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!