VISIONING  & transitions updates

Pastor Brian's letter with updates from September 2022

Dear Church,

On behalf of the Church Council, I am excited to provide an update on the call process for an associate pastor at Our Saviour's. Let's start with a bit of background on how we've arrived at where we are:

At this time, Pastor Fanya and I are working collaboratively to provide consistent leadership for worship services at both campuses and thoughtful direction of congregational care and youth ministry programs. One way we're doing this by rotating the preaching schedules weekly across the campuses. This approach allows us to build relationships, deepen our connections, and care for those worshiping at all of our services. Adding a third pastoral position will allow us to create an even deeper level of care and relationship-building for those who attend worship and strengthen our congregation's ministry and mission offerings.

We are also excited to share that new volunteer teams are forming to develop creative new ways to work hand in hand with the pastoral team to provide additional support for both the care team and youth ministries.

The Church Council and our staff have had visioning conversations with Pastor Wayne Miller. On September 17, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Celebration Campus (919 S. Washington), the third visioning session will take place. This Congregational Leadership retreat will be an opportunity to teach congregational leaders about the insights emerging and to look more concretely at ways in which their area of leadership is critically important to the fulfillment of the congregation’s vocation in the months ahead.

All congregant leaders who wish to participate are welcome.

While our work with Pastor Wayne has just begun, it’s important to share that as a Council, we've been engaged in visioning (or re-visioning) work for some time. Last year, our congregation energetically shared their hopes and dreams for our Church in the senior pastor call-committee survey. We are working to share with you some of the key priorities and areas of strength and weaknesses that this community felt were important for our future pastors, gathered from both current visioning conversations and past surveys.

A common misunderstanding of staff as the "doer" of ministry is woven into these conversations. The difference between a declining church and a thriving church is that in a declining church, mission and ministry are the vocations of the professional staff, and the congregation is there to help. However, mission and ministry are the people's vocation in a thriving church, and the professional staff is called to help equip the people.

We are excited to share that we believe Our Saviour's is being called to form not one but two call committees, with the ultimate goal of having three called pastors serve our Saviour’s Lutheran Church! We want these committees–one for each new pastor–to work hand in hand, as we believe that working simultaneously and collaboratively will help us identify those candidates who will be the right additions, right now, to our vibrant Our Saviour's culture, community and staff.

First and foremost, we seek pastoral leaders who will ingrain themselves in our church community rather than specific program specialists. We are eager to call pastors who will help us shape a culture of belonging. Each call committee has an emphasis in Engagement or Youth and Children. These areas of emphasis are what we have determined are two of our congregational priorities right now. Aligned with our approach to worship rotation, we seek pastors willing to collaborate with our whole community to work toward our common goals. While individual pastors might lead certain initiatives, all pastoral staff will be involved in the different ministry areas together. This structure will avoid siloing while promoting a creative and collaborative approach to doing ministry together.

The Council and the call committees will work together to complete our Church's paperwork with the Synod and will begin the interview process once we receive candidate names. We will begin this work after the congregational leadership visioning on September 17.

Friends, would you please pray for wisdom and guidance as our Church continues to discern where God is leading us? In the stories and conversations we have heard, it is clear that Our Saviour's has been a beautiful reflection of God's love and a place of transformation for followers of Christ. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, he encouraged believers there to consider their own calling. It’s time for us to continue this work as a congregation and begin two pastoral call processes. May we consider the call we have from God by exploring our role in this work together!

God's Peace,

Pastor Brian Wise

Senior Pastor