Friday, August 30, 2019

Anticipating Worship (September 1)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus: 
The Christian life is a constant looking ahead. What the eyes cannot see is what the heart of faith accepts when promised by God. Abraham serves as a wonderful Old Testament example and he is praised for it in the New Testament. Christ describes the faithful servant who looks ahead and is ready for the Master’s return.

Genesis 15:1-6
Psalm 33
Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16
Luke 12:32-40

Sermon:  Genesis 15:1-6
"Believe the Lord"

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve. Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of 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 in worship this Sunday at 9:30 am.
Pastor Mark Kom will be sharing God's Word with us. 

September's Fellowship Sunday

September 15th, 2019 — Please Save the Date! Join us as we Thank Robert and Julie Averbeck and Margaret and Michael Kuchera -- for their years of service -- providing Music and supporting the Music to and for St. John. There will be cake, coffee, water, and lemonade If anyone would enjoy sharing a dessert or fruit plate to add to the festivities, your gift would be welcomed!  Please come and thank our dear members for their devotion to spreading the Gospel through their musical gifts -- as organists, composers, musical arranging, choir directing, musical teachers, special music assistants — all which have been blessings to us. Share this note with your friends and fellow members.

Church Choir

Choir rehearsals will begin on Sunday, September 8th, at 8:30 am, in the Music Room. If you have any questions or are interested in joining the St. John Adult Choir please speak with Bob Averbeck.

Monday, August 26, 2019

St. John Picnic & Potluck

Sunday, September 8, Noon – 3 p.m.
Harmon Park Neighborhood Center
230 Bernard Street W.
West St. Paul, MN 55118

As the summer comes to a close, join together with your church family for an afternoon of fun, food and games! Pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, and beverages will be provided. Lunch will be held in the air-conditioned pavilion next to the splash pad and playground at Harmon Park. If you would like to help with setup or cleanup, contact Jim Julian. Look forward to seeing you there!

What you should bring:
1) A side dish, chips, or dessert to share
2) Your favorite board game(s)
3) Swimsuit (in case the splash pad is still open)

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.

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.

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.

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:
Parent name
Phone (if different from text)
Child (ren) name + age
Shirt size
*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.