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Reacting to Pastor Lee’s Decision . . . Use GPS

Numerous people have asked, “What are we doing since Pastor Lee turned down the call to serve as our Connection Pastor?” My response, “Our approach right now is to grieve, pray, and step back.” At one of our staff meetings Pastor Hesse blurted, “Yeah, I like it. You mean use the GPS.” I smiled, grateful for the smart folks God provides us, especially me. Here are a few thoughts about GPS.

Friends, I am allowing myself the opportunity to hurt, to declare, “Bummer,” and grieve. You are encouraged to do the same. The walk of discipleship includes times of sorrow and disappointment. It’s okay, in fact healthy, to affirm the Lord’s will is what’s best while struggling to receive it. I have yet to talk with someone who met Pastor Lee who didn’t think he would be a great addition to our team. So… we grieve.

The Lord saves. The pages of Scripture are replete with this truth, and we appropriately cherish this as one of our Three Truths. The Lord saves us from our sins. The Apostle Paul reminds us that He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, will also give us all things. It’s time to talk to God. Here’s a prayer worth praying,

Lord, save our church family in this time from all that would harm us or prevent us from staying focused on Your work. Lord, please watch over Pastor Lee, his wife Diane, and their children as well as our pastors and their families. Lord, save us from our enemy, Satan, and from any sin that might corrupt our minds, our hearts, or our actions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Step Back:
The Lord knew we would face this current situation. Stepping back gives us a chance to be reminded of this truth and another truth: “It’s all His.” Pastor Kellerman’s retirement, as well as Craig Toerpe’s leaving to the LC-MS Foundation, has created significant leadership gaps in our ministry structure. Let me put that more relationally: people and real life needs are going to be left unmet for a while. Yet, stepping back is giving us opportunity to ask how these needs might be met in different ways. Folks are coming forward and asking how they might help. St. John’s voters’ approved the 2019-2020 Ministry Plan which includes too many details to share at this point. However, here are a few items that will be of benefit in this time of Stepping Back:
Dr. Dan Paavola and Dr. Roy Peterson from Concordia University Wisconsin will be joining our preaching team for the next twelve months. Both are seasoned clergy and gifted preachers. Just ask those who attended last weekend!
Pastor Michael Schramm, upon his retirement this summer, and his wife will be joining our church family in September. He will be working part-time in Care Ministry, taking the Lord’s Supper to shut-ins, making hospital calls, and supporting Stephen Ministry.
Alan Lull, our Director of Missions and Junior High Youth, will be setting aside some of his duties in order to serve as interim Director of Connections. Look for more information regarding this important step in upcoming communication. Alan will also benefit from the help of Cheryl Rudolf who will begin her second year as part-time Connection Facilitator.
I will dedicate approximately 500 hours of the upcoming year to meeting with St. John’s families to discuss St. John’s vision of Discipleship in as many places as possible and the biblical gift of managing the Lord’s financial resources as a congregation. It will be a time to discuss the Connection Pastor position and pray together to the Lord.

Friends, feel free to call the office and set up a time to meet with me or reach out through my email: In the meantime, I rejoice with the privilege of connecting, caring, and sharing with you in Christ as we use GPS.

Fondly in Christ,
Pastor Jeff D.