Connections E-Newsletter – September 24, 2020
There’s an important anniversary around the corner at St. John’s!
This November, St. John’s Lutheran Church will have enjoyed twenty years of Stephen Ministry. Chances are, it’s not on your calendar to celebrate you may not know much about it – but Stephen Ministry is poised to take big steps in the next year to help care happen at St. John’s.
Throughout the Bible, the importance of sharing faith and life together is an oft-repeated thread. God’s people are called to share one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2), and to gather together in Christ (Matt 18:20). Care Ministry at St. John’s is founded on Christ’s call to love and serve one another, and Stephen Ministry aids our church in that mission.
Stephen Ministry is lay-led, service life group that works under the oversight of Care Ministry. It trains Stephen Ministers, who are paired with care receivers after fifty hours of training. A Stephen Minister might spend anywhere from two months to two years meeting weekly with you after you’ve moved, changed careers, welcomed a new baby into the family, said goodbye to a love one, or experienced another big life change – all depending on your need. It’s for the young man feeling lost after graduating high school; it’s for the woman who’s been coming to church for the last seventy years of her life and is wondering if she still has a place, and it’s for many more.
The first new class met in the morning on 9/12, with twelve new candidates seeking to be trained, all with the intention of joining our existing Stephen Minister team and expand its reach. They will be ready to deploy following their commissioning service in May.
If you feel as though you could benefit from a Stephen Minister, and would like to make a request for a caregiver, please call the office to make an appointment with the team. If you desire to commit to training and serving as a Stephen Minister, please reach out to the church office to make an appointment for assessment.
Please note that as we are training a new class, if you are seeking care, pastoral care will be available to your immediate needs. In the meantime, we will assess availability of current Stephen Ministers as we prepare the next cohort to serve. Classes for new Stephen Minister candidates will be held again in the fall of 2021.
If you’d like to hear more about what Stephen Ministry does, check out their website to hear powerful testimonies of lives that have been blessed and changed by God’s work through Stephen Ministry.
We’re looking forward to growing our presence as we seek to provide Christ-centered care for God’s people. Keep us in prayer, and look out for more news to come!
The Congregational Meeting will not be livestreamed, but will be taped and made available by contacting the Church office at stjohns@stjohnswestbend.org or 262-334-4901.
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
Connecting, Caring, and Sharing in Christ
An Update on Life Groups at St. John’s
 
“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.
Download Life Group Reopening Flow Chart HERE.
Download Policy for Restoring Life Groups HERE.
It’s Good to be Together in the Lord
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE!
Yesterday’s Discipleship Hour Livestream

Worship Plans for Indoor and Outdoor Services
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.
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!
Sign-Up HERE.
Discipleship in as many places as possible.
Morning Bible Studies Resumed on Wednesday, September 16 at 9:30 AM and Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 AM in the Lower Level. Join us each week as we dig into God’s word and some coffee led by one of our pastors!
Promises of Grace Begins Sunday, September 27 – Lower Level of the Sanctuary. Promises of Grace (POG) is our “new to St. John’s” course that examines the foundational elements that we believe, teach and confess and also helps people connect into life here at St. John’s. POG lasts for nine weeks and is offered on both Sunday Mornings at 9:30 and Wednesday nights at 6:00 PM. Are you interested in membership at St. John’s? Contact the church office to register. 

Save the Date for a Concert in the Park! 
On Saturday, October 3 from 1:00-3:00 PM, St. John’s will host the West Bend Community Band (WCBC) in Sonshine Community Park. The WBCB is composed of volunteer adult musicians from our community under the direction of Mr. Bill Berlyn and serve as the musical ambassadors. You can learn more about the band and their repertoire by clicking HERE.
Bring a lawn chair or blanket and be blessed by talented musicians from our community as we Connect, Care, and Share in Christ. A free will offering will be taken to support LCMS Disaster Relief after the derecho that struck Cedar Rapids, IA. You can see some of the damage in the video.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This alert is being sent to you out of love and concern. We have had fraudulent emails sent out using the pastor’s names and names of our members trying to get people to buy gift cards. Upon a willing donor buying gift cards, the perpetrators then ask the person to scrape off the back of the cards, take pictures of the numbers on the cards and email the images so the cards can be used remotely.
Please be advised that this is a scam, and the emails did NOT come from our communications. Someone is posing as people from the family of St. John’s are trying to take advantage of our love, care, and generosity to help others. We have met with the West Bend Police Department, and they are investigating. The WBPD suggested that we communicate with all of you as quickly as possible.
St. John’s pastoral team (or anyone on staff) will never communicate via personal email asking for gifts to be transacted in such a manner. We always work through our carefully established St. John’s structures and protocols for transparency, protection, trackability, and efficiency. When in doubt, check it out. Before you are inclined to act on your willingness to help, please talk with us. There is never a rush (no matter what the story is). So stop, evaluate, and chat with us so we can work through what is real and what is fake. If you get any of these emails, please delete them and do not click on any links or attachments.
It is a broken world, and scams are real. Let us remember what Jesus told His followers in Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” We pray for these fraudsters and call on them to repent, confess their sin, turn away from this behavior, and trust that Jesus has forgiven them. We also thank the Lord for all law enforcement, and specifically, we thank the West Bend Police Department for their work and protection.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the church office at (262) 334-4901.
Contact Alan Lull for more details. alull@stjohnswestbend.org, 262-707-9198
Faithful Disciples, Academic Excellence, Christian Leaders
Partner Ministries
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Contact the office to learn how to join the Living Word Luther High School family.
 
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Contact the Enrollment Office to learn how to join the CUW family.
 
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Do you feel God’s Calling to Become a
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Reach in Prayer, St. John’s App, Daily Devotions


Wednesday
6:00 PM Traditional
 
Saturday
6:00 PM Traditional
 
Sunday
8:00 AM Traditional
9:30 AM Blended
11:00 AM Contemporary

809 South 6th Ave
West Bend, WI 53095
Church Office: 262-334-4901