Dear St. John’s Members, October 16, 2014
As you know, choosing new leadership for our congregation requires a thoughtful and patient process. We are seeking someone who will serve with us for many years. It is important that we find not just someone, but someone uniquely suited to work with our other pastors, our staff, and our congregation.
We are seeking someone strong in preaching and worship, outreach and mission, pastoral care and visitation, and who can build a sense of community. We have had many names brought to us. We have interviewed seven candidates, watched several preach in eight different locations, conducted second interviews with two, and even brought one to visit with staff. We have interviewed men and women, persons right out of seminary as well as candidates seeking a second call. Yet none of them have been the right fit for St. John’s.
The call process is different than a regular hiring process. In a call process, you trust the Holy Spirit to work in guiding both the candidate and the congregation to a sense of mutual ministry together. As a committee, we have not yet experienced that mutual call.
Part of the struggle is that in the greater Lutheran church there are more openings for pastors then there are available candidates. To attempt to address this, we have actively reached beyond our synod and even out of state. Availability of candidates changes continuously, so we are hopeful that the Spirit is still at work to guide the right person to us.
With the holiday season approaching, we will look to schedule new interviews in January. While we are eager for another full-time, long-term pastor to join our congregation’s work, we are also grateful for the various ways our congregation has shown flexibility and patience for getting the most important tasks done while we wait for the team to be complete.
While this process is taking longer than anticipated, we are prepared to continue to push it forward in a thoughtful manner. We ask for your continued prayers and welcome any new nominations. We act with every confidence that God has a plan for St. John’s, and we will discern it in the months ahead.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3.
In Christ’s love,
Associate Pastor Call Committee
Mary Cisar, David Gonnerman, Christy Hall-Holt, Andrea Hoff, Barb Knaak, Amy McBroom, Betsy McLaughlin, Scott Swanson, and Gary Wicks. Youth Representative: Bailey Dell. Ex Officio: Pam Fickenscher and Nathan Knutson.