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.

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.

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.

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 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

Anticipating Worship (June 9)

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

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

Questions? Email

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.