worship (June 2)

The Ascension of our Lord

Worship Focus:
Our risen Savior ascends to his heavenly throne to rule over his church.

Readings:
Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47
Ephesians 1:16-23
Luke 24:44-53

Verse of the Day:
Alleluia. Alleluia. "Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. Surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age." Alleluia. (Matthew 28:20b )

Prayer of the Day:
Lord Jesus, King of glory, you ascended far above the heavens and at God’s right hand you rule the nations. Leave us not alone, we pray, but grant us the Spirit of truth that at your command and by your power we may be your witnesses in all the world; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Please join us for worship on Sunday. 
Pastor John Zeitler will be with us to share in the 
the message of our risen and ascended Lord.



Thursday, May 23, 2019

Anticipating Worship (May 26)

Sixth Sunday After Easter

Worship Focus
Our Savior prepares us for his ascension.

Readings
Acts 14:8-18
Psalm 65
Revelation 21:10-14,22-23
John 14:23-29

Sermon  John 14:23-29
"Jesus Left You with a Promise"

Prayer of the Day
Father of lights, every good and perfect gift comes from you. Inspire us to think those things that are true and long for those things that are good, that we may always make our petitions according to your gracious will; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.




Thursday, May 9, 2019

Anticipating Worship (May 12th)

Fourth Sunday after Easter - Mother's Day

Worship Focus:
    We thank the Lord for faithful mothers leading their children to Jesus.

Readings:
     Genesis 18:9-15
     Psalm 78
     Luke 1:46-55
     2 Timothy 1:3-5

Sermon:   John 19:25-27
     "Mother's Day at the Foot of the Cross"

Please join us for worship and fellowship this Sunday. Pastor Kom will be sharing the Message
with us on Sunday.
     


   

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Anticipating Worship (May 5)


Third Sunday after Easter

Worship Focus:
The risen and glorified Christ appears in order to strengthen faith.

Readings:
Acts 9:1-19a
Psalm 67
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-14

Sermon:
Revelation 5:11-14
"Join the Easter Choir"

Prayer of the Day:
          O God, by the humiliation of you Son you lifted up this fallen world from the despair of death. By his resurrection to life, grant your faithful people gladness of heart and the hope of eternal joys; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Open Forum Sunday May 5th

Please join us after church on Sunday, May 5th for an open forum to discuss the results and recommendations from the SAA  (Self-Assessment and Adjustment) Report.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Anticipating Worship (April 28)


Second Sunday of Easter

Worship Focus:  Jesus' resurrection gives us a new life filled with joy and peace.

Readings:
Acts 5:12,17-32
Psalm 16
Revelation 1:4-18
John 20:19-31

Sermon text:
John 20:19-31

Prayer of the Day:
        O risen Lord, you came to your disciples and took away their fears with your word of peace. Come to us also by Word and sacrament, and banish our fears with the comforting assurance of your abiding presence; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.   Amen.

Please join us Sunday for worship. Pastor Dustin Sievert will
be sharing God's message with us. 




Thursday, April 18, 2019

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Services





Three Words of Truth
Take and Eat; Take and Drink
Tonight at 6:30 pm


"Service of Darkness"
Friday night 6:30 pm

Open Forum on the SAA

Please join us after church on Sunday, May 5th to an open forum to discuss the results and recommendations from the SAA (Self-Assessment and Adjustment) Report.

Festival of the Resurrection of Our Lord


"Christ is risen!"
"He is risen indeed!"

Join us for the Festival of the Resurrection of Our Lord
Sunday at 9:30 am
Breakfast at 8:30 am

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

St. John Holy Week Services

Maundy Thursday with Lord’s Supper — April  18th, 6:30 pm

Good Friday — April 19th, 6:30 pm

Easter — April 21st
 Breakfast — 8:30 am
 Worship —  9:30 am

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Meeting to Discuss Self-Assessment Report and Recommendations

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In February, over 40 members of St. John gathered together on a Saturday and Sunday for a Self-Assessment and Adjustment (SAA) program. With the help of Pastor Roecker from the WELS leadership team, we studied the purpose of a church in the Bible and asked ourselves the question, “are we doing everything we can, as a congregation, to lead people closer to Christ?” This session was preceded by several months of study, performed by our Church Council, on our congregation and the community around us.

The SAA session was an amazing and energizing journey for us to consider our church, our community, and to realize the need for change to reverse the trend of declining church attendance we have experienced over the last several years. How powerful it was to study God’s word and pray together with so many of you!

Please join us after church on Sunday May 5th to discuss the results and recommendations from the SAA program. This discussion is important for us to move forward together as a congregation and decide, does God want us to:
  1. Remain where we are, with a renewed focus on outreach in our community,
  2. Relocate and focus our outreach efforts on a different community, or
  3. Cease operating as a church, and encourage members to join other WELS churches.

All of these directions mean change. Even if we stay where we are, we need a renewed focus on reaching the lost souls on the east side of St. Paul.

A copy of the SAA report, written by Pastor Roecker, was included in member mailboxes and can be found at the following link: www.stjohnev.net/report. In addition, a copy of the 45 page congregation and community study is available on a table in the narthex and at the following link: www.stjohnev.net/profile.

It is our hope that you will review and prayerfully consider the results and recommendations outlined in this report and join us May 5th with an energy to discuss how we can best share the gospel.

In humble service to God and to St. John,

The Church Council

Tony Wimmer, Jeff Abrahamsson, Tom Koepsell, Jim Julian, Jim Connolly, Mike Tholl, Darrell Crider, Derek Meyer

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Wednesday Lenten Service




Wednesday, April 10th

Supper — 5:30 pm, Fellowship Hall
(Meal is a potluck)


Service — 6:30 pm, Lower Chapel

Midweek Lenten Theme - Three Words of Truth: I Am He!

Please join us for supper and worship!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Lenten Supper Potluck April 10th

The final Lenten Supper will be a potluck meal. Please plan to bring a dish to pass. Main dish, dessert, etc. Any questions speak to Jean Koepsell or call the church office. Thank you.

Anticipating Worship (April 7th)

Fifth Sunday in Lent

Worship Focus
"God offers us the precious treasure of salvation."

Scripture Readings 
   Isaiah 43:16-21
   Psalm 73
   Philippians 3:8-14
   Luke 20:9-19

Sermon
   Philippians 3:8-11
   "Getting Ahead .... By Losing Everything"

Prayer of the Day
              Eternal God and Father, help us to remember Jesus, who obeyed your will and bore the cross for our salvation that through his anguish, pain, and death we may receive forgiveness of sins and inherit eternal life; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. 



Please join us Sunday for worship. Pastor Mark Kom will be sharing the Message.

Easter Breakfast

St John will be having an Easter breakfast again this year starting at 8:30 am.  We are asking our members to bring a coffee cake, bars, or hard-boiled eggs.  A sign-up sheet is located in the narthex.  If you would like to help serve that day, please speak to Tony Wimmer.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Lenten Service (April 3rd)


Wednesday, April 3rd

Supper — 5:30 pm, Fellowship Hall
(Sign up sheet on the table in the narthex)


Service — 6:30 pm, Lower Chapel

Midweek Lenten Theme - Three Words of Truth: Take Him Away!

Please join us for supper and worship!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Holy Week and Easter Services at St. John


Palm Sunday — April 14th, 9:30 am
Maundy Thursday with Lord’s Supper — April  18th, 6:30 pm
Good Friday — April 19th, 6:30 pm
Easter — April 21st
 Breakfast — 8:30 am
 Worship —  9:30 am

Summer Sports Camps

Basketball and soccer camps -  St John will be hosting these camps again this summer.  The camp is for children from 4 years old to 6th grade.  This is an outreach effort to our community by the Evangelism committee.  We are looking for coaches for the soccer camp right now.  If you would be willing to help as a soccer head coach or an assistant coach, please speak to Tony Wimmer.

Anticipating Worship (March 31)

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Worship Focus
"God's plan of salvation represents wisdom to believers, but it is foolishness to the unbelievers"

Scripture Readings 
   Isaiah 12:1-6
   Psalm 32
   1 Corinthians 1:18-25
   Luke 15:1-3,10-32

Sermon
   Luke 15:11-32
   "Coming Home To the Father"

Prayer of the Day
               Almighty God, we confess that we deserve to be punished for our evil deeds. But we ask you graciously to cleanse us from all sin and to comfort us with your salvation; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.


Please join us Sunday for worship. Pastor John Zeitler will be sharing the Message.