+ A Five Year Vision for St. John Lutheran Church +
The Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. – Luke 10.27
The Great Commission: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. – Matthew 28.19-20a
The Great Commitment: We are dedicating ourselves to God through Prayer and Study, Fellowship and Service.
As a Great Commandment and Great Commission Church, we are reaching upward to God, dedicated to a deeper relationship with God. We gather for worship in a beautifully renovated sanctuary. Walls are painted soft colors, new carpet covers the floor, and brass worship appointments such as candelabras shine as tall candles flicker against the warm, polished wood of the chancel. Sunlight streams through refurbished stained glass windows, while additional lighting brightens the space. The smallest details are considered. Ample parking lots are well lit and paved. Worshipers are greeted as they enter the sanctuary. Cut flowers sit atop the altar’s artful linens and greenery dots the rest of the building.
The communion meal is open to all who believe, and often uses fresh bread. Worship bulletins are informative, video screens supplement the hymnals, and worship leaders use the excellent sound system to guide and assist guests as they join our worship. Sturdy chairs and pews are nearly full as 80% of our members attend worship on a regular basis. Twenty percent have invited guests to join us in worship in the last year, and we express our delight at their presence among us with a delivery of a fresh loaf of bread and a hand-written note to their homes later that same week.
We sing the beautiful old hymns of the past while we continually learn new songs. Worship formats change with the seasons, incorporating both formal and informal styles, while a second service offers an additional worship opportunity. Instrumentalists and choirs of both children and adults share their music on a regular basis, a praise team featuring multiple instruments enlivens our worship, and our musicians enjoy ample space for rehearsal and abundant storage for instruments and supplies. Biblically-centered preaching regularly features teaching sermons that invite worshipers to open their own Bibles, while the tithes of half of our members and the gifts of all fill the offering plates to sustain our expanding ministries and express our gratitude to God for all things.
Prayer lifts all aspects of the congregation’s ministries. Every gathering and every meeting begins and ends with prayer. Worship leaders pray together before worship. Prayer services are held as needed to surround those in need with both prayer and friendship. Families and individuals are equipped with resources for prayer and worship at home. A prayer team assembles after worship to pray with all who are in need and will later visit the homes of members unable to gather on Sundays, for prayer, friendship and Holy Communion. Along with prayer, fasting occurs among our members on a regular basis, as we seek God’s direction in our lives and ministry and provide funding for the hungry in our community.
As a Great Commandment and Great Commission Church, we are reaching inward for spiritual growth and transformation. Our members are aware of their spiritual gifts, and have the opportunity to use those gifts as we build ministries around them. We gather in clean refurbished classrooms and bright new meeting spaces that easily accommodate our growing Christian education ministry. Ninety children routinely attend Sunday School, taught by a team of deeply committed and well-trained teachers who live as examples of the faith and who enjoy the support of their students’ parents and families.
Paid nursery supervision allows parents of very young children to worship, as it provides age-appropriate worship activity to grow the faith of even our youngest children. With the support of committed adult leaders, an enthusiastic youth pastor leads our ministry to junior high and high school youth and their families. The example of our congregation inspires the youth to organize fellowship events, service projects and mission trips to which their friends are always welcome and invited. More than forty adults attend one of four Sunday School classes, with additional Bible study and small group study opportunities offered during the week.
Our website features links and tools for Bible study, our dedicated library features new and classic Christian book titles, recommended reading options are shared regularly among members, and “Faith & Film” movie nights are offered once a month. We offer classes and weekend seminars on faith-centered parenting, marriage, and time and financial management. Plans for a retreat house are being developed, to provide a quiet place for small group gatherings. All gatherings are distinguished by the opportunity to learn and grow our faith, to create and deepen our relationships, to hold each other accountable as disciples and to encourage each other as friends.
As a Great Command and Great Commission Church, we are reaching outward for fellowship and ministry with others. Our generosity and hospitality is irresistible. Ample paved parking and an electronic sign on the north edge of our property welcomes members and guests alike, and clear and visible interior signage assists guests in finding their way. Every room and corner of our existing building is clean and well-maintained, and there is a detailed plan for the next phase of our facility project: new offices, meeting spaces, restrooms, and a fellowship hall with a spacious kitchen and indoor recreational space for basketball and larger fellowship events.
For now, our abundant outdoor space hosts softball and volleyball games, camping events and picnic gatherings in our pavilion. We are good stewards of the land and its resources. Abundant gardens flourish. Wildflowers cover narrow stretches of grass – adding color, enhancing our rural setting, and reducing maintenance resources. The wooded section of our property features a walking trail and meditation areas. We sponsor a nearby roadway as an Adopt-a-Highway participant and are committed to environmentally friendly practices such as recycling.
We are prepared to meet the needs of our community, from the smallest need to the most critical. Partnering with local agencies, we regularly sponsor blood drives, flu shot clinics and food collections and our friendships with EVH and neighboring churches lends itself to collaboration on service projects in our community. An elevator provides access to both levels of our building, and handicap accessible and family friendly restrooms are a barrier to no one. There are fire extinguishers, first aid kits and an AED device available for use in an emergency. A well-stocked gathering space is available for families during weddings and funerals. We are a friendly home to a dynamic Christian pre-school and a safe place for support groups.
We have a well-developed and updated website, and utilize social media outlets to connect with the surrounding community and all our members, especially college students and military personnel. Fellowship ministries and our Kids & Co. ministry continue to bring together people of all ages and generation-specific fellowship activities connect youth, young families, empty nesters and senior adults, with flourishing fellowship opportunities addressing the needs of both men and women. Working together across the generations and in partnership with like-minded friends, we are committed to taking one mission trip each year and no less than 15% of our budget is committed to supporting ministries in our community, nation and world that affirm the Great Commandment and advance the Great Commission.
As a Great Command and Great Commission Church, we have made the Great Commitment to our Mission Statement: We are dedicating ourselves to God through Prayer and Study, Fellowship and Service.