“Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20

I now admit openly what I shared with other congregational leaders nearly two years ago when I accepted the call to serve as pastor with the people of St. John’s.  “It’s going to get messy,” I shared regularly with staff and other congregational leaders.


Ministry, especially ministry with and for those who are in the most need, will get and stay “messy.” The projects around the church and school building are just a metaphor for the renovations underway in our congregational and personal “spirit.” I do hope that at least some of the following is true (I know it is for me.)

  • Looking to an even greater future. It’s great to reflect on the blessings God has provided St. John’s throughout its 165-year history. But it is my conviction that God has even GREATER THINGS in mind for our next 165 years. I claim it unashamedly: as a pastor, my focus is on our future, not “what we have done in the past.”
  • A reason to give even more … of yourself and of your resources.  I don’t talk a lot about money and overtly about financial stewardship. We don’t publish weekly giving records. Suffice it to say: we could use more … more money, more of your time, more of your skills, more of your participation in worship, study, and prayer. And I want St. John’s to be a place where folks WANT to provide even more.
  • A destination rather than a point of departure. Let’s face it, in the last several years St. John’s has not been a destination for families at Christmas and Easter. I want to make sure that when your family members visit, you are inspired to bring them to St. John’s on a Sunday morning (or Saturday evening).
  • More opportunities for ministry are obvious each and every day. We don’t have the capacity for all of it … we may require a few more partnerships like the one I hope we form with the Pax Center of La Porte.  But I do want to be a place that is looking to expand ministry, rather than find a way to “do the best we can.”


And, for that matter, the newcomers I pray we will welcome into our midst in the coming months and years will make things even messier! Newcomers have a way of challenging our assumptions and finding new ways to extend the kingdom of God. And while we all imagine that newcomers will want more than anything else to help do what we are already doing … my prayer is that they won’t. Most will be “just fine” with those who are currently providing leadership on boards and committees and the like. They will have their own ideas of what kind of ministry La Porte and the surrounding communities require.