From the Pastor's Desk ...
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
During Advent, I’ve been reflecting on the past year, and looking forward to the coming year. We have accomplished a lot during this season of transitional ministry together! Let me share with you some of the progress we have made toward becoming a healthy and missional congregation, despite pandemic limitations we’ve experienced over the past year and a half.
We are developing new leaders in church governance, ministry, and worship. More and more of those new leaders are in the “under 60” demographic – this is a major shift for our church. Fewer and fewer of those leaders hold multiple positions – we are spreading responsibility among a broader base of decision makers. Some who have served continuously for many years are stepping aside to allow new leaders to begin serving. This is a sign of strength as we move into a year of transition to new pastoral leadership.
Our online presence continues to offer Christ to new people in new ways. Over the next year, you will see even more internet-based ministry develop, as we engage people in online AND in-person spiritual growth opportunities. You’ll be invited to find your place on a discipleship pathway. Then you’ll be offered ways to move along that pathway toward deeper faith and stronger relationships with God and others. The next year will be one of reaching up to God, out to our community, and in toward one another as we encourage each other toward spiritual growth. We are on the move.
We are moving from protecting the status quo to becoming missional and outwardly focused. We are moving from longing for the past to looking toward the future. We are moving away from a mindset of worry and “protecting our turf,” into a mindset of sharing our faith and ourselves with generosity and joy. We are moving from focusing on our scarcity to focusing on God’s abundance.
For the second year in a row, we are fulfilling our commitment toward apportioned giving. This is a major accomplishment, and you need to know how hard your finance team has worked to make it possible. This team weighed risks, made decisions, and moved forward into the unknown territory of 2021 without the benefit of a pledge drive to raise funds, or the assurance that we would be able to meet our obligations. But we did. You did. Your continued generosity has fueled a vibrant Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Confirmation class, plans for a mission trip next June, the beginning of a Community Garden, and other community-based mission activities. We have much to celebrate!
With that in mind, Bruce and I invite you to join us at the parsonage for an
Advent Open House
3-6 PM Sunday, December 19th
1800 9th Street SW. Willmar, MN
As we prepare for Christmas, let us also prepare to reach into the coming year with energy and hope. I look forward to seeing you in worship, in service, and in celebration on the 19th.
Remember, God is with us! - Pastor Jo Anne