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 -

Hello there!

It seemed good to me to write a short letter to the congregation to tell you a little bit about my story. I could only tell you my story by telling you about the people who helped me get where I am. I’m not a self-made man. I’m a mosaic portrait of many people’s sacrificial time and energy.

I came to know the Lord Jesus as a young child. I grew up in a household with two believing parents who were foundational in passing on a love for Jesus. I grew up in ELCA or LCMS churches, so the Lutheran tradition is deeply embedded in my faith journey.

My dad taught me to trust the importance of obedience to God, not just through words but actions. My Dad showed me how God the Father loves his children. I praise God that for me, to think of God as Father comes with no baggage because of the goodness of my dad. My dad went home to be with the Lord when I was a teenager after a short battle with cancer.

My mom taught me to trust in God’s love and care over our lives, especially in times of uncertainty and deep sorrow, as I watched her become a single mother, run a household, and love her kids while grieving her husband. When I think about my mom, I am reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Tim. 1:5). Yet Mom often showed her strength by sacrificing her time and energy for my benefit. Mom modeled Christ’s sacrificial love for me, and I know my mother would do anything for me.  It is this faith I see in my mom and continue to do so as she enjoys retirement in SW Florida.

After my father died and while I was a sophomore in high school, I met a mentor who has profoundly changed my life. I started to be discipled by Gary Giesler. He was a former missionary who came back to the United States to start a ministry arm of Campus Crusade for Christ, now called CRU. Gary is a kind of Apostle Paul to my Timothy. He taught me the importance of evangelism and missions. Gary spoke of a God whose primary character trait was reaching out to the lost. His guidance has had a profound impact on my ministry to this day.

I attended Grace Bible College (now called Grace Christian University) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ministry and organizational leadership. After I graduated, I accepted a position at the Allegis Group, where I met an incredible leader who had a profound impact on my professional life. He taught me that you could lead with care and still make a profit, treating people at all levels of an organization and customers with respect and dignity and serving others first. I am proud to continue still to consider this amazing leader as a close friend two decades later. I spent twenty-two years in various roles in corporate America, being mentored by some amazing CEOs.

It was after I graduated college that I met the kindest and most wonderful woman, Anna. After our first date, I knew she would be my wife (she likely would not say the sameJ). She loves Jesus; she’s sweet, she’s empathic, patient, and one of the smartest people I know. She has a heart of pure gold. I am so excited to spend the rest of my life with this woman. Through her actions, God has expressed to me how he is a happy and kind God, not a hard task master. Together, we have an amazing son.

Ethan is a son that any father would be proud of. He is finding his way in his love for Jesus. He is kind-hearted, immensely loyal as a friend, and always looking to include those who may not see where they “fit” in. He is hard-working and can find the positive in most situations.

After two decades of working in executive management, I felt God calling me into the ministry. I went back to school and got my master’s degree in ministry, and I am currently enrolled in an M.Div. at Bethel University. I have served as founder and CEO of a discipleship ministry working with churches across the Upper Midwest for almost four years.

Which brings me here to Hope Lutheran, St. Paul’s and Bethany-Elim Lutheran Churches and to the most important person who has contributed to the mosaic of my life, Jesus Christ. For nearly 48 years, Jesus has been working through amazing people, more people than I can even list! Jesus has been reaching out to me, and in Him, I have found my ultimate satisfaction and joy. Jesus is my everything. He’s been far more faithful than I deserve and abundant in blessings. And with all of my soul, I believe Jesus has brought you, the people of Hope Lutheran, St. Paul’s and Bethany-Elim Lutheran Churches, into my life to grow me and teach me. I believe that he has brought me into your life also to grow and teach you. I believe Jesus is calling us to work together to mobilize in unity and grow as disciples of Jesus who make disciples, reaching the lost and serving others with God’s love. Leading this faith community in learning to live and love like Jesus is a calling that I am excited to pursue with each of you and for those that God leads to our wonderful community of believers.

My hope and prayer is to lead these churches as faithful followers of Jesus, establishing the Kingdom’s presence here on earth in the communities that God has planted. I want us to be busy making joyful and full praise and worship of King Jesus while we serve others in the gifts that he has provided each of us to his glory.


In His Service,

Pastor Jon