Pentecost 16

One of the promises made at the time of baptism is to live among God’s faithful people.  Living within the community of faith involves us in worship, learning, and serving along with others.  The gift of community brings us into relationship not only with Jesus, but with one another.

Everyone suffers losses.  Everyone grieves at one time or another.  One of the most difficult losses we experience is the death of a loved one.  It can be hard to reach out to others when dealing with feelings of sadness and loss.  We are created by God to be in community, and especially in difficult times, that community can offer support, encouragement and comfort.

St. John’s will hold a series of Grief Support Gatherings for anyone who has experienced the death of a person whom they loved.  We begin October 2 and will be led by Margie Wheelhouse, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Nationally Certified Counselor.  Margie has helped many people cope with grief and sadness.  “The loss of a loved one is probably the most difficult relationship problem there is,” Margie explains.  “Because the rest of the world seems to be going on as usual, it can feel incredibly lonely and bewildering.  One way to ease that pain and find a way through it is by participating in a grief support group.”  To register for the gatherings, call the church office or speak with Pastor Pam.

At our 10:30 sanctuary service this Sunday we will commission two new Stephen Ministry Leaders, Pastor Pam and Cindy Sedam.  Through the Stephen Ministry, St. John’s provides  

confidential, one-to-one Christian care to people experiencing a crisis or going through a difficult time. Stephen Ministers meet weekly with their care receiver for around an hour to listen, care, encourage, pray, and provide emotional and spiritual support for the person. Caring relationships last for as long as the person’s need persists.  For information about becoming a Stephen Minister or to receive care, please see any one of the pastors.

The Grief Support Gatherings and Stephen Ministry are but two of the ways we are church together as we encourage one another.  Your phone call, hand shake, conversation, offer of a ride, sending of a card, checking in, noticing someone may need a little help – your caring brings the love of Jesus to someone else.  Thank you.

Together in Christ – to encourage!

Pastor Pam

Pastor’s Message – Pentecost 13

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:9-10).

 

The story is shared of something that happened during Vacation Bible School a few years ago. A class was interrupted one day about an hour before dismissal when a new student was brought in. The little boy had one arm missing, and since the class was almost over, the teacher had no opportunity to learn any details about the cause or the little boy’s state of adjustment. She was very nervous and afraid that one of the children would blurt out something and embarrass him. There was no opportunity to caution them, so she proceeded as carefully as possible. 

 

As the class time drew to a close, she began to relax. She asked the class to join her in their usual closing ceremony. “Let’s make our churches,” she said. “Here’s the church and here’s the steeper, open the doors and see . . .” The awful truth of her own actions struck her. The very thing she had feared that the children would do, she had done. As she stood there speechless, the little girl sitting next to the boy with the missing arm simply reached over with her left hand and placed it up to his right hand and gently said, “Here, let’s be the church together!” 

 

Our fall theme here at St. John’s is We are church TOGETHER! It is a theme that has been lifted up across the ELCA by our Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. The truth is that we need each other. We need each other in worship. We need each other in prayer. We need each other in service. We need each other in learning. We need each other in outreach and in mission. We need each other when we are suffering and we need each other when we are rejoicing.

 

Next weekend, September 9 and 10, is Rally Weekend here at St. John’s! It is a time when we come TOGETHER as Christ’s church in this place to celebrate who we are as Christ’s people. We worship together. We learn together. We serve together. We eat together. We are church together

 

Come and join together as we worship at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, and at a Combined Celebration Worship at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. Come and join together as we join our voices with guest musician Jonathan Rundman as he leads us in worship and as he shares a special concert with us on Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary, featuring some of our favorite and most beloved hymns! Come and join together as we gear up for Sunday School and Sprout! and Confirmation and a variety of Bible Studies! Come and join together as we fill Blessing Bottles to be shared with the homeless community here in Springfield! Come and join together as we share a delicious meal on the church lawn catered by Nelson’s! It promises to be a WONDERFUL weekend! Your presence is needed. We can’t be the church by ourselves. Come and join with us as we are church TOGETHER!

 

Together in Christ +

Pastor Greg

Pastor’s Message - Pentecost 12

“For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another” (Romans 12:4-5).

For several years now, it has become increasingly clear that in order to communicate most effectively about all the ministry that is happening in and through our congregation a Director of Media and Communications was needed. In today’s world, communication happens not just through the traditional forms of bulletins and newsletters, but through a wide array of social media, including websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, e-mail, Snapchat, the list goes on and on. If we are going to be most effective in living out our mission to be and make disciples of Christ, then we need to be equipped to use all of these means of communication to share the good news.

Since the summer of 2016, Tucker Good has served as our Interim Director of Youth and Family Ministries. With the addition of Pastor Adam earlier this month and his many gifts for ministry with youth, the Leadership Board acted to move Tucker into a new position as Director of Media and Communications. Tucker has amazing gifts for this position and in just a few short weeks has transformed our website as well as many other of our communication means. Tucker will be working 30 hours per week for St. John’s in this position and 10 hours per week as the Director of Media and Communications for our Central/Southern Illinois Synod. The synod has contracted with us for this position and will be reimbursing St. John’s for 25% of Tucker’s annual salary and bene ts. This arrangement is a win-win for both St. John’s and the synod.

Tucker’s new office is located just beyond Pastor Pam’s office and
right across from the sacristy. He also has an office at the synod office
on South 5th street across from the Governor’s Mansion and will be sharing time between the two. If you or your ministry team need any help with communicating about your ministry on the website, in the weekly Messenger or monthly Eagle, via Facebook or e-mail, please feel free to contact Tucker and he will be more than happy to assist you. The best way to reach Tucker is through e-mail at tgood@stjohns-spring eld.org or by contacting him at 217.793.3933.

I am most grateful for Tucker’s new role and the abundant gifts that he brings. I am also most grateful for the bold leadership of our St. John’s Leadership Board as they continue to lead creatively and faithfully to move our congregation forward in the mission and ministry to which God daily calls us.

Equipped for discipleship +

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Pastor’s Message – Pentecost 11

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations” (Psalm 67:1-2).

In the past two weekend’s Messengers, I have outlined for you the primary roles and responsibilities of Pastor Adam as Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship and of Pastor Pam as Pastor of Community Care. This weekend, let me outline for you my primary roles and responsibilities as Lead Pastor.

In addition to serving as the Head of Staff, I continue to hold primary responsibility for both the worship life of the congregation and the stewardship of the congregation, serving as the primary pastoral liaison to both the Worship and Stewardship Vision Teams. I work closely with the other pastors and our congregation’s talented music staff to plan and lead worship that is Biblically and confessionally sound, awe-inspiring and spiritually uplifting, and that grows us deeply in our relationships with Christ, with each other, and with the community around us. Christian Stewardship has many facets, including financial stewardship, spiritual gifts, and care of our facilities. I meet monthly with the Property Ministry Team to care for and manage our buildings and grounds.

In addition to staff supervision, worship, and stewardship, I also work closely with the Leadership Board, meeting with them twice each month to oversee the mission and ministry of our congregation, and serve on the Finance and Administration Committee, the Endowment Fund Committee, and the St. John’s Preschool Board. In being part of these leadership groups in the congregation, we articulate and care for the mission and vision of St. John’s, seeking to align our varied resources in ways that best serve the gospel both here in Springfield and beyond.

Though each of us have different roles and responsibilities, know that each of us—Pastor Pam, Pastor Adam, and myself—deeply care for each of you and for this congregation. When one of us shows up at your home or your hospital room, it is as if all three of us are there with you. When one of us attends your meeting or your small group, it is as if all three of us are present. When one of us preaches or teaches or leads worship, it is all if all three of us are there together bearing a united witness to the good news of Christ’s love for the world. Though we now have three pastors serving here at St. John’s, we still have one mission—to be and make disciples of Christ in response to God’s grace. We are church together!

Equipped for discipleship +

Pastor Greg

Pastor’s Message - Pentecost 10

 “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew14:31).


Last week I outlined for you the specific areas of ministry for which Pastor Adam Connolly, our new Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship, will hold primary responsibility. This week, let me share with you the primary responsibilities of our Pastor of Community Care, Pastor Pam Mitcham.

Community Care involves caring both for those inside the community of St. John’s as well as for those in the community beyond the walls of our congregation. As Pastor of Community Care, Pastor Pam works closely with our Community Care Vision Team to envision and develop ministries that equip the disciples at St. John’s to care for themselves, for one another, and for the world around us. Ministry teams that fall within the area of Community Care include: 

•Stephen Ministry 

•Parish Nurse Ministry 

•Senior Care Ministry 

•College Outreach Ministry 

•Hospital Visitation Ministry 

•Shut-In Ministry 

•Home Communion Ministry 

•Transportation Ministry 

•Military Ministry 

•Grief Ministry 

All of the pastors at St. John’s will continue to share in caring for the disciples at St. John’s and beyond, but Pastor Pam holds primary responsibility for the coordination, development, and implementation of these ministries. If you or someone you know is in need of pastoral care, please let Pastor Pam know and she will work diligently to get you or your loved one connected with a caring ministry that best fits your particular need.

In the words of our congregation’s Vision Statement—“St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is called to grow in meaningful relationships with Christ, with each other, and with our community as we are gathered in worship, equipped for discipleship, and sent to care.” How thankful I am to have Pastor Pam part of our ministry team as she leads us in caring for one another and for the community beyond our walls!

Equipped for discipleship +

Pastor Greg

Pastor’s Message - Pentecost 9

 For the first time in St. John’s 147-year history, we now have three full-time pastors serving our congregation as we welcome Pastor Adam Connolly as our new Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship. Thanks be to God!

Growing the pastoral staff of a congregation from two to three is a big transition and will take some growing into. While all three of us—Pastor Adam, Pastor Pam, and myself—are each full ministers of Word and Sacrament in the congregation, sharing responsibility for preaching, teaching, worship leadership, and pastoral care, each of us will hold primary responsibility for different areas of ministry. Over the course of the next three weeks, I will use this Pastor’s Message to outline how this new pastoral configuration will work and who will be doing what.

As this weekend is his first weekend with us, let me start with Pastor Adam. As Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship, Pastor Adam will serve as the primary pastoral liaison to both the Outreach and Mission Vision Team and the Discipleship Vision Team. Under Outreach and Mission, Pastor Adam will relate to the Global Missions Team, the Social Ministry Team, and the Neighborhood Ministry Team. Under Discipleship, Pastor Adam will relate to the Children, Youth, and Family Ministry Teams, the Youth Adult and Adult Ministry Teams, the Small Groups Ministry Teams, and more. Pastor Adam will serve as the direct supervisor for Sam Neahring, our Director of Children and Family Ministries, and for the time being, will be serving as the primary staff person for our Youth and Family Ministries, working to grow and develop this important ministry in the life of our congregation.

Dividing the pastoral responsibilities for specific areas of ministry will help us better focus our time and energy, with each of us using our unique ministry gifts in those areas for which our gifts are best suited. It will also help ensure clear communication in and across ministry areas. Know that your feedback is always welcome and invited as we grow into this new way of doing ministry. We are church together! Again, join with me in welcoming Pastor Adam as, together, we live out our mission to be and make disciples of Christ, in response to God’s grace!

Equipped for discipleship +

Pastor Greg Busboom

Pastor’s Message - Pentecost 5

 “Come to me, all you who are weary . . . and I will give you rest . . . 

My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

- Matthew 11:28, 30

It may be summer, but St. John’s is not on vacation. After a busy spring, where are disciples to get strength and energy for ministry? Today’s Good News from Matthew gives us the answer: We go to Jesus, who invites and welcomes each of us. I picture Jesus giving this invitation with a broad smile on his face, not looking at his watch (a digital sundial, of course,) eyes sparkling with the joy of just being with us. Jesus is the very picture of hospitality. “Come to me,” he says. 

I remember the congregation in which I grew up in Fayetteville, NC. Even at six years old, I thought of the church as belonging to me; not me exclusively, but belonging to me as much as any of the grown-ups. My pews. My classrooms. My hymn books. My meetings, committees, food pantry, activities – all mine (again, not exclusively.) I wouldn’t have known to phrase it this way, but it was “my” ministry. What a gift! But what a responsibility too. Overflowing trashcan in the restroom? I should empty that. Stranger looking for the pastor? I need to escort him to the office. Grass a bit too high? Where’s that lawn mower? A committee without a leader? Time to step up. No one’s here to read lessons? Here I am, Lord! 

The church belongs to Jesus, and in a very real sense it belongs to each of us too, each of us together. Be the person who stands like Jesus with a broad smile inviting and welcoming others. Be the one who, like Jesus, offers yourself to others. Know that behind you stands Jesus himself, smiling, delighted to be there. Really. 

Equipped for discipleship + 

Pastor Pam

 Greeters: The Front Line of Hospitality

“Do you not know that all of us who have baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).

When it comes to hospitality here at St. John’s, our Saturday evening and Sunday morning greeters truly are the front line! These are the folks who greet all those who walk through our doors for worship each weekend with a handshake and a smile, welcoming them into our community of faith. These are the folks who provide the first human connection for visitors worshiping with us for the first time. These are the folks who hold the door open for those who need a little extra assistance getting into the building and who are there to answer questions for those wondering where the restrooms are, where to hang up their coat, or where to find the PLC. Think about it this way--the greeters are the face of Jesus for each and every person who comes to worship here! What an important ministry of Christian hospitality this is!

 Special thanks to all those who already serve as greeters at each of our four weekend worship services! And, special thanks to our four disciples who coordinate our ministry of greeting—Carolyn Chambers (5:00 Saturday), Diana Skube (8:00 Sunday), Anita Walbaum (9:45/10:30 Sunday Sanctuary), and Christie Lazarides (10:30 Sunday Contemporary.) Here’s a few helpful reminders for those who serve.

 •Arrive early. Did you know that most first-time visitors arrive early to worship? Greeters should be in place ready to begin greeting at least 20 minutes prior to the start of the worship service.

•Be proactive. Don’t wait for people to come and greet you. As you see people walk through the doors, go up and greet them.

•Be attentive. If you sense that an individual or family is new to St. John’s, make sure you direct them to where the ushers are and where they can get a bulletin. If you sense that someone needs a little extra help in finding their way, give it.

If you are not yet involved in our ministry of greeting, but are interested in getting involved, we encourage you to do so. We are especially in need of additional greeters for our 10:30 contemporary worship service. To get involved, simply contact our Coordinator of Spiritual Gifts Ministries Kristen Schmid Schurter at ksschurter@stjohns-springfield.org or at 217.793.3933 and she will be more than happy to get you connected! You, too, could be serving on the front-line of hospitality here at St. John’s as we welcome people into Christ’s love!

Equipped for discipleship +

Pastor Greg Busboom

Thanks, Linda!

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Since the fall of 2011, Linda Toro has served as our Church Administrator here at St. John’s. After 5 1⁄2 years of faithful and committed service to our congrega- tion, Linda has decided that it is time for her to move closer to her children and grandchildren and will be moving to Texas later this coming week. Her last day in the of ce will be this coming Wednesday, June 14.

The position of Church Administrator has grown during Linda’s tenure to include not just the nancial management of the congregation, but also the management of the facilities and custodial staff, information technology, and nursery staff. In short, Linda has worn many hats. In addition to being an exemplary member of our ministry team, Linda has become part of our church family and will be deeply missed. Thank you, Linda, for your tireless work and dedication to St. John’s, your willingness to always go above and beyond, your care and concern for the disci- ples of this congregation, and your great sense of humor!

The entire congregation is invited to share their thanks and appreciation with Linda and to bid her Godspeed at a reception hosted by the St. John’s Leader- ship Board this Sunday morning, June 11, from 9:15-10:15 a.m. in the Parish Life Center Lobby.

We are in the process of actively searching for Linda’s replacement. Until the right person is found, St. John’s disciple, David Richter, has been hired to serve as Interim Financial Manager on a part-time basis. David recently retired as an accountant with the state and has served for many years as the treasurer of our St. John’s Preschool. In addition, David has served on our Endowment Fund and currently serves as a member of the Finance Committee. David is well-equipped to serve in this role and will help ensure a smooth transition.

Again, our sincere thanks to Linda for all she has done during these past 5 1⁄2 years. We wish her all God’s blessings as she begins this new chapter in her life.

Equipped for discipleship + 

Pastor Greg Busboom

“Peter said to them,

‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the

name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will

receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).

It is a momentous weekend in the life of St. John’s. It is the weekend

we kick-off our three-year BE BOLD Capital Campaign as we anticipate

the celebration of our congregation’s 150th anniversary in 2020.

The goals of this $3 million campaign are:

• Eliminate the existing mortgage (approximately $1.2 million)

• Fund a proposed building renovation and addition

(up to $1.7 million)

• Complete these items by our 150th anniversary in 2020 in

order to move forward, unencumbered in our mission and

ministry by investing in outreach, programs, and staff

Over the course of the next three weeks, let me unpack each of these

goals with you. The first priority of the campaign is to reduce our existing

mortgage on the 2004 Parish Life Center addition and Lower Level

renovation. Back in 2004, the original mortgage was approximately

$3.2 million. The current balance on the mortgage is $1,216,720.

Each month we make a combined principal and interest payment of

$15,498 which includes an additional monthly principal payment

of $2,550. For the past several years, we have asked for an annual

pledge to the Building Fund over and above our annual pledge to the

General Operating Fund.

The new BE BOLD Capital Campaign asks for a new three-year

pledge that replaces your annual pledge to the Building Fund. Upon

the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the Leadership Board

voted to designate the first $560,000 of pledged monies to pay down

the existing mortgage. This amount of $560,000 ensures that we continue

paying down the existing mortgage at our current rate of $15,498

per month over the course of the next three years.

While it may not be very exciting to think about paying off a debt that

is now thirteen years old, think about all of the ministry that is happening

in the spaces that were added and renovated back in 2004. Think

about our Contemporary Worship Service, Encounter, Sprout!, Group

LOYAL, Choir Practice, Women’s Bible Study, our 180 preschool students,

our confirmation and Sunday School classes, all of our meetings

and small groups, not to mention all the community groups that use

these spaces. Our continued giving to pay for the 2004 addition and

renovation is funding real ministry with real people in and through

whom the gospel of Jesus is making a real impact in our community

and around the world. Thank you for your generous support of God’s

mission here at St. John’s as we join together to BE BOLD!

BE BOLD +