Pentecost 24

“Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of the master” (Matthew 25:21).

This Sunday, November 19, our congregation gathers for our Annual Meeting at 12:00 noon in the Parish Life Center (PLC). There are three primary action items on the agenda: 1) Approval of the 2018 Budget; 2) Election of Leaders; and, 3) Voting on whether to proceed with the Proposed Building Renovation and Addition. In addition, the Annual Meeting gives us the opportunity to celebrate together all that God has done and continues to do in and through our congregation.

Two of our congregation’s ministries that touch our community in powerful and life-changing ways are our St. John’s Lutheran Preschool and our St. John’s Eagle Endowment Fund. You can come and hear directly from leaders of each of these ministries during our Adult Forum this Sunday from 9:15-10:15 a.m. in the Adult Meeting Room (AMR). 

Since 1990, our St. John’s Lutheran Preschool has touched the lives of thousands of families in our community by offering a top-quality Christian education to 2-through-4-year-olds. Currently we have 174 students enrolled. The preschool is our preschool. It is part of our mission and ministry. It is one of the many ways we live out our mission to be and make disciples of Christ. The preschool is governed by a board of six elected member-disciples of St. John’s. Rachel Helton serves as the board president. As Lead Pastor, I also serve on the board. We can be very proud of the quality of our preschool.

A more recent ministry is our St. John’s Eagle Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund currently has a balance of $261,620.08. The Endowment Fund provides a way for disciples to give financial gifts to the congregation that fuel long-term mission and ministry in our congregation, in our community, and in the larger ELCA. The gift principal remains invested by the congregation. The growth from the principal is awarded through annual grants to support capital improvements at St. John’s, local and community outreach, and ministries of the ELCA. This year, we will be awarding $11,300 in grants to recipients that will be announced at the Annual Meeting. The Endowment Fund is managed by the Endowment Committee, comprised of 4 elected member-disciples of the congregation, together with the Leadership Board President and myself serving as advisory members. Mike Bloechle currently serves as the committee chairperson. 

Our congregation has been richly blessed with an abundance of resources to use for the sake of proclaiming the good news of Jesus in both word and action. However, with blessings come responsibility. As today’s gospel reading from Matthew reminds us, Jesus expects us to use the gifts we have been given and not to hide them in fear. We can be most thankful for our St. John’s Lutheran Preschool and our St. John’s Eagle Endowment Fund. How can we continue to responsibly use and grow these ministries for the living out of God’s mission both in this place and beyond?

Together in Christ +

Pastor Greg

Pentecost 23

“Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. Let those who love your salvation say evermore, ‘God is great!’” (Psalm 70:4).

Next Sunday, November 19 at 12:00 noon our congregation will gather in the Parish Life Center (PLC) for our Annual Meeting. It is a time for all voting member-disciples of the congregation to gather together to conduct the business of the congregation as well as to discern how God is calling us to be Christ’s church in the coming year.

As always, one of the most significant items of business on the agenda for the Annual Meeting is the adoption of the annual budget. The annual budget of the congregation serves as a mission plan for how we are going to allocate God’s resources for the living out of Christ’s mission in and through St. John’s in 2018. Also on this year’s agenda is a motion from the Leadership Board to proceed with the proposed building renovation and addition that is designed to increase and grow our hospitality space outside of the sanctuary as well as to add much needed office space for our growing staff. Following much prayer, discernment, and listening to the congregation over these past many months, the motion that the Leadership Board is presenting reads as follows:

Motion to Proceed with the Proposed Building Project

The St. John’s Leadership Board moves that the congregation:

1) Approve the proposed renovation and addition project at a total cost not to exceed $1,389,000;

2) Grant the St. John’s Leadership Board the authority to add up to, but not more than $350,000 to the existing mortgage for the purpose of completing the project; and,

3) Grant the St. John’s Leadership Board the authority to take out a short-term construction loan not to exceed $500,000 to be paid off in its entirety no later than May 31, 2020.

At the Adult Forum this Sunday from 9:15-10:15 a.m. in the Adult Meeting Room (AMR), representatives of the Leadership Board, Finance Committee, and Property Ministry Team will be sharing more details with you about both the Proposed 2018 Budget and the Proposed Motion above. Please plan on being in attendance to learn more about how God is calling us to move forward in living out our mission to be and make disciples of Christ, in response to God’s grace. It is a most exciting time in the life of this congregation. Come and be a part!

Together in Christ +

Pastor Greg

All Saints

“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

On Sunday, November 19 at 12:00 noon, our congregation will gather for our Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting is more than just a time to conduct the business of the congregation, though such business is, indeed, important. The Annual Meeting is a time for us to gather together as God’s people to celebrate together all that God has achieved through St. John’s over the past year, to dream together about what God might have in store for us in the year to come, and to discern together how God is calling us forward in mission and ministry.

At this year’s Annual Meeting, we will be voting on whether to proceed with a significant building renovation and addition project in the coming year. I will share more information in next week’s article about the specific motion that will be presented by the Leadership Board. In addition, during next week’s Adult Forum from 9:15-10:15 a.m. in the Adult Meeting Room (AMR), a presentation will be shared to help you learn more about both the building proposal and the proposed 2018 budget. 

Also in preparation for the Annual Meeting, this weekend’s Adult Forum will feature representatives from each of our five Vision Teams, sharing with us what God has accomplished through them during the past year and what their hopes and dreams are for the coming year. Our five Vision Teams correspond to our five primary Ministry Areas and are led by the following team leaders and pastoral liaisons:

  • Community Care

Team Leader: Jeff Pirmann

Pastoral Liaison: Pastor Pam Mitcham

  • Discipleship

Team Leader: Sharon Cassens

Pastoral Liaison: Pastor Adam Connolly

  • Outreach and Mission

Team Leader: Todd Bringuet

Pastoral Liaison: Pastor Adam Connolly

  • Stewardship

Team Leader: Jennifer Read

Pastoral Liaison: Pastor Greg Busboom

  • Worship

Team Leader: Melissa Roselle

Pastoral Liaison: Pastor Greg Busboom

Following the five presentations, time will be given for questions, conversation, and dreaming together about how and where God is calling us as a congregation. Your presence and participation are both needed and valued! Come and join together as we rejoice in all that God is doing here at St. John’s and as we look forward to the future God is preparing for us!

Together in Christ +

Pastor Greg


“For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law” (Romans 3:28).

Five hundred years ago, on October 31, 1517, the Roman Catholic priest Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the front door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg University where Luther served as a professor. Luther’s 95 theses are 95 complaints against the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church of his day and center around Luther’s staunch opposition to Pope Leo X’s selling of indulgences for the forgiveness of people’s sins. These 95 theses created

a firestorm across Europe and eventually led to Luther’s excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church and the formation of the Lutheran movement of which we here at St. John’s are still a part.

For ve hundred years, the Lutheran movement has centered around ve primarily theological claims.

Claim #1 – Sola scriptura (Scripture alone). Lutherans claim that God’s Word, contained within the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, is the Church’s sole source of authority and that God’s Word constantly calls the Church to reform itself according to the gospel of Christ.

Claim #2 – Sola de (Faith alone). Lutherans hold that it is not the doing of good works that save us, but rather that we are saved solely by faith in Christ. Such faith is a gift of God’s Holy Spirit, created in us by God’s Word at work in our lives. Good works proceed from our faith, but good works do not create faith.

Claim #3 – Sola gratia (Grace alone). Lutherans believe that salvation is a gift of God’s grace to us in Jesus and not something that we can somehow earn or deserve. God accomplished our salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are saved not because of anything we have done or could do, but only by what God has done for us in Jesus.

Claim #4 – Solus Christus (Christ alone). Lutherans teach that we are not righteous (made right with God) on our own, but rather that in our baptism, we have been clothed with Christ’s own righteousness. We have been made righteous (right with God) because Christ’s righteousness has been given to us. Christ alone saves us.

Claim #5 – Soli Deo Gloria (To the glory of God alone). Lutherans trust that Christ has made us free to no longer live our lives for ourselves, but rather to live our lives wholly and fully for God as we love and serve our neighbors. Now that we have been saved by grace through faith, we are free to live our whole lives in worship and praise of God.

Even as we give thanks for the past 500 years, all the more we look forward to how God is calling us forward for the sake of Christ’s gospel in the world over the next 500 years. The world needs the gospel. The theological claims we Lutherans continue to make put us in a unique position to proclaim the good news to today’s world in both our words and our actions. How is God calling each of us to live out the claims we make and to share the good news that, in Christ, we have been made free? How is God calling St. John’s to live out our mission to be and made disciples of Christ, in response to God’s grace?

Together in Christ +

Pastor Greg

Pentecost 19

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5).

Be. More. Together. These three simple words communicate our fall theme here at St. John’s. First, we are called to be. The Christian life is not ultimately about doing, but rather about being, that is, being the freed and forgiven children God has called us to be. The Christian life is not ultimately about what we do, but rather about who we are. Second, we are called be more. Our identity as forgiven children of God frees us to be more than we otherwise would be without Christ’s forgiveness. The forgiveness that is ours in Christ frees us to live our lives wholly and fully for God and for our neigh- bors. No longer is our primary concern taking care of ourselves. Christ has freed us to make our primary concern our relationships with God, with each other, and with the world around us. And, nally, we are called to be more together. As Christians, we are called into community. We become more when we are in relationship with others. And, our witness to Christ in the world becomes more when we combine our gifts with the gifts of those around us in service to others.

This coming week, you will be receiving in the mail your Stewardship Packets for 2018. Included in your packet will be your 2018 Commitment Card and your 2018 Time, Talents, and Touch Form. As you prayerfully complete both of these forms for the coming year, the Stewardship Vision Team asks that you think about how God is calling each of us to be more together. How is God calling us to share our nancial resources in order to care for the church and Christ’s mission in it, to care for one another, and to care for our community? How is God calling us to share our time, our talents, and our touch for the sake of Christ’s mission and ministry in the world? How is God calling us to be more together for the sake of the gospel?

Our stewardship goal for the coming year is not so much about a dollar amount, but rather about participation. Perhaps you’ve never pledged to St. John’s before. If that is the case, we are inviting you to be more together as you join your nancial pledge with others in our community of faith for the sake of a world in need. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve shared your gifts of time and talent in ministry here at St. John’s. If that is the case, we are inviting you to be more together as you jump back into full participation in the life of our congregation. Perhaps you are feeling that your faith is waning and you are growing distant in your relationship with Christ. If that is the case, we are inviting you to be more together as you re-engage your faith, growing in your participation in the life of discipleship.

Be. More. Together. Three simple words. What will these three words mean for you as we commit our time, talents, treasures, and touch to Christ in the coming year?

Together in Christ +

Pastor Greg

Pentecost 18

“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom” (Matthew 21:43)

In the story Jesus tells in today’s gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus reminds us that we are each called and expected to bear fruit in God’s kingdom. God has called us for a purpose—to grow and share the gifts we have been given as we serve Christ and Christ’s people.

Our fall theme here at St. John’s is Be More Together as we celebrate the many gifts we have as the community of Christ in this place and as we explore how we can share these gifts with one another and with the community beyond our walls. We are more together as we grow in relationships with one another. We are more together as we share our gifts of time, talents, treasure, and touch. We are more together as we reach out beyond ourselves into the world God loves.

Next Saturday, October 14, we have a tremendous opportunity as a congregation to be more together as we gather for our Be More Fall Ministry Fair from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the Parish Life Center (PLC). Nearly 30 ministry teams from here at St. John’s will be hosting interactive displays about how each of us can get more involved in the many ministries we share. Visit at least 10 of these displays and you will receive a free newly designed St. John’s coffee mug featuring our new logo!

In addition to enjoying each of the many displays, there will be delicious homemade chili, hotdogs, and dessert for all! Enter your own special chili in the Great Chili Cookoff and win great prizes! Our very own Colin Helton will be sharing live music! There will be games and activities for the kids! And, I will be sharing information about our growing mission and ministry here at St. John’s! 

This is a most important time in the life of our congregation and the world needs the good news of Jesus more now than ever. Come and join with us next Saturday evening and celebrate who we are and who God is calling us to become! Come and join with us as we learn how to Be More Together.

Together in Christ +

Pastor Greg

Pentecost 17

Martin Luther called prayer “a strong wall and fortress of the church.” If he is right, and he is right, the mission and ministry of St. John’s is built on the right foundation.

WE ARE CHURCH TOGETHER as we PRAY . . . in worship.
We are one in the sanctuary and the PLC when we lift our prayers to the Lord.

WE ARE CHURCH TOGETHER as we PRAY . . . in groups.
Whether it’s a meeting, activity or other kind of gathering, we begin
and end with a time of prayer. Sometimes it’s sung together in a joyful, laughing, quick pace, like at a Sprout! meal. Other times it’s with bowed heads as we gather around a table for serious discussion. Youth activities often include the “popcorn” prayer as they shout out what they are thankful for.

WE ARE CHURCH TOGETHER as we PRAY . . . through the prayer chain. We can receive an e-mail every week inviting us to pray for specific people and situations based on requests for prayer turned in at worship. Be sure to put your prayer requests on the cards when you worship in the sanctuary, or in the prayer request book in the PLC. And, if you are not receiving the e-mail, you can do so by contacting Liz Kelley at

WE ARE CHURCH TOGETHER as we PRAY . . . in our homes.
“Growing Deeper” is the devotional available in print and online. Staff members share thoughts and prayers based on a scripture passage, inviting you to spend time with Jesus. “Taking Faith Home” invites families of all sizes to daily scripture reading and prayer.

Yes, WE ARE CHURCH TOGETHER as we PRAY. Together in Christ - to pray!

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 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 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!