Looking back through your life, who has had the most influence on your Christian faith? Has it been family members, friends, or a church staff member (pastors, teachers, youth directors, etc.)? In this weekend’s New Testament reading we hear, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
This weekend, God gives us the special opportunity to dedicate our work and workers before the Lord. As we begin worship today we pause as His people to recognize His hand at work through staff, leaders, and the people of St. John’s to “Connect, Care, and Share in Christ.”
Reach in Prayer
Members in Hospital: Lois Knoll, Adrian Buntrock
Members in treatment, at home, or recovering: Sue Knight, Tom Kohn, Cathy Schimmels, Jerry Jung, Elvera Voss, Terri Buettner, Ron Newell, Kenneth Koehler, Bev Sturgeon, Brad Sitzberger, Nicole Myrhum , Bill Ladwig, Paul Johnson, Sandy Lovato, Larke Mor, David Vernon, Marcelle Donaldson, Doug Zarling, Erwin Wergin, Darrel Hegy, Carla Kinkel, Pastor Cal Seban, Carrie Kuehl, Andy Bollen, Delores Fischer, Robert Polivka, Evelyn Wornardt, Leatrice (Lea) Strupp, Gloria Kohn, Joseph (Tom) Augustine, Ken Endlich, Brandee Michels, Cindy Doers, June Wilke, Verna Kissinger, Lois Lewinski, James Zimbal, Sharon Stenschke, Barbara Moritz, Donna Menzel, Bill Wilke, Elmyra Martin, Mary Plaskey, Gary Woodward, Al Schaetz, Arlene Goebel, Gladys Hron, Mary Ann Yahr, Lois Gauger, Ellen Frank, Cheryl Eberhardt, Charles Frank, Lucille Seil, Nancie Purskey.
Non-Members: Jason Collins, Dinah Cogdill (Arnie Mengel’s Sister). Pastor Matt Hoehner (Pastor Robert Hoehner’s son), Steve Williams (Rick Dusenbery’s brother-in-law), Ben & Lucy (Mark Cassidy’s friends), Phillip S. (Jeff & Tina Noren’s neighbor), Betty Moskler (Mark Cassidy’s friend), Doug (Mark Cassidy’s friend), Ashlyn Roecker (Carol Roecker’s great-grand niece), Sherry (Kathy Sitzberger’s friend), Ashley Doll (Cathy Schimmel’s niece), Rich Buss, Mickie Wagner (Tom & Peggy Bruce’s friend), Don & Ruth Cooper (Cindy Midtbo’s parents), Audrey Fellenz (Lynn Fellenz’s mother-in-law), Scott & Val and family (friends of Susan Mueller), Duane (Jerry & Terri Buettner’s friend), Mary Ours (Janet Haliburton’s friend), Mason Jan (Jenny Wolf’s sister), Jack (Melede Meinzen’s friend), Tom Hall (Kandi Mentch’s uncle), Nancy Brakebush (Clara Guse’s friend), Danielle Hayburn (Paul & Charlene Otto’s daughter), Bridgette Finster (Norm Finster’s mother), Kris Kraase (Evelyn Wornardt’s granddaughter-in-law), James Oelhafen (brother of Audrey Weiland), Richard Davies (father-in-law of Nicole Davies), Shane Nault (grandson of Carmen Kuntz), Mary (friend of Bruce & Denise Biendarra), and Steve Strehlow (brother of Melede Meinzen).
It’s Good to be Together in the Lord
Dear Friends in Christ,
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” The past few months only seem to have accelerated this truth. The situation changes daily, stymying those of us who like to plan. Things have been placed on hold, whether vacations, ministry plans, budgets, or sports seasons.
One thing, however, has not changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The promises made to us in our baptism by Jesus have not changed. We are still provided with all that we need, still forgiven and beloved children, and still guided by His Spirit as His body, the church. However, how the Lord uses His church to accomplish His mission has changed over time and continues to change, given the current context.
In response, we’d like to share with you some of the changes that will take place to ministry at St. John’s this fall:
Discipleship Hour- Due to COVID-19 precautions in the School and Early Childhood building, we will be unable to use these facilities for Discipleship Hour. Instead, we will be offering Discipleship Hour on Wednesday nights, starting on Wednesday, September 16, at 6:00 PM. This version of Discipleship Hour will be both in-person in the sanctuary and also live-streamed for those at home as we finish our sanctuary renovation project (see the article below). Thank you, Lord, for this tool of new technology to further your kingdom! More information coming in the next few weeks regarding content, but be prepared to hear the phrase “Households of Faith” a lot.
Wednesday Night Worship – With the relocation of Discipleship Hour to the sanctuary on Wednesday nights, we will be discontinuing Wednesday night worship except for special seasons such as Thanksgiving Eve, Advent, and Lent. The last Wednesday Night worship service will take place on Wednesday, September 2.
Outdoor Worship – We will continue to host our 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM Sunday worship services outside through the end of September as we have done the last three weeks, weather permitting. If there is rain in the forecast, we will move the service into the sanctuary, and masks will be required.
New Member Sunday We did not have the opportunity to welcome and celebrate our new members and confirmands in the Spring, and so will do so on Sunday, September 13.
The picture above was created two years ago as a way to dream and visualize what our worship space would look like with several video updates, to include the removal of the large center screen at the front of the nave. Since that initial rendering, God’s people have been generous towards this project, and we are in the middle of the final stage of installation.
The goals of this project have always been:
Improve our communication quality and ability both on and beyond our campus.
Strengthen our people for Personal, Congregational, and Community Discipleship through stronger engagement in and access to worship and discipleship gatherings.
Help to restore the visual and architectural beauty of our main worship space, while providing strong functionality of visual aids.
Establish a system and infrastructure that will bring St. John’s up to modern functionality while implementing the technology needed to expand and accommodate future growth.
As this new equipment and systems are installed, we will be learning its function and looking forward to its use in many ways. As with anything new, there is always a bit of learning curve and nuance. Even so, we look forward to numerous benefits from this project, to include:
Dual projections screens and an open view of the full altar wall and windows.
Dual supplemental flat screens to support participation for those seated towards the back.
Additional flat screens in the balcony, gathering space, and childcare room and integration with existing screens in the Lower level and welcome space.
Flexible content distribution that will allow for viewing and participation from any of these screens and locations.
Multiple HD cameras to support the recording and live broadcast of services and discipleship gatherings on campus.
Thanks be to God for this and many more blessings that support our work of Connecting, Caring, and Sharing in Christ.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
for His steadfast love endures forever!
(1 Chronicles 16:34)
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus, your Savior!
St. John’s annual Thank Offering is a sacred opportunity to look beyond ourselves and what we are doing in daily life and look at the big picture . . . to look to God and thank Him. No matter what is going on in our lives, the Lord has amazing promises for us, promises that are real and eternal. Our God is awesome, and He loves you!
It is in response to God’s love and works among us that each year (usually in May/June), we encourage the people of St. John’s to consider making a special Thank Offering. This invitation is a special invitation to stop, reflect, pray, and respond to the Lord with genuine thanks for God’s work through all the ministries of St. John’s.
This Thank Offering tradition has been a personal blessing to my family and me as we have paused to reflect on God’s love for us and work in our lives. Will you join Christine and me in giving a special Thank Offering that is over-and-above your regular offerings?
Indeed, these tough times are a recipe for fear, disunity, and trepidation in our community, economy, and even in our homes. Perhaps, especially with the disconnections and disruptions of life since March, you have fallen behind in your offerings to support God’s work among us. This Thank Offering is a great opportunity to join fellow disciples of Jesus at St. John’s to catch up and support the work God has given us to do together.
Maybe times are tough for you, and making a special gift is not possible. If this is your situation, can I ask that you pause and commit to making a special prayer of thanksgiving to God? It is as easy as saying, “Thank you God for_________.” God loves prayers of thankfulness! We all have something we can bring to the Lord in prayer.
If you choose to make a gift, you can give through the green Thank Offering Envelope
or our St. John’s App – look for the pull-down menu that says, “Thank Offering.”
On behalf of St. John’s Staff and Leaders, we give thanks for you! Most of all, we give thanks to the LORD for all that He has done, is doing, and will do according to His plans and promises! These promises are for you and your family. Thank you, Lord!
Peace and blessings in Christ,
Pastor Jeff Hesse
Worship Plans for Indoor and Outdoor Services
Greetings St. John’s,
Moving forward, St. John’s has decided to continue to host our 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services outdoors and in a very similar fashion. Our Wednesday 6:00 PM, Saturday 6:00 PM, and Sunday 8:00 AM services will continue to be indoors. In compliance with the state order, indoor worship services will require face coverings for the full duration of the time we gather indoors. Our outdoor services will not require masks, but you are welcomed and encouraged to do so.
Saturday 6:00 PM and Sunday 8:00 AM services will be indoors and require a face covering or mask upon entry. All of our previous procedures, distancing, and sanitization will also remain in place. Please bring a facemask with you to worship. If you do not have one, we will provide one for you.
Sunday 9:30 AM & 11:00 AM services will continue outdoors. Face coverings will not be required, but as with our previous procedures, they are encouraged. Distancing with seating is also encouraged.
Additional Outdoor Worship Notes:
We will gather for outdoor worship services by the North East drive and parking area. Cones and signs are marking the morning worship area.
Services will be led by our pastors and utilize sound equipment. They will include a small worship team, and the full-service order will is for your participation.
Folding chairs will be set up ahead to time, but we also encourage you to bring a bag/folding chair for additional seating and distancing.
The indoor bathrooms, nearest the parking lot doors, will be available for use, but masking will be necessary upon entry.
We are in the process of acquiring additional shade tents for the green space and parking lot seating areas.
There will also be additional tables for the welcome pads and offering box.
Bottled water will be available at the welcome tables
If rain or other weather challenges are imminent for our time in worship, the services will move indoors. That announcement will go out shortly ahead of the service and to those already gathered. As with our other indoor services, face coverings are required.
As you consider this plan and what your time in worship will look like moving forward, we encourage you to cling to the promises of God; promises He gave you in your baptism. Even as we find new ways to gather, we gather around God’s Word and Gifts that our faith will be strengthened. That’s why it’s good to be together in the Lord!
St. John’s Worship Ministry
Outdoor Worship – Set-up & Take-down Crew Signup
We are creating crews of people to support outdoor worship by helping to set-up and take-down the various chairs, tables, tents, and equipment before and after services. This is a pivotal and necessary component of our ongoing outdoor worship plan and experience. If you value this worship experience, we encourage you to consider signing up to help.
The more people and crews we can commit to this need, the lighter the commitment and rotation will be. Crews will consist of 4-6 people and be schedule for either set-up or take-down on respective Sundays. Set-up will begin at 8:30 AM on Sunday and take-down will begin following the 11:00 AM service. Point leadership for this has been identified and signing up with this form will open to door for communication and coordination. Thank you for your help!
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
There’s an important question making its way around St. John’s these days. The question is: “When can our life group meet again?” St. John’s is here to assist you in seeking a prayerful answer.
When St. John’s closed its doors on in-person worship activities, our church leadership also made the difficult decision to cancel all life group gatherings until further notice for the sake of our church family’s health.
The impact of this decision varied: many groups have suspended activities while individuals stayed in touch; other life groups continued to meet on the internet or over the phone; some life groups even reported having conversations more frequently due to the quarantine. Whatever the case, it has been a great reminder that God is always at work in and through His people.
Now that we have begun to meet again in worship, the Unified Leaders of St. John’s are encouraging our life groups to consider doing the same. Our goal, Lord permitting, is to see the majority of our life groups restored and active at St. John’s by September, though we understand every life group will approach this differently.
Whether you’re a lay leader or a member of one of our many life groups, this is a time for reflection and conversation with one another. I invite you to prayerfully consider the following:
How did this quarantine impact your life group(s), when do you hope to meet again, and what would it take?
As these days come and go, remember that whether on earth, or in heaven, or when all of creation is restored, it is good to be together in the Lord.
Leaders: as you consider meeting, please reach out to your Management Team Lead for guidance on re-opening and procedures to consider. The official policy for re-opening Life Groups has been attached for informational purposes. In addition, please make use of the attached flowchart for some helpful questions to ask your group as you pursue fellowship once again.
As on-site services resume at St. John’s, we are looking for some volunteers to help us keep up with the sanitizing procedures between services.
We are looking for adults 18+, people who are not considered high risk individuals, and people who are not already actively serving on a ministry team (we are trying to lighten the load of the ushers and other ministry leaders already serving in worship; however, if you are an usher or worship team leader, you are more than welcome to volunteer for a Sunday service as you feel led).
Volunteers can sign up to sanitize after the 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, or 11:00 AM Sunday services (Saturday and Wednesday services will be taken care of by usher teams). We will create a rotating schedule of 2 people per service to get us through the summer or for as long as these procedures need to be in place.
The procedures include sanitizing:
-Offering box surface
-Chairs used in the narthex or by the fireplace
-Any other frequently touched surfaces (note, this does NOT include cleaning bathrooms but DOES include the door handles for the bathrooms)
Teams will be overseen by Asst. Worship Director Rachel Morton, and by sextons Bob Krause and John Ehlke. Once responses have been collected, Rachel will email the schedule to everyone.