Pastor's State of the Church Report for 2017
As lead pastor of St. John's, it is my great joy and privilege to report that we are continuing steady progress toward our missional mandate of being people with "open arms and serving hands, transforming lives for Christ." We are a congregation who loves to share the joy of Christ, and we are actively engaged in doing so through worship, service, mission, and community outreach.
Our members and regular attenders are an awesome group of generous, loving, talented, spirit-filled Christians who know that God has brought us together for a reason. For 55 years, St. John's has been a beacon of light in Ivyland and the surrounding area. But we believe that God is calling us to become an even GREATER blessing to this community. We believe that God is calling us to embrace His vision of reaching out to the many people in our surrounding area who are searching for hope and meaning for themselves and for their families. We believe that God is always doing a new thing, and so we believe he is guiding us find new ways to reach new people, younger people, and more diverse people.
I share with you just a sampling of our work over this past year.
Our very dedicated and committed program staff continues to work toward the goal of identifying, recruiting, and mentoring people into ministry and leadership. This is our primary goal - we strive to be laser-focused on mentoring people into leadership and service, and on the formation of ministry teams and small groups for discipleship. One example of this is our focus on the recruitment and the continuing education of our caring ministries team, which is a group of trained volunteers who regularly assist with visits (including Communion visits) to our shut-ins as well as our members who are hospitalized. This ministry is a blessing to our sick and shut-in members as well as a blessing to those who wish to serve in this capacity.
We give thanks for Alison Beal's ministry over these many years. Alison has served as our Director of Lay Ministries and is retiring at the end of this month. She will be missed in so many ways, but we give thanks that David Bigam will be taking on a second hat and will become our new Director of Children & Youth Ministries at the end of this month. David has already developed a team of experienced, committed leaders and volunteers in both of those areas, and we look forward to seeing both our children's and our youth programs flourish under his leadership. We are also pleased to welcome a new face into our staff. Lara Bolte will be coming on board as our new Director of Adult Ministries. She will be working in collaboration with Ruth Portzline who is primarily responsible for adult community outreach ministries. Lara will be working primarily on adult studies, small discipleship groups, and our mission program. However, Lara & Ruth will be working closely with one another in those areas as well as community outreach. We give thanks for both Lara & Ruth's gifts and talents as they work to glorify God and enhance the ministry of St. John's.
Our music program, as always, is one of our strengths as a congregation. There are many opportunities for all age groups to become involved. We give thanks to Roy Nelson for the leadership he provides, and we also give thanks for the ministry of Brian Barber, our organist, and Alissa Nelson, our keyboard accompanist.
Our Leadership Board continues to work relentlessly on the formation, updating, and implementation of our strategic plan. We continue to do telephone consults with John Wimberly, a congregational consultant who has, in the past, led retreats with our Leadership Board as we began to develop our strategic plan and focus on our goals.
At the current time, we are striving to "reinvent" our mission program at St. John's. Our Mission Task Force recently planned and implemented am extremely well received and highly energized event called "R.I.S.E. Sunday" - a Sunday of worship and four different hands-on mission projects, including a large-scale food packaging event through the organization, "Rise Against Hunger." We are currently brainstorming a new, out-of-the-box mission project that we hope would engage many people in both the congregation and the surrounding community.
In closing, I believe that our future is as bright as the promises of God. May God grant us the grace to continue to work together to reach our community and our world with the Good News of Jesus Christ!