Welcome to
Hope Lutheran Church

We are Welcoming a New Pastor!

Welcome Pastor Jon!

Pastor Jon has a degree in Ministry Leadership, a Master’s degree in Ministry and Organizational Leadership. and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Divinity. Pastor Jon and his wife, Anna, have a son Ethan, who will be graduating from high school this spring. Pastor Jon established a ministry called Strive To Abide, and through this work, he has been leading and developing curriculum, teaching, and preaching at events for about four years.

Through the call process, the Synod reminded us that we may have to “grow our own” due to a shortage of available pastors, and that, essentially, is what we are doing. Pastor Jon is ordained through the National Association of Christian Ministers. He is technically coming to us as a lay minister because he is not yet ordained through the ELCA. However, he will be serving as a full-time pastor to our parishes. Jon grew up in the ELCA church, is very familiar with the teachings of the Lutheran Church and is working toward his ELCA ordination.

Once he has taken the required classes, which will take approximately 2 months, he will seamlessly transition into being our interim pastor. It is the hope of the call committee that he will be treated as an interim from the beginning as he will be serving us in that role. Once Jon completes his second master’s degree, we will be able to officially call him as our Pastor. We anticipate that time frame to be about 2 years.

As was discussed previously, the interim pastoral agreement with Pastor Jon will be between Hope Lutheran and St Paul’s Lutheran. There will also be a Pastoral contract with Bethany-Elim. As we begin this transition to sharing one pastor with three congregations, we ask for your patience and support. It is vitally important that we all approach this with an open-mind, a flexible attitude and that we are willing to do some give and take.

Going forward, things may not be exactly as they have been. There are going to be some changes. First and foremost, there are simply not enough pastors to serve the number of congregations. Secondly, the financial benefits of sharing a pastor provide us with a more realistic and attainable budget. As the call committee worked with the other congregations, it is evident that we share the same love of God, that we want our congregations to be able to move forward with a pastor, and we are willing to work together to make this partnership successful.

Once Pastor Jon has had an opportunity to learn about the needs of each congregation, we will be establishing a service schedule. Please be patient, flexible and willing to try new things. The hope is that we are building a faith community, and if a service time does not work for you in your congregation on a given week, you will feel welcome to attend another service that fits your schedule. We will communicate updates with you as we work through the process, so please watch for updates through email, bulletins, on the website and newsletters.

This is an exciting time for all of our congregations and the call committee feels that Pastor Jon is an excellent choice for our faith community. He is passionate about sharing the Bible, teaching and working with members of all ages. We know that each of you will give him and his family a warm welcome! May God bless each of us as we move forward!

The Executive Boards of St Paul’s, Hope and Bethany-Elim Lutheran Churches

Link to Letter from Executive Boards

Hope Lutheran - Minneota

Bethany-Elim - Ivanhoe

St. Paul’s -

Dear Church Family,
Seasonal changes are a fact of life, particularly for us, as we live in a part of the country that experiences four seasons that can be dramatically different (at least most years!). Life also brings “seasons” of change. As I am writing this, my family and I are moving into the newly renovated and absolutely gorgeous parsonage (me sooner than my wife and son as they finish up school and work this spring in the Twin Cities). We are excited to be a part of this beautiful area and the joy of experiencing
three church families and two wonderful communities. We are also in the midst of managing life and church seasonal changes on many fronts. Some of you are experiencing life changes as you have children graduating from high school and college this spring, marriages, births, and so many other life “seasonal changes.”

So, too, for churches. In our shared ministry at Hope/St. Paul’s and Bethany-Elim Lutheran, we are blessed with a season of change. Three churches and two communities. What does the Lord have in mind for this shared ministry? That is likely a question that some (if not many of you) are asking today. I don’t have a “three-point plan” to present in this first newsletter message that answers this question (giant sigh of relief for all!). What I can say is change and transitions can be unsettling and often bring anxiousness. That is okay. Yet, while we know that God does not desire us to be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6), I believe that in many ways, the Lord desires for us to have one thing in the midst of change – HOPE. In the midst of Jeremiah's Lamentations, he writes, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lam. 3:21-23).

Changing seasons and new beginnings each day are a gift from the Lord. God desires to bring us to a deeper relationship with Him, free from the soil of yesterday. He desires our hearts to be changed and lives that reflect this miracle. Holiness begins in the quiet place of the heart and changes our attitude and actions.

May we seek the greater change that lies within rather than merely seeking to remain the same as yesterday. May we partake of the new growth that God has for us in our daily moves through life, our new shared ministries, and may we grow more deeply together within our distinctiveness of three churches and two communities, but unified in our faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.

As we navigate these changing times together, I invite you to actively participate in the changes. Let's meet new friends, welcome new opportunities to share the love of God with our communities, and grow as Jesus-shaped disciples in a world desperate for the hope that can only be found in the grace, mercy and love of God the Father, through Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Your active involvement is crucial in making this season of change a success.

Pastor Jon